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        There is no city anywhere like Rome. A visit to Rome is an exciting  highlight of most European adventures.    Rome has surpassed the imagination for centuries. This city gives one an opportunity to see antiquity. Rome's important attractions have remained for centuries among the most engaging in the world.
        Rome is a city with a glamourous side. Romans think of themselves as exciting people.  Rome is fashion conscious and finding stylish clothing and accessories is uncomplicated and delightful.  An evening in Rome is nearly impossible to equal.  Rome is unsurpassed for excitement and vibrancy.
        Rome is an exhilarating city for both secular and religious reasons.  Modern Rome bustles as much as or more than the other major European cities.  Throughout Rome, there are monuments to the city's secular past dating all the way back to antiquity.  The political and military history of the old Roman Empire is still prominent everywhere.  The achievements of modern Italy are likewise memorialized.
        Religious Rome is the reason millions of people visit this city each year.  The Vatican City is the center of the Catholic Church. St. Peter's with its immense dome is one of the world's great landmarks.  The Vatican's art treasures are one of the greatest collections anywhere.  Over the centuries, the Church has added splendid monuments and fountains all over Rome.    Wherever one goes in Rome, the Catholic Church's presence is near.
        Rome, to other people, has been a city of romantic vision. Between the ancients and modern Italians, various literary figures have made Rome their home.  Byron, Keats, and Shelly have all attempted to find creative inspiration in Rome. Something of their creative genius remains adding to Rome's excitement.
        Rome provides exceptional entertainment from early morning until late evening. From when the sun first begins to warm the cobblestones of the city, Rome is a thoroughly pleasing place to be.  Even late into the evening,the city is lively with outdoor music. Virtually everyone agrees Rome is popular.

Rome, the Eternal City

        Rome has a definite look of centuries past; however, finding ones way around in the Eternal City is not complicated. Exploration of the city on foot is very propitious because everywhere there are reminders of the past.  Rome has a subway system with two lines. Traveling between destinations by bus also proves a satisfactory way to find Rome. For an ancient city, Rome is more convenient than one imagines.
        The Eternal City has an appealing selection of wares.  Clothing is a fashionable item that genuinely impresses in Rome. Shoes are likewise attractive and reasonably priced.  Almost every kind of merchandise that might captivate the imagination is also to be found here.  Shopping in Rome can produce attractive and tasteful things.   

The Victor Emmanuel Monument
The Victor Emmanuel Monument

        Finding a place to dine in Rome is enjoyable and usually results in a pleasant evening.  Restaurants are plentiful and reasonably priced.  A diner in Rome begins with a pasta dish and is often several courses.
        The Italian climate contributes to making Rome an advantageous city to discover on foot.  Rome's weather is usually very pleasant.  Rome's climate must have been an important factor in the rise of the Roman Empire.  Rome  still has a distinctive climate that makes this a nice city to visit.

Discovering Ancient, Religious, and Secular Rome

        Begin the urban hike in Rome at the Pantheon.  Of all the remaining ancient buildings, the Pantheon is more nearly in its original condition than any.  First built by Agrippa in 27 BC, the original Pantheon was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by Hadrian about 125 AD.  The Pantheon's huge dome was a major achievement when completed. There are several prominent Italians buried in the Pantheon including the modern kings, Victor Emmanuel II and Umberto I,and the painter Raphael.

An urban hike in Rome
An urban hike in Rome

        Have a cup of expresso at a sidewalk restaurant in the Pantheon's piazza before continuing.  Savor the expresso and contemplate the piazza's fountain and the Pantheon, the most complete building remaining from antiquity.  Ready to get the most from an adventurous day in Rome.  
        From the Pantheon, take the Via de Cestari to the Via de Victor Emmanuel.  Turn left and follow Victor Emmanuel, and in a few blocks reach the Piazza Venezia. The Victor Emmanuel Monument is on the opposite side of this piazza.  The impressive white marble Victor Emmanuel Monument was built in 1911 to celebrate the founding of modern Italy.
        Trajan's Column originally built around 113 A.D. is next to the Victor Emmanuel Monument.  The column is a spiral frieze on the column that records events in one of the Emperor Trajan's campaigns.    There is no better example of a triumphal column from the ancient period in existence.    In all, there are over 2500 figures in this frieze.  

Trajan Column
Trajan Column

        Next, continue down the Vie dei Fori Imperiali.  The Colosseum can be seen in the distance from here.  The Roman Forum is between the Victor Emmanuel Monument and the Colosseum.  
      The Forum was the center of Imperial Rome, and important and famous happenings took place here.  Great orations were given, parades celebrating conquest were held, and political and legal business was conducted in the Roman Forum.
        The Forum now is a collection of arches and other ruins covering several acres. Several arches erected by Roman emperors to commemorate military victory are still standing.  The Temple of Vesta, one of the most important in Roman religion, can still be identified in the center of the forum. Numerous reliefs that fascinatingly depict ancient life can be seen in the forum.  One gets a thrilling glimpse of the center of Roman civilization walking among these ruins.
        The Colosseum is located directly to the east of the Forum.  Completed by the Emperor Titus in 80 A.D., the colosseum originally to walk to the top of the Colosseum and around the top of the structure.    The Colosseum's top level gives a real sense of the size and seating capacity of the edifice.

