I don’t even know where to start. My heart is torn between Rome and Paris. Both are breathtaking places that are just too hard to describe in words.
I’ve heard the expression “Rome wasn’t built in a day” many times… And it is a very accurate statement. Whenever I heard this saying my mind would wonder to the Colosseum… but that’s only 1 monument Rome has contributed to the world. And they are ALL astounding. And they definitely were not built in a day.
I think the reason behind my admiration for Rome stems from an experience I have never encountered anywhere else. I had my breath taken away. Not just one but twice.
The first time was at the Trevi Fountain. Imagine God like statues (both for looks and size) adorning the back of this massive building in the middle of nowhere.
I don’t know if you understand this, the fountain is the entire back side of a 3 STORY BUILDING – 84 feet tall.
Despite its size you will have a hard time getting a picture of you and the fountain without anyone else; it is a major tourist attraction for all the right reasons. And make sure to throw a coin in the fountain to ensure a safe return back to Rome. There are also a lot of stores around this “plaza” including a Gelateria! As strange as it sounds, you must try the pistachio gelato. Best. Flavour. Ever!
As a classic tourist you should also visit the Spanish Steps – just around the corner from the Trevi Fountain. It is a picturesque ancient area to stop at and just take in the moment. The steps were built to connect the Spanish embassy and the Trinità dei Monti church.
The second place that took my breath away was the Sistine Chapel. I know this is technically in Vatican City and not Rome, but nonetheless it was breath taking. We did a whole tour of the place and it was as interesting as it was long. The Vatican building has a substantial amount of famous art displayed aside from the art painted on the ceilings. However, it is an extremely large place with way too many people. When you eventually reach the Sistine Chapel it feels like you are being corralled into the room like sheep. So if you are claustrophobic I would think twice about going
Once I felt like I wasn’t going to be pushed around anymore I slowly raised my gaze to the ceiling and OH. MY. GOD. How is this even possible??? I can barely draw a decent stick person let alone an entire ceiling with individual square images. Damn were people extremely talented back in the day. Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures of the ceiling as Japan reserves all rights after sponsoring the cleaning.
From my high school art and history classes I remember hearing stories about da Vinci. How he had a hard time working with others and fired everyone working on the project. How he did everything himself. How he would lie down on a scalpel to paint, which caused him to start losing his vision from the paint going in his eyes. A truly inspirational artist.
Now let’s talk about the Colosseum. It is a statement piece when talking about Rome. The size of the place plus the fact that it has been standing for over 1,000 years is implausible.
What is most intriguing to tourist is the fact that you can walk where history was made. From the stands to the stage to the holding blocks for the gladiators you can see and imagine what an event would have been like in 82AD. Marveling at this place from the 21st century is not easy, because it just doesn’t make sense that enslaving people and forcing them to fight to the death was a form of entertainment.
Regardless, there are truly a lot of interesting things about the Colosseum – I do suggest you do a guided tour in here. Each stand/seating was constructed with different materials to indicate the type of person who could sit there. Marble stands adorn the closest seating area to the arena for the wealthy men and the top bleachers were made of wood for women and children– modern renovation has been conducted with brick. Now when you are there, you will only see small sections that still have marble. Once they stopped using the Colosseum, it was only logical to reuse the materials on new monuments. Which is why it is even more surprising that this is still standing. Another interesting thing at the gladiator fights which you may remember from the movie Gladiator, were the animals they had to fight against. Now aside from making this more “entertaining” to viewers, it was more so to show what new place Rome had conquered/visited. They would bring lions, elephants, crocodiles, etc. showcasing adventures to Africa, Egypt and Asia.
If you have time to wonder a bit more, I would recommend visiting the wedding cake. This is how Romans refer to the Emanuel Monument, for its square like façade. Two guards standing on opposite sides of the middle flame guard the building, honoring the lost soldiers who have been buried here.
Make sure to wonder into the Piazza Novona for paintings and food. Originally the track
of the first Stadium in Rome (Stadium of Domitina), it is now the prime gathering location for locals. Along the perimeter you can eat at an open air café and people watch
the locals to admire – and maybe understand – the culture. Piazza Novona hosts seasonal fairs throughout the year; however, year round you can find locals selling paintings and other souvenirs.
For history and food lovers, Rome is the place to be.