Unquestionably home of the greatest civilization known to man, the city of Rome is built on top of ruins after ruins. This sprawling city of 2.6 million people owns a healthy mix of artistic and architectural masterpieces with plenty of piazzas and Baroque/Gothic style churches for history buffs. Rome is a city of history and it shows with the beautifully crafted Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, the delicately carved Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain. For a city of stark contrasts with the old and the new, Roma cannot be beat.
Getting There / Reaching the City:
Rome’s main international airport is Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino and it is about 15 miles (26 km) from the city center. The best deals are more commonly available with low cost flights to Rome Ciampino though due to its extensive use by budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet. Unlike most airports used by low cost carriers, this one is actually closer to central Rome! There is a train that connects Leonardo da Vinci airport to the city’s main central railroad station Termini, along with an endless array of night buses and taxis. Europe’s major cities are also serviced by the Termini railroad station with its Intercity and Eurostar trains that connect virtually anywhere. You can travel by bus from Rome Ciampino from outside the terminal building to Roma Termini.
Sights You Can’t Miss:
- The Colosseum – The Colosseum is an engineering masterpiece, built by the Romans more than 2000 years ago using Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian columns along with a vast network of hallways and elevators that were used to move animals back and forth from cafes to a fighting arena within. The entire place is made out of concrete and brick and has degraded over the years from natural disasters. At one time, this colosseum seated 50,000 people who watched criminals and wild animals fight to the death.
- The Foro Romano – The Roman Forum is the heart of ancient Rome’s past commercial and religious life. There are plenty of notable monuments here, including the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Temple of Vesta, and the House of the Vestal Virgins. On the periphery of the Roman Forum lie beautifully manicured gardens and trees making way to unparalleled sights of the Forum.
- St. Peter’s Basilica – Right alongside St. Marks Cathedral and Paris’ Notre Dame as one of the brightest churches in the world, the Basilica rests right above where St. Peter was buried. It holds an impressive collection of Michelangelo’s sculptures, including the Pieta which is behind bulletproof glass for protection to the right of the churches entrance. Sitting on six acres, the church could accommodate up to 95,000 people.
- The Sistine Chapel – Holding the famous ceiling painting by Michelangelo, its walls were painted by an Italian all-star team of aficionados, including Roselli, Botticelli, and Signorelli. The walls depict Jesus’ Last Supper along with other saints scattered throughout. The Vatican gallery within hold more than four miles of art displays. Different collections specialize in different works, like the Greek and Roman statues found in the Pio Clementino collection. For an added bonus, the Sistine Chapel has an exit door that leads directly to St. Peter’s Basilica, which saves you a walk back through other exits.
Where to Stay in Rome:
One of the best places to stay overnight is the Via Firenze. Its location is very strategic with close proximity to the central train station connecting to the airport and all of the city buses you can imagine.
- Hotel Oceania – This 15 room palace comes with pleasantly decorated rooms and cists around 108 for a single room, 138 for a double room, and 168 for a triple room. Prices go up and down according to season. Visit hoteloceania.it for more information.
- Hotel Capo d’Africa – If you want to stay near the Colosseum, check out the Hotel Capo d’Africa hotel with 65 rooms and comes with business class facilities. Double rooms go up to 250 euro a night depending on the season. Visit hotelcapodafrica.com for more information.
Suggested 3 Day Rome Itinerary:
- Day 1: Take a tour of the area from the Colosseum to Capital Hill, including the San Pietro in Vincoli church, Nero’s Golden House, the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, and the Roman Forum.
- Day 2: Go to the Vatican! This 100 acre city is right in Rome and has its own amenities like a postal system, train station, and small radio station. It is a small place with limited (albeit cultural powerhouse) sites like the St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum. If you want to see the Pope, your best bet is on Sunday and Wednesday where he gives out a blessing from his residence on Saturday and goes out on the Popemobile on Wednesday to greet his faithful.
- Day 3: Eat, eat, eat and relax! Enjoy some of Rome’s nicest parks (Trevi Fountain anyone?) before going to your next destination.