Learn a little about this ancient city and the sites to see.
What comes to mind when one thinks of Rome? Probably for some, its an image of the Pope celebrating the Holy Mass within the walls of the Vatican City. For others, its pictures of the ancient ruins that abound the city. A few people may think of the ancient Romans wearing their togas and riding their chariots. The Romans today may not be seen wearing the kind of fashion that their forefathers used to fancy a lot, but the chariots are still existent up to this time.
Rome has several historical monuments and galleries that have served as the main reason for the surge of tourists. The city’s tourism industry is constantly preserving its ancient treasures. Historic architectural structures are now illuminated at night, streets and squares are properly paved, and fountains are kept clean.
Rome sightseeing is exhilarating and exhausting, and the fact that the city was not built in a day will quickly be evident when one starts to explore the residences, basilicas, temples, churches, piazza, palazzi, fountains, and museums, added with what the Vatican offers sightseers as well.
Rome, tagged as the “Eternal City”, is a very walkable experience for tourists who put on a good pair of walking shoes, others can take the brilliant public transport service such as tram, metro or bus, which offers a very good service, just make sure you keep a watchful eye for pickpockets. Some take an experience with the bikes, doing what locals do and renting a scooter.
Apart from the immense number of charming piazzas, Roman relics and magnificent churches, Rome sightseeing should include visiting the rich, independent state of the Vatican, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain which is beautiful by night, Piazza Navona circled by extravagant palaces, Campo dei Fiori open air market, and the Trastevere locale.
Rome sightseeing can be a challenging task because there is simply so much to see, and many a traveler would agree that a month is what it takes to truly see everything that Rome has to offer, so if your time is a little limited, then making a list of your “must see’ places is a must. The Vatican alone can effortlessly eat up the entire weekend, and most tourists end up overpowered and remain torn between running from place to place to see everything or lingering over some monuments and museums. The latter is however, strongly recommended, with an interruption of coffees, ice creams, and serene walks in the city parks such as Villa Borghese which is one of the loveliest. As for Rome sightseeing in most of the holy sites, clothes that covers up the shoulders, midriffs, and legs is suggested, particularly for visits to the Vatican.
The best starting point for Rome sightseeing is centro storico, which has the most concentration of classical Christian sites enclosed in a moderately small space. Part of the pleasures of wandering around the streets of Rome is stumbling upon ancient frescoes, Renaissance fountains, and beautiful piazzas. Rome has four major basilicas, namely St. John Lateran, St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s, and St. Mary major, and over four-hundred churches.
However, San Clemente through San Giovanni in Laterano sums up the multi-layered labyrinth of Rome. The street level is faceted with a 12th century basilica with beautiful mosaics. A well-preserved Roman basilica is down one level. Deeper still takes one to more ancient Roman remains, until lastly the deepest level is the temple to the oriental cult of Mithras.
Walking along the streets in Rome promises a lot of interesting things for everybody. There are numerous sights that can be seen at every turn. Quaint café’s, cozy outdoor restaurants, and exciting shops can be found almost everywhere. Even though Rome seems to be a maze of old and new streets, the city is not difficult to go around in. If you are still getting acquainted with the city, do not depend too much on the map as it has the tendency to underestimate or overestimate distances. However, keep one handy to save you the hassle of asking locals for directions.
Rome beckons tourists to its hugely-celebrated performing arts festival that happens from September to November every year. The festival, Roma Europa, showcases music, dance, and theatrical plays in different significant and unique venues. Christmas and Easter are also flocked with tourists who want to experience hearing Papal masses in St. Peter’s Square. Spring is a nice time to be in Rome, Italy as well. The city boasts of its blooms, and some are beautifully displayed on the Spanish Steps during this season.
Knowing the basic things about Rome before your travel will give you a more fulfilling experience. The city has certain traffic restrictions that you certainly should know about. Only locals are allowed to drive downtown from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Friday, and from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Saturday. Other helpful information should include currency exchange. Banks are the most reliable places to have your currencies exchanged. Most of them are open from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm on weekdays. There are however, exchange machines in downtown Rome that operate 24 hours.
Rome is a perfect place to get in touch with history, learn the arts, unwind, and touch base with your spiritual side.