So given that my last minute trip to Rome was completely unrelated to Spanish culture, for the sake of my mom-my most avid and religious blog follower, and probably the only person who actually reads this stuff-this time I’m going to write in english. From the moment I arrived in Fiumicino (the city’s major airport) I was on my feet for every minute of daylight I could possible squeeze in from a Thursday through Sunday. If you’re looking to see ALL of Rome in less than 3 full days, follow this itinerary to see more than 2000 years of world history.
Rather than heading straight to Hostel Yellow, a few blocks away from Termini train station, I took a train to Ostiense to check out the Campo Cestio L’Antico Cimitero per Stranieri non-Cattolici , the Protestant Cemetery home to Literary Greats such as Goethe, Keats and Shelley. I couldn’t imagine a more peaceful place to rest for an eternity..
From there I took the metro just one stop towards the center to Circo Massimo , a site of massive Roman Ruins that are just a dime a dozen in this city
(Cool myspace picture, but the ruins are much more impressionable in daylight…)
So my first full day in Rome was themed Via dei Fori Imperial , a major avenue running through the remnants of what is basically the origins of modern civilization. First, the Colosseum, this goes without saying…anything!
Right next door you’ll find the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and an area littered with ancient arches, columns and statues. Even on a rushed tour of the city, I managed to spend about 3 hours in this archeological treasure trove
The exit of the park leads you to Piazza Venezia, a monument to Vittorio Emanuele II and the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Museo del Risorgimento.
Next the Pantheon
Street Fairs and social gathering hubs
Plaza de Campo de Fiori
The Spanish Steps
Plaza del Popolo
One visit to make while in Rome a little less under the tourist radar are the Catacombs of San Callisto, one of 60 underground tunnels throughout the city where more than half a million Romans were buried between the 2nd and 5th centuries.
After rising from the dead and the cold nearly a dozen meters under the earth, on a nice day re-coop your energy with a stroll through Villa Bourghese which offers a ton of museums, in particular la Galleria Bourghese a zoo and breathtaking vistas of the city from Pincio
(some Caravaggio high school art history book favorites…)
A stroll along the Tiber River
And I’m no Catholic but Vatican City ain’t a bad place to hang out, either, I definitely underwent some kind of spiritual growth after being in St. Peter’s Basilica (largest church in the world) and seeing the Sistine Chapel-keep these hush hush though, you’re definitely not supposed to take pictures in here!
According to internet sources, there are over 900 churches in Rome-not only do I believe this could be an understatement, but also that about 899 of them are named Santa Maria de Something (S.M. in Cosmedin, S.M. in Trastevere, S.M. Deli Angeli…the list goes on)
But perhaps my favorite sight in all the city, something that I can honestly say I have never seen anywhere else in my travels…
Don’t be fooled, this is no ordinary vending machine! Romans on the go don’t settle for a granola bar or bag of chips, nor will they be caught dead in a McDonalds where all the American tourists dine (or take advantage of free and accessible public restrooms!). No, they need something hot, authentic and fresh (that last one might be a stretch) which is why they have “Caldo in Automatico” or pasta machines. That’s right, for just a few euros you can have instant Italian Rigatoni in minutes, with your choice of arabiati, marinara or carbonnera. But if you’re really looking for the mother of Roman gastronomy, you can’t make a visit without tasting the worlds best cappucino