Region: Europe >> Italy
Travel time: 2010, March 23rd to March 27th
Picture Gallery: Link
Many people explored Rome and it’s incredible history, still to be witnessed today in the famous Colosseum or Forum Romanum. I had a complete week in Italy and also traveled to the active volcano Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed the now UNESCO World Heritage declared site Pompeii nearly 2000 years ago.
Rome can get very hot and crowded in the summer, try to get there around April or May if you want to make the most out of your stay. There is also a lot to see and you should plan more than just a weekend for the city, it’s worth it! This report is focused on the must-see’s and will be very short as well, I hope you enjoy the pictures and the fact that you can cover this post in a short amount of time, unlike my previous work on climbing Kilimanjaro 😉
The Colosseum and Forum Romanum should not be missed under any circumstances if you are interested in the history of ancient Rome. The Forum is not only located in the city center, but also used to be the center of the complete glorious Roman Empire in terms of politics, religion and justice. The close by Colosseum is one of the most impressive buildings in town. The amphitheatre was used as a stage for gladiatorial contests in front of 50.000 frenetic observers and you can get a very good idea of how it used to look like in 80 AD, walking around the elliptical ranks. Make sure to buy a 12€ combi-ticket if you plan to visit both sites!
Another Highlight is Vatican City, a small state within Rome. It features one of the biggest churches in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica, possibly known from the movie Angels & Demons. You can climb up the 136m tall dome and reward yourself with a great view on St.Peter’s Square and most of the city. Enjoy the atmosphere of this place and continue to the Vatican Museum right around the corner. It’s free on the last sunday of a month, but be prepared for a very long queue. Once in, you will witness some of the greatest paintings, such as Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam inside the famous Sistine Chapel.
Rome is covered with tons of beautiful squares and fountains and I will only mention my favorites here. Piazza Navona has such a great vibe going on and it will literally keep you stuck there for a while to observe everything’s that’s going here. Piazza del Popolo is another must see, especially because of the tremendous view on the city from the Pincian Hill. The baroque Trevi Fountain attracts huge crowds for a good reason and you might find it hard to get a good picture with you in front of it during the evening hours – try it anyway!
If you have some extra time during your stay, get into the train to Naples and continue from there to Pompeii. Most of the city was destroyed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 and you will have a good view on the active volcano from the train. The ruins are still in a good shape and you can easily spend half a day exploring temples, houses and a great amphitheatre in excellent shape.
You can also check out Ostia Antica to see ruins, without the obligation of driving all the way to Pompeii. The harbor city of ancient Rome is just half an hour away and offers similar sights, even though I preferred the ruins in Pompeii a bit more. I should note that I was not paying a great deal of attention to Ostia Antica though – it was just way to hilarious walking around there with our Couchsurfing Hosts. You really made this trip great!
Well, this is it! I hope you don’t mind that I kept it short, I will switch back to longer reports for the bigger trips and just toss in some small ones in between. Ciao!