• Spike

Rome - Italy

Updated: May 22, 2020

Rome was a city I had wanted to visit for quite some time, and I'm happy to say that it didn't disappoint.

There was something rather charming about the ancient and modern architecture standing side by side throughout the city.

Rome is full of history and culture, which sadly means it's a over populated by tourists, but being one myself, it would be hypercritical to complain.



Colosseum

One of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World, and my first Wonder to see. It's the most popular sight in Rome and for good reason, it did not disappoint.

I opted for the "Underground Tour" which allows you to explore all of the Colosseum including underneath where most of the work really happened before events.

The tour guide was very informative, and went into great detail about the Colosseum without it becoming boring. Despite the hundreds of tourists, I really enjoyed exploring this 2000 year old wonder.

One warning I have though is regarding the ticket. I booked mine quite late as the advance tickets sell out fast. However I was lucky enough to find a tour company that offered the underground tour. The good thing about the ticket is that it means you can also access other sights in Rome, such as the Roman Forum. So if you don't buy a ticket in advance and don't want to queue for long, buy a ticket at "The Roman Forum", as there's no queue like there is at the Colosseum.

So, back to my problem. The tour group I went with only had two tickets between 10 tourists. So one ticket would cover 5 tourists. A few of us in the group tried to sort out how we could all use it together at the "Roman Forum" so we wouldn't have to pay for entry. However one of the tourists and his family, who was holding a ticket decided to intentionally run off, so he had the free entry and the rest of us did not. So just be aware of what tickets you buy, but do buy in advance.


Trevi Fountain

A beautiful but hugely popular attraction in the centre of Rome. The most famous fountain in Rome, and it could be argued the most famous fountain in the world.

If you toss a coin behind your shoulder into the fountain, it means you'll return to Rome. Toss two coins and you'll return and fall in love. Three coins means you'll return, find love and marry.

I tried to visit this in the afternoon, and it was surrounded by hundreds of tourists. So I tried again around midnight, hoping it may be less busy. However, it was still surrounded by tourists. I think this is an attraction that is always very crowded, unless you consider visiting in the early hours of the morning.



Pantheon

A former Roman temple which was dedicated to all Roman gods, it's the best preserved building from Ancient Rome, it has since been turned into a catholic church.

It's free to enter, and I recommend taking a look inside. The exterior is impressive, but the interior so much more so! The domed ceiling is breathtaking!



The Aventine Keyhole

A not so secret keyhole found at Piazza Dei Cavalieri Di Malta. There is usually a long line of people waiting to take their turn. Through this keyhole you can see two countries, Italy and Vatican city, with the dome of St. Peter’s in the centre. I was hoping to get a nice photo, but no matter what I tried, it wasn't possible to get St Peter's in the shot through the small hole due to lighting. So all you really get is a memory of what you see.

I think it was a cute thing to do, but I did have to go out of my way to see it, and for something that only takes a few seconds, I think if you're rushed for time in Rome, only come here if you're in the area or really desperate to get a 2 second look through a keyhole.


Roman Forum

The remains of an ancient plaza, with various ruins of important buildings from ancient Rome including government buildings and temples dedicated to the gods.

This is a huge area, and whilst not as popular as the Colosseum, I would recommend visiting as your Colosseum ticket is valid here too.

There's a lot to see, most of the ruins are just that, ruins, but there are some structures which have survived the test of time better than others.

I didn't hire a guide of pay for an audio guide as I was quite rushed for time, but I would suggest doing so. There is a lot to discover and learn here. Sure you can google information afterwards, but I think having a guide as you walk around would be much more informative.


Spanish Steps

Like most attractions in Rome, this is another which is flooded with tourists. It was am attraction that I felt I couldn't properly enjoy, as all I could see were tourists, not so much the steps themselves. The only suggestion I have to see this sight less crowded would be visiting in the early hours of the morning.

Although I'm sure I read somewhere recently that it's now forbidden to sit on the steps, which as harsh as it sounds is probably a good idea.


Piazza Navona

A popular and large square in the centre of the city. In the centre you'll find "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi - Fountain of the Four Rivers". You'll also find the church "Sant'Agnese in Agone" standing behind the fountain. Around the square are various shops, bars and restaurants, most of which being tourist traps and overpriced.

It's a nice area of the city to visit, but of course as with most attractions in the centre of the city, overflowing with tourists.


Mouth of Truth

This is a fun lesser known attraction in the centre of Rome. However I still had to queue for around 10 minutes to try it out. It's not known exactly what this face was originally used for, but it's possibly meant to depict the sea Titan "Oceanus".

You'll probably recognise the mouth if you've ever seen the movie "Roman Holiday" with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.

So, why is it called the Mouth of Truth? The idea is to put your hand inside the mouth and make a statement. If the statement is a lie, the mouth is said to bite off your hand. Do you dare to try tell a lie?



Check out my other guides on Italy. Venice, Pisa and Florence


Also don't forget to see my guide on Vatican City


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