Italy's capital is so filled with beauty and history that public officials struggle to upgrade city infrastructures because they keep running into magnificent ruins worth preserving. Rome's beginnings date back to the 750s BC, before this metropolis became the political stage for emperors such as Augustus and Julius Caesar, and before the Roman Empire influenced the world. Today, Rome is modern city filled with posh hotels and restaurants, designer stores, stone piazzas and passersby scooting along on vespas. Cheap tickets to Rome are available, so book your flight and take advantage of everything Rome has to offer, from it's beautiful, warm weather to it's amazing ruins. Many of Rome's most famous sites are free and within quick walking distance of the city's metro stations.
Two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon is still praised for its perfect exemplary proportions and construction, particularly its coffered concrete dome which features a central opening to the sky. Considered one of the best preserved ruins in Rome, the Pantheon has been a site of worship throughout the centuries and continues to be used for religious services by the Roman Catholic church. Touring the Pantheon, visitors quickly see how its design influenced architecture around the world. Just outside the Pantheon is the Piazza della Rotunda, with cafes offering coffee, pizza and gelato.
Feats of Strength
How can you not see the Colosseum when visiting Rome? When I went there it was filled with stray cats and tourists, yet it was still a humbling experience because the amphitheater is so huge and once held up to 80,000 screaming spectators who came to watch the bravest of the brave. Completed around 80 AD, the Colosseum was the Roman Empire's largest amphitheaters and is considered one of its greatest architectural and engineering accomplishments. Touring the Colosseum is like touring a maze with all its many tiers, galleries, and walls. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for getting a bit turned around.
What Lies Beneath
For those who love archeology and history, the Basilica di San Clemente features ruins upon ruins upon ruins. Underneath this beautiful 12th-century church filled with fantastic frescos is a 4th century church which sits on top of a 2nd-century pagan temple dedicated to the ancient god Mithras. Explore the various layers of the past by going down the stairs from one level to the next.
Rome gets plenty of sunshine and there's no better place to cool off than the always popular Trevi Fountain, a masterpiece of Baroque design completed after years of construction in 1762. One of the largest fountains in the city, the Trevi Fountain stands 86 feet high and about 161 feet wide, and is probably one of the world's most famous wishing wells filled with coins tossed by individuals wishing for love. Rising from the water is Neptune, god of the sea, as he emerges from the reflecting pool surrounded by his Tritons. The fountain sits amidst a thriving nightlife scene, making it an ideal spot to enjoy an evening out.
Photo credit: ryarwood