Rome, a charming and fashionable city. A city which I would happily visit again and again and has left me considering whether life in Rome would suit me.
My recent trip lasted five days, slightly longer than the average short break but not nearly enough time to fully explore this diverse city. With only five days, choosing which of the many attractions to visit was a hard decision; the Colosseum was an obvious choice incorporated alongside the Roman Forum, the Vatican, a day trip to Pompeii, and a day shopping was a necessity. Whilst the Colosseum and the Roman Forum felt overhyped, and the day of pure shopping turned into just one afternoon; it was my time spent visiting the Vatican and admiring the interior of dramatic churches which has made the biggest impression on my trip to Rome.
The Vatican. Being unreligious and uneducated on the catholic faith I was surprised with the amount of time I spent in the Vatican. Whether it was a day spent in the museums or the night time visit to Piazza San Peter; it feels that most my time in Rome was spent within the Vatican walls. What surprised me the most during my night time visit to the square was the amount of people just milling about, and the surreal feeling when looking at the Basilica lit up with spot lights.
Churches. With more than 900 churches in Rome there is defiantly no shortage of churches to pop into when out and about in the city. Visiting one of the many widely found sites can be an alternative activity to the busier tourist attractions. My visit to Basilica San Clementine was an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon and in my opinion is a church which deserves more press and promotion. A link to a previous blog on Basilica San Clementine, https://charlottejohnson888.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/must-see-church-in-rome/
Pantheon. ‘Anyone who goes to Rome without seeing the Pantheon goes and comes back an ass’ a quote from Eat Pray Love. While this old proverb may not be entirely true I think it is fair to say a trip to Rome is incomplete without a visit to this ancient temple. Looking rather uninteresting from the outside, once inside you are rewarded with the opportunity to witness this unusual circular design. What should be noted before visiting the Pantheon is the sheer number of tourists who visit the temple each day, make sure to visit either early morning of late afternoon for a quieter more personal experience.
Castle Sant’Angelo. Saving one of the best till last. I left visiting Castle Sant’Angelo until my last day, and I am pleased that I did. The views once you reach the top are spectacular; from the Vatican to the Roman forum and everything in between is visible from this once fortress and sanctuary. A café is located near the top of the castle offering equally spectacular views, an afternoon can be easily be passed enjoying the stunning sights and taking in the history which has occurred within the castle’s very walls.
My list of top attractions in Rome help sum up Rome as a city, a city built around layers of history yet still stylish on the exterior. This dual-personality has fascinated me, inspired me and has left me completely head over heels. There are things I wished I had seen such as the gardens in Villa Borghese, the church of Santa Maria Del Popolo and a pre-booked tour to the Tomb of Saint Peter under the Vatican Basilica. What I do know is that in the future whenever that will be, I will be able to visit all those sights, but also reacquaint myself with one of my favourite European cities.