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My Week in Italy: Rome
Beautiful view of Tiber River
Visiting Rome in end November
Before deciding to head to Europe in late November, I was slightly hesitant as I was wary of bad weather. Well, I am glad to say that I went ahead and I truly enjoyed my two weeks exploring Italy and Paris. My first stop was at Rome, the capital city of Italy.
All in all, I spent 3 days in Rome. Hence, I obtained the Roma Pass at the tourist information desk at the Fiumcino Airport arrival area. It will allow you to take unlimited public transport for 3 days from the day you validate and 2 free entries to selected attractions.
Great Weather in Rome
When we landed in Rome, the weather was perfect with cool temperature and the sun shining. This definitely helped us Asians adapt better. After checking in, it was already dark as daylight hours are shorter during this period. Our first stop was the Colosseo metro station. The moment i stepped out, I was wowed by the Colosseum which stood right in front of me. Before my trip I had definitely searched for photos but NOTHING can beat the real thing!
Trevi Fountain at Night
Excellent Night View of Rome: Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps
From the Colosseum, we continued to walk past the Roman Forum all the way till we reached the Vittorio Emmanuel Monument. By then, we are already close to Piazza Venezia. Here, you will find many restaurants, pizzerias, cafes and gelaterias where you can rest your feet while enjoying the food.
After a dinner of pizza and pasta, we headed to the Trevi Fountain. It was larger and grander than what I expected. Next up, we strolled to the Spanish Steps and climbed up to a small church, the Trinite dei Monti Church, right at the top. The place was filled with people and was buzzing with life at night. After resting at the top, we then took the Spagna metro back to our hotel.
Direction to the Vatican Museum
Visiting Vatican City
Our second day in Rome was also the last Sunday of November. Hence, there was free entry to the Vatican Museum. We headed there early via the Ottaviano metro stop but the queue were already snaking all the way round the walls of the world's smallest country. Thus, we changed our plans and headed to the St Peter's Basilica where entry is free. Here there is a short queue and you have to go through the scanning machines just as at the airport. The church is huge and when we were there, we witnessed a short procession before a mass began. Very memorable with the strong-smelling incense. By the time we had finished exploring the basilica, we headed to the Vatican Museum again. This time the queue was much much shorter. After just 20 minutes, we were inside. We followed the route and were swamped by so many great works of art and sculpture. Don't just look to the side but also look up!
In Front of the Capitoline Museum
The Pantheon and Capitoline Museum
From the Vatican City, we then walked over to the Sant Angelo Castle and crossed the Ponte Sant Angelo (Sant Angelo Bridge) which is worth a stop as there are beautiful sculptures of angels here. Next, we hopped onto a bus using our Roma Pass and headed towards the Pantheon. The place itself is quite small. To me, the most interesting thing about the Pantheon is that you can clearly see how different the level of land was in the past compared to now and the oculus at the top. Next up, we headed to the Capitoline Museum, using up our first visit on the Roma Pass. The museum is huge and from the museum itself, you can take in the views of the Roman Forum. During our visit, there was also an exhibition on 2 Italian greats: Leonardo da Vinci, who is most famous for the painting Mona Lisa, and Michelangelo, most famous for his sculpture, David.
Additional Note: Most museums in Rome are closed on Mondays.
Inside the Colosseum
Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum
On our third day in Rome, we headed to our must-visit: the Colosseum. Earlier on, we had taken in the night view. Today, we headed in and used our 2nd visit on the Roma Pass. Here, the steps are steep and as I walked through the lower and upper floor, it was easy to visualise scenes from the movie "Gladiator". We also learnt more about Nero Caesar and the fire which razed Rome a long, long time ago through an exhibition on the upper floor.
Along with entrance to the Colosseum, entry to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum is included. You can choose to visit all 3 on the same day or space them out on 2 consecutive days. For us, we did all 3 on the same day which took us more than 3 hours. The Palatine Hill does not have very informative signposts. However, with the sun shining, we enjoyed our leisurely walk where once the noble families stayed. Up on the hill, you can also make a visit to the Palatine Museum. From the hill, we then walked down to the Roman Forum where the remains of the Temple of Saturn continue to stand.
Christmas Atmosphere at Piazza Navona
Piazza della Repubblica at Night
Exploring Rome using the Roma Pass
For lunch, we decided to head to Piazza Navona. As it was end November, there was a small Christmas market going on. The stalls were selling many cute Christmas toys and decorations, and lots of huge donuts for 3 Euros each. After lunch, we took the metro to the Circus Massimo stop and walked along the Circus Maximus. The land is huge but you will have to use your imagination to envision how grand it was when it was used for chariot races. Now, it is just an empty land surrounded by busy roads. At the end of the Circus Maximus, you will come to the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. This church is most famous for the Bocca della Verita or the Mouth of Truth. Legend goes that if you are a liar, your hand will be gobbled up by the gaping mouth of the stone on the wall. Now, the area has been gated and you need to queue and "donate" in order to take a picture with the Bocca della Verita. As we had unlimited use of public transport, we then took a bus to the Piramide stop. Here, you will actually see a mini pyramid!!! And yes, you do not need to go all the way to Egpyt!
More Information on Travel Around Europe
- My Week in Italy: Florence
- My Week in Italy: Pisa
- My Week in Italy: Venice
- Day 1 in Paris: The Louvre and More...
- Day 2 in Paris: Exploring Montmartre, Champs Elysees...
- Day 3 near Paris: Visiting Versailles
- Day 4 in Paris: From Marais to the Bastille
- Day 5 in Paris: From St Germain to Champs Elysees
- Day 6 in Paris: Opera, Perfume and Fashion!
Piazza della Repubblica: Shopping and More
On our last night in Rome, we headed to Piazza della Repubblica which looks stunning at night. Here, you can walk down Via Nazionale and shop or dine along this street or one of its many side streets. You can also choose to catch a movie here.
The 3 days we spent in Rome passed by too quickly. Walking past the many Unesco World Heritage sites really made me feel as if I was in another world. However, it was time to move on, to another beautiful city, Florence!