1b. Rome - Where I went
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I've put down these 'sights' in the order in which I saw them - some of the places are a bit scattered, but I saw them in this order based on their opening hours. You can look up Google Maps and see if another route suits you better. This was the day I used the day pass - this is a little too much walking otherwise, even for me :) I've color coded things which are closer together, so you'll see this is really just 3-4 areas though it seems like a lot of sights. Also, I woke up at 5:15am to fit all this in leisurely (time differences help, sometimes).
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WhatWhat's that?Hours if relevantPrice if relevantNotes if any
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Spanish StepsSo called because the embassy has been here for 300 years. The Italians and French helped design and build, British history’s strongly associated too. Keats came to Rome to ponder immortality (as you do), and died, aged 25, in the pink building on the right. Lord Byron lived at #66 across the road. The sinking boat fountain at the foot of the steps is by Bernini/his dad Pietro. Like all other Roman fountains, it’s aqueduct powered. Also see Nicola Salvi's fountain of 'the ocean.'I woke up at 5:15am to check out the Steps & Trevi fountain without tourists. You don't need to do this - apparently it's fairly uncrowded even at 7am.
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Trevi fountain If you want to come back to Rome - throw in a coin over your shoulder. Over 700,000EU is fished out from here each year, and given to charity.
Stealing coins from the fountain is illegal.
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Via del CorsoOnce a racetrack for unmanned horse races (abolished after an accident in front of Princess Margharita and many others besides), it became a butcher’s lane (so much better). When it became one of the first gas lit roads in Rome, the butchers were replaced by high end shops.
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Piazza ColonnaHolds a 2nd century column celebrating victory over barbarians. The palace behind it is the prime minister’s cabinet.
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Via in Aquiro6th century Egyptian obelisk stolen by Augustus after defeating Mark Anthony & Cleopatra. It’s a sundial.It's an easy walk to the Pantheon from here, but I chose to go back to the hostel for a bath & breakfast at this point - none of the Pantheon attractions were open yet.
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Piazza NavonaLook down at the far/north end as you enter to see 89’s ruins. Navona was originally a racetrack from AD80.
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Bernini's Fountain of Four RiversBernini remade Rome in Baroque. This grand fountain represents rivers from the 4 countries known in 1650 – Nile, Ganges, Danube, and… Uruguay. No wonder Uruguay looks so stunned.
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Church of St AgnesWhat Uruguay’s looking at. It’s by Bernini’s student Borromini, and was built after the fountain, so no hidden meanings there. It nicely integrates with the fountain though.
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Bruno StatueWhere ‘heretic’ Bruno was burned. Vatican opposed the statue’s being built, but were countered by ferocious strikes, and the statue stands. Facing, ironically, the Vatican. East end behind Bruno are old apartments which were once Theatre Pompey. Caesar was killed here.
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Campo di Fiori‘Field of Flowers,’ once an open meadow, now a busy hub in Rome. People watch….and watch your belongings too. Petty crime’s rampant here.
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St Peter in ChainsMichaelangelo’s Moses for the Pope’s tomb seen here was interrupted by his work on the Sistine Chapel. By the time he finished, the Pope was dead so it never got used.8-12:30, 3-7Easiest access is from the Via Cavour subway stop. It's also walkable from the Colosseum, but a bit more of a hike. I went to the Colosseum to pick up a pass at 8:30, but didn't go in at that time.
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PiramideBuilt by a rich guy inspired by Mark Anthony & Cleopatra. It’s much smaller than the pyramids in Egypt but structurally alike. It was later incorporated into the Aurolean wall & marks the entrance to Testaccio.Hard to miss, it's right by the subway stop.
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Protestant CemteryJohn Keats is buried here, 90 degrees to the left from the gates, you can see it even with the gates closed. Shelley’s tomb is straight from the entrance at the base of the stubby gate. 9:30-5 Mon-Sat3EU suggested donationI didn't actually go in, so can't comment
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Porta Ostiense and Museo Della via Osteiense Not something most people bother with, but if you're in the area, it's a good intro to Rome's history. It also has parts of the old wall which you can walk through.Varies. Check before you go.
