by ecrivan wordwizard on 22/08/07 at 9:44 am
Rome is known for its classical monuments, but tourists often miss out on lesser advertised places to see..
The city of Rome has always attracted the foreigner, from the Appia Antica to the more streets, from the Coliseum to the Magliana Monument built to commemorate Mussolini. Then there are the small towns around the eternal city that attract tourists and locals year-round.
Rome has changed to accommodate modern traffic just as North American cities do by discouraging traffic towards the historical centre in the nineties. It has also kept much of its patrimony. One has to have special permission to drive through the central part of town and if own has no business to do in certain spots, like of Trastevere at Santa Maria di Trastevere, one gets a ticket because of camera surveillance.
- Trastevere is known for its sidewalk pizza places, bars and clubs. It is common for Italians to eat along a storefront especially during the summer months amid the local fountains. There is gold painted front of the church I mentioned before with details of saints depicted from the 13th century. There is a long narrow street called via Lungara with specialized art and décor shops. Via Francesco di Ripa comes alive with its bars at night. There used to be a Brazilian one active until the wee hours and there is also a gay dance parlour called Angel’s Bar. Pizza Ivo is still serving is piping hot thin-crusted pizzas and bruschetta that is chopped tomato on toasted garlic bread.
- Everyone loves the Coliseum that has been closed to public on and off the past 15 years for renovations on different parts of its archways. The Coliseum would attract young lovers that would climb to the top and neck away in the moonlight but be careful, the is no guarantee that the masonry is safe on the inside. Here is wear gladiators would be introduced to fight lions that would be released.
- There are a number of obelisks around the city, some say brought back from Egypt during Caesar’s campaigns there. One notable one is at Piazza del Popolo, surrounded by majestic granite lions at its base. The monument is with in view of Porta Pincio a famous lookout point in Rome where one can see the Vatican cupola out west in the distance over the Tiber River. Here is where astronomy buffs can see Jupiter on a summer’s night in July through a mounted telescope.
- The Vatican, which is surrounded by the city of Rome, has its famous Sistine Chapel that Michel Angelo decorated by lying on his back for example and painting biblical frescos along its upper sides. He is also known for his Last Judgement painting where he poked fun at Pope Urban VIII.
- The Vatican is itself a treasure with its decorated tombs of pope’s deceased since the 14th century. Legend has it was common for people to kiss the foot of the Pope’s effigy on his casket and one such pope has a worn foot because the millions of visitors that have kissed or caressed the foot out of respect since. The vaulted roof seen while looking up at the cupola is spectacular and there are constant tours to see the famed square, Piazza San Pietro where the pope addresses his Sunday visitors.
- People who go up to the Castelli region south of the city on the way to Naples where people like to escape the summer heat. Even the pope has his summer home at Gandolfo with its own observatory. Another hilltop at Rocca de Papa, used to house the gendarme that protected the Pope when he governed over the Papal States that were eliminated from the map of Europe when the French
- The island in the middle of the Tiber between the historical centre and Trastevere has a functional hospital on it and is worth seeing as is the main synagogue right across from it on the historical centre side. One can be in awe of the gold leaf marble columns that lie aside the altar and the rabbi’s pulpit in its main chapel. There is a museum of Jewish historical artefacts on the inside of the building.
- The National library which is between the central train station and The main University campus is an impressive building built largely of glass it houses many antique texts as well as modern documents.
- I enjoyed taking a ride up to Tivoli a town of 65, 000 nestled in the Tiberian hills a half hour away from the city on the Tibertina. There lies the massive roman Emperor’s Hadrian’s tomb which can be visited.
- Ostia-Lido connects Rome to the Mediterranean coast. There is a protected burial spot where one can see some Etruscan tombs that have been preserved although they have been defaced over the years. Many know that the Etruscans were a mysterious people who inhabited the peninsula before Rome became what it was. Ostia is also well known to Romans and foreigners for its beaches and sandy dune coast.