I have to start logging in my travel before I forget. Starting with Rome( Roma), the capital of Italy. Rome, as we all know is seeped in history and was the most prosperous empire in the late BCs and early ADs. I don’t want to write about Rome’s history.We can always refer to Wikipedia for that.
We landed in Rome, fully jet lagged and ready to hit the bed. Our hotel was right in the city center, in a busy street Via Nazionale.Next morning, fresh, we headed out , armed with the city map.
First and Foremost: The Vatican including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum
Since we were in Rome on 25th and 26th when the Vatican museums were closed, we could not visit them, but could check out the Pope on Christmas Day and visited the San Pietro Basilica(St. Peter’s Church) interior on 26th.
It is definitely a Wow moment, the biggest church in the world and one that can hold 60000 people along with some popular sculptures(Michelangelo’s Pieta, the one seen in this photo) and paintings. Just beautiful and awesome.
Apparently, one should never miss the Vatican museum, which holds Michelangelo’s most popular painting ever( Creation of Adam) , but obviously we missed it.
After seeing Russell Crowe as THE GLADIATOR, the Colosseum and its vast arena just fits in. Constructed between 70 – 72 AD, it is definitely one of the greatest works of that century. Makes you wonder how humans built these structures without any technology. I guess we are used to seeing such sturctures in our temples as well. We went to the Colosseum on 25th and visited the interior on 26th.
The Palatine Hill/Forum
The Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of early Rome and a very ancient part of the city. It is approx 40 meters about the Roman Forum , the area around with Roman civilization developed. You can see the vast ruins that was once the Forum, where Caesar and numerous others ruled. A sight worth spending some time. We spent some time here, though not a whole lot. Also, from the Palatine hill, you get to see the Circus Maximus, ( Remember Ben Hur?? )
The Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Forum are right next to each other and you can ideally walk. Hmmm. Well, a fair amount of walking as they are all quite vast. The road called Imperial Way leading to the Colosseum was built by Mussolini , enabling a view from his apartment so that he could show off the Colosseum to Hitler on one of his visits during WWII.
And, if time permits, one can enter the Vittoria Emmanuel Monument which also hosts the tallest equestrian statue in the world. IT IS HUGE AND MAGNIFICENT! We were satisfied with just looking in awe at the exterior.Do you see the two guards standing at the bottom of the statue? Apparently, the hoof of the horse is as tall as a human being.
After these major sights, the additional ones are
Pantheon : The ancient temple of all gods.In the 7th century, it was made into a church.
Right next to the Pantheon is Piazza Navona.When we visited it in the night, there was a fair going on. It has three magnificent fountains and is nowadays well known for having featured in Angels and Demons. I think one of the priests is found in the The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi or “Fountain of the Four Rivers” ( the one in the photo) A famous touristy place.
Trevi Fountain: We did not visit this. A fountain where one throws pennies hoping for dreams to come true. It was walkable from our hotel and so was not interesting. Its really a mystery how human mind works. Anything close loses its value.
This is slightly away from the City center. Just a place where locals meet and which has become more touristy now. Full of restaurants . Since we went on a rainy night,during christmas vacation, the streets, rather narrow gullies were mostly lighted with stars. In case you are wondering, the photo is showing a new( it said 2010) restaurant in an old dilapidated building.We walked in the rain, had some excellent local food and loads of fun just wandering.It was raining and the photo was taken from our autoshot. Finally, with help from some guys, signing our way and talking in Italian English , we found our bus stop and reached the hotel safely. It is such moments, when one is very carefree , that defines a vacation.
For traveling,we had bought the Roma Pass for 3 days with which one could travel in any public transport and also the first two sightseeing places free. All the other places were discounted. Defintely a very good buy. Interestingly, the guy from which we bought the Pass was a Pakistani who was elated on seeing us. Of course, started talking in Hindi and when I asked him if he was from India, he replied, ” Pakistan. Ek hi tho baath hai.” Touched my heart. I guess we all feel closer in Pardes.