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Weekend in Rome

Rome: Travel to Rome

Starting today, I’m launching a new section… Its name isn’t very creative, it is called “weekend in …”. Lots of times, having a weekend after a business trip abroad, I ended up staying either in that town or around it somewhere… and I tried to see as much as possible in those two weekend days. Therefore I will try to recommend a couple of routes for some of the world’s most visited cities… let’s start today with Rome, the Eternal City.

I absolutely cannot deny this – I like Rome a lot. I visited Rome for the first time in 1994 when all the cabs where Fiat Ritmo, a market place resembling the Tunisian bazaars was in front of the Termini train station and lots of monuments were in disrepair. The town grew enormously ever since, big money have been used for restorations, roads and infrastructure but its charm remained unchanged…. Although many buildings have been restored, it has been done in a way that reflects the passing of the time – unlike Germany where 12th century buildings look as if they were build yesterday (many of them really were, given the fact that many German cities have been destroyed during World War II).

So, Rome… What can you see in 2 days? It’s huge! I’ve been in Rome at least 15 times and I can still discover charming and unique corners. But let’s try to come up with an express route for those first time visitors and who can’t stay for a longer while.

First of all Rome is a place to visit step by step. That means walking. Although very big, the city center is compact and due to the fact that it is filled with narrow alleys, there’s really no way to get a car through. This is why it’s better to organize your trip around a certain area.

Day 1

What actually made Rome famous? Simply, the ancient Romans, the Roman Empire… so let’s start with the antiquity. First stop: Piazza Venezia… right in front you’ll find the famous Altare della Patria, a gigantic monument built by Mussolini that was named by the more bickering Romans “The Typewriter” (if you look from further away, from Corso, you will see why). Palazzo Venezia, Mussolini’s former headquarters is also situated in the Piazza; from its balcony, Il Duce used to speak to his supporters.

After having taken the necessary photos, just head to Trajan’s Column, walking left from the “typewriter”. You’ve heard of it in school, you’ve seen pictures but I do believe that as a Romanian it’s mandatory to see the Column (it’s the first monument that I visited during my first visit to Rome back in 1994!) as it depicts the founding story of the Romanian people – the war between Dacians and Romans in the 2nd century after Christ.

After Trajan’s Column, cross the Via dei Fori Imperiali (a made-up street by Mussolini that broke the Forum in two and an important source of pollution for the multimillennial buildings), pass by the Altare and climb up the Capitol Hill. On your left hand side, there’s a kind of an empty church, but reaching the top of the Capitol, you’ll find a statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius… this is the first equestrian statue built after the Roman period (raised around 1500, the original version was located in the Piazza up until 1981 when it was moved inside the museums that outflank the main square). Oh… and by the way, the Piazza was designed and built by Michelangelo himself…

Passing by the statue of the Capitoline Wolf with Romulus and Remus, you’ll have a panoramic view of Foro Romano (the other view is on the other side of the Senatorio Palace).

Walk down the stairs and enter the Foro Romano. It’s necessary to have a guide (human, audio or even just a book is really well) so you can understand what you are seeing – the headquarters of The Forum where Caesar was assassinated, the arches of triumph, the old temples turned into churches.

On the other side, the most impressive ancient monument awaits you – the Colosseum. Don’t miss the Arch of Constantine nearby – along its frontispiece you’ll discover Dacian statues. After finishing this route and possibly taking some photos (by paying solid amounts of money) with men dressed up as Roman soldiers, look for the Colloseo metro stations which is situated just across the monument, and take the subway two stations until you reach Termini, then switch to the red line two more stations until you arrive at Spagna.

You’ll walk out in Piazza di Spagna, another wonderful Piazza…it’s time to eat something, but hold on for just a while longer…around this area you’ll find especially fashion stores…Actually, the road perpendicular to the Piazza is the famous Via dei Condotti, where all the big Italian (this is THE country of fashion) fashion brands are placed! Going up the stairs, on the top you’ll see a church (built by the French, worth a look), and if you arrive in Rome in spring, these stairs will be covered by azaleas…a splendid image that you’ll probably see on every postcard. Near Piazza di Spagna, you can find the first ever McDonald’s opened in Italy, commemorated by an antic-type board (not that this is a very historical event, on the contrary even).

Take one of the narrow roads parallel to Via Condotti, leaving Piazza di Spania behind and stop in one of the many small restaurants in the area. They will be pretty expensive, some have so-called fixed tourist – menu (most of the times, a scam). This is not a touristic, but a highly touristic area and besides all this, if not here…then where? If short on money you can find a slice of pizza to go, at a corner of the streets.

Once you regain your power, head to Fontana di Trevi. I won’t tell too much, because since “La Dolce Vita” it’s more than famous. Take pictures, look around, defend your pockets from the more colored characters who part tourists from their wallets and especially buy an ice cream from the Gelateria near the fountain. Mention the fact that you were sent by Cezar from Romania. You won’t get a discount, maybe the next time I’ll get there I’ll receive a free cup (just joking ). What’s not to joke about is the fact that I buy an ice cream from this place every time I get to Rome. It’s not the best, it’s not the most sophisticated or God knows what, it’s simply a tradition for me.

