Like many metropoli, Rome is a glorious combination of ancient monuments and modern, bustling life. Visitors will find far too much to do, no matter what their tastes.
For those who love fine art, Rome is second in Italy perhaps only to Florence. Like Florence, that isn’t only because of its numerous museums such as the Vatican Museums or the Gallery Borghese. The city itself is an enormous outdoor sculpture garden and architectural treasure trove.
The Trevi Fountain is the most famous of Rome’s many outdoor fountains festooned with sea-themed sculptures, but it is far from the only one. The Fountain of the Moor, Neptune’s Fountain, La Barcaccia and a dozen others can all proudly compete with that magnificent coin-filled masterwork.
For tourists interested in archaeological sites – and that is a very large percentage of travelers – Rome offers some of the most interesting and educational examples in the world. The Domus Aurea – the Golden House of Nero – has now been under restoration for decades.
It offers a stellar view into the life of this lover of all things Greek. Golden and ivory covered walls, ancient mosaics and paintings and a reconstructed Octagon Room set atop a beautiful garden all help convey what life would have been like for the Emperor and his visitors.
The Pantheon, the Roman one not the one in Athens, is yet another stellar structure. In nearly new condition after almost two thousand years, its engineering innovations continue to astound knowledgeable visitors today. The dome, which constructed by anyone else would long ago have collapsed under its own weight, is only one of the amazing features of this architectural marvel.
The Roman Forum is equally an architectural delight, even though it can’t boast of such pristine preservation. After more than three hundred years of restoration work, however, it can be seen much as it was in its heyday.
Numerous temples, arches and other structures show the Roman genius for combining the best art with the finest engineering. Elements of the design were not surpassed for more than a thousand years.
No visit to Rome would be complete without a tour of that most famous of ancient structures, the Colosseum. Though severely decayed, enough remains that it is still easy to envision gladiators battling in the arena below its rows of seats that housed 50,000 spectators.
The canopy that shaded the arena (now long gone) was so large and of such advanced design that debates continue to rage about how it was possible to construct and erect it at all. Come see it and form your own hypothesis.
But Rome offers much more than ancient buildings. St. Peter’s Basilica remains one of the world’s finest Renaissance works, both inside and out. The double-shelled dome, designed by Michaelangelo, complements the master’s Pieta housed underneath.
Just walking around the city can be a delight. The Spanish Steps, the Piazza Navona, the Porta Portese flea market and a dozen other outdoor areas offer shopping, people-watching and sights galore.
Without a doubt, Rome has far more than can be enjoyed in one trip. So throw three coins in the Trevi Fountain and guarantee your return to this amazing city. After all, it may be eternal but you are not.