Once upon a time, there was the Red Riding Hood dreaming about visiting the city of Rome. She dreamed and dreamed and kept dreaming but somehow this city kept avoiding her. Until March 2016!

So much history from different time periods, so much good coffee and vines and food and nice little charming restaurants and of course: the sunshine! 🙂

When I arrived there I notices the chaotic city and how noone respects the traffic rules, but I was not discouraged. Like in Paris, I put my pink sunglasses on and started to explore.

The first thing that came on my way was Santa Maria Maggiore, a 19 century basilica, the largest church in Rome that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not famous at all, but standing glorious in front of me I thought: if this uknown building is so big and impressive, what are the mos famous one like? Inner part of the church is entirely shiny in gold and marble. Under the high altar of the basilica is the Crypt of the Nativity or Bethlehem Crypt, with a crystal reliquary said to contain wood from the Holy Crib of the nativity of Jesus Christ.

But I wanted to start from the beginning, as the history lover and discoverer. So I went down to Foro Romano where the history of the Western civilisation started.

Rome’s history spreads for more than two and a half thousand years. There are signs of Roman mythology and culture everywhere you look around…  So the Roman Forum  was a city square today surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of antique  Rome.

A bit outside of the Palatine Hill is the famous Colosseum –  the largest amphitheater ever built, around 1 century built by emperor Vespasian. It could hold around 80 000 spectators  coming to watc gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.

Opposite of the Colosseum is the Temple of Venus: the largest temple in Ancient Rome. Located on the Velian Hill, it was dedicated to the goddesses Venus Felix (lat Venus the Bringer of Good Fortune). The architect was the emperor Hadrian and construction began in 2 century.

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Temple of Venus

Left of the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 4 century.

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Arch of Constantine and Colosseum

The last thing from the ancient Roman states I visited was the Pantheon whic literally translated from latin language is temple. A former Roman temple, now a church, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus around 1 century and completed by the emperor Hadrian. It is famous by its central opening (oculus) to the sky and the grave of grande Rafaello – the famous painter and architect.

In Rome, classical ruins and early Christian places of worship stand next to each other. The examples are the Foro Romano where you can find the worship of the Venus and Virgin Mary, or the Pantheon that was built by the Romans as a sacred place  but later turned into a church as the christian religion was recognized as one of the officials religions in ancient Rome.

ponte-sisto-in-rome

I didn’t have much time to discover Rome in Middle Ages or Renaissance and Baroque Rome, and trust me, there is so much work to do, but I did photograph Ponte Sisto.  It is the bridge over the river Tiber from 15 century, made by reusig the foundations of a prior Roman bridge, the Pons Aurelius, which had been destroyed during the early Middle Ages.

Rome is much about fountains like the one in Piazza Navona originally the Stadium od Domitian built in 1 century. The ancient Romans went there to watch the agones (lat game), hence nowadays name ”navona.” It is where I decided to sit down and enjoy my cafĂŠ and gelatto (ita ice cream)

piazza-navona

One of the most popular places in Rome is Fontana di Trevi – a standing fountain and the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain has appeared in several notable films, including the movie of Federico Fellini: La Dolce Vita.  Legend says that in 19 BC, some thirsty Roman soldiers were guided by a young girl to a source of pure water outside of the city of Rome. The discovery of the source led emperor Augustus to start the construction of an aqueduct  that will go into the city, named Aqua Virgo, (lat Virgin Waters), in honour of the legendary young girl. The aqueduct served the hot Baths.

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Fontana di Trevi

From there I went directly to Piazza di Spagna to sit on famous spanish steps but they were under construction so I hide myself in nearby Cafe Greco Antico – historic landmark cafĂŠ which opened in 1760 in Via dei Condotti.  It is the oldest bar in Rome and within Italy only Caffè Florian in Venice (established in 1720) is older. Historic figures including Stendhal, Goethe, Byron, Franz Liszt,  Henrik Ibsen, Hans Christian Andersen, Wagner and even Casanova have had coffee there. Today Caffe Greco remains a heaven for writers, politicians, artists and notable people in Rome… me, I got even three roses from a cavalier. 🙂

The Altar of the Patria also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II built in honor of the first king of a unified Italy is one of the grandiose places in the city.

In the end, together with some of the friends I have in Rome, I visited La Sapienza University – one of my favorites and one of the oldest in history, founded in 14 century.

minerva

In front of the main entrance to the building, there is a faountain and great statue of the greek goddess Minerva  (gre knowledge).


They say if you hit the coin in the Fontana di Trevi, you will come back to Rome. Took me only 8 years, but I got back. This time accompanied by my brother and my partner. Yes, I live a happy blessed life. 🙂 Each one of us flew from the different city: Zagreb, Brussels and Catania. Just like Three kings. We landed to Aeroporto Fiumicino and waited for each other. But boy when we met 😀

Our accommodation was in Trastavere. Lately super popular part of Rome – more calm, less expensive, full of bars and restaurants and places to hang out, yet close to center of Rome and Vatican. But the charms remains Italian, Just have a look at this air conditioner:

You just need to pass the Tiber. This will make your passeggiata romantic and cool you off on a hot sunny day. There are many bars and restaurant as well and booths that are selling souvenirs and old antiquity.

