Rome Vatican

At first I need to mention that my visit to Rome had originally a very different purpouse, than to peacefully enjoy the role of a consuming tourist. But I happened to have a free moment in the city and I wanted to use the time to its maximum. Therefore I asked a friend, a native Roman, to propose an itenerary for me. I recieved a proposal for a walking tour of Rome from him by email and with a travel guide in my pocket I was on my way. Already at the airport, when I waited for my plane, I got locked up in reading the travel guide, I googled the route and downloaded a map of Rome to my application.



Rome during one weekend or in a few hours

Everybody must be thinking now, that cramming a visit of the world's famous monuments of Rome into a few hours is a sin, or that they cannot all be possibly visited in such a short time. The answers are, yes, it can be done and yes, it is a sin. However, I was gratefull to be able to spend at least a few hours in this city of Emperors, Renessaince and Baroque masterminds and this powerful center of all Christianity. I looked forward to my visit very much.

The proposed route was about 8 km long and it had ten stops. After finishing the route, I came to a conclusion, that this kind of a route would be appropriate even for those, who can spend more time in Rome, perhaps the whole weekend. They would not have to hurry as much and could stand in lines for all of the museums and palaces, poak their heads into small shops in narrow streets and hung out in cafes on romantic town squares.



How to get to the center of town from the airport

I flew to Rome in the middle of October. Meanwhile, in my country, the abnoxious winter was already slowly creeping in, the thermometer dropped to about 7° C and the rain was unstopable. I could not imagine that people in Rome would still be enjoying the summer with temperatures around 25° C. I quickly adjusted when I took my first few steps in Rome and saw many people passing by wearing T-shirts and shorts.

After landing at the Rome Airport, I walked through the arrivals hall, following a sign showing me the dirrection to the train station. The ticket was EUR 8 and I bought it in the office right on the platform, where I also boarded the train. After about 30 minute ride I got out at the Ostiense Station and through a tunnel I walked to Piramide Metro Station. The metro in Rome has only two lines, the ticket is EUR 1.5, is valid for 100 minutes and is easily purchasable in the ticket booth. The second stop was Collosseum Station and that is where I started my exploration of the city.

P.S. For weekend stay Roma Pass can be usefull - it includes public transportation within the City of Rome and free entry to the first  two museums.



Ten stops on my walk through Rome – what to see and visit

1st stop – Collosseum, Constantin Obelisk, Forum Maximum, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus, Caracalla Baths

As soon as I came out of the station, I was amazed by the beauty and mightiness of the Colosseum. Up until now I saw the structure only on pictures or on the movie screen and of course, I could not help, but to think about Gladiator with Russel Crow. So this is the ancient city of Rome! So this is Colosseum, with auditorium capable of seating 50 000 people, built in 80 B.C.! This is the very structure that after the decline of Rome was succesfully taken appart and used for construction of other buildings.

Forum Romanium had the same destiny. It had been covered by grass and served as a grazing ground for goats, in the last century. Palatine Hill is directly overlooking Forum Romanium. Acording to the legend, Palatine Hill is the original founding place of the city. From here you can see Circus Maximus, which, at the time of its biggest bloom, served as a horse racing track. The auditorium could seat up to 200 000 observers.

Constantin Obelisk is right next to Colosseum and it celebrates the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantin to Catolicism.

The Caracalla Baths are about one kilometer from Colosseum. The baths were built in 3rd century, could fit up to 1600 visitors, and served as a public spa.

Mussolini had a monumental Boulevard built across these ancient excavations in the 30's of the last century. The name of the Boulevard is Via Dei Imperiali and it will take you from Colosseum all the way to Piazza Venezia Square.

Rome Collosseum Rome Forum Romanum

Collosseum, Forum Romanum


2nd stop – Piazza Venezia Square, Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, Capitoline Hill, Campidoglio

Venezia Square is dominated by neoclassical monument of Vittorio Emanuel II, the first king of United Italy. It is a magnificent construction, but the locals claim it reminds them of a typewritter. The monument is situated on the side of Capitoline Hill, where, in the ancient times, rituals and sacrifices for the Gods Jupiter and Juno were being performed. On the same spot today is a beautiful square which was designed by the talented Michelangelo.


3rd stop – Trevi Fountain

If you take a ten minute walk from Venezia Square, you end up in front of the famous Trevi Fountain. After curvy walk through narrow streets, I came out and could not stop staring with amazement at this glorious masterpiece of a genious architect Nicola Salvi. The facade of the building is coverd with figures of mythical creatures and half of the square is flodded with water. It is a unique and brilliant sight.

