The start of our 10 day “Tour of Italy” began in Rome (we had more than a day there, don’t worry) and included Florence, Portovenere, and Cinque Terre. With almost four full days in Rome, we had to fit in a lot of sight-seeing and I’m still deciding how I’ll divide it all up for my blog posts. Until then, enjoy some of my preliminary thoughts and photography from the Eternal City.
The streets of the center are narrow, full of life, and dotted with crowded piazzas. The beautiful buildings are either covered in streaked, chipping paint, or carved stone. Walking around and enjoying the “feel” and photographing is free, so we did just that. It’s my favorite part of visiting a new city.
Piazza Navona is well known for being filmed in Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts (or so I thought… is it embarrassing how much I love that book?). Both Jay and our Couchsurfing host pretended not to know about it, but we had to go anyway. As is the norm in Rome, the piazza was sited in ruins of a 1st-century arena. I was surprised by its size and how different it is than a plaza mayor here in Spain.
The square is filled with people snapping pictures of the shining, sculptured fountains. The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is the largest and most celebrated, for good reason. Take the time to seek out its small details such as the palm tree and obelisk. Do you believe that the figure shielding his eyes is horrified by the ugly church?
Hint: don’t eat in the cafes surrounding this square. Unless you want to be charged 14euro for two coffees. Yes, that happened. On my birthday.
Via dei Fori Imperiali and Piazza Venezia
The center of Rome is so different from other cities because it is filled with historic excavations. Even more so than Athens, Greece, in my opinion. You can get a huge eye-full of Roman ruins by walking down Via dei Fori Imperiali, which begins very near to the Colosseum and extends to Piazza Venezia. You’ll pass the Imperial Forum, Capitoline Hill, and get a view of the Capitoli Museums for starters. Try not to be overwhelmed by centuries and centuries of remains from a dominant empire.
Ruins around Pompey Theatre
Just a short walk from Piazza Venezia, you’ll cross a fenced area filled with Roman columns, foundations, and stray cats. If you can find the information plaque, it will show you the ruins of the Senate hall. This is where historians believe that Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March (March 14, 44 B.C.)! Morbid but interesting, I think. “Et tu, Brute?”
We arrived without a place to stay so we were quickly tired by carrying our backpacks in the heat. Rome’s Termini station will store your baggage (for a price), and it’s located very near the center. Go all the way downstairs following “Left luggage” signs and have your passport ready. Pay when you pick up.
I would also recommend sightseeing at night! The weather is cooler and the ruins are lit up in a beautiful way. Rome is can be overwhelming for someone interested in all its history, so be sure to take things slow.
Have you ever been to Rome?