All of us have read about legend of Rome in our History classes. The two brothers Romulus and Remus, suckled by a she-wolf, founded the city of Rome. Following an argument, Romulus killed his brother Remus. As a result, the city is named after Romulus.
Rome is the capital city of Italy, located on the shores of River Tiber. Owing to which, it is a thriving cosmopolitan city whose rich history dates back to 753 B.C. Thus, UNESCO has listed the rich historic center of the city as a World Heritage Site.
Places to Visit:
A visit to Rome is incomplete without seeing the Colosseum. The Colosseum is an oval-shaped amphitheater located in the heart of the city, the largest amphitheater ever built. It could accommodate 80,000 spectators. Limestone, volcanic rocks and concrete blocks make up the Colosseum. Gladiatorial fights, simulated sea battles (yes, it used to be filled up with water for the real-feel), animal fights and public executions were staged at the amphitheater. Therefore, it is one of the most popular tourist attraction in not only Rome, but also in Italy.
Blocks of limestone were held together with iron clamps and were used to build the exterior. The nobles and common people sat in different tiers. The Emperor seated at the special boxes near the North and South gates, enjoyed the best views of the arena. The Senators sat behind him, followed by other noble men. The upper level had 2 parts. The wealthier men occupied the lower sections therefore leaving the higher sections for the poorer men. Tickets to these fights were in the form of pottery shards with numbers pertaining to each of the seating sections.
The arena had wooden floor covered with sand, below which lay the Hypogeum or "Underground" chambers. These chambers had several tunnels and cages. The animals and gladiators were brought into the arena through these tunnels. Exotic animals like tigers, lions, elks, elephants were used in the fights.
Entrance Fee: EUR 12 (Additional EUR 6 for Audio guide)
2. Roman Forum & Palatine Hill:
Located between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, Foro Romano is the oldest plaza of the Roman Empire. Thus, it houses several architectural brilliance. The rectangular plaza was the center of the daily activities of the Romans. Therefore, it is the location of several temples, shrines and royal palaces.
Entrance Fee: Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill all come under a single ticket. The tickets are valid for 2 consecutive days.
3. Trevi Fountain:
The beautiful Fountain of Trevi is the largest one in the city of Rome. Designed by the famous architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini, the fountain exhibits remarkable ornamentation and extravagant style of the Renaissance period. It is believed that a virgin helped the Romans find a source of pure water. Thus, the water was then carried to the fountain via aqueducts.
The iconic backdrop of the fountain is the palace Palazzo Poli. The Corinthian facades depict the theme of Taming the Waters. The Greek God Triton (the messenger of the Sea) guides Oceanus' shell chariot while taming hippocamps. Hippocamps are mythical creatures who had upper body of a horse and lower half of a fish. A triumphal arch is present in the center. On both sides of Triton, Goddess Abundance pours water from her urn while the Roman Goddess Salubrity holds a cup from which a snake is drinking.
A tradition of throwing coins into Trevi is prevalent in modern days. You must stand with your back facing the fountain and use your right hand to throw a coin over your left shoulder. You will come back to Rome if you toss 1 coin, will find romance if you toss 2 coins, whereas you will marry the love of your life if you toss 3 coins. The movie "Three Coins in the Fountain" shows this tradition. As a result of this popular belief, approximately EUR 30,000 is collected from the fountain everyday. These coins help in subsidizing a supermarket for the needy.
Pantheon is a church that once served as a Roman cathedral. Large Corinthian columns of granite and a concrete dome builds up the church. The oculus or the center of the dome and the entrance are the only source of natural light inside the church. It is quite fascinating to know that the light through the oculus moves in reverse sundial throughout the day. Five rings of 28 coffers consists the lacunar dome. The Pantheon houses several paintings like The Virgin and child, Coronation of the Virgin and the tomb of artist Raphael.
5. Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is one of the most famous squares in Rome that sits on the site of Stadium of Domitian. The famous Fountain of the Four Rivers or Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is situated in the center of the square.
6. Piazza Venezia:
Piazza Venezia, situated in the center of Rome, sits at the foot of the Capitoline Hill. The Vittorio Emanuele II monument or Altare della Patria is located here. The monument exhibits excellent architectural skills, corinthian columns, fountains and equestrian sculptures of Victor Emanuele himself. The sculptures can be seen from the Roman Forum and Colosseum. The Italian dictator Mussolini used to give public speeches to his supporters at the monument. The Altare della Patria is a national symbol of Italy and currently managed by the Ministry of Defense. Thus, several national celebrations like the Liberation Day and Republic Day take place at the Piazza Venezia.
7. Eat Gelato:
Any trip to Italy is incomplete without trying out the gelato! The gelato are available in different flavors - chocolate, strawberry, rose, alphonso mango, tiramisu, limoncello - you name it and they ll serve it!
8. Experience the Nightlife:
The city boasts of a vibrant nightlife, whether its for the aperitivo, bars, pubs or dance clubs - Rome has it all! The best places for experiencing the nightlife in Roma are - Campo de' Fiori, Trastevere and Piazza Navona. Cheap cocktails to free snacks to dancing till the wee hours of morning, enjoy the night scene of Rome to the fullest!
9. Drink & Be Merry:
If you love your alcohol, drink on! From Negroni to Aperol Spritz to Prosecco to wines from Trentino & Sicily. So, you will find all your favorite spirits here in Rome!
Another popular way of drinking in Italia is " digestivo". Digestivo are drunk after a heavy and hearty Italian meal. Therefore you will find most of the restaurants offering you one on-the-house. Popular digestivo are Limoncello, Grappa and Amoretto.
The iconic Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social changes. Therefore, it is one of the most popular cuisine in this world. Thrive on the pizzas and pasta that different regions of Itally has to offer. Dig into a dish of Spaghetti Bolognese, Lasagna, Fiorentina steak, Spaghetti Carbonara, Risotto, Petto di Pollo and desserts like Tiramisu. Do not forget to try the bread with olive oil.
Thus, Rome is a city that has an array of interests to offer - cultural, historical and archaeological. The Roman way of life is surely going to win you over. Whether its the historical sites, buildings with Corinthian columns, the food or the wine, you will have plenty of excuses to come back to Rome for more.
Come, fall in love with Rome and experience the magic of Italian charisma!
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