The closest to Rome I have ever been to is the beautiful city of Bath in Somerset, a World Heritage Site in the UK where Roman-built baths can be found. The whole city gives off a glimpse into ancient Roman ingenuity and it for which it appears like an era apart from the whole of England. A weekend trip of seeing what remains in the city of Bath briefly brings one back to thousands of years ago, but a 4-day trip to Italy gives one an actual opportunity to walk with the giants of history.
Everywhere you look around Rome, a city known to be one of the oldest occupied in the whole of Europe — there is a breath of myth, of beginnings and of now priceless Roman-built structures. All erected hundreds of years before modern construction, Rome is a haven for ancestral greatness.
Here are several of the places we’ve been to as we explored the ever historical Rome, the Eternal City.
The Colosseum, known to be the largest amphitheatre ever built, was a site for gladiatorial matches and mock sea battles. It was originally built for entertainment in medieval times such as in re-enactments of mythology, animal hunting and executions, and then later used for workshops, as quarters for religious orders and as a shrine.
Hypogeum, meaning “underground” pertains to the massive network of rooms, cells, tunnels and passages found underneath the Colosseum.
From the Colosseum, passing through Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum and straight across Piazza Venezia (using the Via dei Fori Imperiali), ruins of temples, shrines, monuments and fora may be seen on either side of the road. Most of these were damaged over-time, refurbished as empires have risen and fallen, and now existing with what mostly remains of its pillars and foundation. At present though, rendering of these ancient sites help us see what these may have appeared at their peak.
Standing tall in its greatness in between Piazza Venezia and Capitoline Hill is the “Altare della Patria,” or the Altar of the Fatherland, also known as a national monument to Victor Emmanuel II. Made of white marble, Altare della Patria was built to commemorate Victor Emmanuel II who unified Italy in 1861 and became their first king.
One of the best preserved of the ancient Roman buildings, the Pantheon, with almost 2000 years of history, was originally built as a temple to all gods. Though its exact age remains unknown, legend tells that the original Pantheon was built on the very site and was dedicated to Romulus, Rome’s mythological founder, after he ascended to heaven from that site.
One of Rome’s most beautiful piazza (which is an open space or a public square), Piazza Navona is one of the liveliest with its countless tourists, painters, merchants and vendors. It boasts of 3 fountains and a beautiful church, made by the most well-celebrated artists of their time.
The stairway designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi, the Spanish Steps link the Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, where the Trinità dei Monti church is found at the top. Located in Piazza di Spagna is the Fontana della Barcaccia or the “Fountain of the Ugly Boat,” an early baroque fountain.
A fascinating circular building found near the Vatican City, the Mausoleum of Hadrian, or more known as Castel Sant’Angelo, stands as once the tallest building in Rome. It was originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, but latter on has been used as a prison and as a fortress by the popes. Spanning across the Tiber river in front of the mausoleum is the beautiful Ponte Sant’Angelo.
And lastly, no trip to Rome is complete without stopping by the Trevi Fountain. One of the most stunning in the world and one of the most visited in Rome, the fountain took 30 years to build and boasts of its central figure: Neptune, god of the seas. It is popular to toss a coin into the fountain, believed to be once an offering to the goddess of waters, and is now an inspiration for a wish to have another trip back to Rome. Also, it is a crime to steal the coins from Trevi!
Mar17 | An estimated amount of 3,000 Euros are taken from the fountain every night, where the money is donated to Caritas, catholic charity
No wonder Rome has long been known as the Eternal City — a city not just of ancient history, a city not just for present day, nor a city just to be treasured in the future years to come.
Rome has shaped the present and the future through its past. It has proved itself timeless. Eternal.