On my 3 rd day in Rome I woke up feeling amazing and so eager to walk around Rome again. I decided I would do it at a relaxed pace as the only museum I was planning to see was the Capitoline (about which I will write about in a dedicated post). Rome is so enchanting and has such a positive vibe, that I wanted to stay outdoors as much as possible and select the places I would see in more detail on my next trip to Italy (Yes, by now I had decided to visit Italy again, repeat some places such as Venice and Rome, and add new ones. But let’s leave that for September, when I will go there again. So, if you are planning a one time only visit, if you like museums, monuments, history, architecture, bohemian vibe, you should visit the following:
- Colosseum – inside
- Pantheon – inside
- Sistine chapel
- San Pietro Basilica (and climb the stairs to the top of the Dome)
- Borghese gallery and gardens
- Capitoline Museums and view point; and surroundings
- Gianicolo Hill at noon – optional
- Trastevere by day and night
- Sunset on Sant’ Angelo Bridge – optional
- Castel Sant’ Angelo
- Doria Pamphili Gallery – optional
- Shop at Campo di Fiori
- Visit Galleria Victor Emanuele – optional
- Piazza Navona
- Walk down Via del Corso and Via Dei Condotti
- Piazza di Spagna
- Piazza del Popolo
- Fori Imperiale
- Palatine Hill
I took Tram otto (8) to Piazza Venezzia and from there walked around Rome the whole day, ended up tired, happy, awed, and determined to be back.
I started walking around Altare della Patria, heading to the Fori Imperiali (I wrote about it in a previous post). Altare della Patria is an impressive building also known as Il Vittoriano. It was built in honor of Vittorio Emanuele the first king after the unification of Italy. It stands between Pizza Venezzia and Capitoline and it is a relatively modern building dating from 1911.
Since 1921, the monument holds the tomb of the unknown soldier, a place in which the eternal flame shines, guarded by two soldiers.
The building has a terrace located at the same height as the chariots, with a panoramic view, that me, stupidly did not know about, so it is on my bucket list.
From there I went to Fori Imperiali (from which I wrote about previously), a very emotional moment, and something not to miss when in Rome. The weight of history, the idea that Julius Cesar walked there, Marcus Aurelius, Trajan, the magnificence of the Roman Empire are vividly present there, and it was for me the highlight of my visit to Rome.
From there I decided to visit the Capitoline Museums, to which I will dedicate a post soon. The Capitoline Museum is located on top of the Capitoline Hill and comprise Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, facing one another in Piazza Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo in 1536. In the center of the piazza there is an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius which original is at the museum.
From there I went to the Colosseum (wrote about it on my previous post) and starving already I decided to, in spite of knowing how expensive and touristy it would be, to have lunch in a restaurant facing Colosseum. The view was amazing and 99% of the people there were tourists like me. Very expensive and the service was not the best. I had grilled veggies and a coffee and ready to walk I was.
From there I walked to the Pantheon, determined to see it inside, but my determination quickly vanished when I saw the crowd.
The Pantheon sits on Piazza della Rotonda, which name comes from the informal designation of the Pantheon – Chiesa di Santa Maria Rotonda. The piazza has a fountain, Fontana del Pantheon, in the center, with an Egyptian obelisk, and the Pantheon is on the south side. Surrounding it gelaterias and caffes, giving it a cool vibe and making it a nice place to sit and see the crowd while enjoying a coffee.
The Pantheon used to be a Roman temple and was completed during the reign of Emperor Adriano, in 126 AD. It is a circular building, that has a Portico with large Corinthian columns.
It was now time for a coffee and a gelato and I stopped at Don Nino’s before heading to Piazza Minerva.
Piazza della Minerva is a small piazza, with obelisk on the back of an elephant dating back from the sixth century B.C. The Obelisk was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and sculpted by Ercole Ferrata in 1667. The square also holds the Santa Maria di Sopra Minerva church that was not opened at the time as it was on maintenance.
From Piazza Minerva I ended up in a beautiful rococo Piazza where Chiesa di Sant’Ignazo i Loyola stays. It is an important Jesuit church with frescoes by Andrea Pozzo dating back from the 17th century. The interior is breathtakingly beautiful as you will see from the photos below.
The ceiling, painted by Andrea Pozzo, depicts Saint Ignatius welcomed into paradise by Christ and the Virgin Mary and surrounded by allegorical representations of the four continents.
From there I headed to Via del Corso, passing by Piazza Colonna. I did stroll around Via del Corso, window shopping, took my time, and then headed towards Piazza del Popolo.
