As Italians would say, all roads end in Rome. We would say that all the roads start in Rome as well, and one would better put comfortable shoes on if visiting. Rome is all about everything wonderful, from delicious cuisine, history and tradition, a great nightlife to stunning art and fashion.
All by yourself in Rome? If so then you will notice that Italians are nothing like the characters in Godfather movie, but rather they are friendly, fun and, let’s admit it, beautiful. A family trip to Rome or a solo trip can be both educational and entertaining. Romance is all around and if you’re with the loved one, be prepared for extra butterflies in your stomach.
The history of Rome began three thousand years ago, but archeologists discovered 13,000 year old traces of civilization. Rome’s tumultuous and legendary history gave birth to some of the most beautiful monuments and pieces of art. The Pantheon, or the temple of all gods, is the oldest best preserved building in the world. Its architecture has been a source of inspiration for monuments all around the world.
And speaking of large buildings, you wouldn’t want to miss the Colosseum. This was the largest amphitheatre in ancient Rome, with a capacity of 50, 000 people. Here is where the legendary gladiator fights took place. Romans are also known for their amazing public baths and systems of canalization. Visiting a public bath, such as The Bath of Diocletian, was a social “must do” as one could bath, have a massage, eat, relax in hot water or have a cold bath, not to mention enjoy the ancient equivalent of a jacuzzi.
The baths were divided by social status; this is the place where great historical decisions were taken and where the latest rumors around town were being spread. Circus Maximus (Latin for large arena) is where celebrations took place and games were played. Although some of the ancient monuments are not perfectly conserved, they could make one feel like they’re living in another era. The death of Roman Empire seems to be a legend. From this perspective, it’s interesting to take a look at The Catacombs of Rome. Since the Romans believed in life after death, cremating was out of the question. The Catacombs were underground burial places, an ingenuous solution to celebrate eternity.
When traveling anywhere in Italy you cannot miss, simply cannot miss the Vatican: the smallest independent state in the world, the capital of Catholic Church and the Pope’s residence. A collection of beautiful museums, basilicas, monuments and paintings by Boticelli, Michelangelo or Benini will delight all your senses.
Since sightseeing is exhausting, make sure you eat well, and there is no way not to eat well in Rome. Italian food is fabulous, and good food can only come along with good wine. A typical roman meal begins with bruschetta (full of garlic), followed by the eternal Italian pasta. Be sure not to miss spaghetti alla carbonara, bucatini all’amatriciana, bucatini cacio e pepe or gnocchi alla romana. Rome is the home of the pizza as well, so it would be a pity not to try it since you are already there. You can also freshen up with “grattachecca,” the typical Roman crushed-ice drink.
Wine cellars are widespread and so are the market places, such as Campo Dei Fiori. Historical café shops are combining traditional drinks with modern technology; famous café’s to be seen are Caffè Greco, Babington’s Tearooms, Caffè Rosati and Caffè Canova.
Rome is full of seasonal events; it’s most prestigious arts festival, RomaEuropa, runs from September to November and features music, dance and theatre with an ethnic edge.
At Christmas and Easter, pilgrims flood into the Vatican to attend Papal masses in St Peter’s square. Yet there are other various religious events around the town. On 9 March, for example, devout drivers head to the church of Santa Francesca Roma in the Foro Romano to have their cars blessed on behalf of this saint, who was said to have the gift of bilocation (being in two places at once).
Spring arrives early in Rome, bringing masses of blooms. Azaleas are praised; when they bloom (end of march), 3, 000 vases of them are arranged in Spanish Steps. Shopping is a “must have” in Italy, the capital of fashion. And naturally there are fashion boulevards: Via Condotti, Via Borgognona, Piazza di Spagna and Via Frattina.
Last, but not least, the nightlife! Young Italians meet in Campo Dei Fiori, then gather in numerous bars around the square. Rome is also an endless recourse of nightclubs, some of which are extremely popular: Gilda, Goa, Ex Magazinni. We recommend Black Out Rock Club for live music fans.
Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And, at the end of any day, there’s still something new to be discovered. There’s just something about Rome.