The Colosseum
The Colosseum

        After leaving the Colosseum, proceed through the Arch of Constantine and down the Via di Saint Gregorio.  The Circus Maximus was once located on the right.  In ancient times, as many as 300,000 spectators could watch chariot races in the Circus Maximus.
        Turn left on the Via Delle Terme di Caracalla and continue for about  three blocks to the Baths of Caracalla.  These baths were constructed by the  Emperor Caracalla between 212-17 AD and used for roughly 300 years.  Perhaps, nowhere in Rome was more associated with the empire's patrician values and outlook than the Baths of Caracalla.  As many as 1500 people could be accommodated at one time by the Baths of Caracalla. There were hot baths, cold baths, and a gymnasium for exercise.  After their baths, Romans found libraries, art galleries, and gardens for relaxation. The invading Goths finally destroyed the aqueducts that supplied water to the baths.
        Return to the Colosseum, after having seen the Baths of Caracalla.  From near the Colosseum, catch a bus across the Tiber to the Piazza Cavour. From the Piazza Cavour, one can see the Castle Saint Angelo. Emperor Hadrian constructed Castle Saint Angelo before he died in 138 AD as his own mausoleum.    This building, like many in Rome, was originally covered with marble. The original marble was used to build other buildings, usually churches.  From the 3rd century on, the Castle Saint Angelo was used as a fort, a papal residence, and a Vatican archive.

Castle Saint Angelo
Castle Saint Angelo

        Leaving Castle Saint Angelo, proceed down the Via della Conciliazione  toward Vatican City.   The Great Christian Bascilica of Rome was constructed where the present St. Peter's stands in the 4th century.  This basilica stood here for over a thousand years.  St.Peter's was built during the 16th and early 17th centuries being completed in 120 years.    Michelangelo's Pieta is found inside St. Peter's.  The Dome of St. Peters is 308 feet taller than the roof of  the basilica and is the world's highest dome.  
        The Vatican Museum is next door to St. Peter's.  The entrance to the Vatican museum is found by following the Via di Parta Angelica north from Piazza St. Peters' to the Piazza Risorgimento and turning left.  The Vatican Museum is a few hundred feet to the west.
        The size of the Vatican Museum leaves many people in amazement. There are more Greek and Roman statues, reliefs, mosaics, and inscriptions in this museum than any other.  The Vatican Library contains an unusual collection of early printed books. Displays include King Henry VIII's love letters to Ann Boleyn used in his excommunication.  The Sistine Chapel featuring Michelangelo's Last Judgement painted on the ceiling is here.
        After the Vatican Museum, travel by subway from the Ottaviano to the Spagna Station.  From the Spagna Station, turn right and walk a short distance  down the Vie Trinita de Monti.  Here find an entrance to the Villa Borghese.  The Villa Borghese contains walks shaded by umbrella pines. There is a zoo in the northern end of the park.  
        After the Villa Borghese, return to the Spagna Station and walk a short distance the other direction to find the Spanish Steps.  A French church, the Trinita dei Monti, is at the top of the steps. A famed Bernini fountain is in the Piazza de Spagna at the base of the steps. The Spanish Steps acquired their name from the Spanish Embassy that was located here in the 17th century.    The house where Keats, the English poet, died opens directly onto the steps. Babington's English Tea Room, somewhat of a time honored institution, is located at the base of the steps.

The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps

        Leaving the Spanish Steps, proceed on the Via Condotti.  This street is  one of Rome's more fashionable shopping areas. In four blocks, reach the Viadel Corso and turn left.  Again turn left, at the Piazza Colonna. The Trevi Fountain is two blocks down the Via del Tritone.
        The Trevi Fountain is one of Rome's largest fountains. On a hot summer day in Rome, the cool waters of this fountain can be a most refreshing sight. A large crowd of people can be found throughout the day and even late into the night at Trevi.  Visitors to the Trevi Fountain can, of course, toss coins into the fountain to insure their return to the Eternal City.  
        From the Trevi Fountain, next do some window shopping in Rome's fashionable shopping areas.  Return to Via del Tritone and continue as far as Piazza Barberini. There is premium shopping on both sides of the street around this piazza.  Turn right here on the Via Quattro Fontane and proceed to the Via Nazionale.  Elegant shopping is also found for several blocks in either direction on the Via Nazionale.  The Via Nationale area is especially good for clothing and shoes.  After window shopping on the Via Nazionale, conclude the urban hike at the Piazza della Republica.

Savoring a Visit to Rome

        Rome requires some preparation to make a thoroughly successful visit.  There is so much to do in Rome that one should decide favorite attractions before arriving. Possibly, learning more about The Roman Forum these places would help a visit.  Be sure and allow enough time to see those attractions that are personally likeable while in Rome.
        Rome is an exciting place to be in the evening.  Many outstanding  attractions are flood lighted in the evening. The Colosseum should not be missed at night, if possible. The Trevi Fountain is another useful site to visit in the evening. Plan to do significant sightseeing in Rome at night.
        An afternoon shopping in Rome can be very successful.    Almost anything can be obtained in Rome.  Fashionable clothing is especially agreeable to find.  Commendable selections of tasteful shoes and other leather goods are available.  Other items can be found with little effort.
        Photographing Rome is a virtual necessity.    The unusual Roman climate often produces brilliant blue skies that compliment most any picture. Rome from antiquity to present is artful to capture on film. Romans are also expansive and can add substantially to expert photographs.
        Rome is an unusual and exciting city. Those already familiar with the city enjoy Rome because the city provides a thoroughly valuable day's activity.  First time visitors find discovering the city to be completely fascinating.  The remarkable qualities of this ancient city always impress the visitor.

To European Cities       the photographer