What to say about Rome? Before this trip, I had never been there. Opinions on visiting Rome vary greatly, from “too crowded”, to “amazing”. The one thing everyone agreed on, though, was that you have to see it for yourself. As someone who has always been interested in history, of course I was excited to see it and to wander around some of the oldest structures that I have ever seen in person.
The first thing we had to do, was make some tough decisions. With one day to spend in Rome, we had to figure out what to leave out. We decided to leave the Vatican for another visit. That is a full day by itself, more if you want to go through the Vatican Museum. The next Med Cruise we take, we’ll focus solely on seeing the Vatican during our Rome stop. 😉
For this trip, though, I wanted to see the Colosseum, and the Forum first and foremost. That was where we headed, and while the structures here have certainly seen better days, you can feel the history of the place, you can look out over the floor of the Colosseum and imagine how many people were led to their deaths here, and how those deaths were cheered by the crowd. It’s sobering.
From there, it’s a short walk over to the Forum. Again, these are mostly ruins, but you can imagine this as the center of Roman life once upon a time.
Seeing both of these places, with so much history tied to them, was a pretty full morning. From there, we went strolling around Rome, visiting the Pantheon, Piazza Novana, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps before meeting up with our group for the ride back to the port in Piazza di Popolo.
A couple of thoughts here….
- We were there in what is officially “out of season”. I cannot imagine how crowded some of these sites would be during the Summer months. Be prepared.
- Even out of season, the Spanish Steps are not a good photographic opportunity, unless you just want a mass of people standing, sitting, etc. on said steps. You really can’t get a good look at the steps themselves.
- Buy your tickets for the Colosseum and Forum ahead of time online. The ticket lines can be pretty long!
- If you’re pressed for time, do not go sit down somewhere to eat. Italian culture, of course, assumes that you want to sit and enjoy your meal/company as long as possible. Grab some pizza to go, and keep moving, to make better use of your time. It’s delicious!
- There is a small church in the Piazza di Popolo, Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo, that has two Carvaggio paintings inside. You cannot photograph them, but it is a free way to see two art masterpieces.
You can check out all the photos from Rome over on Flickr. Enjoy!