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Testaccio MarketTry the cheeses, especially mozzarella and bocconcini.6-noon, though some sources say it's till 3pm.Don't believe Google Maps on this one - the old market shifted. The new one's a short walk from the train station. Ask for directions.
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Santa Maria in Aracoeli6th century Byzantine church built to commemorate where Augustus had a premonition of the coming of Mary. It's built from the plunder of many other monuments. Napoleon eventually used it as a horse stable.9-12:30, 3-8:30
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Victor Emmanuel monument Exit at the back entrance of the church, see a column? Pass it, continue to the top of the steps, pass through iron gate, enter door #13 at the right. Café terrace will lead to the monument
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Trajan's MarketUsed to be a market, you can view it from the outside, or pay to go in. No one I know recommended this, so I didn’t make a note of timings/price
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Capitoline HillNote the steps Michaelangelo built to this monument on the north end – they lead to Piazza Venezia and make for a fun climb down.
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Bocca Della VeritaLegend has it the lion in the courtyard bites off liars’ hands. A wife invited to prove her honor here had her lover kiss her right before it (while pretending she’d didn’t know him). Then she said, “I’ve only been kissed by two men!” And her hand was safe. Not sure what the moral is, but well.I think it opens at 8:30am0.50EU suggested donationFair warning: it’s out of the way from the other things here, but it does let you take the grand staircase down! 00100 PIzzeria/Rascioli are good choices to sample traditional dishes around here - see the Rome FAQ's doc for what to order
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Villa BorgheseI didn't research this before I went, I mostly stopped here because it was SO. HOT. and there are very few places in Rome where you can sit outside and eat lunch without being broiled alive. There are surprisingly few trees in most public areas.
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Santa Maria del PopoloCheck out the 2 Carvaggios & Chigi chapel designed by Raphael for his friend who's buried here under pyramid like structure; Bernini contributed 2 statues later for Chigi's grandson 7-12:30, 4-7pmSide trip right down Via Pontefici to see mausoleum of Augustus, if that interests you.
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Jewish Ghetto StrollLook out for Sant’Ambrogio road, imagine old colonies. Walk all the way down to Portico d’Attorio ruins (funny story – old woman who owned property here refused to sell it, and now it’s worth a lot!); Largo 16 Ottobre 1943 square (where Jews were asked to put together 50kg of gold in 24hrs or come to concentration camp); synagogue. I didn't go into the synagogue or the museum, so I didn't note the hours/price
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Santa Maria Sopra Minerva ChurchOnly Gothic church in Rome. Look for 1) Galileo, aged 70, knelt at THIS altar on his way to trial and said ok fine, the earth didn’t revolve around the sun. 2) Saint Catherine’s tomb is under the altar. It holds her body. Her head’s in Sienna. 3) Michaelangelo’s statue of Jesus. He built the knees, a student botched the face and hands, but the church said it was still amazing and declined his offer to re-sculpt.7-7 Mon-Fri, weekend timings vary
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PantheonRaphael & Margharita are buried here! Like a monument to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ epic pizzas. Anyway. Also the inspiration for every single building with a dome since, including US Capitol.8:30-7:30pm; Sunday 9-610 minute walk from the synagogue if you're doing the Jewish ghetto before/after
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San Luigi di FrancasciCarvaggio, aged 29, shocked the church with his three ultra real-world paintings of Matthew becoming saintly. 10-12:30, 3-7
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Saint Ignatius ChurchFake flat dome because the church ran out of money halfway! Check out other Baroque illusionist work here too. Note that America’s been discovered by the time the church is built (as opposed to Bernini’s fountain which I saw later) – you see Native Americans here.7:30-7Easy way to get here: take back exit from Santa Maria behind the statue of Jesus, walk down Fra Anglico, turn left, walk to next square. Church will be on your right)
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