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Rome is Italy's capital city, but it could also be called Italy's capital of history because of all the important historical buildings and artefacts the city contains: in fact, the history of Rome spans more than 2,500 years, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe. One of the most fascinating things about actually visiting Rome though is that it feels like two cities (one inside another) because of the location and proximity of Vatican City. Vatican City is the only existing example of a country within a city in the world, making it a truly unique place to visit and explore. I'd wanted to visit Rome since I first saw my idol, Audrey Hepburn, exploring the city so glamorously and looking effortlessly cool in Roman Holiday: a film I watched several times with my mom when I was little. Further explorations of European history soon secured Rome a place firmly at the top of my must-see list. I finally visited last year. I spent just 3 days inside the city limits and I definitely wasn't disappointed, although I did wish I could stay a little longer! Rome is a fabulous city, and the perfect place to enjoy a short city break. If you're looking for a longer vacation then Rome is also the perfect place to enjoy a stop off as part of a wider European tour or Mediterranean cruise because of its wildly convenient location and ease of accessibility. But what should you make sure you definitely see and do if, as I did, you only have a short amount of time in the city? Here are a few hints and tips:
Make Time for the Most Famous Attractions Some of Europe's most famous attractions are found in Rome, and you certainly won't have time to visit every church and monument in the city unless you're planning on staying and sightseeing for a full month! Instead, select the attractions that interest you the most (prioritize the churches is religious history is your specialism, for example) or choose the city's most famous attractions and work your itinerary around them. I started my 3 day trip with a visit to the Colosseum, which is a wonderful place to take memorable photographs. The Colosseum was built in between 70 and 82 AD as a venue for gladiatorial battles and wild animal fights and, unlike so many other ancient roman monuments, it is still in a remarkably good condition today. Just a stone's throw from the Colosseum are the excavations and museum on the Palatine Hill, home to Roman emperors and aristocrats: their proximity makes this a wonderful next stop on your Roman tour. The whole of Rome is like a living museum and the historical center is relatively small, meaning you'll see incredible sights no matter where you look and making it difficult to walk past the attraction you're looking for! Next make your way to The Forum: another incredibly well preserved complex of ruined temples and yet another wonderful place for a photo stop; not to mention a wonderful place to grab gelato and rest your legs whilst watching the world, and hundreds of bustling tourists, go by.
If you're Watching the Pennies As with any capital, Rome can be expensive city to visit, but if you're on a tight budget then there are plenty of attractions across the city that is completely free, with no admission charges at all. I split my time relatively equally between attractions that had an admission charge and attractions that didn't. The Burcardo Museum is a little mentioned Roman attraction, but a wonderful place to explore at no cost. It is a museum dedicated to Italy's theater and its history. You'll find dramatic and glamorous costumes, several beautiful costumes, and literally hundreds of black and white photos of theater productions throughout the ages. If you prefer more ancient and traditional attractions then enter the Basilica Santa Maria, where you will find St Valentine's skull on display. There are hundreds of saints relics in churches throughout Rome and Vatican City, but the skull of St Valentine is a sight not to be missed: it is surrounded by a crown of flowers and sits proudly in a gold box surrounded by candles: a memory that has stayed with me since I saw it

Susie Oaks United Kingdom


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