Rome's influence on western civilisation has been immense and as the capital city of Italy is still respected for its historical power and influence. Rome has even been nicknamed The Eternal City and Caput Mundi, which is Latin for ‘Capital of the World’.
THINGS TO DO IN ROME
- The Colosseum once held an audience of 50,000. This elliptical amphitheatre is the largest ever built in the Roman Empire and was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles and dramas based on classical mythology. You can visit the ruins in summer on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday to Saturday from 9am to 7pm, Wednesdays and Sundays from 9am to 2pm, in the winter its open daily at 9am and closes one hour before sunset.
- The Baths of Caracalla are located in an area of 10 hectares and back in the day would accommodate up to 1600 people. The Caracalla was a complex of buildings (more like a leisure centre), they even had two libraries; one for Greek language texts and one for Latin language texts. From the Colosseum it’s a 15 minute walk (or take the 118 bus). Open in summer on Mondays from 9am to 2pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 7pm, the rest of the year from 9am until one hour before sunset.
- The Pantheon, located in Piazza della Rotonda, is the only building of ancient Rome that is in place and complete. This is a temple dedicated to Venus and Mars with only source of light coming from an opening in its impressive dome. Open from June to August, Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm, from October to May, Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. On Sundays throughout the year is open from 9am to1pm.
Piazza Navona is a few meters from the Pantheon and is one of the most beautiful squares of Rome. The work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Fountain of Four Rivers dominates the view from the centre. Four huge white marble statues personify the world's most important rivers: the Ganges, Nile, Danube and the Rio de la Plata.
- The Vatican. St. Peter's Basilica is the most famous church in Christendom. Inside you will find many works of art. One of the most admired is the Pieta of Michelangelo, which he carved when he was only 25 years and is now protected by glass. Open 7am to 6pm. There are strict rules for entry no shorts or low-cut shirts can be worn.
- Vatican Museums contain a number of works of art that various popes have collected. The Raphael rooms (which were the private rooms of Pope Julius II in the 16th century) are an extensive gallery of maps and collections of ancient Greek and Roman works; Michelangelo's Frescoes cover the ceiling. In the wall of the altar you can see the Last Judgement. Open Monday to Friday from 8.45am to 1.45pm (summer until 4.45pm.) Year-round on Saturdays from 8.45am to 1.45pm. The museums are closed on Sundays and are only open on the last of each month when your visit will be free.
- Plaza Spagna are better known as the Spanish Steps sometimes play host to small flower markets. During May, parts of the steps are covered by pots of azaleas and come Christmas time a nineteenth century crib is displayed on the first landing of the staircase. This is not a place for eating lunch, which is forbidden by Roman urban regulations, but they are usually crowded with people.
- San Pietro in Vicoli: It is an old church but was remodelled. The biggest attraction is the Moses of Michelangelo. Open daily: 7am to 12.30pm and 3.30pm to 7pm.
- Fontana di Trevi was built by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and dedicated to Neptune. A popular custom is to throw a coin over your shoulder with your back to the fountain and this will ensure your return to Rome.
- From Rome you can visit the ruins of Pompeii, or tour the island of Capri with the Amalfi Coast. Only you have to take into account when organizing the schedule, how much time available in the destination you choose. Other options nearby are: the cities of Perugia and Assisi.
EATING OUT & NIGHTLIFE IN ROME
The best thing to remember is that you will pay a premium to eat in some of the tourist hotspots such as the piazzas and Pantheon, but generally if you venture further off the beaten track restaurants will become more reasonably priced. Don’t be surprised if you end up sitting just inches away from diners you don’t know as this is very usual of the city.
By night most of the monuments are lit creating stunning and picturesque views of the city. Rome has a thriving nightlife where travellers mix with the Romans sitting on the edge of the fountains and bars that surround them.
GETTING AROUND IN ROME
Most trains arrive and depart from Termini station. There are regular connections to all parts of Italy and European cities. ATAC bus line and most buses have their terminal stop in Piazza Cinquecento, in front of Termini station. Tickets must be validated on a machine once you’re on the bus.
There are two subway lines, Metro: A and B. Both go through Termini. People can take Line A to head to Piazza Spagna and the Vatican or Line B to the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus.
In Rome there are many pedestrian areas and it is advisable to walk during peak times, when public transport is busy.
The international airport, Leonardo Da Vinci, is located in Fiumicino. You can access the city via a direct train terminal (Termini) at the airport arrivals hall, with departures every day from 7pm until 10.50pm. The other airport is Ciampino, used for domestic flights and charters.
TOP TIP FOR ROME
Care must be taken in some areas (in the queue to enter the Colosseum and close to the Trevi Fountain) to avoid pickpockets. It is common approach cover up a robbery with a newspaper. You should also not travel alone at night near the Termini station.