From SU Madrid student Caitlin Horgan’s blog.
Roman culture has impacted Western society in more ways than any other civilization other than the Greeks. For four days, my 42 peers, two professors and I studied historic sites and visited tasty eateries. We focused on learning exactly why Rome is Italy’s capital and the pillar of the modern world. Instead of just summarizing my trip, I am writing a provisional itinerary for your trip to Rome. Rome was one of the most important trips during my semester abroad and you should travel there.
First, I recommend you spend at least three days in Rome. My recommendations will only focus on seeing Rome. If you plan a wonderful Italian vacation, travel south to Naples where pizza and gelato were invented. Next, train your way north and enjoy yourself under the Tuscan sun. While in Northern Italy, visit “The David” in Florence and catch a boat ride in Venice. My friends abroad absolutely want to revisit these cities and I plan to go one day. Anyway, while you travel in Rome, grab a map and circle the following sites with a pencil, and put aside 80 Euros for museum fees and bus passes.
Area Sacra Argentina was excavated by Mussolini. He believed by understanding where Julius Caesar was assassinated and where one of the world’s most powerful militaries trained, he would obtain knowledge, further advancing his power.
Diocletian’s Stadium (Piazza Navona) was a horse racing track, but now the stadium is covered with buildings. If you stand in the middle of the plaza and take a 360 degree spin, you can see the buildings outline the perimeter of where the track would have stood.
Pantheon was destroyed and rebuilt facing the opposite direction. Raphael, the Renaissance painter, was buried here. The original bronze doors from 2,000 years ago are still standing.
Campo dei Fiore, Piazza Farense is close to the best gelato in Rome. La Palma has over 40 flavors and a three scoop waffle cone is only 2.50 Euros.
Acqua Vergine (Fontana di Trevi) welcomes you to throw in small coins and make wishes. By throwing in one coin, it means you will return to Rome. If you throw in two coins, you are making a wish to get married. The fountain was designed by the Renaissance artist, Botticelli.
Piazza del Popolo and Spanish Steps Spain and Italy were once under the same leadership and at the base of the steps lies the Spanish Embassy.
The Roman Forum
Arch of Constantine
Colosseum was originally covered in marble, but the marble was stripped during the early Renaissance to build St. Peter’s Basilica.
Lunch at restaurant Luzzi if you want homemade pasta with meat sauce and an authentic atmosphere, this is the spot. For 5.50, I received the best pasta dish.
Church of San Clemente
Theater of Marcellus
Sistine Chapel unbelievable artwork covers the walls and ceilings of every room. There were so many people, so go during off-peak times and make sure you see the library. Raphael’s paintings were vandalized in the 1500s by invaders and you can see where they took their knives to the walls.
Lunch at a local pizza place
St. Peter’s Basilica holds Saturday 5 p.m. and 1o a.m. Sunday masses. The Saturday evening mass I attended was in Italian. Even if you don’t speak a language, you should go for the experience. Pope Benedict was visible at noon on Sunday from the top left window of St. Peter’s Square.
Hadrian’s Mausoleum (Castle Sant’ Angelo) offered the best view of Rome from all directions. There was also a 1700’s replica of the angel statue built to protect the fortress. The structure acted as a safe haven for the Pope and you can see the stone wall with a pathway connecting the castle to St. Peter’s Basilica.
Alex Medina, Syracuse International Institute Professor, who has visited Rome 100 times (seriously), taught me more about Rome than any textbook could ever teach me. Thank you, Alex.