A Long Weekend in Rome

Rome, the eternal city is visited from people all over the world. For many, its a pilgrimage to the centre of Catholicism, for others, its to admire the numerous amazing sites across Rome. I went to Rome with my best friend as a long weekend vacation and as a well-deserved break from working life. We only spent 4 days here but saw most of the sites. Here are a list of my favourite attractions:

The Colosseum

The Roman Colosseum is Rome’s most famous attraction. It is the largest amphitheatre every built in the Roman Empire and hold a capacity of 50,000 spectators. It was used for wide range of pubic spectacles – including gladiator contests, mock sea battles, executions, battle re-enactments and plays. You can see the area under the Colosseum where the animals were held and where Gladiators prepped for theirr fight.

It is pretty impressive how the structure today remains, even if its in a partially ruined state. It has survived fires, earthquakes and looters. My friend and i toured the Colosseum on our own, but there are options to take a tour guide, either privately or through the the tour guide serviced offered through the Colosseum.

Roman Forum

After visiting the Colosseum, we walked to the Roman Forum which is located adjacent to it. It contains the ruins of what used to be a marketplace and the centre of public life for ancient Romans.

My friend and i had a really lovely stroll through the Forum and was amazed at how many structure withstood time. In hindsight, i wish we had a tour guide that would help me appreciate the history and significance of the structures even more.

Vatican City

Visiting Vatican City is certainly one of the highlights of my visit to Rome and should not be missed! The Vatican Museum has one of the world’s finest collections of artwork. We spent a few hours taking in the art. The highlight for me is The School of Athens by Raphael Stanza as i remember analysing it during my Philosophy and Ethics A Level.

After exiting the museum, we arrived at the Sistine Chapel, which is another of Vatican City’s greatest treasures. We werent allowed to take any pictures so i had to steal one from Google Images just so that you can appreciate the beauty of the paintings. The construction of the chapel was carried out between 1473 and 1481 during the mandate of Pope Sixtus IV. Giovannie of Dolci is the famous artitect responsible for the construction of this room. The frescoes that cover the walls and ceiling.

Also not to be missed is a visit to the amazing St. Peters Basilica which one of the most amazing churches i’ve ever stepped in.

Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of the oldest and best preserved buildings in all of Rome as it was first build over 2000 years ago. The dome of the pantheon remains the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. I didn’t find the interior of the Pantheon very interesting, but it does hold numerous paintings, sculptures, altars and apses. It also holds the tomb of the Raphael, the great Italian artist as well as several Italians Kings. Today the Pantheon is still an active church and is a very popular place for weddings.

Spanish Steps

We went to the Spanish Steps on our first day in Rome, as this famous stairway containing 138 steps is a famous meeting place for locals and visitors alike. It connects the Piazza di Spagna with a French Church, the Trinita dei Monti, with its twin domes at top of the hill. After eating our first Italian Pizza just around the corner, we spent a while just taking in the scenic view along and taking lots of photos!

Once you get to the bottom of the Spanish Steps, you will find the so-called “Trident”, formed by Via dei Condotti, Via Borgognona and Via Frattina. This is perhaps the most high-end destination for Roman shopping, with a concentration of renowned jewellers and important italian flagship stores.

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is arguably, one of the most famous fountains in the world and the largest Baroque fountain in all of Rome. This attraction was completed in 1762 and is visited by tourists all over the world. Traditions holds that if your throw a coin into the fountain, it ensures you return to Rome. What i love about this, is that the fountain collects about 3,000 euros daily which is then used to fund a supermarket for Rome’s needy and underprivileged.

Piazza Navona

My friend and i just stumbled upon this square by accident, but then realised later that the Piazza Navona was one the most famous squares in Rome. It contains a unique collection of artists, street vendors and local shops. I later found out that the three main fountains on this square has appeared in numerous films including ‘The Da Vinci Code’. My favourite fountain on this square is the Fountain of the Four Rivers, created by Gian Lorenzo Bermini in 1651. After spending half an hour eating a gelato, we grabbed some dinner in one of the many Italian restaurants on the square and people-watched until the sun went down.

Castel Sant’Angelo

Again, Huda and i just happen to find this one our way to Vatican City. This imposing structure was once the tallest building in Rome. It was originally commissioned in 135 AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, as a mausoleum for himself and his family. Today, it is a somewhat overlooked museum that contains a unique collection of sculptures, armaments and paintings. Even though we didn’t go inside, there is apparently a circular walkway to the top which provides one of the most spectacular views of Rome, St. Peter’s square and the Basilica.

Do you have any questions about travelling to Rome that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂

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