Good day to all of my friends from the sunny side of the Cloud!
The Roman Forum: we came, we saw, we conquered!
There is a fabulous wealth of sights to see in this majestic city and no short blog will be able to do justice to even a fraction of what can be seen in a remarkably small area. Therefore, I will just list the sights that are the most important to me.
- The Forum and The Colosseum are a great place to start your exploration of Rome because it was once the very centre of the Empire! I love to stand in front of the Senate House and consider the history of this great city. Right outside the Forum is the Colosseum whose official name is ‘The Flavian Amphitheatre”. This iconic arena is the model for all modern versions today!
- The Pantheon is a must-see stop for me each time I’m in Rome. I love to walk around the interior, especially in the rain, with the open-air Oculus allows the rain to come down and coat the marble floor which drains quickly and almost magically.
- Saint Peter’s Square is a masterpiece by Bernini. My favourite location is to stand beside the Egyptian Obelisk at the centre of the ellipse of columns and slowly turn a full circle taking in the collective sights until I turn my gaze to the awe-inspiring Saint Peter’s Basilica.
- Castel Sant’Angelo is nearby the Vatican and is magnificent. The building was originally built as the tomb of the Emperor Hadrian but its long and varied history has been remarkably alive with intrigue.
- Trajan’s Forum is close to the Roman Forum and holds, as its centrepiece, Trajan’s Column, celebrating the Emperor’s victory in the war against the Dacians.
These sites are my very favourites but I also must visit a few incredible museums:
- The Museo Capitolini is my very favourite museum in Rome which sits at the top of the Capitoline Hill. The collection of artefacts and artwork is stupendous and I especially like the ancient Temple of Jupiter still in situ in the rear of the Museum.
- The Vatican Museum has an incredible collection that cannot be surpassed and the surrounding structure of the Vatican is awe-inspiring as it is meant to be. The Sistine Chapel is truly beautiful. When you enter the Vatican, you cross a border into a sovereign country that is no longer part of Italy!
- The Galleria Borghese is a wonder to behold with its incredible collection of artwork spanning some of the greatest masters.
Reaching Rome is easy with convenient connections to Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport at nearby Fiumicino. The airport is much more convenient after a recent major renovation and the new terminal is a world-class facility. Lines are shorter in Security and Immigration thanks to this refit.
It is affectionately called “the wedding cake”
Ciampino Airport is convenient if you are flying locally in Europe. There are also excellent train services in Rome.
Once in Rome, navigating public transport can be challenging, however. Buses have been known to catch fire practically every summer, but they do so slowly and allow for an orderly evacuation. The subway is limited in reach and is augmented by trams that can be confusing for the uninitiated. I recommend that you use the many available taxis. Ride-sharing services are marginally available but they are expensive and there is ill-will between such services and taxis. On the bright side though, Rome is one of the most walkable cities in the world!
There are fabulous hotels and hostels in Rome to meet almost all budgets. I am partial to the Majestic Hotel where the classic movie, La Dolce Vita was filmed. The hotel offers all of the style and comfort that you would expect from such a great reputation. Another really cool hotel is the D.O.M. Hotel Roma on Via Guilia close to the Tiber River. This hotel was a 17th
Roman food is divine!
Dining in Rome is a treat! My favourites include the garden at Santa Lucia, featured in the film “Eat, Pray, Love”. It has a fabulous yet simple menu and is just around the corner from the Piazza Navona. Pierluigi offers the best service and the freshest of seafood in all of Rome in a beautiful setting!
If you tire of Italian flavours, try Zuma for a Japanese treat in the gorgeous Fendi Building right across from the Spanish Steps.
Before dining, however, it is customary to take Aperitivo at one of the terraces or bars in Rome. My favourite spots for cocktails before dinner include the patio of the Hotel De Russie right off the Piazza Popolo, La Terrazza on the roof of the Hotel Eden with its spectacular view and Antico Caffe Greco where the coffee and pastries are also excellent in the afternoon.
Here’s a pro-tip: If you are only spending a few days in Rome before exploring other parts of Italy, consider staying at the QC Terme Hotel and Spa only five minutes away from Fiumicino Airport on the ancient Porto Traiano (Port of Trajan). It is a great value compared to downtown hotels and It has a fabulously relaxing Roman bath underneath the main building with heated pools and saunas throughout the extensive grounds. It is very convenient for the airport and is a true haven in what seems like the countryside!
Toast with Prosecco like the Romans!
I could go on and on about my beloved Rome. If you haven’t been to the Eternal City I encourage you to do so as soon and as often as possible!