Rome, The Eternal City

Rome, the Eternal City, is one of my favorite places to visit, whether with just my husband or on a multi-generational trip with our children and grandchildren. There is so much to see and do and never enough time to fit it all in.

There are a few recommendations. First, if possible, don’t travel in the summer. Even though Rome is always crowded, the summer months bring out the hordes and the heat making the experience less enjoyable. Secondly, if you are not with a tour group, spend a little extra money and make a reservation with a tour company or take a private tour to see the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum. Many companies offer “Skip the Line’ tickets that can save you 3-4 hours of standing in line. These tours also give you more insight into the history of the city and some of fun stories that bring ancient Rome to life. We, personally, have used City Wonders both in Rome and London and have been extremely pleased with their tours.  Third, choose where you stay carefully. There are many locations, types, and price options but make certain that the site meets your needs. For example, check if there is air conditioning if you are visiting in the summer and wi-fi if you or your family shares the addiction that my family has. Fourth, be prepared to walk. There are taxis available, but exploring the hidden piazzas is so much fun.

This last visit we took City Wonder tours to give us early morning access to the Sistine Chapel and after-hours access to the Colosseum. The Vatican, where the Sistine Chapel is located, is the center of the Roman Catholic world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within Vatican City visitors can see the impressive St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Library and Museum as well as the Sistine Chapel made famous because of the beautiful art painted on the ceiling by the master himself, Michelangelo. Vatican City, the smallest country in the world, is and has been a separate country from Italy since 1929.

We enjoyed simply walking around Rome to see the Pantheon, the best-preserved building of Ancient Rome, the Spanish Steps, Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, and Palatine Hill. We always have to stop at Trevi Fountain and throw a coin over our shoulders and into the water to guarantee that we will return to Rome. (The money goes to charity, so you aren’t really throwing money away!) Piazza Navona is one of our favorite places to visit. Yes, we know that the people eating there are primarily tourists, but it is worth it to sit in the piazza, drink a glass of wine, eat wonderful Italian food, and watch people go by. We took a horse-drawn carriage ride one evening which thrilled our six-year-old granddaughter and the rest of us. At night, Rome lights up and shows its romantic appeal.

Rome has so many more places to see and things to do than a few days allow, but, no matter how long you have for a visit, Rome quickly captures your soul and makes you long for another visit.

Have you been to Rome? What are some of your favorite spots in this beautiful, timeless city?


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