Piazza del Popolo is a very large square lying the north side gate of Aurellian walls, inside Porta del Popolo, before known as Porta Flaminia. During many centuries it was a place where public executions took place.
An Egyptian obelisk of Sety I stands in the centre of the Piazza. Three sides of the obelisk were carved during the reign of Sety I and the fourth side, under Rameses II. The obelisk, known as the Flaminio Obelisk or the Popolo Obelisk, is the second oldest and one of the tallest obelisks in Rome and was brought to Rome in 10 BC by order of Augustus and originally set up in the Circus Maximus. It was re-erected here in the piazza by the architect-engineer Domenico Fontana in 1589 as part of the urban plan of Sixtus V. The piazza also formerly contained a central fountain, which was moved to the Piazza Nicosia in 1818, when fountains, in the form of Egyptian-style lions, were added around the base of the obelisk.
There are three streets that originate in Piazza del Popolo forming a Trident (Via del Corso in the center, Via del Babuino and Via di Ripetta. Two churches – Chiese gemelle – Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto make the definition of the junctions of the roads. North to the Piazza is Porta del Popolo. Above Piazza del Popolo stays Villa Borghese and its gardens.
From there I took the subway back to the connection point with Tram 8 and back home tired and very happy. Next day was an exciting day as I was going to meet by BFF for many years. She now leaves close to Rome with her husband. As we always had been, we could not stop talking and talking and laughing, so not many pictures were taken. We strolled around Rome, starting at Campo di Fiori where I bought the most amazing truffled cheese, Piazza Navona where I had not been yet and its one of my favourite places now, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo, Via del Corso e Cola di Rienze where I bought amazing sundried tomatoes and ground pistacchio at the famous Castroni, Jewish Ghetto, and then walked around the Tevere, up to Forum Boarium, where we parted as she had to go home.
Campo di Fiori is close to Palazzo Farnese, wich is now the French Embassy in Rome. It is a vibrant and colorful square that opens in the early morning. It is full of fruit and vegetable counters, flowers, cheese, produce, cold meats, olive oil, and all sorts of products that will delight your eyes and yes, for the food lovers, stomach.
But do not be fooled by the vibrant atmosphere, Campo di Fiori has a dark past, it was a place of executions in the past (as well as for races and palios). Giordano Bruno was executed here, and his statue stays in the center of the Piazza at the exact spot where he was executed (Giordano Bruno was a Dominican monk and a philosopher that was accused of heresy and burnt alive in 1600)
After walking around Campo di Fiori, we headed towards Piazza del Poppolo and then Piazza di Spagna and finally Piazza Navona, but first stopped for lunch at a cozy and lively restaurant close to Piazza di Spagna.
After lunch we ended up then at Piazza Navona. It is now one of my favorite places in Rome. The oval shaped square, with street artist, people seated at caffes and restaurants around it, the tourists and locals strolling around, the fountains, the church, everything makes Piazza Navona really special.
On its South end stays Fountain of the Moor, designed by Giacomo della Porta in teh 16th century, and at the North end the Fountain of the Neptune designed by Antonio della Bitta and Gregorio Zappalà in the 19th century. In the center the most beautiful Fountain, designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini in the 17th century – the Fountain of Four Rivers.
From there we walked around via del Corso, Condotti, and Cola di Rienzo where the famous Castroni is, a delicatessen store with food from all over the world, where I spent my socks and left with a bag full of goods. We then headed back home, along the Tevere
The Forum Boarium is the oldest forum in Rome and seats near the Tevere between the Palatine, Capitoline and Aventine hills. It was at Forum Boarium that the first gladiatorial contest in Rome took place back in 264 BC. It was also a religious with a temple to Hercules Victor, the Temple of Portunus and the Great Altar of Hercules.
The Piazza Bocca della Veritá is located in the area of Forum Boarium in front of Tevere River and Isle. Its name comes from Bocca della Veritá (in English Mouth of the Truth) located under a portico of Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church. In the piazza lies also the Fountain of the Tritons
Far at the back stays the Arch of Janus, dating back from the early 4th century.
And so it was, we said goodbye, well not good bye, more like see you soon, as I intend to be back soon in Rome. I was incubating a nasty flu that lasted for more than a month and not feeling in the mood to walk, so I headed home, watching the beautiful sunset at the Tevere, to pack my bags as I was leaving next day night. I will post about my last day, mainly with pictures as visited mostly places that I did before, and dedicated some time to the beautiful and cozy Trastevere neighborhood.