& The Vatican City.
13.04.2011 35 °C
Rome is the capital of Italy and has the country's
largest population with 4.2 million residents.
With the city's history spanning over two and a half
thousand years, there is so much to learn about Rome.
Just walking the streets is like an outdoor museum,
it's amazing to see the old ruins still in it's original place
and a modern city build around it.
The Colosseum is the most visited attraction and draws
four million admirers a year. This man made stadium is
considered the greatest works of Roman architecture and
dates all the way back to 70 AD. It was said to seat 50,000
spectators, who came to watch the epic gladiator battles.
It is fascinating to see how much of the exterior of the Colosseum
is still intact, we visited it during the day and night and both had
a different feel. There is even a chance to get your photo with a
gladiator! We also paid to go inside which was great to see the
numerous entrances, corridors and the areas where the wild beast
were kept. The original floor is no longer and the inside hasn't kept
as well as the exterior but i strongly recommend going inside to
check it out.
Just opposite the Colosseum is the Roman Forums which
can be explored on the same ticket as your Colosseum pass.
This is a chance to really go back in time and explore just how the
Romans lived and see what they created. Most of important structures
of this ancient city are still standing here today and date back from 27 BC
to 476 AD. After the Roman Empire fell, the Forum had been buried and
became forgotten. Today the area is back to it's former glory and it was
here Julius Caesar created history. Just walking around the valley was
inspiring and was a highlight for me whilst in Rome, it's a major must see!
The next must see has to be the Trevi Fountain, the most famous fountain
in the world and easy to see why, It is huge and so beautiful up close.
It stands 25.9 meters high and 19.8 meters wide and was completed
in 1762. A tradition here is for visitors to throw a coin into the fountain,
this means they will one day return to Rome, a second coin is said to bring
a new romance and the third to ensure you get married. 3,000 Euros are
thrown into the fountain daily and the money is later donated to charity.
It was very crowded when we visited during the day so we later returned
at night and it was alot more tranquil.
During a walking tour of Roma, we visited many of the city's most
influential sights including Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II,
The Spanish Steps and the Pantheon. The Spanish Steps are at the base
of the Trinità dei Monti Church and there are 138 stairs in total.
Tourist and locals hang out on the steps and people watch in the
Plaza- Piazza Di Spagna. This is also the widest staircase in Europe
and gets quite crowded.
The Pantheon temple was erected to honor the Olympian gods,
the original structer was distroyed due to fire and the current
temple was re-build in 126 AD. It has since been used as a tomb
and is the final resting place for Raphael, the famous Italian painter.
The exterior is currently under construction which is abit of an eyesore
but thankful you can still come inside and that's where you can
appricate the Pantheon. The main feature is the massive domed roof
and the opening above is the only source of light inside.
Whilst in Rome you have the chance to visit the smallest county
in the world, The Vatican City. It's only 44 kilometers and has a
population of less than 800 but none are permanente citizens,
this is the number of employees of the Vatican.
The country was created in 1929 and and is ruled by the Pope
currently Pope Benedict XVI, it is the headquarterss to the Catholic
Church which is estimated to have over 1 billion followers.
The Vatican City is guarded by the smallest army in the world
and whilst your visiting keep an eye out for the colourful guards,
their uniforms are red, purple and orange are were designed by
Michelangelo. Whilst visiting it is also a popular place to sent your
postcards from, this is because they have a very efficient post office
and international mail in the Vatican will get there quicker than
anywhere else in Italy. There is more mail sent per person
than from this country than anywhere else in the world.
Amazingly, the country’s economy is only made up of profits from
tourism, merchandise and postage stamps.
St. Peter's Basilica is regarded as one of the holiest religious sites
and is the largest Christian church in the world. You can admire it
whilst standing in Saint Peter's Square and for a closer look you
will need to purchase a admission ticket or book on a guided tour.
Once inside the Vatican, you have the chance to wonder through
the Museums and witness art dating back to the 15th century
as well as entering the Sistine Chapel. The tour will cost 31 Euros
per person and will include a two hour guided tour with audio.
The tour includes the Vatician Gardens, the Gallery of the Candelabras
and the Gallery of the Tapestries as well as a look at Renaissance Art
and a stroll the Raphael Rooms.
During the tour we also enter the Sistine Chapel, once inside you
will be amazed at the famous celing which was hand painted by
by Michelangelo. Now they do say no photos inside which i was
respectful of until i seen most people attempting to take a sneaky
picture up at the celing so i tried for one to and it actually turned
out pretty well but they are mostly stricked on this rule.
The celing is 12,000 square feet and was painted between
1508 and 1512. It features so much beautiful detail and some
iconic pieces of art including The Last Judgement,
The Creation of Adam and The Downfall of Adam and Eve.
The celing was later restored in 1994.
The tour ends inside St. Peter's Basilica and we were walked
through every part of the huge church. We saw the baldachin
which stands over St Peter's tomb, looked up inside the dome
and were introduced to Pieta, another of Michelangelo's
best known artworks. It was wonderful inside and even if you are not
religious, I recommend you go inside and experince it for yourself!