|SKYLINES AND VIEWS:|
||from Emmanuelle Monument
,Castello Sant'Angelo, Tiber,
Pincio Park, Capitol Hill
St Peter's Basilica
|VATICAN CITY||St Peter's Basilica
St Peter's Square
Views from the basilica
||Campo Marzio and more||
Campo de Fioro
|Piazza del Popolo
Piazza di Spagna
Via del Corso
|Campo Marzio (Field of Mars)
Piazza della Rotunda
Piazza della Minerva
Piazza Colonna, Palazzo Chigi
Piazza Montecitorio, Palazzo Montecitorio (Parliament)
Campo Marzio, Spanish Stairs
Banks of Tiber
Termini Station, Via Nazionale
Piazza della Republicca
Monumento Vittorio Emanuele II, Teatro di Marcello
WEST OF TIBER:
|CITY CENTER (CENTRO STORICO) - EAST PART:||PARKS:|
Ponte Sant' Angelo
|Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano||Pincio Park
|Hotel San Angelo
River Tiber, Via Crescenzio
Via Ottaviano, Via della Conciliazione
|San Giovanni in Laterano
Holy Stairs (Scala Santa)
|Rome Bioparc Zoo
ROME BY NIGHT:
Rome by night
|Fiumicino Airport||Outskirts||Metro/public transport||Forum Romanum|
The Sistine Chapel and Other Famous Ceilings
Population: 2 869 000 (metro 4 321 000)
Rome is the capital and largest city of Italy, situated in the Lazio regione in the central-western part of the country, about 20km East of the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's most important cities historically, and was for centuries the unofficial capital of the world, long before New York was built! Rome is called "The Eternal City" and is today EU:s 4th largest city (7th in Europe).
In the central parts of the city there are no tall buildings at all, except churches and monuments, and most old buildings are still standing, so the historical atmosphere is very wellkept. Everywhere you see impressive old churches, ancient roman columns, statues by legendary sculptors, ancient ruins, fancy brand stores, luxury hotels, pizzerias, cafés, piazzas (squares), odd fountains and among all the historic buildings heavy traffic with modern cars. The architectural styles Renaissance, Italian Renaissance, and later Baroque and Neoclassicism were all born in Rome.
Etruscans (and a mix of Latins and Sabines) founded the city in the 700s B.C., and it is one of the oldest inhabitated places in Europe. It is considered the first large metropolis ever, and has been the capital of Italy, the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. It was for generations ruled by emperors like Augustus (the first one), Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Constantine, Trajan, Nero, Caligula etc. The rule of emperors, or "caesars" lasted from 27BC-1453AD. Most popes lived in the Vatican or Rome since 33AD until today, and historically important persons like Michelangelo, Martin Luther, Galileo Gallilei, Bernini, Raphael, Goethe and Boticelli have been active or lived in Rome through the years. Since the Renaissance, the popes have made Rome the world's artistic and cultural center. The historical center is today an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many sculptures in Rome have been made by the famous artist Bernini, both inside churches and outdoors. There is a famous legend of 2 twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, who wanted to build a city, suckled the Capitoline wolf and killed each other. There are some famous sayings from Rome like "All roads lead to Rome" and "When in Rome, do as Romans do".
A part of Rome, called Vatican City, is an independent country - actually the world's smallest country with only 828 inhabitants on 44 hectares! Vatican City (Città del Vaticano), a country since 1929, is the headquarters of the Catholic church and the residence of the catholic popes. This is where the world's second largest church, the huge St Peter's Basilica is, and where the pope and the catholic church has their headquarters. Inside St Peter's Basilica all popes are buried, even St Peter himself, and it's dome was decorated by Michelangelo (and sculptures by Bernini). Michelangelo also made famous paintings in Vatican's Sistine Chapel. The river Tiber (Fiume Tevere) is flowing through the city center, dividing Rome into two parts, with the historical core, Centro Storico, with all its sights to the East and the part where you find the Vatican City and Castello Sant Angelo to the West. There is a small island in the central part of the river, Isola Tiberina.
Colosseum, the most famous symbol of Rome, is situated in the East end of the city center, near a busy road. Colosseum is the ruins of an ancient amphi theater. It is open to public, but the lines are long. In the ticket fee, entrance to Forum Romanum is included. Forum Romanum (Roman Forum) is the ruins of ancient Rome's city center, erected in the 6th century. It was a place for religious and political meetings. In Forum Romanum you find Arch of Constantine, the Arch of Septimus and Arch of Tito, as well as the ruins of many interesting churches, temples, other buildings and parks.
Rome is situated on seven hills. Capitoline Hill is where you find the Capitol, at Piazza del Campidoglio, a square that was designed by Michelangelo, who also designed the stairs that lead up to the hill. The Capitoline Museums are considered the first museum in the world. Piazza Venezia and Forum Traianum are close to Capitol Hill. Forum Traianum (Trajan's Forum) is another forum, that is the ruins of what is considered the world's first shopping center, as well as libraries and basilicas. Trajan's Column is situated opposite it. Via dei Fori Imperiale leads to Colosseum from there. Palatine Hill is the legendary site of the foundation of the city.
Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II is a huge white and splenid beautiful renaissance building that stands at the busy square Piazza Venezia. It was built as a monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the united Italy, in 1911, and has been the residence of the Italian dictator Musselini. Today it houses part of the Parliament, as well as museums and an observation deck on the top.
Via Corso is a pedestrian street (daytime) with fancy stores, very popular among tourists. It passes Piazza del Popolo with it's twin churches and Egyptian column and Piazza Spagna, where you find the Spanish Stairs (the nearby church was under renovation unfortunately). Via Veneto is a winding road that is one of the city's most prestigous addresses, luxury hotels, fancy stores and restaurants (avoid if you're not rich!). At the gate to Piazza del Popolo that is part of the city wall, you will find Piazzale Flaminio, a square that is a transport hube with some ancient structures. The beautiful Piazza Navona with it's beautiful fountains (Four Seasons Fountain is very famous), artists, restaurants and impressive church (Sant'Agnese in Agone), and the more down to Earth Campo di Fioro with it's open air restaurants are popular square in the old town, just like Piazza Colon, where you find the column of Marcus Aurelius and Piazza della Rotunda, where you find the ancient temple Pantheon, famous for it's dome with the "God of light" hole on the top and tombs of importants persons. The Fontana di Trevi, a large sculptured fountain on a building wall that is Rome's most famous, was closed for renovation during our visit. Largo Argentina is a block with ruins of former temples and a theater in the middle of the city center, today it is know for it's many stray cats. At Piazza de Quirinale you will find Palazzo del Quirinale, the residence of the president of Italy. Palazzo Montecitorio on Piazza Monte Citorio is the seat of the chamber of deputies, part of the parliament. Piazza Baberini is another importants square.
Castel Sant'Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) is a huge ancient fortress in cylindrical shape (built 139A.D.) near the Vatican, built for the pope to escape with it's underground tunnels connected to the Vatican City. It is situated on the West banks of the river Tiber, connected to the old city center by Ponte Sant'Angelo, a bridge with beautiful religious sculptures.
Pincio Park is situated just above Piazza del Popolo and has viewing terraces with views of the square. A part of the Pincio Part is Villa Borghese, a garden belonging to a large family villa with a famous art collection. Bioparc is a popular zoo, that we visited, and is part of the park.
Just to the East of the historical center, you will find the most important church for the catholic, even more important then St Peter's Basilica. It is called San Giovanni in Laterano, was built by the Laterano family and is very large. It is situated on a hill, at the square Piazza de Laterano, where you also find the Lateran Palace. On the opposite side of the road you find Scala Santa, the Holy Stairs, within a small building. The stairs are believed to be the ones that Jesus climbed to beg for mercy of Pontus Pilatus, being moved to Rome in the past.
Other sites of Rome are Via Appia, The Aurelean Walls (parts of the city wall is intact), Teatro di Marcello (a Colosseum like theater), Forum Boarium, Terme di Caracalla, the former ghetto and Trastevere, a neighbourhood on the West bank of Tiber that is said to be a good way to see the non touristy pars of Rome (we didn't have time for that though, unfortunately).
The outskirts of Rome is a large contrast to the city center. As soon as you leave the historical center, you will only see comparatively very new and modern apartment buildings (about 4-8 stories tall), private residences, gas stations, less expensive restaurants and supermarkets. EUR is a neighbourhood in the outskirts, with apartment buildings and office highrises, where you find the only skyscrapers in Rome (only 3, that can hardly be seen from central Rome to keep the skyline intact). The area was planned by Mussolini and you find the fascist building Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro (called Square Colosseum), 2 museums and sport arenas built for the 1960 Summer Olympics here. We only saw the area from afar. The famous Via Appia is also partly in the outskirts.
Rome has two large airports; Fiumicino (the largest one, where we arrived), a major hub for Alitalia and Ciampino. Fiumicino is not only an airport, it is also a suburb about 20km west of the city. In this area you will find many popular beaches. Lido de Ostia is situated nearby and is the most popular beach suburb for Rome.
Rome has a metro system, Metropolitana di Roma. It is a bit old fashioned, many trains are uncomfortable and painted with graffiti, but there are also some more modern ones. The metro system only has 3 lines because the large number of archeological sites make it complicated to build new ones. It opened in 1955 and is Italy's oldest. Rome's public transport also includes buses (looks modern but significant with their black smoke), trolley buses and trams. The trams are modern but are only visible in parts of the historical center, there are also some historical trams visible. The public transport is known to be ineffective and annoying by locals, but it is very cheap compared to Scandinavia. And it is not that bad after all, but you can't pay with cash, you have to buy a card at an automat or a store. But at least they have automats at the bus stops, in contrary to some cities in Sweden for example.