From here on now I’ll only tell you to allow yourself to get lost in these wonderful alleys…Breath in deep Rome’s music, it’s perfume (not only the one coming from motor scooters) and discover the less touristic corners. Don’t miss though the Panteon, it’s free to visit, in Piazza Navona, the former racecourse of the city or the statue of Giordano Bruno in Campo di Fiori…Honestly, I wouldn’t go any further…a “birra” and a pizza on one of the many streets behind Piazza Navona, an evening out on the streets after a full day is exactly what you need.

Day 2

I would definitely dedicate the second day to the Vatican and the area around. There’s no metro station at the Vatican, but if your accommodation is next to a metro station, you can go to Ottaviano station and from there on you’ll only have to walk a few hundred meters full of souvenir shops, both religious and laic ones….this is the place to buy little cheap crosses to give them as gifts to your grandmas and aunties as memories from Vatican…. At the Vatican there’s plenty to do and it will take a while if you really want to see something – to enter in the Cathedral of San Pedro is mandatory, but I’d also say it’s compulsory to climb up the church in order to see one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Rome!!! Furthermore, my opinion is that if you plan to visit only one of the museums in Rome, that’s the museum of Vatican… it’s the only museum worth comparing to the Louvre, The Hermitage or Prado, only much more compact… technically, you could see it in 2-3 hours and the amount of memorable art pieces is a whole lot bigger than in any other museum in the world… not to mention that in spite of the stadium-like atmosphere the Sistine Chapel is incredible! The problem with the Vatican museum is that during most days, the entry lines are brutally long….They’re partially avoidable by buying your ticket online, but I don’t know if it’s possible to only purchase the ticket or you’ll get the guided tour as well. Anyway, it’s worth taking a look on the following link.

After finishing the Vatican visit if you’re still up for it, take the boulevard step by step until the end where you will be reaching the Palazzo San Angelo. Emperor Adrian, the adoptive son of Emperor Trajan, was buried here once, but hence he was one of the biggest persecutor of the Christians, his earthly remains were thrown out when popes came to power and the enormous mausoleum has been converted into a palace with an angel on top (therefore the name as well). If you feel like visiting this palace, do, I’ve seen it but I don’t rate it as mandatory…Otherwise I’d recommend to cross the Tiber over the bridge next to the palace, a bridge full of statues.

If you’re not already on the run to the airport, or running already late, I’d recommend a short trip to the Trastevere quarter…Here you’ll find only Italian people and much more decent prices in the food department…And you’ll get to see a Rome without Japanese tourists with cameras on hand….

How to get to Rome

Rome is a huge hub for countless airlines. Check the prices of the low-cost airlines flying there from around Europe… practically, there is no low cost airline not to fly to Rome. If coming from overseas, you will also find some good options

Where to stay in Rome

I’ve got dibs, I have family in Rome so I stayed with them, I also stayed either in a camper somewhere in Rome’s suburbs, either in a fashionable apartment in a small town near the seaside and when I was on a business trip I’ve lived in many-a-star hotels and many-a-buck for a night on Via Veneto… Near to the train station you’ll find the cheapest hotels but the area may cause you to shiver, especially the ladies….Checking the offers on the big booking sites (like Agoda and hostels.com ) is a good idea provider.

Where to eat

There are enough restaurants in Rome to fill every belly. Only really expensive in the tourist area….For the ones on a smaller budget in the tourist areas you’ll find some vehicles with “Panini, gelati, bibite” written on them – here you can get a cheap pizza or sandwich. If not, look for take-away pizza. The quality of the pizza is a lottery game – they can be either very tasty or miserable! Ice cream is no lottery though – I haven’t found a bad tasting ice cream in Rome!

What to do if you have more days to stay

Well, that’s simple enough –just cut the day with the Vatican visit Travestere in two and visit the Palazzo Angelo as well. Stroll around the hill that dominates the Vatican or maybe walk all through the Repubblica – Barberini area. Go to Piazza del Popolo, at the end of Corso road and then further up the hill to Villa Borghese…stick your hand through the “Mouth of Truth” and see if it’ll bite…This might last for another 2-3 days more. If you stay longer take a day trip by train to Firenze and/or Napoli! If you want to visit Rome or other great Italian cities, you can contact Dark Rome Tours (nothing dark in the company :)) which offer a great range of tours in the Italian capital and beyond.

Pictures of Rome

Rome: Trajan's Column

Traian’s Column

Travel to Rome: visit Altare della Patria

Altare della Patria

Rome: Campodiglio

Campodiglio

Rome pictures: The Roman forum

Roman forum

Travel to Rome: visit Colliseum

Colliseum

Rome: Piazza di Spagna

Piazza di Spagna

Pictures of rome

On the streets of Rome

Travel to Rome: Fontana di Trevi

Fontana di Trevi

Rome: Fontana di Trevi

Rome: La fontana

Travel to Rome: visit Panteon

Panteon

Rome: Gladiator

Rome: Souvenirs

Travel to Rome: Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

Travel to Rome: visit Vatican

Vatican

Rome: Vatican

Vatican

Travel to Rome: visit Angelo Castle

Angelo Castle

Până acum există "1 comentariu" la acest articol:

  1. […] tend to believe Rome – it is really a living museum, and as I speak a bit of Italian, I felt like home… Although very different from home. I also […]

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    My name is Cezar (where the nickname "Imperator" comes from) and I have travelled to 105 countries around the world. In this blog, I would like to share with you stories, memories, travel tips & tricks and news to help you plan your journeys !

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