Rome is truly a phenomenal place to visit. Over the centuries, it has inspired writers, poets, artists, and many others with its magnificence. Sometimes referred to as the Eternal City, the City of Seven Hills, or the Cradle of Western Civilization, (it’s hard to compete with that), there’s something amazing to see at every turn.
According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 BC by twins Romulus and Remus who were abandoned by a king in a basket along the Tiber River. Rescued and raised by a wolf, they later killed the king who left them for dead. Romulus didn’t stop there though, he also killed his brother so he could become king. Rome has a vast and complicated history, so I’m going to focus on the places we visited, and give a brief overview of each one.
As a side note, Roman engineering was quite advanced back in the day, and made use of cement and concrete, that’s why so many ancient structures are still standing today.
Our first stop was the Pantheon. Built between 126 – 128 AD, the massive domed ceiling was the largest at the time it was built. There is actually an open hole in the center of the dome called the Oculus, which allows rain and snow into the building. The floor is sloped, however, so the water runs off.
Not much is known about its original purpose or who built it, other than Hadrian was emperor when it was constructed. There were two other structures on the site before the current one was built, both of which were destroyed by fire.
The Trevi Fountain was our next stop. This Baroque fountain was built in the 18th century and is the largest in Rome. There has been a fountain on this site for many centuries. Situated at the end of an aqua duct, it was originally built to provide water for the nearby baths. They say if you toss a coin into the fountain, you will return to Rome. Approximately 3,000 euros is removed from the fountain each day; wow! Incidentally, it is illegal to take coins from the fountain.
It was difficult to get good photos since we weren’t the only ones visiting the fountain that day!
We also visited the Spanish Steps,
and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. More about these next week.
Rome has a huge street cat population, we saw them frequently in our walks around the city.
The cats are considered a good way to keep the rat and mice population under control, and they are even protected by law. It is illegal to harm them, or remove them from the place they have selected to live. Local health authorities are responsible for the spaying and neutering of the cats. As one who loves animals, in my humble opinion, all cities should have such laws. 😽
We walked for hours and were a little overwhelmed with all there is to see. Our dear friend Lisa said that Rome has something amazing to see everywhere you turn. Another dear friend, Dave said he found Rome to be amazing and interesting. They were right; I took over 500 photos in the five days we were there!
We worked up an appetite with all that walking, but thankfully, restaurants are ubiquitous in Rome. I’m not a big fan of meat, but I did have Pasta alla Carbonara, which is the king of pasta dishes in Rome.
We stayed at Hotel Campo de Fiori, which is centrally located and within easy walking distance to many of the must see locations. The hotel is quiet, comfortable, and the staff is amazingly friendly and helpful.
The thing I love about Rome is that it has so many layers. In it, you can follow anything that interests you: town planning, architecture, churches, or culture. It’s a city rich in antiquity and early Christian treasures, and just endlessly fascinating. There’s nowhere else like it. Claire Tomalin
We saw so much more while in Rome, so check back next week when I post about other fascinating and historical locations in this iconic city.
If you enjoyed this post you might also like Bath Spa, which was my first exposure to Roman engineering at the famous Roman Baths.
Wishing you grand adventures,