Day 06-8: Check out of Hotel Relais Maresca . Ferry from Capri to Naples. Cab to Naples train station. Train from Naples to Rome, Check in Hotel Deko Rome. Nice, modern apartment type hotel. Our host was very helpful and gave us a detailed map and places/restaurants to go to. Good location.
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit Rome is from March to June
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
As history goes, the Colosseum was a place where gladiators fought and people as well as royalties thronged. Now, centuries later its fate has not really changed. It still draws people from across the world. Within the monumental building you have a museum that displays excavation findings of the Colosseum. These findings tell you that it was a place where men and women gathered to enjoy gladiator games making it sort of like a picnic. Information about how it was built, its architecture and seating arrangements are available there. If you have enough patience to read, these historical findings will tell you much more than that. They show you what it was like to be there during 80 AD when gladiators fought each other to death.When you enter into the seating area of the Colosseum that overlooks the grand centre stage, forget the crowd and just close your eyes. You could hear shouts and cheers of close to 50,000 people on stands. Their tension is palpable even centuries later. When you open your eyes, sometimes you are left with an illusion of what you just imagined and come out with goosebumps. That is the Colosseum for you.
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.
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.
After I visited Colosseum, the Roman Ruins was next on my list. It was around 2 p.m. when I entered the ruins of imperial Rome. If a glimpse of the ruins fascinated you, it was nothing compared to when you actually enter the ruined imperial Roman town to sight see. A google search will tell you that the ruins amidst the Piazza Venezia and mount of Campidoglio was a business centre of ancient Rome. It was where the royals resided amidst the Farnese gardens that spanned acres, priest quarters, churches, vineyards and small villages.
The ancient ruins of Rome are again full of opposites, they tell the story of a time when democracy was born and people gathered to be heard at Forums, but also a time when people visited the Colosseum to see shows of people fighting other people and animals and dying in brutal deaths- all for fun. Being there makes you realize the past never stayed in the past, it just kept repeating itself in different forms to this day.
Who would have thought that a mere flight of steps could be turned into an extremely popular (and absolutely free) tourist attraction? Possibly the most famous marble steps in the world, the Spanish steps form a heaven for people watchers, bookworms and those looking to spend time with friends and a few bottles of beer. The fuchsia flowers scattered all around the staircase provide an even prettier background to the Piazza Di Spagna and the 'Sinking Boat Fountain' at the foot of the steps. The multitude of branded stores and gelaterias dotting the piazza stand in stark contrast to this 18th Century beauty. Go early in the evening and spend a few good hours there. Getting there: If in case you are not living near the Tridente/Trevi area which is walking distance from the steps, taking the underground metro is the best idea because it is faster and cheaper. The 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 less than 200 metres from the station. Beware of pickpockets on the train.
The world might not be a wish granting factory but if legends and a million other travellers are to be believed, the Trevi Fountain definitely is. A brilliant example of the Baroque style of architecture, the mythical figures on the fountain are magnificent. The name 'Trevi' indicates the three roads that meet at the fountain which has found place in dozens of popular films. As much as I wanted to throw a coin into the water in order to ensure a second trip to Rome, the restoration work initiated by the fashion house Fendi prevented me from doing so and all that I got to see were scaffolds and glass barriers. Therefore, find out the status well in advance, the evening is the best time to visit and there is no ticket that you need to purchase. Getting there: If in case you are not living near the Tridente area which is walking distance (albeit long) from the fountain, taking the underground metro is the best idea because it is faster and cheaper. The tickets come for about 1.5 Euros and can be bought from the several machines or ticketing counters at the station. Your stop is 'Barberini' along the A Line and Trevi is about 600 metres from the metro station. Beware of pickpockets on the train.
This is the official residence of the Pope. I assure you that the beauty of art work on the ceilings and walls of Sistine Chapel will remain in your heart forever. Tourists are not allowed to take photographs inside Sistine Chapel. The prohibition against photography is in place to prevent the flashing of cameras from affecting the art. Sistine Chapel showcases Michelangelo’s greatest artwork in form of beautiful frescoes that tends to come as a surprise to first-time guests. It is said that Michelangelo painted the ceiling all by himself, all the time lying on his back resulting in him getting nearly blind. Vatican City will surely quench your thirst for spirituality and will give fresh perspective of art, history and architecture. Visiting this place is like food for the traveler’s soul. There is no right or wrong way of visiting the Vatican City, but lack of planning can surely ruin your experience . How was your trip to Vatican City? Let me know in the comments. If you need any more info, leave me a message and I will be happy to help. Thank you for stopping by :) .
