Rome, you will always have my heart. I remember the first time I step foot into the city of Rome. The old stone walled Colosseum, the Spanish steps, the coin toss in the Trevi fountain. I had a gelato in summer, pizza by the Roman Forum, spending tireless days walking through the little streets. The setting sun was shining on my happy smile. My heart stopped beating.
I remembered the first time I saw the Colosseum, walking in the Roman Forum and touche the Pantheon. My mouth was left agape and I could not speak as I walked the roads where the horses and carriages once roamed.
Colosseum and the Roman Forum
There is something so magical about Rome. When I first step foot in the Roman Forum, I was absolutely overwhelmed. My mouth was left agape and I could not speak as I walked the roads where the horses and carriages once roamed.
I was unable to comprehend the fact that I, in 2000s, was walking upon the exact same road that the emperors and people did, 1500 years ago. I imagined an old mother, walking alongside with her daughter, going to the markets. Horses and carriages used for transportation in the city. Julius Caesar, looking down at his people, planning all sorts of crazy ideas in his head. Yet, how lucky am I, to be walking upon the same ground as them, despite being just about 1,500 years late.
In the Colosseum, I was even more overwhelmed. How many deaths fought; How many families built; How many lives lived. So many stories untold, so many adventures to embark on. I wish I could go back in time and listen to them all.
Amongst all the ruins I have been to, from Delphi and Athens in Greece to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and palaces in Thailand, nothing has ever overwhelmed me as much as the Colosseum and Roman Forum. My heart stopped beating.
Attraction: Colosseum and Forum/Palatine hill
Prices: 12€ (adults), 7,50€ (EU citizens below 25), free (visitors under 17)
8:30 am – 4:30 pm from January 2 to February 15
8:30 am – 5 pm from February 16 to March 15
8:30 am – 5:30 pm from March 16 to last Saturday of March
8:30 am – 7:15 pm from last Sunday of March to August 31
8:30 am – 7 pm from September 1 to September 30
8:30 am – 6:30 pm from October 1 to last Sunday of October
8:30 am – 4:30 pm from the last Sunday of October to December 31
CLOSED: on January 1st, May 1st and Dec. 25th
Free entrance for all on the first Sunday of the month
How to get your tickets: At the Colosseum ticket office, reserving via telephone (+39 (0)6 399 677 00), online or purchase the Roma Pass.
- “B” line Metro station Colosseo
- “A” line Metro station Manzoni, then two stops of tram no. 3 going southwards
- Bus lines 60, 75, 85, 87, 271, 571, 175, 186, 810, 850, C3, and the electric minibus 117, my favourite
- Tramway line no 3.
After the Colosseum, I have to admit that the reason I am in Rome is for the Trevi Fountain. The fountain just leaves me in awe of its beauty. Also, it is said that if you make a wish and toss a coin into the fountain, it will come true. And indeed, it did. (I wished to return to Rome again, and I did.)
What’s so special about the Trevi Fountain? Well, it is the oldest water source in Rome. In the 19 B.C., legend has it that a young Roman girl brought thirsty soldiers to fresh clean water. The city then commissioned a fountain to be built, to bring that water into the city. That fountain is the Trevi Fountain. The fountain was built at the end point of the aqueduct, at the junction of 3 roads, hence the name tre vie (3 streets) fountain.
The legend of making a wish is not uncommon. Hence, there is about 3000€ worth of coins in the fountain. These coins are then used to help the poor and needy in Rome. And before you think about going into the fountain to steal it, it is a crime to do so.
Before going to Rome, I would suggest that you watch La Dolce Vita as it captures the beauty of the fountain.
Trevi Fountain Information
Attraction: Trevi Fountain
Operating Hours: Daily
Another stunning creation by the Romans. I fully understood the beauty after returning to Rome for the second time. You see, Rome is insanely stunning that you have to return frequently to capture the essence of her beauty.
Did you know, you can hold your wedding in the Pantheon? The Pantheon is actually an old Roman temple. So, it is possible for you to hold your wedding there. So if you don’t know how to mark the start of the beginning of the rest of your life, why not book the entire Pantheon to tell the world that you are marrying your best friend, your soulmate.
As much as I did imagine myself getting married in the Pantheon, the part that stopped my heart is the body of Raphael.
