I spent my second weekend in the eternal city, Rome! Being the capital of Italy and with everything there is to do and see, Rome is definitely a place you would want to visit in Italy. This city was so different compared to Florence, Lucca and other Italian cities. I view Rome as the New York of Italy, the streets are wide, and more cars are used, there are subways and is a very busy city. I went to Rome with some friends from one of my classes, a high speed Frecciarossa train from Florence to Rome got us there in about two hours when it usually takes about four hours with a regular train; don’t forget to validate your train ticket to avoid a fine. Once there we stayed at Hotel Mediterraneo, a nice hotel within walking distance to the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum.
The first night there we ate at Ristorante Gallina Bianca, which was about 10 minutes away from our hotel; the food was good and affordable but I honestly was not impressed. After that I decided to head to the Trevi Fountain with my friend, it took us about 30 minutes to walk there. The Trevi Fountain was the beautiful masterpiece that I expected, it was bigger than I imagined it would be. Tossing my coin in was very memorable although there were a lot of tourists crowding the place. I am very glad that I visited the fountain at night, because being already beautiful the fountain looks magical at night. I also visited the fountain during the day and I recommend you visit at night instead. Rome was big on religion just like I expected, pictures of Pope Francis could be found in postcards, walls and anywhere.
On my second day in Rome I visited the Vatican City. Keep in mind that in order to enter you must dress properly, no shorts or tank tops allowed, this is also the case with most churches in Italy. The city was very big and the Vatican museum was very crowded, which I did not like. I learned that this was due to the celebration of the Jubilee this year, which is known as the year of mercy when debts are forgiven. Because of this celebration many Catholics visit The Vatican city to pass through the Holy Door of Mercy and purify themselves. I had the honor of meeting with a cardinal through one of my classes, it was a special moment. The Sistine chapel was beautiful and filled with famous masterpieces of art by artist Michelangelo; the chapel was considerably bigger than I imagined. Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica was an honor, it was like I expected the mother of the churches, breathtakingly beautiful and immense with a height of 452 feet. It was astounding to learn that there are no paintings in the St. Peter’s Basilica, what looked to me like paintings were actually mosaics. The Basilica is home to the Bernini’s Baldacchino, Michelangelo’s masterpiece Pieta and the bodies of former Popes John XXIII and Innocentus XI. Something special about the location of the Vatican is that St. Peter’s body is believed to have been buried where the altar is in the St. Peter’s Basilica, this is what makes this location so special.
On my third day in Rome I visited the Colosseum. I had always dreamed of being there, at one of the most visited sites in Rome and known as one of Italy’s most extraordinary pieces of architectural art. The Colosseum encompasses much more history than what can be seen at simple view. Since its beginnings, it became a place of Roman traditions and one of the biggest attractions to foreigners as it remains being today. I loved learning about all its history; it was fascinating to learn that the Colosseum’s design incorporates both Roman architectural styles through the use of arches and Greek architectural styles through the use of columns. The Colosseum was way bigger in size than I expected and it was unbelievable to stand there and be able to appreciate the beautiful ruins of an almost two thousand year old amphitheatre. Other places I visited include the Pantheon, Spanish steps, Piazza Navona, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi and more. Visiting Rome was a very memorable experience, I am very pleased with my visit and will definitely visit again. The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, The Vatican and all the historic places I visited made my time in Rome unforgettable. I can now cross it off my bucket list!
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