Rome Travel Guide
Introduction to Rome
Roma. The Eternal City. Being the heart of the greatest ancient empire to ever rule a portion of the Earth, Rome needs no introduction.
In the present day, it is home to the well-preserved remains of the Roman Empire, plays host to the centre of the world’s largest religion, and is filled with citizens out to live each day to the fullest.
Despite the hassles of getting around this sometime chaotic metropolis, once this city gets under your skin, you’ll never be the same afterward.
Cultural Experiences in Rome
Few travelers could go to Rome and not see the Colosseum, so it’s only natural to get this marquee attraction out of the way on your first day here.
Despite being constructed in the 1st century, many engineers consider the Colosseum to be one of the greatest projects in the history of civil engineering.
While you might be skeptical of this opinion, remember that this massive structure was the biggest amphitheater ever built, and it was completed almost 2,000 years ago.
When at full capacity, this entertainment centre could hold up to 80,000 spectators, who came to see gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, recreations of famous Roman battles, and comedic and dramatic plays.
As it fell apart through the ages following the fall of the Roman Empire, it was also used as Christian shrine, a fortress, and housing for the poor.
The main foundation of this ancient work still stands tall today despite the cosmetic damage inflicted upon it by earthquakes and scavengers during the lean years of its existence, making it an absolute must for visitors to Rome.
Other Roman era buildings weathered the countless generations since the days of the Empire better than the Colosseum; the best example of this is the Pantheon, which was built in the 2nd century AD by Emperor Hadrian.
Used to worship Roman gods, and converted to a church in the centuries following the fall, the grandeur of this breathtaking piece of architecture has been lovingly maintained throughout the years.
As a result, the original styles are largely as they were 1,900 years ago, which includes the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome in its interior.
Of all the remnants of the old Empire, the Roman Forum is in the worst shape, but even here, enough of its original form remains that it makes imagining life here two millennia ago not all that hard.
Serving primarily as a marketplace during its heyday, the Forum was at the heart of public life in Rome, as it wasn’t only where citizens purchased food and goods, but it was where debates, speeches, processions, elections and trials were held.
Here, ruins dating all the way back to the origins of the Roman Empire (8th century BCE) can be found, as well as the teetering remains of many shrines dedicated to various Roman deities.
Other Attractions in Rome
Within the city limits of Rome lies Vatican City, which is considered to be the world’s smallest nation state.
Within its boundaries lies some of the most sacred religious structures in Roman Catholicism, the most significant of which is St. Peter’s Basilica.
This cathedral is reputed to be the burial site of St. Peter, who was one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, and the first Catholic pope.
It is where the present pope officiates over mass on special occasions, such as Christmas and Easter, so if you are in the city during this time, be sure to head to the courtyard outside to hear him speak.
Other sights worth seeing in the Vatican include the Sistine Chapel (home to one of Michelangelo’s most famous works), the Vatican Museums, and the lush Gardens of Vatican City.
The city of Rome is bursting with beautiful waterworks, but not as quite as stunning as the Trevi Fountain.
Carved out of fine Travertine stone, and measuring 161 feet wide and 86 feet high, this exquisite work of art will cause you to linger for far longer than you would imagine, as this amazing work of sculpture is only enhanced by the addition of water (and at night, spotlights).
The effects of the white rock make the water appear milky blue, which leaves an impression with the observer that cannot ever be forgotten.
Looking to rest your legs after a long day of sightseeing in Rome? Piazza Navona is the best place to linger in the Eternal City, as its cafes will grant you the perfect place to people watch as tourists and locals alike go about their day.
Built atop the former site of the Roman Stadium of Domitian, this beloved public space has an obelisk, numerous statues and fountains that will only add to the ambiance as you lean back with an espresso in the bright Italian sunshine.