With incredibly talented graffiti artists, gifted yet hugely unrewarded local musicians, levitating saints from an exotic land (who are invariably trying to dupe you) and art experts willing to create your personal caricatures for a small price, the Piazza Navona is like a party sans the finery and expensive attires. Three elaborate, beautiful fountains adorn Rome's most popular public square. And so do the many cafes and baroque mansions bordering the same. Go early in the evening and spend a few happy hours. Getting there: The Piazza Navona is 450 metres from the Pantheon so it is advisable you see both on the same day. You could take a bus from the Termini station or hop on to the metro. Tickets come for about 1.5 Euros and can be bought from the several machines or ticketing counters at the station. Your stop is 'Spagna' along the A Line and the Piazza is a bit of a walk, about 1.5 kilometres from the station. Watch out for the pickpockets on the train.
Right beside the site of the Colosseum, towards the west lies the remains of the Roman Forum. While it’s one of the oldest yet has exceedingly become the most significant historical as well as architectural landmarks of ancient Rome. Structurally, it’s a rectangular plaza, perimetered with ruins of the most important state and government buildings. As you visit this historic heritage site, you’ll realize how the ever-spoken political public life ran in a day in Rome. And it’s very walls and pillars speak aloud of the origins of present day political thoughts and ideologies of liberalism, democracy, state, and even citizenship! Having been an important part of the popular public life, it stood testimony especially to processions, trails, meetings, speeches, elections and gladiator matches. It is also known to have enshrined Roman Gods & Goddesses, alongside the house of The Senate of Roman city states, which eventually gave birth to the Republican government in Rome. Although visibly in ruins, the Roman Forum resonates the architectural marvels, debatable political past and grandeur culture that ancient Rome was.
After spending a couple of hours getting awed by all the history that lay before us, we exited the Forum and walked towards the Pantheon. It was huge but a plain structure. After that we walked to the Trevi Fountain. We were really looking forward to see it but as luck would have it, the fountain was under renovation. Well it just took two double scoop Gelatos to lift our mood and end our first day in Rome on a happy note.
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.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Standing tall beside the Duomo without getting overshadowed by it, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the oldest shopping arcade in the world. The octagonal structure with its characteristic glass dome is a sight to see and houses all major fashion brands - think of Prada, Valentino, Versace, Moschino among others, you have them all. Owing to the many end of season sales, I came back home with several fancy shirts and dresses and I certainly was one happy girl. If you are a bigger shopaholic than I am, the Quadrilatero d'oro, or the Golden Quadrilateral, which is about 850 metres from the Galleria, is just the right place for you because it is possibly the most celebrated shopping district in the world, reflecting the true essence of Milan. Getting there: Buses, trams and the metro connect all major spots in and around Milan and the tickets come for nominal amounts. The closest station to the Galleria is 'Duomo' (about 50 metres) which serves Line 1 and 3 of the Milan metro and one can buy tickets at the station itself for 1.5 Euros.
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.
The site where the Papal Conclave meets in order to elect the Pope, this 15th Century Chapel is probably the most popular attraction in Vatican City. Home to Michelangelo's masterpiece 'The Last Judgement' and several ceiling frescoes, you get into this house of wonder after a long walk through the galleries of the museums and a dozen security guards will work hard to keep you from clicking any pictures. The nine frescoes depict God's Creation, the tale of Adam and Eve, the Fall and the plight of Noah. The Last Judgement (Giudizio Universale) on the west wall illustrating Christ passing his sentence over dead souls stands out in every way possible. And no, Michelangelo did not paint the ceiling while lying on his back. That is merely a myth. Interestingly, there are stories about how Michelangelo was an artist who refused to conform to the norms of his time. When the Papal officials complained about the existence of nudity in the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo painted the Gates of Hell behind the pulpit where the Pope delivers his Mass and portrayed several saints as foolish and in compromising positions. Now that's some form of revenge. Getting there: The Sistine Chapel is located inside the Vatican Museums and the entry comes for about 16 Euros. They are open from 9am to 6pm with 4pm being the last admission. Additionally, entry is free on the last Sunday of the month. The queues can be long so book your tickets online if you are in a bit of a hurry. There are several galleries to see in the museums with the Chapel being the final stop, after which you proceed to St. Peter's Basilica. Photography, as mentioned above, is prohibited, but nobody can stop you from gazing at the ceiling in amazement for as long as you like, although the crowd could be a bit of a deterrent. You could take the Metro to 'Ottaviano-San Pietro' which is on the A Line of the Rome Metropolitan and your journey to the Vatican and back should cost you 3 Euros. Beware of pickpockets. The museums are located 900 metres from the station and noon is the best time to visit.
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).
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.