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Top 5 Things to see in Rome

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Date: 2014-03-20 10:28:43


Author: Samuel Heenan

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1. A visit to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica

Vatican Museums - Around Rome Tours

Visiting the Vatican Museums is an unforgettable experience that requires strength, stamina and patience. You’ll need to be on top of your game to endure the inevitable queues – if not for a ticket then for the security checks – and enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the world’s great museum complexes. Founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century and enlarged by successive pontiffs, the museums are housed in what is known collectively as the Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano.

This massive 5.5-hectare complex consists of two palaces – the Vatican palace nearest St Peter’s and the Belvedere Palace – joined by two long galleries. On the inside are three courtyards: the Cortile della Pigna, the Cortile della Biblioteca, and, to the south, the Cortile del Belvedere.

You’ll never manage to explore the whole complex in one go – you’d need several hours just for the highlights – so it pays to be selective. There are several suggested itineraries, or you can go it alone and make up your own route.

Depending on your preference there is the option to buy just a skip the line ticket to the Museums in which you will receive direct entrance and not spend hours waiting in line. A ticket can be bought from the following link: Skip the Line Vatican Museums Ticket

Otherwise for a little extra of your well saved vacation money you can take a tour with a guide and learn all the insights into the museums and St Peter’s Basilica. Vatican Museums Tour

Which ever way you decide to go the Vatican Museums are definitely a must on any list for Rome. Just be sure if you go it alone to be prepared for long lines and be expected to have your shoulders and knees covered as otherwise you will be refused entrance to the Museums.


2. The Colosseum and Roman Forum

Colosseum and Roman Forum - Around Rome Tours

The Colosseum and area of the Roman forum area has recently been pedestrianised blocking the route immortalised by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck's scooter ride in the 1953 film Roman Holiday. The road to the monuments is now more impressive without the beeping of horns and constant traffic. On the way up you will see large statues of Rome’e emperors along with the remains of the Roman Forum before reaching the most famous monument to have survived from the classical world. It was built nearly two thousand years ago for the purpose of hosting violent gladiator games. Thousands of men and animals fought for their lives in the sandy arena. A few gladiators and warriors found glory there. Some even found fame and fortune but many more died an anonymous death, providing entertainment for eager Roman spectators.

The Colosseum, together with the Palatine (the ticket is valid for both) is the most visited monument  in Italy, so it may take some time to get in the amphitheatre, especially during the Summer months, but obviously something worth waiting for. To actually see inside where the gladiators were holed up underneath the stadium floor and lifted up on platforms to do battle.

You will find also many artifacts, statues and things of interest as you pass through the corridors of the amphitheatre so be sure not to pass through too quickly.

Along with the ticket to the Colosseum you will gain access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the forums were the heart of the late Roman Republic and of the Roman Empire. Palatine Hill four-sided plateau rising 131 feet south of the Forum city of Rome was founded on the Palatine, where archaeological discoveries range from prehistoric remains to the ruins of imperial palaces.

You can buy your ticket from the entrance to the Colosseum or at the Palatine where the lines are usually small. Otherwise for a tour with a guide to show you around and also fast track entrance without lines of the Colosseum, Forum and Ancient Rome check out the following options. Colosseum and Ancient Rome Tour

3. The Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain - Around Rome Tours

It was sculpted in 1762 by Nicolà Salvi to serve as an outlet for the Acqua Vergine aqueduct, built in 19 B.C. Tourists and teens throng the cramped little piazza's curving steps from early morning until well after midnight while immigrants selling plastic-wrapped roses thread through the crowds.

Some say you must throw the coin with the right hand backward over the left shoulder. Others insist you must use three coins. Historians point out the original tradition was to drink the fountain's water, but unless you enjoy the taste of chlorine, I'd stick to pocket change.

The Trevi Fountain is worth a visit at day and at night time as you get a completely different feel at different times of the day, but one thing is for sure you are not likely to ever find the place without crowds of people.

To find out more about the history of Baroque Rome you can take a guided tour that passes the Trevi Fountain Rome Squares and Fountains Tour


4. The Pantheon

Pantheon - Around Rome Tours

ARoman temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. As the brick stamps on the side of the building reveal it was built and dedicated between A.D 118 and 125.
The emperor Hadrian (A.D 117-138) built the Pantheon to replace Augustus’ friend and Commander Marcus Agrippa’s Pantheon of 27 B.C. which burnt to the ground in 80 A.D.

When approaching the front of the Pantheon one can see the inscription above still reads in Latin the original dedication by Marcus Agrippa. The inscription reads:

“Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius, having been consul three times made it”.

Despite all the marvelous building projects that the emperor Hadrian produced during his reign, he never inscribed his name to any, but one, the temple of his father Trajan. That is why the Roman Pantheon bears the inscription of Marcus Agrippa, and not the emperor Hadrian.

Once inside the Pantheon you will see the engineering miracle, look up at the architecturally precise dome with its oculus, or "eye in the sky," spanning 30 feet across the middle.Inside you will also find the tomb of the famous Painter Rafael and of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy.


5.  Villa & Gallery Borghese

Gallery Borghese - Around Rome Tours 

Stolling along in Rome’s City centre Park above Piazza del Popolo you will find the balcony of Pincio with amazing views of the City and St Peter’s Basilica in the distance, this place is the perfect stop to watch the sunset. You can rent a bike or take a rowing boat on the lake of the park or as many do just relax and take in some sun.

For a more cultured visit to the park you will fine the Galler Borghese which some say is the best museum in Rome. Its collections are housed in a magnificent 17th-century villa and offer a compact course in the Italian aesthetic. In just 20 rooms, you are exposed to antiquities, the Renaissance and the beginnings of baroque art.

Visits to the Galleria in the northeast corner of the sprawling Villa Borghese park are by reservation, which allows you the pleasure of seeing the Bernini sculptures from every angle without being crowded out. Or you can book a tour with guide for a little extra and receive a experts view of the Gallery: Gallery Borghese Tour

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