Rome, capital of Italy, is a huge city with around four million inhabitants. Once the capital of majestic Roman Empire, it is one place which ought to be on radar of every avid traveler. We discovered it on our recent tour to Italy and were left mesmerized by its grandeur. Huge age old buildings, memorials, Roman ruins and the Vatican – you cannot simply get enough of the city!
When we got down at Leonardo da Vinci Airport, we located Italian Railways building and set for Termini, downtown Rome. It took us to our destination in around an hour. It was pretty slow, much to our dismay. An elder passenger traveling along us explained that this is a regular phenomenon here, not sure why.
Nevertheless, when we got down, we were greeted by warm but comfortable surroundings. The historic city center here is relatively small as compared to other cities in Europe. At the same time, it is accessible by foot and can be covered in short time. We decided to leave our luggage at our hotel and munch something before exploring the city. Surprisingly, our sandwich, pizza and spaghetti did not cost us much. If it would have been any other city like Paris or Barcelona, our pockets would have got lighter by several Euros.
Piazza della Republica is the first fountain that we encounter. Four nymphs, who are completely nude, rest on different sea animals. We learnt that it’s unveiling in early 20th century led to a major controversy. It is a majestic piece of art, though. The highly revered Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli is right here in the city center and we were quite impressed with its massive architecture and its grandeur.
Then we set for The Vittorio Emanuele Memorial on the Piazza Venezia, a memorial to King Vittorio Emanuele II. It is only a hundred years old, a figure much smaller than the age of other historic buildings in the city. The Colosseum and Trajanus’ Markets are clearly visible from its upper galleries and so is beautiful landscape of this city, which we learnt is situated over seven hills.
Trajanus’ Markets were a group of offices and stores, way back in the second century. It was an important trade center at that time and items like fruits, fish, silk and spices etc were available here. In its neighborhood lies the Jewish ghetto in ruins, where Jews were forced to live by Pope Paul IV.
Other places that we visited were the famous Spanish Stairs, a place of confluence of young minds and Trevi fountain. Though Trevi Fountain had limited illumination, even then it looked fabulous. Afterwards, we fooled around a bit, chatted with locals and fellow travelers and returned to our hotel.
Next day was completely dedicated to historic Roman ruins like Circus Maximus, Palatium, Forum Romanum and the awe-inspiring Colosseum. All these structures are pretty huge and we learnt that thousands could gather here in a single day. We were left spell-bound by their huge size and the way in which these have been preserved, even centuries later.
Well, two days of trip to this historic city were coming to end with that and long way back to home was just beginning.