Rome was not built in a day

2 October 2013

Italy’s capital, Rome, is one of those places we feel we know a lot about, even if we have not had the fortune of travelling there. After all, ancient Roman society existed in one of the most fascinating periods of world history. Many aspects from that time continue on to the present day; we can thank the Romans for much of western culture, law, the calendar and, of course, a few of our best-known English sayings.

Steeped in over three thousand years of rich history, modern Rome is an incredible city to visit. Whether you have a few days or only a few hours, there is so much to see and experience. Most of the major tourist attractions are within walking distance so pack a pair of comfortable shoes and explore this intriguing city. Here are a few reasons why you should.

Trevi Fountain, Rome Trevi Fountain, Rome

History
“All roads lead to Rome.” Visiting some of the most famous tourist sites in Rome is like walking through several eras of history all squashed together. There is so much enchanting history to discover here.  Just think of the grand presence of the Colosseum and the days of gladiators, emperors and nearly sixty thousand spectators. Even with thousands of tourists teeming around you, time seems to stand still within the walls of this magnificent structure.  And, whether you are religious or not, Catholic or not, a visit to the Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Cathedral, the largest in the world, are sights not to be missed. Perhaps you’d be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Pope himself.

Architecture
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” The Forum, the Pantheon, Piazza di Spagna (also known as the Spanish Steps), Trevi Fountain (throw a coin into the fountain and you’ll return to Rome on town), St Peter’s Cathedral and the list goes on. There are so many beautiful buildings, piazzas and fountains in this city. All over the Western world, one can see the influence of ancient Roman architecture.

The Colosseum, Rome The Colosseum, Rome

Artwork
Roman art leaves a rich cultural legacy from times gone by. From some of the most famous paintings in the world to sculptures influenced by the Greek gods, this city has it all. Do your utmost to get to see the Sistine Chapel and the splendour of Michaelangelo’s work. It would ‘wow’ even the most cynical of human beings.

Food
“When in Rome, we do as Romans do.”Italian food is renowned and celebrated the world over. In Rome, you’ll find some of the best thin-based pizza in Italy. Here, people would be horrified by the thought of cheese-filled crusts and mayonnaise bases. A fresh carbonara pasta would hardly be a bad food choice either. Don’t forget to sample some famous gelato; it is sure to be better than any ‘ice cream’ you have ever tasted.

By: Philippa Francis

Philippa Francis

Over the last few years, I have fallen in love with travel and I am not sure I will be able to stop, except for my other great love; writing. After studying journalism at Rhodes and Stellenbosch Universities, I wanted to get a taste of the bigger world. I have worked all sorts of jobs and I have saved. I have ‘bused’ around Europe and backpacked around south-east Asia. I have seen magical sights and met wonderful people from all walks of life.