Scott Biddick

A Long Roman holiday

How do you plan to visit a city whose sights and places are catalogued in stone for over two millennia of city life?

When you think of it, compressing some 2,700 years into some few days of collecting memories and experiences will be near impossible. Suffice it to say that you simply have to experience these places and sights that had been famous for centuries, one by one. The memories will certainly outlast your lifetime.

Rome is not named the Eternal City without good reason.

The big names

Like a good visitor, it is obvious that the very first places to begin your destination should be the big names. They had been famous for hundreds or even thousands of years for some very good reasons. And you’ll get to know why.

Take the Colosseum. Built in the 1st century AD, this monument of age-old engineering have remained the template for constructing stadiums ever since. It is still ever-impressive even after thousands of years.

The Roman Forum, viewed from the Capitoline Hill, is one imposing introduction to the center of imperial Roman life in the center of the city. It housed the public baths, imperial arches, the Roman Senate, and the remains of the temples to the Roman gods.

Huge

The epicenter of the Catholic Church worldwide, St. Peter’s Basilica impresses one not just because of its size but more of its Renaissance splendor, including the magnificent Sistine Chapel.  See Michaelangelo’s Pieta, the masterpieces at the Sistine Chapel’s ceilings, Raphael’s masterpieces, and the Vatican Museums.

The Pantheon, on the other hand, is the most preserved ancient monument in Rome. A massive sphere designed by Hadrian in 125AD for pagan worship, it had been the world’s largest concrete dome until the 90s. Today, it houses the tombs of Raphael plus the other monarchs and greats in Rome’s history.

Theatrical extravaganzas

In Rome, you can feel the intense theatrical quality of the buildings and their architecture. Piazza Navona is at the center of an ancient race track of chariots in their day. It now contains the incomparable sculptures of Bernini. The Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps are other showcases for all to savor.

In small Piazza di Trevi, the Trevi Fountain looms as the largest baroque fountain in Rome, a terminal point of some of Rome’s old aqueducts. This 18th century landmark (designed by Salve as influenced by Bernini) shows the Roman God of the Sea, Neptune as guided by Tritons. The coins thrown by tourists are coming from those wishing to return to the city.

Other eye catchers

There are other places that can only be in Rome and in no other city. The Basilica San Clemente had been rebuilt in the 12th century after having been a pagan temple for more than 2,000 years.

Another place worth a visit is the piazza at the Capitoline Hill, designed by Michaelangelo. It has the Capitoline Museums and encompasses the view of the Roman Forum.

Beware, though. The Eternal City grows eternal on you and stays with you in all your days.

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