The Tiber Island is the only river island in the part of the Tiber which runs through Rome. There is a legend which says that after the fall of the hated tyrant Tarquinius Superbus (510 BC), the angry Romans threw his body into the Tiber. His body then settled onto the bottom where dirt and silt accumulated around it and eventually formed Tiber Island. Another version of the legend says that the people gathered up the wheat and grain of their despised ruler and threw it into the Tiber, where it eventually became the foundation of the island.

In ancient times, before Christianity spread through Rome, Tiber Island was avoided because of the negative stories associated with it. Only the worst criminals and the contagiously ill were condemned there. This however changed when a temple was built on the island.

That evening we did big passegiata. I have noticed how Rome changed since I was there last time – 6 years ago. More streets became pedestrian zone, which became more touristy with more shops and bars.

Piazza Navona is a public open space in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in the 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. The ancient Romans went there to watch the agones (“games”), and hence it was known as “Circus Agonalis” (“competition arena”). It is believed that over time the name changed to in avone to navone and eventually to navona. Hence the name of the square today. Defined as a public space in the last years of 15th century, when the city market was transferred there from the Campidoglio, Piazza Navona was transformed into a highly significant example of Baroque Roman architecture. Just look at this fountain. You can stare and stare and discover so many details and connect the dots with roman mythology. Fontana del Moro with a basin and four Tritons with a statue of a Moor (Muslim inhabitants from the Maghreb), wrestling with a dolphin. At the northern end is the Fountain of Neptune with the statue of Neptune.

In Rome is so typical to walk and just jump from one epoch to another. We were continuing towards the Fontana di Trevi but passed next to so many buildings worth to visit, but there was no time to explore. Indeed, Rome is about to be explored and explored.

One of the items definitely to be mentioned that we saw is Il Tempio di Adriano. The Roman temple from 145 AD with 11 Corinthian columns standing, now facade of Rome’s stock exchange. Fascinating, isn’t it? How old and new becomes perplexed.

Fontana di Trevi is an 18th-century fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Why is so?

The fountain has appeared in several films, including Roman Holiday (1953); Federico Fellini’s classic, La Dolce Vita (1960); Sabrina Goes to Rome (1998) etc. The fountain, at the junction of three roads (tre vie), marks the terminal point of the “modern” Acqua Vergine—the revived Aqua Virgo, one of the aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome. In the year 19 BC, supposedly with the help of a virgin, Roman technicians located a source of pure water some 13 km from the city. This scene is presented on the present fountain’s façade. This Aqua Virgo led the water into the Baths of Agrippa. It served Rome for more than 400 years.

They say, if you throw a coin into a fountain, you will come back to Rome. It worked for me the first time, so why not to try the second time. 😛

Piazza di Spagna with popular Spanish steps are must visit too. Our 20km passegiata right after the landing included this sightseeing to. It owes its name to the Palazzo di Spagna, the seat of the Embassy of Spain to the Apostolitic See. There is also the famed Column of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The imposing 135-step staircase was inaugurated by Pope Benedict XIII during the 1725 Jubilee; it was released (thanks to French loans granted) to connect the Bourbon Spanish embassy (from which the square takes its name) to the Church of TrinitĂ  dei Monti.

Once you get up the stairs towards Villa Medici (famous merchandise family competing for the Papal throne in 16th century -explained in the section about Florence) the view goes over river Tiber, The Vatican dome and rooftops of Rome.

Btw the terrace on the left were our restaurant for the night. Meet Giuseppe aka Peppe. 🙂 He was just about to make the Zucchini blossoms wrapped in pizza dough. A seasonal delight.

When visiting Rome, you will see many fountains with clean water. Many of them are from medieval or even ancient times. But the pipelines are clean and fresh so is the water. In hot hot summer days in Rome, when being hydrated is essential – these are the absolute saviors. I mean, who ever goes to Roe in August? Well, me :{

Nevertheless, time for a good Italian breakfast: pastries, cappuccino (only in the morning though!) and macchiato. I mean, if they know something, they know with the doe.

We were about to go to Vatican. As it is completely another country and city, I will describe the adventures and share the newly acquired knowledge in the separate post.

But, on our way, one can not miss the Castelo di Sant’ Angello. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The structure was once the tallest building in Rome. Nowadays, the tomb of the Roman emperor Hadrian.

Ancient Rome refers to Roman civilization from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD.

Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, religion, society, technology, law, politics, government, warfare, art, literature, architecture and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France. It achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the empire-wide construction of aqueducts and roads, as well as more grandiose monuments and facilities.

Below on the photo Circus Maximus. Green space & remains of a stone & marble arena that could seat 250,000 Romans for chariot races.

