Have you ever wanted to visit a city with a history of over 2500 years? Rome is today the capital of Italy and its largest city, but in the past, it was one of the most important cities in Europe and the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire which dominated Western Europe for over 700 years. Its history is fascinating and the city itself is home to numerous monuments and ancient architecture, combined with several classic and modern styles. Situated in the central western portion of the Italian Peninsula, Rome has a population of 2.7 million and is the cultural, political and touristic centre of Italy.
Over the years, Rome has been home to famous architects such as Bramante, Bernini and Raphael and numerous artists including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. A holiday in Rome is an exquisite present for the cultural you, the part of you that loves history and enjoys learning about ancient European stories.
1.Il Colosseo Romano
The most visited and representative landmark of Italy itself is the majestic Colosseum. The monument was where gladiator fights took place, and dates back from year 72 AD. The Flavian amphitheatre had a capacity of over 50,000 people and was a vast arena of entertainment. There wasn’t another mass slaughter venue of these proportions anywhere in the world and to this day, it attracts as many tourists as the ample masses of ancient times.
2. The Capitoline Museums and other Galleries
In Piazza del Campidoglio dwell majestically two faced palaces. Today they serve as homes for the masterpieces of Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Caravaggio and Bernini. Considering this is the city that nurtured the art of Michelangelo, there are numerous cultural venues on the must see list, including the Borghese Gallery and the Palazzo Barberini Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica. Furthermore, the Capitoline is the oldest public gallery in the world, having opened its gates in 1734.
3. Take a stroll through the Gardens of the Villa Borghese
There’s no doubt that Rome is an overwhelming European capital. Filled with history and culture, tall buildings and noise, the city may tire and there’s no better way to relax than by walking it off in one of the vast Italian parks and gardens. The garden of Villa Borghese is located in the city centre and has become popular among locals and tourists alike. A contemporary art museum rose in the Orangerie: Museo Carlo Bilotti. For a larger venue, travel to the suburb of Monteverde and stroll through Villa Pamphili Park; it’s relaxing, large and children can feed the pond turtles or ride ponies.
4. The State of Vatican
In the centre of Rome rises the small state of Vatican, home of the Catholic Pope. This religious venue is visited my millions of pilgrims every year and St. Peter’s Basilica is truly amazing. Wander into the Sistine Chapel and stand in awe while gazing upon Michelangelo’s masterpiece. There are a number of museums that populate the city, including the Museum Pio Clementino displaying the famous Belvedere Apollo.
5. Fontana di Trevi
Another popular landmark, known among tourists everywhere is the gorgeous Trevi Fountain, hidden in a tiny piazza in front of Palazzo Poli. Aside its evident beauty, the fountain is the place where people come to make their wishes come true, by contributing with coins. The rococo decorations are quite impressive, featuring sea horses, tritons and craggy rocks. A short walk away lays La Città dell’Acqua, an Imperial age apartment building containing the tank for the waters of Acqua Vergine flowing underneath.
6. The Pantheon
Built by Hadrian around 119-128 AD, the famous structure is the best preserved structure of Ancient Rome. Originally, it was a temple of ancient deities and today has become a church and the resting place of united Italy’s first king, Vittorio Emanuele II and of artist Raphael. The fascinating part is that the building’s diameter is equal to its height, thus having the capacity to hold a perfect sphere.
7. Follow Romulus and Remus’ steps
Everyone knows about the ancient legend of twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who were found in a basket on Tiber River by a she-wolf that nursed them. Romulus was the one who climbed the Palatine hill and founded Rome. Relics are on display at the Lupercal, a cave discovered by the first Roman emperor, Augustus, beneath his house.
8. Stroll around Rome’s Piazzas
To learn more about Rome’s history and take a snapshot of its artistic heritage, walk through the city streets and visit its exquisite squares. Travel to Piazza del Popolo for some 18th century neo-classical architecture, the splendid church of Santa Maria del Popolo with a chapel by Raphael and an Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by emperor Augustus. Go further to Piazza Navona and admire the work of great baroque masters: the church of Sant’ Agnese and the Fountain of Four Rivers by Bernini.
9. Italian Culinary Specialties
Italians have numerous delicacies that are extremely appreciated worldwide. The famous pizza recipe comes from Italy, as well as pasta and the delicious panini. In Rome you can have great ice-cream at San Crispino Gelateria and original cheesy pizzas at Testaccio of Remo. Crunchy Roman pizza can be found in Monteverde at La Gatta Mangiona, but to be fair, for delicious pizza and pasta try any restaurant in Rome. They are homemade recipes and nowhere in the world can you find better Italian dishes than in Rome.
Italians have great wines as well, so just take a stroll to Il Pigneto and enjoy a glass of white Frascati or a fine grappa.
10. Go shopping in Rome
Italy is renowned for the great designer fashion that comes directly from the catwalk and into the shops.
Numerous label stores, boutiques and outdoor markets will make your Roman shopping experience an unforgettable one. Popular venues are: L’Arsenale, Le Gallinelle and Le Tartarughe.
Rome is an incredible European metropolis, filled with war stories and ancient history. Monuments and museums apart, this beautiful Italian city has so much to offer its visitors: delicious food, real entertainment (theatre, opera, fairs, clubs, pubs and bars), plenty of cultural venues and most of all, the Roman experience, a taste of the true European development of civilization.