“Veni, vidi, vici.” (I came, I saw, I conquered.) – Gaius Julius Caesar.
Anyone who has been following my blog recently will know that this time last week I was in Rome with my dad. In fact, we were rather lucky as our plane touched down half an hour earlier than expected. We were then even luckier when our suitcases were the first to be released at baggage claim, something which has never happened to us before. From the airport we found our way to our hotel (I didn’t take any photos because it was just your average hotel and it is definitely the last thing you are going to focus on if you’re going to Rome).
Arriving at the hotel, we literally dumped our bags, freshened up and left in search of the Colosseum. The Colosseum must have taken us half an hour or so to find, but we made it in the end and what a sight it was.
Walking through the streets of Rome you can turn any way and you will encounter ruins and fountains and, of course, famous buildings. If you were intending to see everything in Rome it would literally involve having to walk down every single street as there is something everywhere. This is also the best way to find a place to eat for an authentic Italian meal.
By the time we had arrived at the Colosseum it was two in the afternoon and my dad and I were starving due to having eaten breakfast at five in the morning. We decided to go in search of our first Italian restaurant, so we walked a little away from the Colosseum and the restaurant we chose up the street gave us a lovely view of the building.
The layout of the majority of places in Rome is very surprising as you’ll walk past loads of houses and encounter beautiful fountains and at the end of a row of restaurants you’ll witness the magnificent sight of the Colessuem. Rome itself looks, well, old for the lack of another word. The buildings are all painted yellow and orange giving them that ancient feel and the placement of famous landmarks appears almost random.
Our delicious pizzas left us incredibly full. Because of this we didn’t particularly feel up to any more exploring via walking, so we decided to get on a hop-on-hop-off bus. This bus took us in a circle around Rome, though we did get off near the Vatican so my dad could take some photos. Over this holiday my dad became obsessed with creating panoramas so there are multiple Vatican panoramas on his camera.
As someone who is not at all religious, the Vatican was not the most exciting part of Rome for me. Nevertheless, the beauty of the architecture and art inside is undeniable.
The morning of our second day we went to St. Peter’s Basilica which my dad immensely enjoyed. It was so much bigger than expected and the detail of everything is spectacular. Also, when in Rome, always look up. The ceilings in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel were more beautiful than words can describe. It also turns out that people are not allowed to takes photos within the Sistine Chapel because of a deal made with a company, therefore forcing people to buy their photos in order for them to make money. This deal is set to end in 2024 so if you want to take your own photos I would plan a trip for then.
One thing within the Vatican Museums which really excited me was the hall of statues. The was because of the presence of the Greek gods. I am very interested in Greek gods, I find them somewhat fascinating. This probably is not a massive surprise considering my latest book reviews are all Percy Jackson related and because I studied Classical Civilisations at A Level. This part of the trip was also lovely because I was able to educate my dad on some of the Greek gods; I think he liked the sound of Dionysus who is the god of wine.
I mentioned previously how the appearance of Rome itself was rather ancient and while in the Vatican Museums I was given the opportunity to take a shot of Rome from one of the upper levels. Fortunately, the weather in Rome was brilliant at this time of year, giving my photos a beautiful blue sky. In fact, the temperature went up to thirty seven degrees celsius just on our first day so it was extremely hot, way more so than I’m used to from living in the UK.
These photos were taken in the same area and the photo on the right shows the letters S. P. Q. R. This stands for Senātus Populusque Rōmānus (The Senate and People of Rome) and this is written literally everywhere in Rome, including on drains.
Next we finally found the Pantheon.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit at midday where it is said to be best due to the position of the sun in the sky. However, the architecture of the building was truly something to be admired.
Also, on the left you won’t be surprised that I was excited to see a sort of fountain where water was pouring out of a fish’s mouth.
Next stop was the one and only Trevi Fountain. Sadly, the fountain is under construction for the time being, but I was still able to see the top of it even though it wasn’t functioning. Also, I was able to throw a coin in and make a wish which made me happy.
