City Guide: Rome
It always looks and feels the same. I’ve been in Italy many times before when I was a child, so the vegetation and almost everything in this country is familiar to me. Yet our current stay in Rome in August was somewhat different.
Due to this, I did not have the typical “Wow, how interesting, its’s new!”-feeling when we arrived in Rome Fiumicino, one of the two airports of the city. Just like “Yep, Italy again”, even though I’ve never been to Rome in particular before.
Flying is nothing new to me, nevertheless, being in one of the “Leonardo Express” trains still was! Even though we did not have any choice and were “forced” in a first-class-only train (well, I have to admit way better than a “second-class-only”!). Still I can’t even recommend the first class in this train…
Half a day pretty holy
Finally arrived in the city, we decided to start our tour with the well-known and famous “Vatican City”. After having passed by a huge wall on our way, the imposing St Peter’s basilica drew our gaze on itself.
Although, we were very impressed, we didn’t stay for long as many others wanted to see the popular religious place as well. Not only the St Peter’s basilica is part of the Vatican City, but a castle called Castel Sant’ Angelo is also. We hoped that there wouldn’t be such a big crowd, though we were kind of bewildered when we saw a literally HUGE number of people right in front of us – even more than on the place before the St Peter’s basilica! As we got pretty curios of what’s going on, we hurried up to get there faster. But the “mystery” turned out to not be that spectacular: Two street artists showed an impressive trick!
After having enjoyed the show, we moved on and discovered ‘Castel Sant Angelo’. Astonished by the historical building, we went a few steps backwards to be able to see the whole castle. As this was still kind of difficult, a bridge over river Tiber was the perfect solution. Far away enough as well as nothing in our view, as noone had the idea to build something on the river.
Moreover, we met a really cute little rickshaw on our way through the historical city. Even though the temptation was immense due to the heat – I mean it’s august -, we continued on foot as the Pantheon was within the range of vision.
Shine like gold
Disappointed. That’s what we were due to the common look of any temple one knows. Anyway, we decided to have a look on the inside of the Pantheon. What we saw really was a positive surprise, especially in contrary to the outside-look. The altar and the space around it were just like gold, shining and sparkling.
I guess others were impressed as well, as it got pretty loud in the inside and the visitors were asked to be a bit more quiet in this holy building.
Met some ruins
Quite a contrary to the beautiful Pantheon were the ruins we discovered while searching for the Palazzo Venezia. I did not find out anything about its history, but I guess there is a reason why it is still there and still protected.
Anything other than ruins is the Palazzo Venezia for sure! It is not far away from the ruins, so the contrast could hardly be any bigger! If you ever had some history or Latin lessons, you will be familiar to that kind of architecture, but, nevertheless, this cannot be compared to any picture one gets in a book when you stand right in front of it. Recommendation: Meet the buildings you saw on a picture in personal. I think some street artists are doing it right: Spend a day near to worth seeing things and paint them. Mostly, the result is awesome!
There’s only one thing in Rome which was really not worth painting it or taking a picture of it: The Trevi fountain, which is enjoying a restoration at the very moment we were there.
Highlights at the end
By now, we’ve seen pretty much of the famous city, just two things left.
1) Forum Romanum and
2) Colosseum with “Arco di Consantino” right next to it.
Highly motivated to meet the highlights, we went highly wrong. It is really a crappy feeling to take the wrong path in this heat. But anyways, we saw pretty nice statues like this one…
No rickshaw within the range of vision, so we had to find the right way there all alone. Well, not that alone: Follow the crowd and you’ll get to it. The only thing you have to do is to choose the right crowd. And to hustle yourself in the first row to see the most when you arrived with the whole group. I guess we acted very “skillfully” as we received a front position.
Overrated? We think so
We caught a glance of the Colosseum and were disappointed for a second time. Rome turned out to be a truly up and down experience in all regards (have a look at our review of the hotel we stayed at, the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese). In case of the Colosseum, every picture makes it look more impressive than it really is. We did not make the hassle to go inside: We weren’t that enthusiastic to be willing to spend money (it’s pretty expensive) for the entrance. There are other colosseums like the one in Pula which aren’t that famous but which are as beautiful for sure. To mention it as well: If you want to see something like a triumphal arch, visit Paris’ L’arc de triomphe or the one in Barcelona. But not Rome’s Arco di Constantino…