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Go to Piazza Navona, where you’ll find giant frittelle doughnuts and Sicilian puppets that make special presents. Visit the fashionable thoroughfare of Via Condotti, studded with high-end boutiques like Gucci, Celine, Dior and Ferragamo. If you’ve got old souls on your gift list, the nearby Via Margutta and Via del Babuino are known for their antiques.
On the west of the Colosseum lies one of the oldest and most important structures of ancient Rome- The Forum. This rectangular plaza strewn with the ruins of various government buildings of ancient Rome was the center of the city often referred to as the 'marketplace'. This place formed a great part in the public life of ancient Rome with processions, trails, meetings, speeches, elections and gladiator matches happening here. It also housed various shrines of Roman Gods and Goddesses and housed The Senate of Rome, the place which gave birth to the Republican government in Rome. There are also structures made by the great Julius Caesar and till today remains a golden ground for archaeologists and historians. This place, although in ruins, remains to be an architectural wonder and resonates the Rome's rich past.
I began my travel through this iconic city with on the most iconic places, not only in Rome, but also in the rest of the world. The Colosseum is right in the center of the city, which itself speaks greatly of its importance. Also known as the Flavius Amphitheater, it is the largest of its kind in the world. This monument is hailed as the epitome of Roman Architecture and engineering. This UNESCO World Heritage site, housed around 50,000 to 80,000 people in its time and was used for entertainment purposes in the early medieval era (remember Gladiator?) The monument is gigantic with four floors and each floor having around 80 arches each. Due to earthquakes much of the monument has been destroyed, but it still spills splendor and awe. If you think the Colosseum looks magnificent during the day, be ready to be blown away by its night view. The monument lights up the cityscape of Rome and looks like a jewel on the street!
The Palatine Hill is very closely knit with the history and mythology of Rome. Rome was built on seven hills, the center most of which is the Palatine Hill. According to mythology, this hill was where the makers of Rome, Romulus and Remus were found by the She-wolf who raised them. Many famous senators of Rome lived on this hill (including the great Augustus Caesar) and thus the word "palace" originates from Palatine. Archaeological data have also proven that the early Romans inhabited this place, giving Palatine hill a strong historical reference. Today, most of this place is covered with Domitian's Imperial Palace that was used for around 300 years. Amongst the buildings is also a museum that houses some of the precious archaeological artifacts from Rome's history.
St. Mark's Square
At the heart of Venice's St.. Mark's Square - Piazza San Marco - Considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in the world, thanks to the unusual composition and architecture, combining elements of fantasy and reality. Square is connected to the Piazzetta San Marco (Venice square at the coast) . They are limited by buildings of the Doge's Palace and St.. Stephen's Basilica. Mark. In front of the basilica is a neoclassical building "Wings of Napoleon", built on his command. n the shadow of the arcades of marble palaces are hidden shops with Venetian artistic handicrafts (Mainly jewelery, lace and glass) and the famous, recorded in the history of the city cafes, including Cafe Florian and Quadri Cafe, where regulars were known artists, writers and other prominent personalities. St. Mark's Square. Make the whole period of its history was the center of Venice, was the site of important political and religious Republic, the scene of national ceremonies, church and folk.
After visiting various other rooms on the first and second floors, each decorated with gorgeous frescoes and paintings, we climbed up to the battlements and then all the way up to the top of Arnolfo Tower. The climb to the top of the tower was steep but totally worth the effort as we got a breathtaking bird's eye view of the entire Florence city.
Campanile di San Marco
Belfry of St. Brand - Campanile di San Marco - the highest building of Venice, 99 meters high. Initially it was a watchtower and a lighthouse. Later, she served as the bell tower, lighthouse, tower and weather vane of gun. Also added and belfry loggetta meeting place for the elite of Venice. Loggetta also served the function of the guard booth and was the site of public lottery drawing. An interesting fact Is That in 1,609 years, Galileo and the telescope installed on it and presented its action doge.