Trastevere patiently keeps you company while you get lost. Now it will show you a charming vine-decked house. You will feel like climbing up and stay back. Then it will show you faces. One from a torn poster, another, a graffiti, looking at you with faces that rhyme with each other.
From Vatican we walked a short distance to Castel Sant’Angelo. This building located next to river Tiber has a unique cylindrical design. It was originally built as a mausoleum for a Roman emperor but was later used as a castle. Since it was a Monday the building was closed but the atmosphere outside it was very romantic. Musicians were playing soft music and a man was blowing soap bubbles in the air with children playing around it. We spent some time sitting in front of the Castle with the river behind us.
Palatino / Palatine Hill
Rome was built on seven hills and Palatino or the Palatine Hill happens to lie in the centre. Legend has it that the founder of Rome, Romulus and his twin brother Remus were saved by a wolf right here and it probably is the presence of such tales that make Palatino all the more interesting. With impressive ruins and the greenest of trees and bushes, Palatino leaves you with majestic views. It once used to be a posh Roman neighbourhood, home to emperors and wealthy families. Palatino is now majorly covered by ruins which once formed Emperor Domitian's Imperial Palace. The walk is long and beautiful and for those interested, there is also a museum (Museo Palatino) the admission to which is included in your ticket. Getting There: The Palatine Hill is a 2 minute walk from the Colosseo metro station which is on Line B of the Rome metro system and the tickets for the train which runs every few minutes come for 1.5 Euros. They can be bought from the several machines or the ticketing counters at the station. Make sure you have a map of the otherwise complicated underground transport system which runs from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm with you and watch out for the pickpockets. The tickets for Colosseum include the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and will cost you 12 Euros. It is advisable to buy the tickets from the Palatine Hill entrance on Via Di San Gregorio (From the metro station, walk south past the Arch of Constantine and continue down the aforementioned street) because you will find no queues unlike the ticket counters at Colosseum and Roman Forum. See the Palatino first, followed by the Roman Forum and save Colosseum for the end. Visit before noon so that you are done with everything by evening.
Vatican Museums & the Sistine Chapel
These museums within the Vatican are a much envied store house of the most treasured artistic works such as paintings and sculptures, dating back to the Renaissance. Having being founded in the early 16th century, the Vatican museums along with the 64 galleries are more than 500 years old. Not only thousands, but millions of tourists visit these museums each year, in reverence and aww of such artistic excellence. The Sistine Chapel, famously known for its ceiling having been painted by Michelangelo, is undoubtedly the most renowned living memory of Renaissance Art across the world. Besides this, Raphael’s Stanza Della Segnatura is also quite popular here. This visit truly marks the quintessence of art in Rome.
This baroque church used to previously function as the chapel of the Roman College next to it. It became an independent church after the College moved to another building. Apart from the structure itself, the church has beautiful frescoes inside and has four side chapels.
Piazza del Popolo
Guarded by a giant obelisk in the centre and flanked by churches, gardens and the artist Bernini's works, the spectacular Piazza Del Popolo is supposed to be the entrance to the North of Rome. This 'square of the people' was initially used for public executions but is now frequented by young Romans looking for a good time. This place is all the more important because three streets (Via di Ripetta, Via del Corso, Via del Babuino) form a 'Tridente' by emanating from the piazza. There are cafes on the piazza that would gladly welcome you if you are looking for beverages or a light, authentic Italian dinner. Getting there: The best way to get to the Piazza del Popolo is by taking the underground metro because it is faster, cheaper and your station 'Flaminio' along the A line is directly across the street. The tickets come for about 1.5 Euros and can be bought from the several machines or ticketing counters at the station. Beware of pickpockets.
Santa Maria In Trastevere
An excellent example of Romanesque architecture, the Santa Maria Church situated in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches in Rome. Designed by architect Carlo Fonatna, this church was originally founded in the 3rd century by Pope Callixtus. Some of the best 13th century mosaics are found here, including Pietro Cavallini's Life of the Virgin. It was the first church in which Mass was celebrated openly. There is a tall column near the church which marks an ancient legend that the day Christ was born a river of oil flowed down to earth. The pillar is built on that supposed spot.
Galleria Alberto Sordi
Built in 1914 after the actor of the same name, this building is a shopping arcade, and a grand structure. It is a shopping arcade with numerous small boutiques, this apart, the interiors are quite beautiful and elegant and even if one chooses not to shop here, just walking around indoors is quite a serene experience.
