All roads paths leading to Rome. Welcome to the capital of Italy. And the ex-capital of the Roman empire. The name doesn’t need any Introduction. Rome is also the host of Vatican city. Which is technically an independent country inside Rome. And has their own passport. Therefore, Rome serves as the capital of the two countries. City of Augustus, Julius Caesar, the movie Gladiator. The list is long.
When we were planning our trip to Europe, we obviously wanted to stop in Rome. The problem it’s that “you know what you want to see but you don’t know how”. As the biggest attractions in that kind of city, you need tickets. Preferably, in advance. And for the Vatican or the Colosseo, everyone on internet talks about skipping lines. I tried to find the website to book our tickets. Here is the problem: there is not official website. All you are going to find is agencies and tours. But impossible to find any tips knowing if it worths it or not. In all the blogs that I saw they give affiliated link for you to take their one, which may giving them a “commission”. We are okay with that kind of “Practice”. But, none of those blogs provide you where is the official office or official website. These so called “Blogs” seems to just provide only private “Commission Only” links
We arrived in Rome from Florence after about 3 hours long train journey. It was around 2pm when we arrived at Rome terminal.
Very fortunately our apartment hotel (Roma Resort Termini),as only 3 minutes away from the station. However, it took us more than twice the time to get out of the station. The station area was super crowded as expected.
At the hotel (Roma Resort Termini) , there were two women welcomed us and took our details for checking in and provided us a map of Rome, codes and the key. Our accomodation was decent. Good bed, kitchen and toilet. But, it was not totally sound proof. We could really hear our neighbor’s kid.
Our objective in Rome was pretty simple and complicated at the same time. Simple because we explore as much we can of this historic ancient city, visit Vatican City and visit colosseum. Easy being said than done.
Every corner of Rome is beautiful. Every corner of Rome has a history. Like Vienna, 2 and a half days is not enough to visit Rome. So, our options were to briefly visit the most iconic places of Rome on first day. Then reserve one day for Vatican City. And reserve another day to visit Colosseum and Roman Forum.
Piazza Della Repubblica
Our first day we had about 3 hours of day light left. First stop was Piazza Della Repubblica.
Unlike other Piazzas or Squares, this is a big busy roundabout with big fountain in the middle. Then roads going to different directions and beautiful curved building on VIA NATIONALE. That location was actually not far from our apartment and not far from main station.
We were following the paper map of Rome and just hoping the be at the right locations without being lost. Rome is a big, busy and a very loud city. And everything is old. Depends how you see things but we found it amazing.
San Carlo Quattro Fontane
We almost missed San Carlo Quattro Fontane. There 4 fountains in each corner of the intersection infront of San Carlo Church. Which is located on the intersection of Via delle Quattro Fontane and Via del Quirinale. They were built on late 15th century. It was however difficult to stand there for long time. Because, traffic was pretty crazy.
Change of guards
From there as we were keep walking, there was another square that we have arrived. Some well-dressed guards were doing some military like march in front of a royal looking house to change guards. Later we found out that this is what used to be the official resident of the King Of Italy. Now this is the current resident of the president. So, that little ceremony by the guards was understandable.
On the left side of the palace, we took the stairs to a little street.
The most famous Fountain in the World
As we were observing the color of the walls, the designs and architectures we got “attacked” by the street vendors who wants to sell items. After avoiding them, more we were walking ahead more we keep hearing a sound of a fountain. It was difficult to locate the source of the Sound, because there like millions of people’s head right in front of us trying to take a selfie. It was the world famous Trevi Fountain. It is one of the most famous fountains in the world. It is the largest baroque fountain in the world. Many many films were made here. Currently it is drowned under large numbers of tourists. Quick Explanation: Meaning of name of the Trevi fountain is Three Road. Three = Tre, Vie = Road.
Didn’t really enjoyed being there due to unorganized crowed made us feel unsafe. You know, pickpocket and stuff.
The old Column and a Palace
After running away from the crowd, we ended up in another Piazza with a gigantic round column in the middle. We have also noticed some TV crews infront of a big Palace. Name of the Piazza is Colona. The enormous column is standing there since 193 years after Jesus Christ was born. It has beautiful art work on the wall. And the palace that we noticed with the TV crew was actually the ex Autrian-Hungarian Embassy. Which currently serves as official building for Italian government.
