ITALY: The Getaway in Rome
January 1, 1970
by Sam Hirashi
ITALY: Places you must visit when in Rome.
- The Colosseum
- The Roman Forum
- The Pantheon
- The Trevi Fountain
- The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Italy has always been my dream place, specially Rome. I constantly find myself wondering about ancient Roman times and about all the things that took place in this wonderful city.
I arrived in Rome at night and the next day I woke up at 7:00 am to visit the first monument,
The colosseum was and still is colossal, it is the great example of ancient roman engineering. It was begun in 72 A.D. when the Roman empire was nearing its peek using roman pioneer concrete, brick and their trademark round arches.
It is the largest amphitheater and ever built in Italy and in the world, and it was used by romans mostly for entertainment. It has been a witness of both of the eras of the imperial roman empire and it’s destruction during the rise of christianity. Romans believed that the colosseum was “braver than a warrior, wiser than a philosopher and more sacred than priest”. For it has survived numerous natural disasters and it still is standing strong today reflecting the culture and status of the great roman empire.
Stepping inside you can almost hear the roar of the ancient Rome, you can imagine all the fights and the shows that took place there hundreds of years ago.
After visiting the Colosseum, I walked towards my second stop for the day,
The Roman Forum
According to the legend, Rome was founded by two brothers, Romulus and Remus. Abandoned in the wild and suckled by a wolf they grew up to establish the city. In actuality, the first romans mixed and mingled here in the valley between the seven famous hills of Rome. This became the roman forum.
It takes place in the center of the city of Rome and its surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.
Rome (Italy)is a city that you can easily explore walking, so I after I visited the forum I hurried myself up to visit the Piazza Venezia also located in the center of Rome.
The Piazza Venezia is an important traffic spot in the heart of the city of Rome and you will see it frequently when you travel through the city. Its formed by the enormous Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, built to honor the patriotism after the Italian reunification. To be able to build it, one of the last renaissance squares left in Rome had to be demolished.
Apart from the beautiful Vittoriano, the piazza is also formed by the Palazzio di Venezia and by a building built in the XX century in symmetry with this last one.
And then I continued walking to the Piazza di Spagna that owes its name to the Palazzo di Spagna, seat of the Embassy of Spain among the Holy See. Nearby is the famed Column of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Piazza di Spagna, at the bottom of the Spanish Steps, is one of the most famous squares in Rome and in Italy. In the middle of the square is the famous Fontana della Barcaccia, dating to the beginning of the baroque period, sculpted by Pietro Bernini and his son, the more famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini.”
Close to the Piazza di Spagna lies the Pantheon, the most preserved ancient building in the world. The pantheon’s name was made by combining the greek word for all or every “pan” with the word for god “theos” therefore, pantheon was originally dedicated to every god and can also translate as the “house of gods“. The former Roman Temple, now a church, its also known in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout history since its creation.
The Trevi Fountain
Walking towards the Trevi Fountain I remembered that Percy B. Shelley used to say that the fountains were enough to justify a trip to Rome, and he wasn’t lying, there are a lot of breathtaking fountains in the Italian capital such as the Fontana della Barcaccia, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in the Piazza Navona, the Fontana del Tritone, etc. But I’m sure none of them is as famous as the Fontana di Trevi.
With almost 20 meters width and 26 meters tall, the Trevi fountain is the biggest fountain in Rome. However, sometimes it can be difficult to find because its hidden between the buildings of the small square of Trevi. The name Trevi comes from “Tre Vie” (Three ways) and makes reference to the point where the three streets that form the square meet.
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
The last place that I visited in Rome was the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
The church has had many names over the years: first Santa Maria della Neve (St. Mary of the Snow) after the snowfall, then Santa Maria Liberiana after Pope Liberius. After the basilica obtained a relic of the Holy Crib, it was called Santa Maria Del Presepe (St. Mary of the Crib). It was finally named Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) because it is the largest of the 26 churches in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Santa Maria Maggiore was fully restored and renovated in the 18th century – the facade and most of the interior decorations date from this period. Today, the basilica is served by Redemptorist and Dominican fathers and remains very popular with pilgrims and tourists alike.
After visiting all this amazing spots in Rome, I headed back to the hotel to rest and prepare for the next day.
Being this the first time I had the opportunity to get to know more about Rome, I was forever marked by the memories made and by the fenomenal rich culture of this city.