Ah, Rome – a city full of ancient history that still lives to witness the modern day. No matter which direction you turn to look, you are surrounded by beautifully rustic structures.
People have told me that Rome is quite small, and if you don’t go into the museums and buildings, you can easily walk the entire city in a day. This is true for a lot of cities, but some cities are also naturally much more interesting that just the attractions. For me, that was Amsterdam and Venice, where I could just lost myself within the maze of canals and enjoy the cityscape… and now, there’s Rome to add to that list.
Anyway, that’s why a city we could have easily conquered took us 8 hours to walk through (and we’re still not done!). I walked up and down lots of streets; maybe not every single street, but it definitely seemed like there was something exciting waiting for us around every corner. And even if there wasn’t, I was still fascinated by the ruins that you would run into every now and then.
We started at the Colosseum, and slowly walked around from there. There were just so many roads, and every road seemed to lead to something interesting. We didn’t go into the Colosseum or the Roman Forum, but even from the outside you could see and feel the grandiose splendor of these ancient ruins.
Of course, on the other side of the Colosseum, you also see the never-ending process of inevitable repairs.
Continuing along from the Colosseum, you run into Altare della Patria located at Piazza Venezia. The traffic around this piazza is ridiculous! Rome is definitely one of the worst places in terms of traffic that we’ve been to so far. In Switzerland, cars stopped for us even if they were allowed to go. In Rome, it’s almost as if they’re trying to run you over. And so, my cousin and I finally understand why Vincent died from a car crash in Rome in 衝上雲霄.
I’ll save you the Wikipedia search – the Altare della Patria was built “in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy”. It’s quite a monument, but it’s also very new as it was erected less than 100 years ago. Of course, it’s hard to compare when the Colosseum has a history of almost 2000 years!
From the right side, there are a set of stairs that you can take to get up for a pretty good view. You can also pay to get up to an even higher viewing deck from the top of the monument.
On the other side of the Altare della Patria is Campidoglio, or Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome. None of these hills are too high up – probably less than 100 steps, and you’ll be at the top.
From there, we walked to the Tiber River, and across Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island). It’s a tiny island that houses a hospital built in the 1500s, and is still operational today. And just for the record, I thought the building was a hotel when I saw it in real life, because it was that nice.
Like I said, you don’t have to look far in Rome if you want to find evidence of old times. There are so many random squares filled with debris of ancient buildings lying around the city! This one in particular had a cat sanctuary nearby as well.
While I was browsing a book store today, I picked up a book about Rome. It told me that there are so many cats around Rome because it’s illegal to kill strays. Which is why you see so many cats around town!
As you keep walking, you find yourself at another building with an abundance of history: the Pantheon. It’s one of the best-kept buildings out of all the ancient structures around Rome, and it’s now in use as a Catholic church. And also a major tourist attraction.
The area around the Pantheon is where the heart of Rome really is, and where you can spend hours losing yourself in that tiny neighbourhood. The cobblestone streets are lined with numerous gelato stores, restaurants, and souvenir stores. Every now and then, you’ll stumble across a candy store or a stationary/paper store.
Another famous must-see item in any itinerary to Rome is the Trevi Fountain… except it’s under renovations! There was no water at all, and in its place were two sides of scaffolding. At least I can say I’ve been here?
Finally, our last stop of the day was the Spanish Steps. So many people were just sitting around in this plaza – probably watching the sunset? But there was nothing really going on otherwise.
You’ve probably noticed one major item missing from today’s adventure – yes, Vatican City! After a full day of walking, we still didn’t reach the Vatican yet. When in Rome, the adventures seem endless.