Museo e Galleria Borghese
This awesome gallery is probably my favorite museum in all of Rome and yes its higher on the list than the Vatican. Why you may ask? Because its not crowded, really ever, because you must reserve tickets and a time slot. But really I think I would go there even if it was crowded. It has six Caravaggio paintings, one is even an apology by Caravaggio to the Pope (who happens to be a Borghese). It has the most beautiful Bernini pieces to be found in Rome and some amazing paintings with great stories behind them (like a Raphael that was taken in the middle of the night by the Pope’s nephew who set up the gallery). So much awesome in the art world is packed into just that one museum.
Piazza di Spagna
The Spanish Steps is only two stops away from the Repubblica - Teatro Opera metro station. You have to get down at, you guessed right, Spagna metro station! Unfortunately, the church had closed by the time I got there (6.30pm) so make sure that you go earlier if you want to visit the church too! This is another crowded tourist spot, so be prepared to jostle for space with many tourists!After this, I returned back to the hotel. However, if you still have the energy, go for the "Colosseum by Night" tour that I talked about! I have read many reviews that raved about this trip! You will thank me later :-)
Saint Peter's Basilica
This work of Renaissance architecture is the largest church in the world. The burial site of St. Peter, this church is much revered in Christendom. Even otherwise, the church is an architectural marvel whose design has had contributions from immortalized artists like Bernini, Bramante, Michelangelo and Maderno.
The river Tiber is the oldest river and one of the lifelines of Ancient Rome. Tiber Island is one of the two island in the river Tiber. The island is home to a temple of Asclepius, the Greek God of medicine and healing, and a hospital. Thus this island is symbolic of health and healing. The island is linked to the mainland with two bridges. There are many legends regarding the formation of the island. Today it hosts a film festival and provides a great twist to any Rome tour.
Piazza S. Pietro
Designed by the extremely popular Baroque artist Bernini, the iconic St. Peter's Square is where the Pope greets and blesses the crowd every Sunday noon. A bird's-eye view of the Piazza San Pietro will remind you of a giant keyhole and its Obelisk, its pair of colonnades and St. Peter's Basilica as a matter of course, will remain conspicuous. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to visit and the entry is obviously free of charge. Click a lot of pictures and listen to the locals being severely critical of the otherwise 'cool' Pope Francis. Also remember that you are literally in the heart of Jesus. Getting there: 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. St. Peter's Square is 800 metres from the station and noon is the best time to visit.
Basilica Santi Giovanni e Paolo
Next, marvel at the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Saints John and Paul), with its monastery and bell tower built upon the imposing ruins of a temple dedicated to the emperor Claudius. After a lovely walk past the gardens, still cultivated today by the nuns, explore some of medieval Rome and the Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus), where chariot races kept the Roman Empire entertained.
The last part of the day would be best suited to roam in Centro Storico. The so-called historical center is quite small and constitutes only around 4% of the city area. In the closing years of the Roman Republic, an open-aired theatre was built. Named after Emperor Augustus's nephew Marcus Marcellus, it is called the Theatre of Marcellus. This ancient edifice was one of the most important theatres in its times. You can ask your guide to give details about the formation of the Gate of Ottavia. One of the best-preserved of all Roman buildings is the Pantheon, which was built 1800 years ago. The name Pantheon refers to the building's original function as a temple for all the gods. The forty-three meter high dome is the remarkable feature of this structure. You can then walk to Piazza Navona to cover the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini. Trevi fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Baroque is the most artistic period of Rome, which was embellished with sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, dance, and music around 1600. Taking Carlo Maderno's lead, Da Cortona, Bernini and Borromini created outstanding, major works of art. Try to cover as many of these great architectural world as you can. Most of it includes churches as during the Baroque period the Roman Catholic Church took artistic control in almost every respect. Besides churches there are numerous palaces, piazzas, and fountains that you can see. Make sure you have a guide and have some material with you with information on the many artists and their display of art here.
Baths of Caracalla
From the Circus Maximus, I walked down to the Baths of Caracalla. The Baths of Caracalla, named after the Emperor Caracalla, are better preserved than the Baths of Diocletian. You must visit this place if you buy the Archaeological Pass. This is only a few minutes' walk down from the Circo Massimo metro station, along the Viale delle Terme di Caracalla. Once again, there are hardly any crowds here, so the lush gardens be a nice photo-shoot op for you!