Raphael Sanzi da Urbino
Having done a few road trips in Italy, Raphael Sanzio da Urbino is basically a legend. He is part of the trinity of greatest artists in history: Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Together, they produced great masterpieces that withstood the test of time. There are many that you can still see today in the museums of Italy and the Vatican Palace. One of this most famous work is The School of Athens, hung in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. I admit that I stood there dumbfounded as I was mesmerized by the painting. The painting represented Philosophy. You can find Plato and Aristotle were two of the key highlights.
So you can only imagine my surprise to know that the body of Raphael is buried in the Pantheon. His true body is still in the Pantheon today, albeit it is probably all bones and dust now. I approached his “grave” slowly as if it would disturb his rested soul. And took a peek. My heart stopped beating.
My favourite moment in Pantheon is when the sun is setting. The rays of the sun enter the top of the Pantheon, creating a pool of light hitting the floor. The exact moment when you enter such a beautiful church with a ray of the sun warming up the room, you find peace inside.
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat 09:00-19:30, Sun 09:00-18:00
Piazza de Popolo
Piazza de Popolo is also known as the People’s Square. In the past, it is the most important route to the North and it was the first view of Rome when a traveller arrives. The history of Piazza de Popolo begins at the gates. It was once known as the gate of old Rome. I love Piazza de Popolo, because it describes ancient Rome perfectly.
The outer façade of the gate is commissioned by Pope Pius IV to Michelangelo, who asked an architect to build it. The coloums of the façade comes from the former St. Peter’s Basilica. Statues of St. Peter and St. Paul was sculpted by Francesco Mochi between the 2 pairs of columns.
Fun fact: in ancient Rome, the pope was the government and the bank. The rich had a lot of money and commissioned to build tons of structures around the city. Famous architects like Leonardo da Vinci were tasked to build them, but it is other architects that started the plans. That fun fact in mind, the gate is designed by architect Giusepe Valadier.
Boring architecture things aside, Piazza de Popolo is beautiful. If you have your back facing the gates, look ahead. You will realise something. The plaza is symmetrical! The fountains at the sides and the 2 churches, Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. The streets branch out, illustrating a “trident”.
Describing ancient Rome perfectly
It is what Piazza de Popolo shows, in my opinion. The fountains on the left and right? The left shows the Fountain of Neptune and his 2 tritons. The right showed Goddess Roma. The best view is from the hill being the plaza. Ancient Rome has a precision of beauty and elegance, and everything is created with a flare of art.
Yet, ancient Rome has another side. I don’t know how you think about ancient Rome, but to me, she is a jealous ex that takes your sweater and shows it off to your new girlfriend. And she’s not afraid to show it. And she thinks she is way better.
After going to Egypt and stealing many of the obelisks, they decided to put it all around the city of Rome. With the square being called the People’s Square and it is very popular, they had to show their power. The Egyptian obelisk of Ramessess II is right in the middle of the square. Classy.
Fun fact 2: when Rome decided to move its new capital to Constantinople (now, Istanbul), it moved one of the obelisks there too! The obelisk is now the oldest structure in Istanbul and was once the tallest. Unfortunately, some parts are destroyed so you only see a portion of it in Istanbul now.
Piazza de Popolo Information
Attraction: Piazza de Popolo
Operating Hours: daily
When I ask the locals where is their favourite place in Rome, they told me Piazza Navona. I had my morning coffee and croissant there the next day and understood. The most beautiful thing about Piazza Navona is now spectacular it is. It feels like walking in an open-air museum, going back in time. It is said to be “an architectural miracle in the heart of the Eternal City, filled with masterpieces in perfect harmony with each other”. I can’t agree more.
Rome loves to showcase their genius and masterpieces. There is no doubt you can find works of Bernini and Borromini in the Baroque masterpiece there. Piazza Navona is a classic example of the urban life in Rome. The area used to the tracks of Rome’s first stadium and now, it is common to see painters, street performers and artists showcasing their works. The piazza is always filled with movement, life and art. Sit by one of the cafes in the summer sun and embrace the beauty of the piazza.
My favourite thing about the Piazza is the Fountain of the 4 Rivers. This fountain was designed by Bernini for Pope Innocent X! Do you know what the 4 main rivers in the world are? Nile (Africa), Danube (Europe), Ganges (Asia) and Rio de la Plata (America). It also showcases the 4 statues carved out of marble and decorated with animals like horses, sea monster, serpent, dolphin, crocodile, lion and dragon.
Piazza Navona Information
Attraction: Piazza Navona
Operating Hours: daily
Rome always has a way to creep up into my heart and steal it. No matter how many times I am back, I can’t help but fall right back into love with Rome. A city of art, history and culture, it is a place that everyone needs to add to their bucket list.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.