Sunday, 27 May 2012

Rome ~ "Must-See" Places and Things You Should Remember

I consider my trip to Rome as one of the greatest accomplishments. It is so attractive that I had to stay a little over 3 days in this historical city alone. Am not into museums but I did enjoy as I cannot stop admiring its stunning art and architectureTravelling to a new destination is always fun and exciting as you explore new cities, visit new enthralling sites and eat delectable local cuisines. 

Colosseum  in Rome
As soon as we set foot in the hotel, we were given maps and brochures and the most needed tips that is truly helpful especially if it comes from the local people. This is why we decided to explore the city on our own. It is easy to move around.

The best time to visit Rome is during the spring season, April to June, when day time temperature tends to be around 64°F (18°C) and are pleasant for sightseeing. Winters in Rome are typically cold and the average daytime temperature in January tends to be around 54°F (12°C). Rome is also known to have snowfall during its winter months that extend from November to February. Rome extremely hot summers extend over the months of July and August, when average daytime temperatures in the city is around 95°F (35°C). The month of August should be avoided as the city shuts down as most residents go away for a holiday.

* * * * *
To help make your stay in Rome memorable, I have compiled information of the city  from places to stay and areas to explore which are entirely based on my experiences. I am sure the idea will be a big help. Read on... 

Are you trying to find a place to stay in Rome?  Here are some suggestions:

Vatican City
Stay close to this small city if your main purpose is a pilgrimage to the Vatican City.  You may choose from the many hotels located in the area. You will not find many dining or shopping options here though. If you don’t consider that an inconvenience you could base yourself at one of the Vatican city area hotels.

Piazza Navona and the Pantheon
If you are looking for a bit of atmosphere on their Roman vacation and wanting to immerse them in the culture and ambience of ancient Rome, often choose to stay in the hotels located around the city’s commercial Via Veneto area. The area is not well connected by transport links as the streets are too narrow for buses.  The hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses will stop a few minutes walk away from both Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. Walking is the best and only way of getting around this area.


Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps is an important landmark in Rome. The area around the Spanish Steps and the Piazza del Popolo hosts some of the most upscale hotels in the city and is also known for its many fashionable luxury goods stores. If you enjoy shopping or even browsing at such stores and have a passion for luxury hotel rooms then this area is a good fit.  



Termini Train Station 
There are many discount hotels and budget accommodation options surrounding the station.  These hotels, most of them are 3-star are quite popular to back packing tourists. In this area, you will find modern sites, such as Republic Square, characterized by the ancient and fascinating Naiadi Fountain. Visit prestigious and historical sites such as the Baths of Emperor Diocletian and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. Address: Piazza di Cinquecento in Central Rome and accessible to the old city. 


'Must-see' places in Rome? Here are my suggestions:

The Pantheon
This is a world famous sight of Rome originally built as a temple of the Gods by Hadrian in 120AD. The Pantheon, which consists of a dome supported by Corinthian pillars, also contains a sundial with which the Romans used to measure time and the dates of the equinox. Other sites within this landmark include the Carafa Chapel or Capella Carafa and the tomb of Fra Angelico, an Italian Renaissance painter.


The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is adorned with statues of Abundance, Agrippa, Salubrity, the Virgin and Neptune. It is one of the most visited and well known sites in Rome for it is believed that if you toss a coin into the Trevi fountain you are ensured a return to Rome. It was estimated that approximately  3,000  are thrown into the fountain each day.


The Colosseum
The Colosseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre, is the site of the famed gladiator battles in Rome, which were witnessed by at least 50,000 enthusiastic spectators. The spectacular architecture of the Colosseum features Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns along with an underground network of cells and corridors. This grand structure continues to attract tourists until today.



The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps or Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti are a set of steps built in 1725 and extend from the Piazza di Spagna to the Church of Trinità dei Monti and are a popular congregation spot in Rome. These steps afford easy access to the Via Condotti, a busy and fashionable street and the centre of fashion shopping in Rome


Capitoline Hill
Capitoline Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome and the original capital of the city that continues to host the seat of Rome’s government until today. This hill contains several landmarks like the Michelangelo designed Piazza del Campidoglio, which is surrounded by three palaces, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the twin buildings of the Palazzo dei Senatore and Palazzo Nuovo. These buildings also host the Musei Capitolini, which is home to famous statue of the Wolf and Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers who are known to be the founding fathers of the city of Rome.


The Forum
The Roman Forum is a must-see attraction on your visit to Rome.  It is a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of several ancient government buildings that lies in the small valley between the Capitoline and Palatine Hills.  In this ancient section of the city, you will find other ruins like the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, and the Arch of Titus, which are worth visiting on your next vacation to the city.


Vatican City
The Vatican City with an area of 44 hectares and a population of a little over 800 makes it the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population. Some of Rome’s famous sights lay within the Vatican City, which is the Papal abode and a walled enclave located within the city limits of Rome. 

You will find within the city, sites like the Sistine Chapel, which is famous for its ceiling that features artworks. Aside from its spectacular ceiling, the chapel also sport frescoes that were created by other famous artists.  An artwork created by Michelangelo, the famous painting of ‘The Last Supper’ should not be missed at the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican City also includes the landmark attraction of St Peter’s Basilica, the Apostolic Palace, Vatican Museums along with various other buildings, and the Sistine Chapel that I mentioned earlier.


* * * * * 




Rome’s airport is well connected to the heart of the city via an express train that departs on the hour bound for the Termini Station. The airport is also connected by bus and taxis to the city centre. Just a piece of advice in taking a cab;  look for metered taxis from the Fiumicino International Airport in the same manner with those coming from the Termini Train Station. Unscrupulous touts and taxi drivers are a major problem in Rome and visitors are warned to be cautious while hailing cabs for their journey into the city.  

Rome is also equipped with an extensive public transport system that is made up of a network of buses, trams, and the metro. Public taxis that can be quite expensive to travel in and are generally difficult to hail on the street. All local public transport is integrated in Rome. You have to purchase your tickets before you board any public transport. Most people will have a pass of one kind or another. Tickets for both the bus system and Metro can be purchased from tobacconists, bars, or vending machines at metro stations and major bus stops. There is a flat fare for both buses and metro whether you go one stop or to the end of the line.



There's one thing I regret after my holiday.  I just cannot believe I missed the Gelato that is so popular and has a long tradition in Italy.  I can always come back, I said to myself. Yes, I will, not only because of the Gelato, but because to me, Rome is so different from any other countries I have been.


Now, my dear travellers, are you ready for this big trip to Rome?  You don't want to miss this, right?  See some photos I took during my journey.  It is not too many though.



From the desk of: 
Freddie Miranda
A blogger and a Canada-based freelance writer. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send a message @ fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail(dot)com.

Steps at King Vittorio Emmanuel II Monument ~ Rome ITALY
     
Spanish Steps ~ Rome ITALY

Vatican City - ITALY

My Hotel - Domus Mariae Palazzo Carpegna ~ Rome ITALY