A weekend in Rome
Just back from an awesome weekend in Rome. I got this as a present for Christmas. Rome is a city that I really love. I've been there 3 times already but just like Paris, there's so much to see and do, that it's a place that I love to come back to. We flew to Rome from Brussels on Friday eve and we flew back home on Sunday eve.
So here's what I did on this weekend: on Saturday we walked around through the city itself and on Sunday we visited Ostia Antica (outside Rome). Did you know that around the city of Rome, there's much more to visit?
So let's get onto the trip!
The hike through the city, is in the map below, I did in with Google maps, so that you can see the directions and how long it takes to visit the highlights. There are much more interesting highlights in the city such as Castel Sant' Angelo or Vatican city, but since we only had a day in the city, I had to make some decisions...
Day 1: Rome city!
Stop 1) Colosseum with the Palatine hill and the Roman Forum.
Stop 2) Piazza Venezia and the amazing Monument of Victor Emanuel II.
Stop 3) Pantheon.
Stop 4) Piazza Navona.
Stop 5) Trevifountain.
Stop 6) Spanish stairs.
Stop 7) Dinner at buddy veggy restaurant.
and then back to the hotel, which was the Mercure Colosseo.
So we wanted to start with the Colosseum but for literally everything you have to book tickets in advance. They didn't even have a ticket office anymore... So we changed plans. We booked tickets for the afternoon instead and took a taxi to the Spanish stairs, since this would be our final stop, to save time.
We started at the Spanish steps and went all the way up to the stairs. There are 135 stairs apparantly. The place is built around the 1720s. On top of the hill, there's a beautiful church to visit. You can also enjoy a gorgeous Rome view there!
Then we went to the Trevi fountain. We made some pitstops at some churches since the Baroque churches in Rome are so stunning and then we walked further to this lovely square. It's like a 10 minute walk maximum.
The Trevi fountain is actually the back of a Palazzo, built on a spring. On my instagram, I've share with you a secret about the coins that tourists toss into the water, so check it out!
The place is also from the 1700s. It was actually the pope who payed Bernini to renovate this place but when the pope died, the project was left abandoned. In 1730 the next pop held a contest to re-designe the fountain, with the sketches of Bernini in mind.
After the Trevi fountain, we went to the Pantheon. In the weekends, you have to book a ticket online. It's free to visit though... The pantheon is one of the best preserved Roman temples in the world, since it became a church after the falling of the Roman Empire. It's such a marvelous place. In the center of the ceiling, there's a "hole" called "oculus". This hole was the only light into the dome. When this place was built, the Emperor literally bathed in golden light on April 21st each year, as he was like a god. The sun is then directly into the hole of the ceiling. And big surprise, or not, on april 21st; Rome was founded. There are many many more cool facts about this place but I won't bore you with them. Just do your own research!
On the square, we had a small light lunch.
Next up, Piazza Navona. This is a big square which has an oval shape. It got it's shape since it used to be a "circus" where they used to have athletic games. Now, on the square you find the beautiful Carrara marble fountains there. Yes, of course Carrara! These fountains were the artwork of famous artist Bernini.
We then walked to Hadriens temple (crossed the Pantheon again) and then went to to Piazza Venezia.
Hadriens temple is currently the Roman chamber of commerce. It still has the original Roman collons in front of the place. You can walk through the chamber of commerce and watch a movie about Rome. We didn't have enough time left so we had to skip this.
Piazza Venezia is a big square, with a roundabout in front of the Vittorio Emanuele II building and also has a couple of Palazzo's . It's super busy with abillion cars driving there, so please be careful when you cross the streets. You can visit the the building. I has a couple of museums to offer. There's also an elevator to the terrace on top of the building with a lovely view over the city. Yet again, we had to skip this!
After that, went to the Colosseum. Next to the Colosseum are some free excavations to discover as well. You walk to the Colosseum, from Piazza di Venezia on the "Via Dei Fori Imperiali". A not so fun fact, this street didn't used to be here. Mussolini actually had this street made, since he wanted to walk from his office at Piazza Venezia straight to the Colosseum. There used to be a medieval residential area. He took down the houses of 400 people living there...
The Colosseum is from 80 AD. It's open to 50,000 spectators! Also, nearly half a million people have died in the games here. I won't tell much about the Colosseum here, since it's not needed. The building will take your breath away and silence is needed to enjoy this!
After the Colosseum, we went to the Palatine hill with the Roman palaces. We wanted to explore the Forum as well but it was closed already. When you book a ticket online, these three places are incluided and luckily for us, the tickets are to use within 24 hours. So we did the Forum on Sunday!
Next time, I'm booking the more expensive ticket, to be able to actually visit the house of Augustus and Livia. You can enter their houses and watch the fresco's on the walls. Bucket list, check!
We then went off to dinner at a vegan restaurant called Buddy Roma (hmmmm) and then went to Largo Di Torre Argentina, close to where Caesar was killed (in the darkness at night also lovely to check out).
We did 30K steps on day one and 21K on day 2, so you can tell that this Saturday was pretty busy!
Day 2: Ostia Antica.
On day 2 we visited Ostia Antica, since this was the main reason that I wanted to come back to Rome. In the afternoon, we still had a bit of time left, to explore the Roman Forum before heading back home.
Ostia Antica was a small Roman city, with a big harbour, right in front of the big city of Rome itself. The museum is a massive archaeological park. It reminded me of Pompeii. We wandered here for about 3,5 hours, and we walked very fast lol! The main attraction here is the old theater, which could entertain about 3000 people. It is not known how many people lived in this port city off Rome, but it would be around 30 to 50 000!
It's crazy to think (to me) that you can just enter houses there, houses that are about 2000 years old. AND still in tact. You don't actually need a lot of imagination to think about what the city would've looked like back then.
In the afternoon, we went to the Roman Forum. Again, a large open air museum. There are a lot of temples to visit and beautiful large buildings. You can enter the temple of Romulus, WITH original bronze door AND original lock with key. This is still used daily. Now with a copy of the key for obvious reasons but still, pretty epic, right?
So, this was my weekend in Rome, would you visit Rome now?