Roman Holiday Part II
Part II of our Travel Series to Rome: Sights to see in Rome.
If you only have three days in Rome, as we did, it's important to see as much history and culture as possible. In our last post, we showed you our ideal day in the heart of Rome, Piazza Novona – the best espresso (according to Romans) , gelato, markets, and the Pantheon. In bite-size pieces, here's our version of the best things to do in Rome in 48 hours.
I. Piazza della Repubblica: Piazza della Repubblica is a beautiful semi-circullar piazza with the Fountain of the Naiads in the center, and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs across from the fountain. I encourage you to look inside the Basilica, which is dedicate to Christian martyrs, and is built inside the ancient Roman Baths of Diocletian. Inside is a beautiful bronze meridian solar line, designed by Francesco Bianchini, with marble depictions of the zodiacs.
II. The Colosseum: Because no trip to Roma is complete without visiting the Colosseum, the icon of Imperial Rome. Right next door to the Colosseum is the Roman Forum, the heart of ancient Rome. Both ruins are must see when visiting Rome, and for your convenience you can purchase the Roma Pass, which gives you free entry to both the Forum and the Colosseum.
III. The Spanish Steps (or the walk to the Spanish Steps): The Spanish Steps is a monumental set of 135 steps, made famous by the 1953 classic Roman Holiday, with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. The base of the steps are over crowded with tourists, so I suggest arriving north of the steps by Via Sistina and taking the time to visit the shops along the way, and admire the charming architecture of the streets of Rome.
IV. Villa Borghese: Villa Borghese is an extensive garden that was built in 1605 by Cardinal Borghese as a party villa. It has many villas built as summer residences for Popes and nobles, o but is now most visited for the Galleria Borghese, which has sculptures by Bernini, and paintings by Raphael and Caravaggio. Buy your tickets in advance because this is a popular museum among tourists, and aside from the Vatican, contains some of the best works in Rome. If you don't make it to the museum, or want to spend an extra hour or so exploring the park, there is much to see, such as the Sienna Square, National Gallery of Modern Art, or the Temple of Aesculapius. My favorite part of the park was the view from the Villa Medici. which offers stunning panoramic views of Rome (above).
V. Vatican City: The Vatican can be made a half-day trip or a whole day excursion. There is so much art in the Vatican Museums, and because of the amount of tourists, I recommend allotting quite a few hours to see all the art the Vatican has to offer. There are four Sculpture Museums, a Painting Collection, a museum of Modern Religious Art, and a historical museum and art gallery. The Vatican's extensive art collection started over 500 years ago with the purchase of Laocoon and his Sons (above), a marble sculpture found in a vineyard near the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. The Sistine Chapel cannot be missed, I could spend hours looking up at the masterpiece of a ceiling, Michelangelo's greatest work. The heart of the Vatican is St. Peter's Basilica, one of the world's largest churches, and the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture. Words cannot even describe the magnificence of St. Peter's Basilica, and you must see Michelangelo's Pieta, located inside the basilica, which is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.
And this concludes our 3 day adventure to beautiful Roma. I hope I inspired you to book a ticket to Rome immediately, our include it as a stop in your tour of Europe. If you're traveling there in the future, please let us know so we can squeeze into a suitcase – just kidding, photos or an email sharing your adventure is sufficient.
So arrivederci Roma, and on to Venezia and Firenze, which will be up on the blog soon, ciao!