“I sometimes fancy that Rome–mere Rome–will crowd everything else out of my heart.” This dialogue from a play outlines Rome. The city has so much to offer and is so beautiful that it will surely crowd out everything else from the heart. Its rich history, romance, great food and incredible art work will leave you spellbound.
While walking towards the Colosseum, you will be transported back in time. Romans would dress up in their finery to watch the fight of the gladiators. You would walk in the same arena and look behind to see the cells from where a gladiator used to enter. The Colosseum was made solely for the entertainment of Romans. To kill or be killed. Historical names that probably didn’t have much meaning to you before will become common parlance. Although much of it has been destroyed over the years but what is left is enough to cause a great deal of fascination.
Rome is a city of fountains. Many sculptors over the years have added mysticism to this city by making art work in the form of sculptured fountains all around it. It would however be advisable to take the fountain tour in the night as against the day, since the beautiful lighting will give you more reasons to admire them.
Triton Fountain is a good starting point. This fountain has a peculiar being at the centre, half man, and half fish, called a Triton as per the legends. From there, the Piazza Novona is at a distance of about a kilometer.Novonadepicts rivers from 4 different continents, and illustrates an octopus being seared by a god. It has 4 different fronts and is quite unique in its architecture. It is visual treat to amateurs and architectural experts alike. After the Piazza Novona, make you way to the most beautiful fountain of Italy, Fontana de Trevi. The fountain is so spectacular, that whether you see it for the first time or are a regular visitor, you are bound to lose a breath. This is also the biggest fountain of Italy. The mighty Oceanus sitting atop a chariot of Oyster shell and is surrounded by exotic beings like the nymphs and the tritons. A few years back, Ferragamo commissioned a 2 million dollar restoration project for the Trevi. The lighting was re done and is somagnificent now that it would make you see every inch of the fountain very noticeably. The water is very clear and the coins give it a shiny,sparkly feeling. Yes, don’t forget to throw a coin in the fountain. It brings good luck. Enjoy the view with big cones of homemade gelatos. There are several shops near the fountain that serve a multitude of flavors.
The next day set out for the Spanish steps. It would probably be a bit of spoiler when you find out that the Spanish steps are actually just that- Steps. It has anexquisite charm to it though. It always has a horde of people sitting around, enjoying a little sunlight with a cold beer. At the end of the steps is another lovely fountain, Fontana Della Barcacia. The place is actually within a shopping street and still is so well placed that the whole setting of the steps, the fountain and the shops, would seem incomplete without each other. You are bound to lose track of time here, so best is to keep the day easy and enjoy the place.
A few days of soaking in the Italian sun, should prepare you for the big day-Visit to the Vatican. It is a Country within a City, with its own laws and army. It would be advisable to buy a two day Vatican pass before you land in Rome. It will save crucial few hours of standing in the queues.
This is the most important museum here and in the world. Vatican City houses the Pope. But that part is little restricted. Unless you are very lucky, chances of catching a glimpse of the Pope are thin. What are available for viewing are the History and the beautiful hand work of some of best painters and sculptors of their time. There is a huge hall full of hand woven carpets, covering space from roof to floor. Each carpet depicts a story and is carved in a way that the story guides your eyes from one scene to the next.
The paintings of Raphael are another part that will stay with you for a long time. In one of the painting a school of Athens is represented. Pythagoras is sitting at the steps in a corner of the painting, Plato and Aristotle are each engrossed in their work and the great Socrates is walking down the corridor. The sheer magnanimity of the thought behind the painting is enough to blow the mind away. Vatican has numerous beautiful fresco’s. Each so beautiful that they captivate you with their beauty. Every painting and fresco calls out to you. The colors and though behind the paintings and sculptures, keep you engrossed.
After a quick lunch at the museum Café , head to the Sistine Chapel. This is the most prized possession of Vatican. The Chapel is so beautiful and pristine, that it leaves one awestruck. Every inch is beautified with imagery. There are several stories depicted from the Bible. From ‘Adam and Eve’ to the ‘trials of the Moses’. It is however the ceiling that has been the fancy of generations of people. Michelangelo was no doubt one of the most famous sculptors of his time. As per some stories, he had earlier declined the offer of painting the ceiling and it was a little later that he agreed and started to paint. Sistine chapel became his masterpiece. The ceiling is painted so skillfully that it gives an impression of natural daylight, within an enclosed room. The ceiling has ‘the last judgment “as the main painting. To date, this place has enormous importance. It is under this ceiling that the papal conclave is convened and the new Pope is chosen. The feeling of sitting here, catching a glimpse of the history of over 500 years will be an experience that will stay with you forever.
Vatican also has one of the best museum shops that you might come across. They have everything from small mugs, to coasters, original photos of paintings, scarves with painting prints and so on. You might want to load up your forex cards before you start to splurge.
There is so much more to see and experience in Rome. It has that quality to it, which always leaves you wanting to see more. Every building, big or small has history and modernity encompassed in it. You might see a beautiful old building with old roman architecture and enter, only to find out that it is the new Apple store. Rome does this to you. It takes on the new and moulds it. So, in the end , it is neither new nor old. It’s just Roman …