Unsurprisingly, the Trevi Fountain was very busy, so after admiring the fountain and taking photos we shortly left in the pursuit of the Spanish Steps. We had expected to be led to the bottom of the steps, but actually ended up on the top. However, walking down was probably easier than walking up! Again, at the Spanish Steps a bit of construction was going on and it was heaving with people, but this didn’t bother my dad and I too much as we were ravenous and eager to try out first Italian pasta dish.
I also thought that I better mention that there was a little fountain of sorts directly in front of the Spanish Steps, but it was a little too wide to get a good photo of and it was surrounded by people.
Day three we revisited the Colosseum and this time we did it properly. I took so many photos inside the Colosseum so I will try and not bombard you all, but it was truly amazing. We also had a tour guide who told us snippets of information. For example, did you know that it only took eight years for the Colosseum to be built?
The arch in the wall of the Colosseum seems to frame the clouds wonderfully and in the background there is the arch next to the Roman Forum.
The arch in the background of this photo is not the same one as the arch displayed in the photo on the right, but they are very close in terms of distance.
If you ever get the opportunity to go to Rome you must go to the Colosseum at the very least. I must admit that my third day in Rome was probably my favourite. The sights you meet will take your breathe away and it is an experience I will never forget.
I also recommend the guided tour which includes the Roman Forum from which I learnt a lot. I enjoyed the visit to the Roman Forum because I liked how our guide covered a few things which I already knew from having studied the Roman Republic at college.
As I said, I greatly enjoyed the Roman Forum, but it was incredibly hot when I went and there wasn’t a lot of shade, so you have been warned. Also, the paths are very uneven so be careful. I made a bad choice with footwear as from the heat my feet were sweaty and slipped around in my sandals, but I would definitely recommend Converse or something similar as they’re ideal for all occasions and weathers.
After walking around the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and an additional walk we took a little break and hopped on a bus for a bit. We decided to get off near the Pantheon and find our way to the Theatre of Pompey. This is a spot I had learnt about in college because it was the place in which Caesar was assassinated by being stabbed twenty three times by many different senators.
On our travels it turned out that we had actually passed the spot the previous day on our way to the Pantheon and it made us wonder how many other people have strolled along this path without realising that that was where Gauis Julius Caesar had been killed.
In this photo, there are two trees right next to each other at the back. The pine tree (the one on the left) marks the spot where Caesar was killed in an apparently tiny building called the Theatre of Pompey. I will be honest, I expected the building to be a lot bigger. Obviously, depictions through movies and TV are hugely inaccurate.
The next day was Sunday and our last day in Rome. At this point we had seen all of the important things which we had been desperate to see with our owns eyes, so we let our final day be a little more relaxing. In the morning we ventured to Barberini in search for the Hard Rock Cafe.
We easily found the place and it looked amazing. I loved the little guitar door handles! I didn’t actually get many souvenirs for this holiday, so my dad treated me to a Hard Rock Cafe Rome t-shirt and key chain.
For the rest of the day, in the afternoon we hopped on a bus towards Vatican City and we went for a lovely walk up the river and along each of the bridges (there were many). The views from all of the bridges were stunning and, of course, this meant that the camera was coming out. This walk was the last thing we did before going back to our hotel to collect our bags and make our way to the airport so I will end this post with these beautiful sights.
All of these photos are taken by myself along the river in Rome.
I hope you all enjoyed this post. I really enjoyed writing it and reliving these moments in my head, despite only being a week ago. This is definitely the longest and most time consuming post I have ever written, but Rome deserves all of this and much more; my words and photographs really do not do the city justice. However, I am so thrilled to finally be able to say that I have been Rome as it has been a dream of mine for years.
I would love to be able to do more travelling in the future so please let me know in the comments if you liked this post and would like me to do similar ones when I hopefully go to new places in the future.
Have you ever been to Rome?