Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

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As the saying goes, and a visit to this iconic city proves it. The Romans lived large and there is evidence of that everywhere. And new structures are continually being discovered and excavated. The monuments, churches, museums, art galleries and buildings, too many to mention, will leave your head spinning, and bring images of Roman life and times vividly to life. The Colosseum towers on the skyline and on entering, one can sense the filled galleries, the gladiators, the animals and the bloody spectacles which thrilled the crowds. But did you know that it could also be flooded with water for mock naval games and that, holding as many as 80,000, it could empty in just 18 minutes? Join the crowds and circumnavigate the circular construction taking in its incredible size and architecture. Implements, hair adornments, statues and more have been lovingly cleaned, pieced together and proudly displayed. As you exit, be aware of pick-pockets and of “Gladiators”, who will demand payment if you take a photo of them, with or without you. Across the road, the Arch of Constantine, the ancillary cages and underground tunnels from where surplus animals would be shepherded underground into the main arena, the spectacular Roman Forum and Palentine Hill, which legend has is where Romulus and Remus were born, are all included in the entrance ticket to the Colosseum. The Pantheon, another architectural feat of opulent proportions, has a giant dome and monumental tombs set into the walls, and entrance is free. The Spanish Steps and Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the ugly boat), is flanked by the Keats & Shelley museum and designer shops of every known name brand, with Medici House behind. And next door is Babington’s Tea Room, a tiny piece of (expensive) heaven in the midst of the masses. A favorite meeting place for writers, actors, artists and politicians (Liz Taylor & Richard Burton had secret trysts there during the filming of Cleopatra), with a selection of teapots, tea cups and hundreds of varieties of teas that will dazzle you. The magical Trevi Fountain, synonymous with Rome, is so beautiful it will take your breath away – but remember to toss a coin in to ensure you return to this wonderful city.  A city within a city … Vatican City, together with the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica, epitomize opulence and beauty of gigantic proportions. Catholic or not, Christian or not, it is not to be missed - a fact that is proved by the more than 6 million annual visitors. And then, when it all becomes too much, plop yourself down in one of the many outdoor cafés and restaurants around the beautiful Piazza Navona - a popular meeting place now, but in Roman times used for athletic games and competitions, and refresh yourself.

Rome. You won’t get Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday … it takes a very brave person to zip around on a scooter as lightly as she did, but what you will get is a city filled to overflowing with people – tourists and locals, scooters buzzing around like mosquito’s, grandeur and opulence, spectacular architecture and history, art and religion, all wrapped in an incredible ambience. A very, very special city, it will draw you in, hold you and it will call you back, again and again.

Jenny's Travel Blog