EVERY ONE SOON OR LATE COMES ROUND BY ROME
I do love to visit new place in the morning, this is something special in getting up in a train or on plane at sunrise. This journey started just as I like: rays of the gentle morning sun were playing on hills and vineyards, we were approaching Rome. In our hostel, we had an hour or two to chitchat with the guys from California and girls from Ecuador. Hospitable and cheerful host handed us two maps and helped outline a brief schedule for a day (preferably, of course, to do it in ad-vance, however, often only a 10-minute conversation with the locals is better than several hours of surfing info in Internet). So, off we go!
The legendary eternal city is one of the most ancient cities in the world; the main stronghold of the Western Christianity, integral embodiment of grandeur and power; thousands of years, all roads lead to Rome; hard to find another city that would compete with Rome on the number and concentration of historical, cultural and artistic monuments of all eras. However, various states, rulers, peoples and cultures came one after another.
Traveling, it is cool to wander cities without itineraries, just focusing on something interesting. In Rome, while you are pointing the way with your finger, your eyes catch something interesting that you wanted to study closer. Numberless squares, basilicas, cathedrals, triumphal arches, bridges, palaces, parks, fountains, stairs, columns, monuments, obelisks, museums... and just lovely streets paved with cobblestones, dotted with cosy cafes and pizzerias.
Indulged a pizza, which can be enjoyed in Rome at every turn, we headed to the Colosseum. Do not get discouraged at the sight of long queues at the entrance – it is always there – we advise to buy tickets at the box office at the entrance to the Palatine Hill nearby, that together with the Colosseum and the Roman Forum form an entire complex. There are three separate entrances each with the box office, they sell a combined ticket for the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine which count as one admission. As it turns out, few people know about it, that is why long queues line up near the Colosseum, though there is almost no one next to the Palatine, so you can spend just a few minutes to enter it and then pass to the Coliseum without a queue. By the way, the first Sunday of each month entrance is free, in all the other days tickets cost 12€.
Going round the hill, one should ascend to the top to enjoy a superb view of the Roman Forum, which used to be the centre of political, social and economic activities of the Empire. Since an-cient times the Roman Forum was the place where people come to learn political news, share ex-periences or conclude a successful trade agreement.
The site emerged in the time of the first Roman kings, around the 7th century BC, when local res-idents began to gather in the area between the Capitol Hill, the Palatine and the Quirinale. The Forum also features trade outlets, workshops, temples, oratorical rostrum.
Nearby is another hill – the Capitol. There you will find a museum and a monument to the fa-mous Capitoline she-wolf. According to legend, the Capitol Hill is one of the seven hills, which were a birthplace for the Eternal City of Rome. Today the Capitol is the centre of the capital. Although neither the Temple of Jupiter, nor the Temple of Minerva adorn it any longer, the flow of tourists is the same intensive every single day. Almost everything that a visitor sees nowadays, was created by the famous artist and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti.
A special day (better a few days, or even a week) shall be allocated to visit the museums of Vati-can and St. Peter's Cathedral. Regular ticket to the complex costs 16€, but a queue at the en-trance is just epic! We spent four hours, although we came in the morning. However, there is pos-sibility to book ticket on-line - a way to avoid queues and pay extra 4€. The complex is an im-pressively grand. Evidence of that is about 5 million visitors every year. Each of the museums deserve a separate article, the same as the impressions of each of them are good for sharing long time. Antique sculpture, Byzantine and European paintings; Raphael, Titian, Michelangelo... I only say that I spent not less than an hour looking at the Sistine Chapel, and I did not regret for a single moment about time spent in the queue. By the way, the last Sunday of each month, en-trance to the museum is free.
Finally, it would be unfair not to mention that Rome is famous for its nightlife. It was in Rome that the first time we tried pub crawl and received a lot of fun! Pub crawl or bar-hopping is the British fun when a group of people, often strangers to each other, drink in multiple pubs or bars in a single night. Sharing company with Italians, Mexicans, Americans and Brits it was unexpect-edly bright completion of our vacation.