The capital of Italy with 2.7 million inhabitants has 2500 year long history. The city has always been steeped in ferocity, from city-state to the capital of Europe’s biggest empire from Tarquin the Arrogant, who killed Rome’s leading citizens, to Valens who tried to eradicate all Christian inhabitants.

After the Middle Ages. Popes Alexander VI and Leo X who transformed the city to a major Italian renaissance centre along with Florence ruled Rome.

The foundation of Rome goes back 14,000 years. Many tribes came and went, until the Roman Empire at its apex extended from southern England all the way to the Golf of Persia (6.5 million km2).

Today Rome ranks as the eleventh most visited city in the world and third in Europe.

The city, at least as far as tourists are concerned, lends itself well to walking. The Forum is about 600 metres from the Coliseum, and the Arch of Constantine 200 metres from the Coliseum.

The distance from Piazza Navona to the Pantheon is 350 metres. If you want to walk from the Trevi Fountain to the Spanish Steps you can do it in five minutes while admiring the architecture of all buildings on both sides of the streets.

The Vatican State within Rome measures a little more than one km2, but contains the St. Peter’s Basilica that took 120 years to build, and lasted the lifetime of 20 Popes is a major attraction no visitor can afford to miss. (Inspectors ensure that no one in shorts, or who is skimpily clad enters the Basilica).

If you are interested in museums, the Museum of Vatican is well worth the price of admission.


has a reasonably well functioning public transportation system consisting of buses and an extensive subway system. If you decide to use public transportation be aware of extremely skilled pickpockets, and families who pretend to be poor and begging but are disguised and organized pickpockets.

The worst kinds of pickpockets ride the subway system. They enter a car when the train stops, pickpocket unaware passengers and leave the car before the train departs.

August can be very hot, especially for people who inhabit northern climes, but in general May to October is the best time to visit this city of many incomparable historic monuments and architectural wonders.

The basilica of St. John the Lateran is Rome’s Cathedral, ancient Egyptian Obelisks, catacombs, and all types of Piazzas, which are popular with Romans who like to promenade after dinner, Musei Capitolini, Galleria Borghese, several palaces, functioning aqueducts that were built by Roman architects, Trojan Market are only some of the sites tourists visit, but there is much more to experience.

First you should have some reading knowledge about Rome ad decide what you want to see. Make sure you have an accommodation reservation, which may not even be worth the paper it is printed on. There are stories of guests with confirmed reservations and who were denied accommodation in “reputable” hotels, so beware.

One at the airport, seek out public transportation to the city. If you arrive by train, and try to have arrangement for accommodation within walking distance, go to an official agency booth in the railway station. Taxi drivers will take circuitous routes to your destination so as to get the highest possible fare.

You can stay in Rome for four weeks and see everything worth seeing.

First class accommodation is expensive, but mid-priced hotels are reasonably priced in downtown close to the train station. You should be aware of the fact that these hotels are refurbished homes and resemble little to North American hotel standards in size, configuration and amenities.

If you arrive by train, you are likely to be approached by “friendly” English or German speaking individuals who will offer you bargain-priced accommodation nearby. Don’t fall fro such ruses! They work for hotels for an exorbitant commission, which you will pay later on while checking out.

There are a few nunneries that offer simple, clean accommodation and breakfast at affordable prices, but you must be in the building latest by 10 p m.
Rome has many parks that can be explored, and citizens are helpful, if you speak at least some Italian.

When it comes to food, Trestevere, the once Jewish quarter of Rome, still home to many Jewish restaurants, is a good place to visit to experience carciofi alla guidie (artichokes Jewish style), and many other specialties.

Spaghetti all carbonara was invented in Rome, and gnocchi alla Romana, saltimbocca alla Romana, and chefs working at the Vatican modified other specialties. Remember many of the famous chefs of Rome have worked for the Vatican, where they had the time and financial resources to experiment.

Small off the beaten restaurants serve good food at a reasonable cost, if you can order in Italian.

After you have visited Rome try to visit Naples, Florence, Venice, and Bologna. Bologna is reputed to have the most gourmets of the land. The butchers of the city invented the famous mortadella and many other types of preserved meats.

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