Why Visit: Rome
It’s the capital of Italy for this week’s ‘Why Visit’...
Fri, 1 Jun 2012 - 3:40pm
With over 2.8 million residents, a coast bordering the Mediterranean and Italy’s largest city, it’s no wonder Rome is a hot tourist destination. Rome is one of the most exciting and stunning city in the world, let alone Europe, with its deep history and strong culture making a trip to Italy’s capital an exhilarating ride!
Rome’s history spans across two and a half thousand years with the city being founded by the ancient Romans. According to legend the original residents of Troy migrated to the more modern city. Over time Aeneas’ family decided to resettle too in an area that was prominently Etruscan. From a mix of Etruscan, Aenea and Roman inhabitants, Rome expanded and was born. However, there is another legend too...
Rome is all about mythical goings ons and the history is no exception. Around the year 753 BC, Remus and Romulus (descendants of Aeneas) were left to perish in a basket along the Tiber River by their evil and greedy uncle. A She-wolf chooses to take them in and raises them as her own before the two wolf-boys are taken under the wing of a local farmer. The two boys, caught up in an argument about where to found the city, begin to fight resulting in Romulus killing his brother and decides to found the city on the Palastine Hill and names it after himself, Rome.
Rome has a colourful past, and who knows if these legends are true or false, but what can be accounted for is the ups and downs from the rule of a number of Roman and Etruscan kings...
There’s no doubt Rome has a thrilling past just waiting to be discovered, but what about the climate?
During the summer, Rome can be extremely hot (with highs reaching 35ºC), so those looking to do some exploring should head in the cooler months. Winter is mild with December having an average temperature of 13ºC, but the best time to visit has to be the spring months. The weather is relatively warm, and although rain is possibly throughout the year in Rome, skies tend to remain blue.
So without further ado, here are the top seven sites and sounds of Rome:
Rome and gladiators is like bread and butter so it makes sense we start with Rome top attraction, the Colosseum. Up close and personal, the Colosseum is breath-taking in size and stature. Get a fantastic sense of the history and excitement surrounding the place where thousands of gladiators met their fate.
This is the top place to go in Rome so expect queues, or better still, buy your ticket in advance and walk straight in.
Campo de’ Fiori
Like many of the fantastic places we review on ‘Why Visit’, Rome has an amazing marketplace and this is in the shape of the Campo de’ Fiori. Colourful, noisy and full of life, the market is a firm favourite with the tourists and locals alike. For centuries, this was a site for public executions where in 600, the monk Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for heresy. Now, Ettore Ferrari’s statue takes place surrounded by the clothing shops, and at night? The space is turned into an open-air pub.
Rome has some amazing architecture and this starts at the Pantheton. The 2000 year old Roman temple is one of the most astonishing buildings in the world.
Admission is free with an audio guide costing €4, but again, expect queues and crowds.
Trevi Fountain is the largest fountain in Rome, and the most impressive to boot. This elegant baroque fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and depicts Neptune’s chariot being led by Tritons with sea horses representing the moods of the sea. We told you it was impressive! The tradition is to throw a coin into the fountain to ensure your return to the Eternal City whilst two coins ensures you fall in love whilst the third proposes marriage. Around €3000 is collected every single day from the fountain and donated to charity.
St Peter’s Basilica
St Peter’s Basilica is the epitome of Roman architecture and grandness. This huge church easily outshines its surroundings and most buildings in the city. Spectacular monuments and rich in centuries of design, St Peter’s Basilica sees approximately 20,000 visitors each day. Admission is free, but opening times vary and there are some dress codes. No shorts, mini skirts and bare shoulders allowed.
Piazza del Popolo
This was the sight of public executions back in the day. Now it’s a less violent and delightful people-watching spot! This area of Rome was the main Northern gateway into the city before being extended and altered in 1823 by Giuseppe Valadier. Guarding the southern entrees are the 17th-century baroque churched while the Porta del Popolo (created by Bernini in 1655) is at the north.
The Vatican Museums are large yet unforgettable. Founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, the museums are collectively known as the Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano. The museums cover a space of 5.5 hectares and include two palaces and three courtyards. The sheer size makes it impossible to see the entirety of Vatican Museums all in one go, so do your research beforehand and plan what you’re going to see and where it is. Queues are to be expected so book online to avoid too many lines.
Rome is full of life, history and culture from gory gladiator tales to beautiful architecture. With gorgeous weather and fantastic cuisine, Rome is the place to indulge the senses.
The Rome Tourist Guide has everything you could possibly think of if you’re planning a trip to Rome.