The Cradle Of Modern Civilisation, An Open-air Museum Housing Some Of The Major Monuments Of Antiquity
The Forum, Rome, Italy. September 2, 2007
There’s history, & then there’s the Italian capital of Rome. Founded according to legend by Romulus and Remus in 753 BC, this is where modern civilisation as we all know it was founded. Yep, right here. Rome was first the centre of the Roman Republic, then of the Roman Empire, and it became the capital of the Christian world in the 4th century.
In terms of historical sights, Rome, as one might expect, outstrips everywhere else in Italy. And by some way. The city feels like one big open-air museum detailing of the legacy left behind by the all-conquering Romans, the empire they built and the influence it had over the world’s politics, religion, architecture and transportation. Along every street there seems to be a 2000+ -year-old wall, church, monument or pile of rubble. The old adage states that Rome wasn’t built in a day & suffice to say one needs a lot more than a day to take in all that’s on show, something that can be a head-scratching, bewildering experience given the fact that the present-day UNESCO World Heritage-listed Historic Centre of Rome includes some of the major monuments of antiquity such as the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Pantheon, Trajan’s Column and the Column of Marcus Aurelius, not to mention the religious and public buildings of Papal Rome/Vatican City.
– UNESCO commenting on Historic Centre of Rome
I had 3 whole days (4 nights) at my disposal (for both Rome & Vatican City, a.k.a. Papal Rome) and although one could spend weeks snooping around I developed a plan of attack for my limited time in the city, a plan that at least looked good on paper.
Dave Does Rome || The 3-Day Plan of Attack
Day 1 || Hello father. Religious Stuff (Papal Rome/Vatican City).
Day 2 || Hail Caesar. Ancient, dusty Roman (Roman Forum, Colosseum etc.)
Day 3 || Loose ends.
Day 1 || Loose Ends
When travelling, & for me at least, the surest way to ensure a plan doesn’t go to plan is to make a plan/span>. Thus my plan for Rome didn’t go well from the get-go. Day one was a Saturday & The Vatican Museums close early on a Saturday. I only discovered this after visiting Vatican City, the smallest internationally recognized independent state, a.k.a. country, in the world. Doing so gave me first look at the impressive Saint Peter’s Basilica, only the largest church in the world. Check out the dedicated Vatican City entry for more. Day 1 now became Loose End day which saw me walking around the city of Rome instead, taking in some of its must-see sights – Piazza Novona (a square that’s actually rectangular in shape), The Pantheon (old, Roman, big & round), the Trevi Fountain (so many people there that they were the sight, not the fountain itself), & the Spanish Steps (why this is a city ‘attraction’ beats me). Oh, and I dropped by the Colosseum in the late evening to round out the day.
Day 2 || Ancient, Dusty Rome
I spent yesterday day walking around The Roman Forum, a densely packed area of the city littered with Roman ruins (a lot) older than most countries, and taking another, proper look at the Colosseum, all the while trying to imagine what it would have been like to have lived here over 2000 years ago, wear a toga and watch the spectacle in the Colosseum. I came right back to reality in the evening when organising onward travel (by train, not chariot) to Naples, my next stop in Italy further down the Italian Tyrrhenian Sea coast.
The Colosseum, Take II
After shaking off the dust from the Forum it was back to the Colosseum a short walk away, this time to take a look at its interior.
Day 3 || Papal Rome/Vatican City
Day 3 saw me return to Vatican City where I spent the day touring the now open, not to mention exhaustive, Vatican Museums, probably the best complex of museums anywhere in the world. Check out the Vatican City entry for more.