Looking for the tickets for The Vatican City and the Tickets for Collessuem
As much as we were enjoying the walk and all but it was quite difficult to pay attention to everything. Because we were desperately looking for a tourist information Center. From where, we could buy tickets or get information to get tickets for The Vatican City and The Colosseum. It is better to be prepared. Missing our opportunity to visit any of the these two, because of some unwanted problem would be very upsetting. But so far, no luck.
Our next stop was Piazza Navona Which is a big square with a column and fountain in the middle. The piazza is actually built on the site of the Roman stadium of the 1st century. The fountain in the middle is called Four Rivers Fountain. With an ancient Egyptian style pillar in the middle.
We finally baught the tickets for the Vatican City and Collessuem. But…
There was a huge church next to the Four Rivers Fountain. And right next to the church, we saw a private tourist company. We bought our tickets for 55 euros per person for Vatican museum (sistine chapel included) and Roman forum, Palatine and Colosseo. It was almost evening, we were too scared of non making to those two. Was it worth to buy overpriced tickets from a private tourist agency? No. Not really.
Here is why:
We were traveling in January. This is not a busy period and not much crowded so skipping the line ticket is nice, not a must though. On top, you have to go to a “meeting point” at a “certain hour” that they can escort you at the entry of the site then they let you on your own. That was really surprising to us. We found it unnecessary to be honest. They could just give us the actual ticket on the spot and we could do the rest on our own as. I am still wondering what was the benefit of paying too much for almost twice the extra work.
It is understandable to pay this extra money on holiday period or Christian event. But definitely we didn’t need it now and charging 40 Euros extra for the tickets is very very questionable.
Not to mention, Vatican city itself is free of charge. The Vatican Museum is where everyone needs to pay for a ticket.
One of the Official websites for Collessuem is : https://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm
Official website for Vatican city is : http://m.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani-mobile/en.html
Although the websites above gave us difficult time to purchase tickets from our smartphone. Could be easier if we used the websites from a computer.
2nd choice was to buy tickets on the spot. But , our fear for loosing opportunities took over our mind. And pay the price!
Largo di Torre Argentina
Our next stop after purchasing the overpriced tickets was Largo di Torre Argentina. Which literally looks like one of those old ruins I used to see on National Geography or Discovery documentaries. It was infact an old ruin from 4th century BC. BC!! Now that’s old old of the all Olds.
Another heavy tourist infested place we stumbled upon, was the Pantheon. It is a former Roman temple. Now a church from 125 AD. Behind, it looks like a round cylinder stayle shape. And the front looks like the white house.
There was a bunch of vendors who were playing with some bright objects next to a old building. It was in front of Tempio Adriano.
Tempio Adriano is the current Rome Chambers of commerce. It used to be an Old Roman temple from 145 AD. It got dark and looks like the number of historical places were never ending. Of course. This is Rome. Our bodies however started to show the sign of tiredness. it was time to end the day.
Our next stop was the Colonna Traiana. Which was built in 113ad looks like the other column in Piazza Del Colona with a lot of art works on its wall.
Right next to the Colona there was Another big ruin from 106–112 AD. It actually looks like Largo di Torre Argentina. Which we have already visited earlier.
We were walking on an intersection of highways. In the intersection, there was huge palace with big stairs and a massive statue on the foreground. It was the
Monumentoo à Vittorio Emanuele II
It was not far from collessuem. The palace is rather new. Built in early 19ty century.
On the way back to our apartment, we passed by the Foro di Augusto. One of the many Imperial forums in Rome. There was another Roman temple inside. The temple of Mars Ultor.
Then there was Foro du Nerva. Another ruins of an imperial Roman Forum. And the finally the famous Collessuem. It was well lit. But, we were slightly disappointed to see heavy construction works around it. It was understandable for maintenance. But, authenticity was ruined a little because of the construction work.
We stopped at a grocery store to get our breakfast, lunch and dinner for our next 48 hours of stay in Rome. Our backs, legs were in pain and it was difficult to cook after all that sightseeing in less than 4 hours. And we certainly slept like a couple of new born babies. Walking almost 10 kilometers in about 3 hours to visit 16 different historical locations and total 17, if we count the old City of Rome itself….was pretty crazy.
Next day: The Vatican City!!!!