We visited Rome in June 2015. We travelled by plane from Copenhagen, a Norwegian flight that approached Fiumicino, Rome's largest airport, in the afternoon. The airport is modern, but very messy and had recently been on fire for the second time, causing a lot of trouble finding the right gate when going home. From the airport we took the train to Termini, the main railway station, and from there a bus to the hotel. We had clear blue skies and sun all the time, except on my birthday, when we visited Castello Sant'Angelo, when a heavy rain and thunderstorm occured for a couple of hours. But before and after it we had good weather.
I had postpone my first trip to Rome for many years, because I thought Rome should be a giant, dusty museum and not the contemporary lively big city with a vibrant history that I found. So I was completely wrong, I liked Rome a lot, it is a very nice place to visit. The temperature was 25-30 degrees every day. It was interesting to see Rome not only in a historical perspective, but also as the site for many of the place in Dan Brown's bestselling novelAngels and demons (that also became a movie).
We stayed at Hotel Sant 'Angelo, at Piazza Cavour, a beautiful square near Vatican City and Castello Sant 'Angelo, just across the bridge from the old city (Centro Storico), so the location was really superb. It was a 3 star hotel, but the service was outstanding, the staff was very skilled and very friendly and the breakfast (not included) was very good, with not only the usual Italian sweets. We stayed in a small room with high ceiling on the 4th floor in a separate building, with a very old, chubby but atmospheric elevator. The views were towards a small and rundown inner courtyard. The main buildings and the building where our room was were both historic buildings on Via Marianna Dionigi, so the furniture, staircases, paintings and other interiors were very atmospheric. It was very expensive for a 3 star hotel despite getting a good deal, but 4 and 5 star hotels in Rome are only for millionaires!
We visited the Vatican City twice; first we visited St Peter's Basilica and the viewing deck on top of the dome, and wanted to go to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum. But it was closed so we returned too days later and stayed in the hour long line for a second time just to see it, just to be told that it is not open on Sundays when we entered! (The opening hours couldn't be found in my guide books unfortunately.) It is not a great loss for World Travel Images though, as photographing is not allowed in the Sistine Chapel, it is allowed in St Peter's Basilica though.
We visited the relaxing Pincio Park and Villa Borghese but it was closed during our visit, so we entered the zoo, Bioparco di Roma instead.
Traffic is really crazy in Rome, cars are driving very fast and the motor bikes, mopeds and scooters don't follow any rules, they never yield for crossing pedestrians for example. And it is often complicated to cross the roads, sometimes there are no crosswalk so thankfully the smallest streets in the heart of the old town don't have much traffic, and there are a few pedestrian steets as well, like Via Corso (in the evening cars start to drive there though). There are very little space for parking; about 80% of all cars you see are small or very small (Fiat is the most popular), and there are as many scooters as cars. The last day we took the Terravision airport bus to the airport. It was almost 40 minutes late due to traffic, making us almost missing the plane! So the last day we learned that the Italians are not exactly proffesionals to be on time, or planning the right time. The Romans are not more friendly then they have to be, but surprisingly many speak English. That can be because the city center is almost invaded by American tourists summertime! Italians in general are very temperamental.
WARNING for frauds! In the historical center, especially around Piazza di Spagna and Piazza del Popolo, people from India and similar countries will approach you with a rose and try to give it to you, give women compliments and they won't accept a no! As soon as you get rid of them, another one will apporach you, very annoying! Be very resolute, do everything you can to scare these scammers away. There are also annoying gypsy beggars at many tourist spots, just ignore them! And don't buy bags or anything else from the Africans, it's illegal! Another annoying thing is men that are dressed like ancient Romans. If you happen to take a photo, even if it's by accident they will crave 5 euro per person, and they are very rude! Don't photograph them when they are near and don't give any money to them! Except from that, and the crazy traffic, Rome is a very safe city. Walking alone at night in Centro Historico doesn't feel unsafe at all and you don't see any criminal youngster gangs like in many other European cities, probably because the police is visible everywhere.
The food is good, but not overwhelming. The typical Italian food like pizza and pasta is not better then in Sweden for example, rather the opposite. The dishes are often small and they don't use ketchup on pasta, and use very less meat on the food. The difference is that the prices are 4 times higher! A small pasta dish could easily cost you 20 euro with no meat, and if you make the mistake to go to a restaurant on the expensive Via Veneto, like we did, a 3 course menue for two could easily cost 10 euro, the service fee was 15 euro alone, a water 5 and a coke or beer 8 euro! So avoid the main tourist areas and go to some of the side streets, or the areas a bit away from the tourist attractions instead. Chose the charming Campo di Fioro, a popular square among locals, instead of the beautiful but very touristy and thus extremely expensive Piazza Navona for eating out or having a drink. Service is often very slow, with a few exceptions. Fast food restaurants like McDonald's are very few, thankfully, and often a bit hard to find. There are many cafés, trattorias (pizzerias) and gelaterias, with good but expensive icecreams all over the city center.