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The Bernini - one of the may fountains

Ruins at Rome

Some Travel Tips

As I said earlier, you need a lot of time to see Rome. However, if you are one of those who want to "visit" places then four days should be fine. The best time of the year is between March and Nov. Read a good book about Rome before you get on to the streets. Do not rely on the information centers which are so widely scattered in the city; some of them could dupe you! The currency is Lira and there are many places where you can change money. There are many buses and taxis if you want to go around the city but the ideal way is to use the underground. However be wary of pickpockets.

For about 60 to 80 $ you can get decent accommodation in the heart of the city and ask the reception for "Where" magazine. This gives you a list of restaurants and also can tell you what to do in Rome. Remember - when in Rome be Roman! One of the best things to buy in Rome is a small book "Rome - past and present" with reconstruction of ancient monuments which is available for 8000 Lira. This book gives a beautiful insight of all the monuments in Rome. Last but not the least you are not safe even with traveler cheques because many places change T.C.s even without looking at passports. So, be very careful with money.

Rome - The capital of the world

Inside the colloseum at RomeEnter Rome - the former capital of the world. If you are a lover of history and art, then, Rome is the place for you. The city has unending lanes of ruins and you may come to a point where you feel old and tired! To get to Rome, you could either take a train or fly. There are many trains to Rome that are convenient and price worthy like the Eurostar.

Rome is perhaps as old as history itself. Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753 BC Rome since then has been evolving through centuries and is carrying with it layers of history. You should not be surprised to get some relic if you happen to dig in Rome. It is impossible to see everything in Rome unless you decide to stay for a month. So, it is better to decide what you want to see and get started.

Rome's greatest monument is the Colosseum or the Havian amphitheater. The construction of this enormous four-storied elliptical structure began in 72 AD and was completed 8 years later. A number of shows were held here like mock sea battles, Tournaments and gladiator fights. History has it that all the citizens of Rome were allowed inside the Coliseum and the seating was on the basis of sex and social class. Infact, each citizen was given a ticket with a seat number and the entrance he could take to get there! The subterranean chambers where the animals were caged before the games can still be seen inside the amphitheater.

Right in front of the Coliseum is the Arch of Constantine, one of the best preserved triumphal arches. It was built to commemorate Constantine's victory. There are three arches and contain statues of pre-existing buildings. Next to the arch, you can see some remains of what used to be the temple of Venus and Rome.

In front of the Coliseum you can see a large fenced area having innumerable remnants of structures and buildings. You can get inside this place. This is the roman forum. The best thing is to take a book that will explain about the various structures and what they used to be as the entire area is full of broken structures. Here you will find remnants of structures dating back to 497 BC the major sites are the Arch of Septimins Severus, Temple of Saturn (497 B.C>), the ruins of Basilica Emilia and the temple of Julius Caesar.

As you walk to the far end of the Roman Forum, you will get to the Imperial Forum. This was built by Caesar to accommodate the ever-growing public activities, as the Roman Forum proved too small. The attractive structure here is the Trajan's column, which was built to commemorate Emperor Trajan's Victory. This column has a continuous spiral, which has scenes from the war.

Apart from this, there are many more attractions. Rome is full of amazing sites. One of these is the "Piazza Di Spagna" or the Spanish Steps. This is one of the most popular sites in the city. This site has a fountain and many steps. On the top are an Egyptian Obelisk and a church. The other famous site is the Pantheon. This is a remarkable structure that is almost intact even after 2000 years! Originally the Pantheon (meaning all Gods) was a temple. This later became the burial place of Italian kings and queens. Today, in front of the Pantheon is a huge bustle of restaurants and is full of activity.

Rome is also very famous for its fountains. The most famous of all is the Trevi fountain. This is an enormous fountain occupying almost the entire area of "Piazza di Trevi". It has a figure of God Oceanus riding a huge seashell drawn by sea horses. The fountain also has decorative elements like niches sculptures and rocks. It is believed that anybody who throws a coin over his left shoulder into this fountain will visit Rome again (I am still waiting for my second trip). The Triton fountain consists of a merman held by four dolphins. The other favorite place of Romans is Piazza Navona. This square has three fountains. The first is "Fontana del Morro" designed by Bernini, in the middle is "Fontana del Fiumi", also designed by Bernini. This represents a cliff with the river gods of the Ganges, Nile, Danube and Plate in dramatic altitudes. The third is "Fontana del Neptuna". This has the figures of Neptune and sea gods.

If you are one of those tourists who have an unquenching thirst of history then you could take a bus and go to the outskirts to see the catacombs and the Appian Way. This Via Appia Antica is truly an antique piece as this famous road dates back to the beginning of history. This is one of the best-preserved consular roads. As you walk along the Appian Way, you will get to the catacombs. All catacombs in those days were outside the city walls as these were the burial places of the Christians. You can take a guided tour and visit the catacombs.

There are a whole lot of things you could do in Rome. You could visit those numerous basilicas or could even visit the castle of Saint Angelo that is very close to the Vatican City. This castle of the holy angel was built in 130AD. It is said that an angel appeared on the castle's summit foretelling the end of a terrible plague. A statue of the angel stands on the top today. Of the basilicas, the most famous is the basilica of "Santa Maria of Maggiore". It is famous for its fine interior with coffered ceiling and mosaics on the floor. If all this is not enough, take on those numerous museums and relive the roman life!

 
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