Historical Rome (18 December 2007)

11:22 PM

Today is meant to explore historical of Rome. After we had our breakfast in hotel Stella, the usual stuff, we started our journey around 8am. Our first stop is Santa Maria Maggiore.

It is nearby to Termini. Based on the map we got from the hotel, we walked along via Cavour and able to reach the church.
You must get a copy of the map, it is very very helpful in helping you to explore Rome.
Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the four major basilica in Rome. We didn't go inside of the church due to there were some events there.
There is a Piazza in front of the church.

Afterwards, we continued our journey along via Cavour. We were a bit lost. Then we saw staircase which seems like leading to some place. We walked up the staircase and viola, we reached Saint Pietro in Vincoli. The main attraction of the basilica is the statue of Moses, by Michelangelo. Actually we didn't go in. Damn! We missed something. I only found out after came back to Singapore.
We continued our way down and towards Colosseum. Colosseum was not our destination, not yet. We were really out of wit on where to go. We then decided to follow the map and did a 'Rome Attraction' treasure hunt. So, eventually we went to Domus Aurea. We knew nothing about it too beforehand.
Domus Aurea is Latin means Golden House. There are a park nearby too. Not knowing the history of it, we just took a break at the park nearby.

The next destination is Colosseum. From Domus Aurea, we walked down hill, crossed the road and reached the other end of Colosseum. It was really amazing to witness the building which was built in 80 AD. This stadium able to cater for about 50000 spectators, and it is still partially standing strong in 21st Century. The architecture and design is very impressive. It was a bit crowded, and initially we were kind of worry of pickpocket, but luckily there were quite a lot of police officers around.


We bought entrance ticket which cost around EUR11 per person.
In the interior, we were able to see how this gorgeous building was once used for gladiatorial contests, the stage, the 'lift' to carry the animal to the stage, etc. It really made us feel like we were walking in history again.
At first, we were still thinking not to buy ticket to come in. But I think it was well worth the money.

After spending one hour plus in Colosseum, we moved on to have our lunch. We had one nearby Colosseum and it was the worst meal we had in Rome.

We walked back to Colosseum and through Arch of Constantine, we walked to Roman Forum. Roman Forum is full of historical buildings. To some, this place is a beauty, but for some, you will find it boring and will need a lot of imagination to appreciate it. But none the less, it was once the centre of Roman empire.
We were like doing treasure hunt, using our Rome guide book, to find the famous sights in Roman Forum. Some of recommended sights include Arch of Septimius Severus, Temple of Saturn, House of Vestal Virgins, Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius, Temple of Venus, etc. We were unable to find most of the buildings in our guide, due to lack of imagination, but we spent about 1 hour in Roman Forum.

After that, we proceed to Palatine Hill, which the entrance fee is included with the Colosseum.
There is a staircase up to Palatine Hill from Roman Forum. The first thing you will see is the Farnese Pavilions and the Farnese Garden.
According to legend, Romulus and Remus were brought up here. In Palatine Hill, sights of attraction include Domus Flavia, House of Livia, Stadium, Domus Augustana, etc. It is another treasure hunt with good orientation and sense of direction, and a good guide book.
We spent about 45 minutes digging out the sights.

Although we are not very good in history, but it was fun and interesting to explore Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. We suggest you to include it in your schedule to Rome.

From Roman Forum, we continued our journey to explore nearby attractions. We went to Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. It is just next to the West of Roman Forum. This monument is to honour Victor Emmanuel. Spent some times to take picture of the building. It is very grand. We were a bit rush, we just spent time walking around the building. The building is high up, so you can view Rome from different angle and from top. Opposite the monument is Palazzo Venezia. Trajan Market and Trajan Columns are nearby.

After that, we rush to Campidoglio or better known as Capitoline Hill. It is highest among the seven hills in Rome. It is one of the recommended place in Rome. It has two museums, Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo. Both museums have collection of Classical statues, e.g. She-Wolf, Medusa, etc. Apart from the museums, there are Cordonata and statue of Marcus Aurelius on the horse. If you are interested in statues, you should pay a visit to the museum, and it is recommended to visit the museums first before proceed to Roman Forum.

Then we walked towards the river to find Isola Tiberina. It is a tiny island on the Tiber River. It is very enchanting at night with the lights on and dark blue sky. Spent some times at the river side and to enjoy the beauty of the island. It was very relaxing for us after a day of walking.

Time was getting dark. We wanted to view Colosseum again at night. We heard it is very romantic. So we quickly walked towards Colosseum from the river. Walked pass Circus Massimo and round Roman Forum.


Colosseum is well lit up at night with yellowish light on each window. Against the dark sky, the yellow light makes the Colosseum very romantic.
The Colosseum at night is giving a feeling of peace and soothing compare to the day time of grand and majestic. I believe you will take a lot of pictures with the night scene of Colosseum. So do make sure you visit Colosseum in day time and night time.

We took metro from Colosseo and went to Spagna, which is the metro station for Spanish Steps.
I planned to witness the night of Spanish Steps. To be honest, we were quite disappointed. There were people sitting on the steps, but heard very much lesser compare to Summer time. There were no flowers on the steps as in most pictures of guide books. Well, maybe it was winter. And there was a huge advertisement banner covering the front of the church on top of Spanish Steps. So, it was kind of disappointing. Walked up the steps to have a top view of the opposite streets. There is a Barcaccia Fountain at the bottom of the steps.
Opposite Spanish Steps is the famous shopping area in Rome, via Condotti. It houses some of the big brands in the world, like Gucci, YSL, Dior, Prada and many more. It was kind of fascinating to see so many people shopping in the branded shops.
I believe there will be a lot of recommended restaurants in this area based on the guide book. Instead, we chose to go back to Ciao restaurant in Termini for our dinner. We ordered penne, linguine, roasted chicken and Chino, a carbonated drink. Quite nice, should try it.

That's our historical day in Rome. Certain places although historical, can be romantic as well.
Third day, our last day in Rome, we will proceed to some of the main attractions we have yet to visit.
To be continued... Casual and Relax...



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