Basilica of St. John Lateran
We decided to start the first day of our trip, a Sunday, by visiting the Papal Archbasilica of St. John in the Lateran. The basilica was a beautiful white structure with Latin inscriptions and statues of saints adorning its front facade. Its significance is derived from the fact that it is the oldest of Rome’s four major basilicas and also ranks above all the other Roman Catholic Churches – even St. Peter’s Basilica. It is the official seat of the Bishop of Rome i.e. the Pope and holds the title of ‘Mother church of the whole world’ among Catholics.
Baths of Diocletian
My tour of Vatican was scheduled for Day 2, so I took the metro from Ottaviano metro station to Repubblica - Teatro Opera metro station. From there, I walked to the Baths of Diocletian, which was accessible by the Archeologia Card. This was one place where there were no crowds and the "ancient scent" still hung in the air!The Baths of Diocletian also features artifacts recovered from other sites around Rome. Most noteworthy are the few Egyptian artifacts found here!
Basilica di San Clemente
Discover another Rome beneath the known monuments, where a silent city is revealed underneath the grandiose Renaissance and Baroque architecture. We start at the beautiful Basilica of San Clemente to admire its unique mosaics and crucified Christ in a festival of trees and doves. Not far from the mosaics lies the Cappella di Santa Caterina. A small stairway will take you to the lower basilica, built in the 4th century AD. From here, another staircase leads to the 3rd underground level from the 1st century AD. Some of the rooms were part of an apartment block separated by a passable street from another large building that was perhaps a state mint.
Santa Maria del Popolo
To the north of Piazza Del Popolo, this church was one of the earliest and richest Renaissance structures. It was built in 1099 and houses works of various famous and iconic artists and sculptures like Raphael, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio, Alessandro Algardi. According to a legend, this area was haunted by Nero's ghost and the church was built to Exorcise his ghost. The interior of the church is adorned with many of Bernini's famous works along with other artists.
Temple of Hadrian
Built by Antoninus Pius, successor of Hadrian after whom the temple is named, Temple Of Hadrian was much once decorated with trophies and reliefs of the conquests (the relics now lie in a near by museum). Today only the 11 pillars at the north end remain. These pillars were integrated in the 17th century to make a new customs office. Today, there resides the Roman Stock Exchange within it. A superimposition of the modern on the ancient- that is pretty much what Temple of Hadrian is.
The Protestant Cemetery of Rome
The Protestant Cemetery is an out of the way spot in Rome located in the neighborhood of Testaccio. It is a really serene place to spend a few hours exploring. The cemetery holds the graves of several well known expats and it’s located just within the Aurelian Walls, which allows you to get up close to ancient Roman walls and the pyramid tomb of Gaius Cestius.
Overlooking the terracotta-roofed city, La Pergola in the Rome Cavalieri Hilton is the top dining room in town. Chef Heinz Beck’s decadent offerings (pepper marinated veal filet with Aubergine puree, or deep-fried zucchini flower on shellfish and saffron consommé with caviar, to name a few) have earned his restaurant three Michelin stars.
Built by Emperor Trajan, this was the largest Imperial hall and was once a center of political and government center of Rome. At that time this forum was an architectural wonder for the world unrivaled by almost no other structure. The entire complex consists of a Basilica, Two grand libraries a temple and a market place. The was one of the last forums built and was an important center of public life. Much of Rome's ancient style of living can be seen here along with some splendid examples of architectural and antithetical beauty.
Talk about location and this one is pretty convenient while visiting Rome. Situated a stone’s throw from the top of the Spanish stairs, it provides a good place to start exploring the city of seven hills. Of course there is the Hassler Roma and Hotel de Russie as also the Inglaterra but if you know of these and can afford them without breaking a sweat (or a sizeable bank) you can skip to the next point. o Tips: Try and avoid anything and everything touristy which can be tough because the locals don’t really let you in on things to do. Even recommendations on sites that seem reliable can often land you in some crappy joint. Sometimes classic joints have lost their original charm (Dar Poeta for pizzas is good but not superb and Checco e Carretiere pasta is highly overrated for the price they command and the sloppy service they dish out) and sites may fail to show the updated version. Read around as much as you can. I will share some links I found useful.
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.
St. Mary Major
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore or St Mary Major is the biggest and the most important church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Rome. The building of this church was inspired by the idea that Rome (at that time) was the center of the Christian World. Today, the church enjoys a somewhat embassy-like status with the Vatican police guarding it. It has a typical Roman architecture and was built by Pope Liberio after he saw Mary in his dreams. Our Lady pointed him towards the locations for building the church with snowfall and thus the church is also called "Our Lady of the Snows."