Comig back to the fact how in Rome old mixes with new: on the above photo you can see ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium and mass entertainment venue in Rome. Behind is one of the headquarters of United Nations. 🙂

The Collosseum I have explained above and it is famous story so I won’t be explaining much. But I still would like to share the photos and the joy. Make sure you come to Rome at least once in your life time. It is the history of western civilisation: of human, social, economic and environmental society.

Before entering the ancient world of Romans, you have to pass the Arch of Constantine. It is a triumphal arch in Rome dedicated to the emperor Constantine the Great. The one that recognised Christianity as common religion in Roman Empire. The arch is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill, the arch spans the Via Triumphalis, the route taken by victorious military leaders when they entered the city in a triumphal procession. This is the largest Roman triumphal arch.

Forum Romanum is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.

For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million or more sightseers yearly.

Many of the oldest and most important structures of the ancient city were located on or near the Forum. The Roman Kingdom’s earliest shrines and temples were located on the southeastern edge. These included the ancient former royal residence, the Regia (8th century BC), and the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC), as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of imperial Rome. To me this was the most of almost body collapse. I was constantly under the sharp sun and starting to feel cold – a clear sign I am about to be sunburned. But the sacrifice for Rome was bigger.

Forum Romanum from the Palatine Hill

Eventually, much economic and judicial business would transfer away from the Forum Romanum to the larger and more extravagant structures (Trajan’s Forum and the Basilica Ulpia) to the north. The reign of Constantine the Great saw the construction of the last major expansion of the Forum complex—the Basilica of Maxentius (312 AD). This returned the political center to the Forum until the fall of the Western Roman Empire almost two centuries later.

Time for Limoncello break and loads of water. If you sit at any bar around they will serve you apero with lots of ice.

The day was supposed to finish with that treatment but my little brother was excited to do at least 7000 more sight seeing. We negotiated for three more. First stop was Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli – famous for Michelangelo’s statue of Moses which dominates this coffered 400s church, also home to St. Peter’s chains.

Continuing via Via dei Fori Imperiali – now a pedestrian zone, on your left will be Forum Romanum again and on your right some more Roman antiquity. It is impossible to follow everything.

Strolling more you will arrive to Piazza Venezia. There you can not miss the rand marble, classical temple honoring Italy’s first king & First World War soldiers – The Altar of the Patria. Garibaldi finished his job here after he started from Sicily. There is a tomb of an unknown soldier in front with the guards so you can not sit on the steps. Another interesting detail were the inscriptions with the names of croatian and slovenian cities: Zadar, Pula, Rijeka and Gorica. Italians still have conquest aspirations of the World Was ll, seems like.

Rome was founded on 7 hills. One of them is Campidoglio – the Capitolium. It was regarded by the Romans as indestructible, and was adopted as a symbol of eternity. The Capitoline Hill contains few ancient ground-level ruins, as they are almost entirely covered up by Medieval and Renaissance palazzi (now housing the Capitoline Museums) that surround a piazza, an urban plan designed by Michelangelo. In the middle, and not to Michelangelo’s liking, is the replica equestrian statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. This very same piazza is now on the back of the coin of 50 euro cents.

The word Capitolium still lives in the English word capitol, and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. is widely assumed to be named after the Capitoline Hill.

The day was coming to an end and our feet started to be heavy. Along the heat, noise, trashy streets and awkward traffic, we continued towards the Pantheon – the temple of all the gods. This is a former Roman temple and, since 609 AD, a Catholic church (Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres or Basilica of St. Mary and the Martyrs). In Italy you will witness the course of change of the religions on a building: from the roman temple to catholic church to a mosque at some places, and back to church again. It was rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian.

It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda. The best place to have a tiramisu. 🙂

Dinner time. Trippa alla Romana. This is not everyone’s stomach, obviously. But you don’t know what kind of foodies I had as a company. They say you should eat them on Saturday. Yes, because traditionally, until not very long ago, on Saturday for lunch they ate tripe prepared with tomato, pecorino cheese and the inevitable mint: a dish that was also offered in all taverns, and that today we can find in the best Roman trattorias.

The last day was reserved for some modernity. But first – a good Italian breakfast. Yes, we ate great in Italy. It is the whole point of the trip: to walk, learn, sightsee and have a proper tasting. 🙂

Although it is known as the square Colosseum of Rome, its real name is Palazzo della CiviltĂ  Italiana. This monument, located in EUR, is undoubtedly among the most famous and, at the same time, among the most discussed. Unfortunately, in fact, more than considering the architectural value of the building, one invariably thinks more about the historical moment in which it was built, that is, in the Fascist period. Beyond the question linked to the historical period in which it was built, it is to be admitted, as well as to be recognized, that the square Colosseum in Rome is a fantastic example of modern architecture, a true emblem of Italian Rationalism. Designed specifically to host the Exhibition of Roman Civilization, its unequivocal and perfect figure, therefore, must be considered for the artistic sense expressed and not for its historical context.

And that’s it for this time. Ciao Roma bellissima! Ci vediamo dopo. 🙂

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