Rome Vittorio Emanuele II Monument Rome Trevi Fountain

Piazza Venezia Square with Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, Trevi Fountain


4th stop – Pantheon

About half a kilometer from the Trevi Fountain is the ancient Pantheon. When I saw the building, my first thoughts wanderd to Dan Brown and his Robert Langdon. I again had to admire with astonishment an architectual miracle constructed by the Emperor Hadrian, who built this Palace of The Gods in 125 B.C. The Palace stands until today with its original glory, absolutely intact and it serves as the last resting site of architectual masterminds such as Raphael and Perruzini or kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I.


5th stop – Piazza Navona and Bernini Fountain of the Four Rivers

My journey of the pages of Angels and Demons continued on the Piazza Navona Square. In the middle of this spacious square, which was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, in 79 A.D., stands the famous Bernini Fountain of the Four Rivers. The fountain pays a tribute to four major rivers, Rio de Plata, Danube, Ganga and Nile.

Rome Pantheon Rome Piazza Navona

Pantheon, Piazza Navona


6th stop – Castel Sant'Angelo

After another ten-minute walk I crossed the Tiber River and ended up in front of the Castel Sant'Angelo. It originally was a mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. The castle was later connected with Vatican by a hallway made of thick walls, so the massive round tower could be used by the Popes as a fortress during times of danger.


7th stop – Vatican, The Vatican Palace, St.Peter's Square, St.Peter's Basilica, The Sestine Chapel

The spiritual Vatican is in visible distance from the Castel Sant'Angelo. You can spend one, or two days in Vatican and there will still be a plenty of sites to be astonished by. Just to enter the St.Peter's Square is an amazing experience. The Square was designed by a famous architect Bernini and it is a monumental site of Baroque architecture. Bernini constructed it in between the years 1656 – 1667 A.D.and there are 284 columns, 88 pillars and 140 sculptures. The square is also decorated with two fountains and an Egyptian Obelisk rising in the middle.

St.Peter's Basilica is the largest Catholic Temple in the world. Some of the most brilliant mastermids of architecture, lead by Bramante, Raphaelo, Michelangelo, Peruzzi and Maderno, partaken in its contruction. The size of the structure is enormous, it is 212 m long and 132.5 m high.

Vatican has a patronage of one of the largest art collections in the world. There are 8 museums, 5 galleries, the Apostolic Library, the Borgia Apartments, Raphael Rooms and the famous Sistine Chapel, right in the Vatican Palace. A conclave of cardinals is held in this private papal chapel during the election of a new Pope.

And because it was Wednesday afternoon, I got a chance to even see the Pope. The Pope is serving a public audience on St.Peter's Square, every Wednesday at 11 am. For that occation, the square gets flodded with pilgrims from all over the world.

Rome Castel SantAngelo Rome St.Peters Square

Castel Sant'Angelo, St.Peter's Square


8th stop – Ottaviano

Those who know Rome are probably asking a question now, why is Ottaviano even a numbered stop? It is only because there is a metro station, which is the closest to Vatican. Those who want to continue to our stop number 9, Piazza del Popolo, can take a metro and ride 2 stops to Flaminio Station, or if you want to walk, like I did, it’s doable, but it is the least interesting half an hour in Rome.


9th stop – Piazza de Popolo

Piazza del Popolo is a beautiful oval-shaped square, which was created in 1816 by Napoleon’s architect Giuseppe Valadier. When I walked through massive, 16th century gateway, it opened a view of a striking ancient structure for me. It was an Egyptian Obelisk from the times of Ramses II. The square’s atmosphere is underlined by surrounding churches and the greenery of the Pincio Gardens, from where you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the city.

Rome Piazza de Popolo Rome Spanish Steps

Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna


10th stop - Piazza de Spagna, Spanish Steps

The last minute of my Roman tour was through old streets lined by fancy shops which lead me to the Spanish Steps on Piazza di Spagna. It was early evening and the Steps were crowded with tourists, peacefully enjoying the romantic atmosphere of the city. There is a marble fountain in the shape of a boat, Fontana della Barcaccia, at the base of the stairs. The fountain was created in 17th century by Bernini’s father.

I followed my friend’s itinerary on my tour of Rome and ended on Pizza di Spagna Square, where I disappeared into one of the many romantic restaurants the city has to offer.


Today the “Forever” City is only in my memory...




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