Right from our school we have been taught how Roman Empire has been one of the influential and economically advanced empires. And the Idioms “Rome wasn’t built in a day” or “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” have always been an inspiration.
Italy’s capital city Rome with 3000 years old history and astounding heritage is yet another city sure to be on everyone’s wish list. Rome built on seven hills is also known as the ‘Eternal City’ because the Roman people believed that no matter what happened to the world, Rome would go on forever and it truly does rule our hearts even today!!
Sightseeing of this city brimming with history ought to be a walking tour exploring nook and cranny of the city. We started our day early with a visit to Vatican City museums.
Vatican City the world’s smallest country is home to the pope and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. There is a good frequency of buses from the central square of Piazza Venezia in Rome to Vatican City. We boarded a bus number 81 to get down at a bus stop nearest to the St Peter’s Square.
We walked into the St. Peter’s Square jam-packed with visitors running to join the km long queue waiting for the entry to St. Peter’s Basilica. Advance booking is highly recommended for Vatican museums and the St. Peter’s Basilica for ‘Skip the Line’ entry. Our advance ticket booking gave us direct entry into the Vatican Museums, we collected the audio guides from counters and started the tour of the amazing collection.
Museum has a phenomenal collection of classical sculptures and paintings collected by the popes through the centuries. The ‘Raphael Rooms’ is famous for their frescoes painted by Raphael, the ‘Gallery of Tapestries’ woven in the 16th century depicts episodes from the life of Jesus, ‘Gallery of Maps’ displays a series of 40 painted topographical maps of Italy and finally the Sistine Chapel, the chapel with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo is stunning with its outstanding work of art.
At the exit of the Sistine Chapel is the ‘Room of Tributes’ adorned with decorative cabinets with the art collection. We decided to take a break and have some coffee in the museum restaurant.
Vatican gardens cover more than half of the country. Tour the garden comfortably seated in an open bus with an audio-guide or take a traditional guided tour of the gardens on foot.
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica with a collection of magnificent monuments is the largest in the world with a total of 284 Doric columns and 88 pilasters. 140 statues are installed on top of the colonnades depicting various religious figures.
Castle Sant’Angelo is a museum for Renaissance collection. Visiting the castle was not on our list but we were oblivious of some fun awaiting us here. We had lots of fun with some locals dressed as gladiators and enjoyed posing for pictures with them.
Rome is a country known for marvelous squares and fountains; there are around fifty monumental fountains in Rome.
The square is adorned with three fountains with the remarkable ‘Fountain of Four Rivers’ at center. The square also houses a beautiful church Sant’Agnese in Agone. The square hosted a lively atmosphere with musical street performance and colorful street performers.
On enquiring about the route to Trevi fountain an old man held Chalukya’s hand and walked us all the way to the fountain. How sweet was that! We were up for some surprises here too. We were overwhelmed by the spiritual atmosphere created in a foreign land by a group of foreigners chanting ‘Hare Krishna Hare Rama’ and the saree clad blondes performing garbha on the song.
Pantheon is an ancient temple with the biggest brick dome and is said to be the most imitated structure of all ancient works.
Colosseum and the Roman Forum
We walked back to Piazza Venezia to visit Colosseum which was 10 minutes walk with the Roman Forum and the Palentine Hill on the way. We spent our evening walking around the Roman Forum and taking in the charm of the Colosseum lit with the golden lights.
We had covered all the major attractions of Vatican City and Rome in a day. But Rome definitely needs more than a day to experience its architectural treasures.
Next day, we started again with Colosseum. Surprisingly, it was the first Sunday of the month and the entry was free. We spent a significant amount of time inside of Colosseum imagining how the gladiator wars must have taken place and how the animals hidden underground would appear on to the fight zone. A little bit of homework is expected before one visits the Colosseum for a better understanding of this historical wonder.
We also visited the Roman forum and Palentine hill and the museum in the II Vittorian building a splendid monument built of marble in Piazza Venezia.
Most Recommended when in Rome is to have as many gelatos as possible they are just yummy and reasonably priced. We had the last round of gelato and took a taxi from Piazza Venezia to the airport.
The exceptional art of Vatican museum, the graceful fountains and the glorious squares, millennium-old churches, a real treat for taste; the pizzas and the gelatos, there are much more reasons to fall in love with this eternal city. So book an Italy tour packages now and set on a journey of the lifetime.
Have you visited Rome and the Vatican City? Do share with us your experience, we would love to hear your stories.