Rome is undoubtedly on everyone’s ‘must-see’ list. And if it isn’t, then it should be.
Cruise to the Mediterranean and your ship will almost always visit Rome at some point along the way. And since I was lucky enough to see this ancient city just a few weeks ago I thought I’d share with you my favourite six sights and some handy tips… BY SARAH QUINN
- The Colosseum
Of course this makes the number one spot. It’s probably the most iconic image of Rome and rightly so. Step inside and you’ll be transported back to a time of gladiators, emperors and hungry lions. And yes it may just be slightly sadistic visiting a place that celebrated public executions, but it’s fascinating, historical and won’t be around forever so go see it while you can.
Top Tip: Don’t be fooled by the friendly gladiators requesting to take your photographs outside. Firstly, they aren’t real gladiators… and secondly, they request money once the picture has been taken!
- The Vatican
St Peter’s Basilica is impressive. And you don’t have to support any religion to see that. Once you get past the mounds of people trying to sell you tours and all the security checks, you’ll enter a world of golden statues, beautiful paintings and historical artefacts. And if you’re wondering where the Sistine Chapel is, well it’s cleverly hidden in the €15 museum. Luckily the museum offers plenty to see and do, so it’s worth the entrance fee, but make sure you leave enough time to see everything because you could probably spend a whole day in there!
Top Tip: The Vatican requires you cover up so make sure you don’t expose your shoulders and knees because they seem a little weird about that…
- Roman Forum /The Pantheon
Okay so I couldn’t decide which attraction deserved third place, so I thought I’d give it to both! The Roman Forum is huge. I didn’t realise this at the time, but you need a good few hours, a tour guide and quite possibly a packed lunch to get yourself around all of the Roman ruins. What was once an important government building today stands as a reminder of just how incredible the Roman Empire really was.
The Pantheon is a beautiful temple which lies in the heart of the city and was originally built as a place to worship all the gods. The best bit about the temple is of course the hole in the middle of the dome. Although I doubt it would get on well in rainy old England, what’s quite possibly the most impressive factor about this structure is that even two thousand years after it was built, it is STILL the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the entire world!
Top Tip: Visit one of the many restaurants around the square of the Pantheon and enjoy a slice of Italian pizza. It really is the best.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my trip, the Roman’s love a good Piazza. And no I don’t mean pizza, although that may also be true. Around every corner you are sure to bump into a quaint square or beautiful fountain and it’s the perfect place to sit back and watch the world go by. Visit the Trevi Fountain or the Spanish Steps and you’ll find that they are both equally as beautiful as each other, but with that you’ll find that they are full of tourists and touts. If you want to experience a more authentic taste of Rome away from the crowds then make your way to Piazza de San Silvestro and you’ll discover just that.
Top Tip: While you’re chilling out, go grab yourself a tub of delicious Roman ice-cream.
- Castel Sant ‘Angelo
This is a beautiful fortress which was originally built by Emperor Hadrian back in AD130-139. It was once used as a prison and as a place for the Pope to hide in times of danger and it still to this day has a secret passageway which runs underground connecting it to the Vatican. Today this historical building houses a fascinating museum with plenty of exhibits to see such as antique weapons, Renaissance paintings and ancient Roman pottery. Admission fee is €8 for adults and €6 for the youngsters and is definitely worth a visit after you have seen the Vatican.
Top Tip: There’s a beautiful terrace on top so make sure you climb up to the top of the tower and enjoy an Italian coffee in the café.
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
This is quite possibly the most beautiful building in the entire city. It’s grand, it has guards and it screams importance, particularly if you sit on the steps (dare you to try). The building houses plenty of historical artefacts, war memorials, majestic statues, a chapel and a restaurant in-case you needed time to relax for a bit.
Top Tip: The best thing about this building is you can catch a lift right to the very top and enjoy an incredible view of the whole city, so if you visit the building, make sure you don’t pass up on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Rome in all its glory.
So those are mine, but I’d love to hear yours?