After navigating through the museum, we finally reached the most important part of it, the Sistine Chapel. The wall on which the much-famed The Last Judgment, by Michelangelo, is painted looms out slightly over the viewer, and is meant to be somewhat fearful and to instill piety and respect for God's power. That piece inspires nothing but admiration. The artwork is astounding and nothing rivals it. But again, the crowd dampened the experience. But, this is where I'll explain to you, the perks of being five-feet tall. I walked right to the back of the room and blocked out the crowd. Once you focus on just piece of art, everything else fades away. It's almost like The Matrix, everything slows down. Concentrate enough and you feel like you're a part of Creation of Man.
Piazza Venezia situated in the heart of Rome is a public square with much chaos and traffic. This square engulfs the everyday life of the Romans. Two important monuments are located here. Palazzo Venezia from which the place gets it's name is a palace dedicated to Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice.( This place was a former embassy of Venice in Rome.) Another one is Vittoriano, dedicated to King Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of Italy.
Cimitero delle Fontanelle
Our next destination was to hit Fontanelle cemetery. Although a bit scary and creepy because you’ll see only skulls and bones but worth visiting this place . The entrance is always free. This place is associated with folklore of the city. Further, this place is located in a cave in the turf hillside in the Materdei section of the city. This place use to be Naples main burial site during the 1837. This place is holding eight million human bones since 1656 by thousands of anonymous corpses, victims of the great plague of that year. We had spent around one and half hour there and proceeded further for our next destination.
Piazzale Castel San Pietro
2. Cross the ponte pietra (stone bridge) and climb to the top of the hill to Castel San Pietro for a birds eye view of Verona. It’s hard work, especially in summer, but worth it. Also, stop half way across the bridge and look back to your right to see my favourite little crop of buildings in Verona (pictured above).
Circus Maximus is where the ancient sport lovers would go to seek some entertainment. It was the largest and the first stadium of Ancient Rome. Since Chariot Racing was the most popular sport back then, loved by all Romans, this stadium held chariot races and entertained the Roman Crowd. It could house almost 1/4th of the Roman population. The first king of Rome, Romulus, is said to have held Chariot races here. This huge stadium today signifies the glory of Roman kings as well as the lifestyle of its people. A very significant monument to understand the public life of Rome.
Villa dei Quintili
From the Baths of Caracalla, board the 118 bus to go to Appia-Bisignano. This is where you will visit the Villa dei Quintili, one of the most under-appreciated and yet, the most scenic monument in Rome! The entrance ticket to this villa was also included in my Archeologia Card.
Monte Testaccio. This is an ancient man made mountain of pottery which today is surrounded by clubs and bars. Only in Rome will you see this happen and I love it. By day you can go play on monte testaccio and climb up all of this old amphora from all over the ancient world: Spain, Africa, Greece and Egypt, and then later you can go back to the same area to go to bars and clubs and go to the Macro, one of Rome’s brand new Modern art museums. Now I realize that this is once again history but I think a mountain of pottery deserves its own spot.
A major portion of ancient Rome lies in deep slumber about 9 and 15 meters underground. With less scope of excavation in the deeper sections we have to rely on the catacombs, scavi, and crypts on religious sites to decipher the life in classical times. The famous Catacombs of Rome are the ancient burial places which are made of underground passages. The original Roman custom was cremation, after which the burnt remains were kept in a pot. But around the 2nd century AD, burial of unbound was being practiced. Christians also preferred burials. Wall graves were dug and were usually laid out vertically as it could contain one or more bodies. Another way was to have burial rooms containing graves all for one family. It gives you a chill when you descend into the realm of those dead and still dwelling here. Capuchin Crypt behind Piazza Barberini is where you can see the bones of thousand Capuchin monks. You’ll find skeletal remains of 3,700 bodies believed to be Capuchin friars buried by their order. There are six total rooms in the crypt. These would be the spooky highlights of your tour. The interesting history of the Basilica of Saint Clement makes it a key point to visit. Travel Trip- The Catacombs of St. Callixtus are closed on Wednesdays.