Rome, the Eternal City…is a city that one cannot visit just once in their lifetime. There is just so very much to do and see. You will find yourself returning to favorite streets or sites time and again as you continue to add new ones to your exploration of this unforgettable step back in time. It is a city of immense history, architecture, high fashion, deep faith and, of course, great food.
Rome, the heart of Catholic Christianity, is the only city in the world to host an entire foreign state within its confines, the enclave of the Vatican City, and it is for this very reason that it is often referred to as the capital of two States. Over 16% of the world’s cultural treasures are located in Rome (70% in all of Italy).
It is the city with the highest concentration of historical and architectural riches in the world. Its’ historical centre, outlined by the enclosing Aurelian Walls, and layering nearly three thousand years of antiquity, is an invaluable testimony to the European western world’s cultural, artistic and historical legacy. In 1980 it was, along with the Holy See’s district that lies beyond the actual confines of the Vatican State, as well as, the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
While we usually are consumed with thoughts of Rome, the city, it is equally important to note that Rome is Europe’s greenest city. Along with its public parks, Rome boasts a great deal more greenery, as well as agriculture on its outskirts. With 40% of its total surface devoted to agriculture, Rome is also Europe’s largest agricultural municipality. You will appreciate this if you have the opportunity to explore the towns, ruins and villas that lie just outside the city. The countryside is beautiful and worth exploration.
For many though, time is short and the focus must be placed on seeing the most important sites within the city walls, and that will take some planning indeed as there is so much to see and do here. Below is our list of the ‘Must Do’s’ during your stay in Rome. It will help you immensely if you have our assistance when it comes to planning your activities in this important city. Our Italy specialists have spent years traveling to this great city, experiencing the tours and developing personal contacts along the way with tour companies, individual guides and car and driver companies that will deliver the best experience to you whether you have one day or a week to spend here.
A truly epic monument to the gladiatorial battles of old, the Coliseum dates back to 72 AD. The Flavian amphitheater was built to seat an enormous audience of 50,000. The site of many grisly deaths, this historical location is a necessary stop for any history buff. You can get a great feel from the outside, but the true impact of this structure is felt when you take the tour inside and now there are tours that take you underneath the floor where the gladiators and lions and tigers were held awaiting their final ending.
Constructed by the Emperor Hadrian from 119 to 128 AD, the Pantheon is an architectural marvel. It is one of our favorite stops and one to which we return time and again. The temple was initially constructed as a monument for ancient deities and today serves as the resting place for the artist Raphael and Italy’s first president. The building still retains its original bronze doors, and is still an active place of worship. Just outside in the evening you will find countless cafes to enjoy dinner or a final glass of wine to end the day…. Absolutely magical.
The Capitoline museums are housed in twin palaces and constitute the oldest public art display in the world. The collection was opened to the public in 1734 and contains famous works by Titian, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, Bernini, and Veronese.
Off the busy city streets and located in the center of a myriad of streets lined with shops and cafes the Trevi Fountain never fails to stir you when you first see it. Due to reopen the summer of 2015 after its’ first cleaning in over 150 years, the fountain will be gleaming. Be sure to toss a coin in while making a wish to assure your return someday. One of our favorite Gelato shops is also located at the fountain… a perfect combination.
If you enjoy the Coliseum, the Roman Forum is a must. Located at the center of the city, the Forum contains many of Rome’s ancient government buildings and temples. If you can, take a guided tour to best enjoy all the important history that transpired on those very grounds
For the shopper this is THE street to visit… starting at the Spanish Steps, you will just keep going … and you’ll be dizzy with all the shops along this very long street. It gets quite crowded so be prepared…take your time. Rome is not the city to rush… it is not in their nature.
The home of Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers is a beautiful place to enjoy a lovely meal and delicious Tartufo ice cream. Under the historical buildings lies the Circus Domitianus in which were held the amazing ancient Roman races. The piazza is also a wonderful location to people watch. We like it best at night when the artists are all out in the piazza and the café’s take on a particularly romantic glow.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Saint Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church, is the center of Christianity. The imposing structure was built over a span of more than one hundred years by the greatest Italian architects of the era. The church is built on Vatican Hill, across the Tiber river from the historic center of Rome. The location is highly symbolic: this was the site where Saint Peter, the chief apostle, died a martyr and where he was buried in 64 AD. St. Peter is considered the first pope, so it made perfect sense for the papacy to build the principal shrine of the Catholic church here.
Admission to the Basilica is free, but be prepared for long lines and you must pass through security to enter. Be sure that your shoulders, and legs to below the knees are covered or you will be denied entrance to this holy place.
The Vatican Museums
What started as just a small collection of sculptures has, over the centuries, transformed into a museum complex featuring one of the finest collections of art on the planet. The interior decoration of the palaces that house the collection is just as amazing.
The popes were among the very first royalty to open their vast art collections to public viewing, and today visitors can view the Vatican’s own incredible collection while touring the so-called Vatican Museums. This huge complex of galleries showcases paintings, sculptures, frescoes, tapestries and classical antiquities of Roman, Greek and Egyptian origin. There are, of course, also collections of religious art, papal portraits and, less obviously, carriages and automobiles, but the highlight of any tour of the museums is the last stop, the incredible Sistine Chapel.
This is one site in Rome that gets incredibly crowded regardless of when you are visiting the city and as a result we strongly recommend special attention be given when planning a visit to the Vatican Museums. Be sure to contact us for the best way for you to enjoy this very special site.
You will benefit greatly from the expertise we have taken years to develop in our travels to this major destination. We can save you money and time in your travel planning so send us your travel request today and … Let’s Plan a Great Vacation to Rome.
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