The glory of Rome is unlike any other European city you might encounter. Wherever you walk, there is magnificence. Enormous statues stand equally proudly at landmark sites and down side alleys where you’d never expect to see them. Rome’s glory stares you in the face, commands admiration and draws gasps of amazement no matter how seasoned a traveller you might be. It is a city that oozes dramatic history and is in touch with today’s world and while it may be home to 2.8 million people, still feels as intimate as a small town.
Rome pops with colour, taking many by surprise. Building facades are awash in an autumn palette – bronze, brown, russet, orange, mustard and even dusty pink, offset in the summer by fuchsia bougainvillaea. The tones exude a warmth that is instantly welcoming and so satisfying. Capture the beauty of the unique urban landscape early in the day or at sunset- it’s a sight to behold and your Instagram followers will love you!
There is literally something to see on every corner of Rome and walking is, as always, the best way to explore the city that drips in tactile history. Look up, look down, in front and behind, and you’ll be amazed by jaw-dropping frescoes, statues, monuments, and churches, impressively preserved. There are 13 obelisks in the city alone and if you start your adventure at the Domitian’s in Piazza Navona, inscribed with hieroglyphics, you’ll be able to take in many of the most visited landmarks on the planet, all conveniently in close proximity and that include the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and Villa Borghese, and that’s just for starters. There is of course the Vatican, the Colosseum and for the best views over the city, a visit to the Orange Garden on Aventine Hill is a must. It’s near to the Secret Key Hole in the door, a tiny peep- window that looks through to a unique view of St Peter’s Basilica and is often overlooked.
There are many cool neighbourhoods in Rome, off the typical tourist track and where you can get a feeling for real Roman life. You’ll see locals arrive on Vespa’s, hanging out in ancient piazzas, drinking Aperol and chatting animatedly- at times it feels as if you’re in a Fellini movie. Monti, San Lorenzo and Travestere are a few of the trendiest with a great choice of places to eat, people watch, and afterwards browse small art galleries, boutiques and outdoor vintage markets on the weekend. Italians are a wonderfully warm, demonstrative and passionate people and you’ll absorb their energy wherever you go.
“I hate Italian food”, said no one, ever. In Italy, starting your day with a gelato is not unusual, and from there, things can only get better! A few favourites, in no particular order, would be an espresso and cannoli on the side, a caprese salad with oozy burrata, a glass of chilled prosecco and other traditional fare.
As they say in Italy, “mangia bene, ridi spresso, ama molto” – eat well, laugh often, love much.”
Travel well and buon viaggio!
Credit: Allison Foat