Saturday, 12 November 2016

How To Do Rome In 24 Hours

As you may know if you follow me on my Instagram, Twitter or Youtube channel I have been so busy the past few weeks planning my trip to Italy. Here we have the first installment of five based on each area I explored. I started with Rome and what a place to begin. I had only a short amount of time there and wanted to share what I managed to do in the time available.
I landed very late in the evening on Tuesday, so even though I was technically staying two nights I only had one full day in Rome. I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I was there so it was just a case of getting up early and working out my route on the map. A map will become your best friend the more you study it the easier you will get around. By planning your route it will save time rather than you walking around aimlessly maybe even passing things you wanted to see only to go back on yourself later. I actually found Rome one of the least confusing places to get around and believe me when I say I'm not even a little bit streetwise.

I was situated right next to the Ponte Mazzini bridge which made it easy for me to get around but also find my way back. I was in between some key tourist locations starting my walking along the river to Castel Sant' Angelo. You have to make a decision about what you really want to see and what you want to breeze over (i.e - just seeing something from the outside). I made the decision to pass this on the way to the Pantheon Theatre, which also crossed through Piazza Navona.
As I said I passed through Piazza Novona which has some beautiful statues, fountains and restaurants. I think one of the best things about Italy is these Piazza areas where people come, socialise and catch their breath. They are the centre of all the excitement and there is a real sense of community here. You can sit watching the variety of people walking through (like myself) or the people stopping to take in the scenery. This isn't the only one I came across accidentally stumbling into Piazza Della Repubblica. Both are great places if you are looking to take a break from all the walking. Trust me you'll need it! There is a range of seating available for you to stop for a well deserved rest. Perfect time to eat lunch or grab a snack to top up your energy levels.
I went to Rome in at the end of October and I was surprised how incredibly busy it still was for a non-holiday season time. Around the major tourist areas in particular, including Trevi Fountain, which is a must on every trip here. I can understand the crowds because after all this has to be one of the most famous fountains going right? I wasn't disappointed by it's beauty. After making my way to the front it was time to make a wish by throwing a coin over my left shoulder into the water. It started year ago by people having a glass of water from the Trevi Fountain which would apparently ensure good fortune and a fast return to the Eternal City, but over time the legend evolved to tossing a coin in to ensure a return to Rome. All the money thrown in the fountain also gets distributed to numerous local charities so I was in.
Another tourist hot spot not far away is the Spanish Steps. Although I was getting frustrated with everyone wearing bright colours essentially ruining my colour palette I have to admit I love the touch the umbrellas and rain coats give scattered over the image. When I say Rome has a lot of steps, I'm not kidding, 138 steps here to be exact. I did all of the steps everywhere I went because once you get to the top it's always worth it for the speculator views.

Once you reach the top you are captured by the Trinita dei Monti Church but also drawn to the view which you have just climbed. At the foot you also have the Fontana della Barcaccia which translates to "Fountain of the Old Boat".  The story behind the ship is that the River Tiber often flooded before the city walls were built and in 1598 there was a particularly bad flooding and the Piazza di Spagna was flooded up to a meter. Once the water withdrew, a boat was left behind in the square - makes it that little bit more special knowing it's history. 

Around this area you also have an array of high end, luxury stores which is for me made great window shopping but for you maybe real shopping!
On the way to my next stop I walked up the steps of the Altare della Patria (Alter Of The Fatherland), also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II or Il Vittoriano. Which I think is a great place to get photographs of the view of Rome from a high point (the images this post starts with).

To end day one I finished with a full Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Colosseum Tour.  I wanted to do this properly as I think there is a lot to be learned about each iconic place. The buildings were originally for political, religious and commercial activities, then turned to civilian basilicas, where judicial activities took place. It was truly interesting to learn about the history and what all the buildings once were, I genuinely loved hearing about all the gods and goddesses too.

On the other hand the colosseum was all about entertainment, mostly built for male side of the general public. The shows would include gladiators and exotic animals from all around the world with over the top props and set design. Some saying this actually had a massive impact on the extinction of certain animals due to the cruelty which happened in this very building. Nonetheless, the architecture of the arches makes it an intriguing place. 
I think as you walk around the whole saying "Rome wasn't built in a day" really sinks in. Everything is grand, opulent and shows the wealth through it's stunning monuments. One religious focal point across the world has to be The Vatican. I went first thing before my flight at the crack of dawn just to see it. Although I wish I could've gone inside the queue takes around an hour even first thing in the morning and the tour when going quickly takes around half a day, something to bear in mind if you want to do it. As it is such a huge ground it takes time to see everything fully and some people recommend a full day here. Something I sacrificed to see other things but hopefully something I will be able to do another time. A bonus was the rain had stopped and the skies actually looked slightly bluer and clearer.
So overall this is what I managed to squeeze in during my time in Rome and what a way to kick start my travels. I hope this helps you if you are thinking of going or already have something booked, have the best time!

"To travel is to live"

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