Rome in detail in three Half Day Walking Tours:
Day one: A day in the Ancient Rome
Aim of this Tour is to give you an idea, as complete as possible, of what the life of a Roman through different centuries could have been.
Meeting and starting point: Right outside Metro B stop named: Colosseo, which will be our first site to be explored. The Coloseum is the largest of many other “Arenas” once spread all over the Roman Empire and is still one of the best remaining example of the pick of the Roman power: here we are going to try to imagine gladiators and wild animals fightings (not christians martyrdom that…yes, believe it or not…never occurred here…!)
The visit will continue with a walk along the more or less 10-centuries-old remainings of the Roman Forum: this is where most of the ancient Romans spent large part of their time: praying, betting, buying and selling, trying to know the future from the fortune tellers, electing their leaders, playing chess etc. etc. The Forum saw some 200 years of Rome as a monarchy, (7th to 5th c. b.c.), followed by five centuries of Rome as a Republic till the beginning of the Imperial time with Augustus (27 b.c. – 14 a.d.). Then some five other centuries of expansion and later decline.
By the other side of the Forum we’ll climb up the Capitoline Hill of Rome: best view over the Roman Forum!
Passing by the Theatre of Marcellus and the Mouth of Truth we are going to reach the Tiberine Island, since ancient roman time the location of an Hospital: below the present one there are the remainings of the Temple of Esculapius, God of Medicine. On the Tiberine Island is located a very good Restaurant: Sora Lella, once belonging to the Fabrizi Family, very popular in Rome as actors.
Back to the left bank of the Tiber (Rome was founded and grew on the left bank of the Tiber: the river was the natural border! Here we are going to walk through the Circus Maximus, famous for the Chariot Races.
On our left will be the Palatine Hill where the very early huts of the time of Romulus and Remus (8th c. b.c.) were located. On our right the Aventine Hill, the area where the working class, the Plebeians, used to live.
Walking (15 minutes) or by public bus we will then reach the place where all Romans liked to go to relax, do some sport and meet other people for public relations: the Baths of Caracalla (entrance fee around 6,00 euro)
Such kind of Tour cannot finish anywhere else then the Pantheon, best preserved Roman Temple of all pagan Gods, later transfrmed in a christian church. Here nearby are many good Ice-Cream places!!! I would suggest the one that has my name: Grom…(unfortunately we are not related in any way…!)
Day two: Medieval and spiritual Rome.
Last Emperor of the western Roman Empire ”Romulus Augustulus” was dismissed by barbarians in the 5th c. a.c.: this is the beginning of what we call: Middle Ages, the Ages between the fall of the western Roman Empire and Renaissance.
During that time Rome became a kind of “ghost-city”: from one and a half million people down to 20/25 thousand! Most of the city was abandoned and became a wild country-side: where once upon a time the roman troops celebrated their triumphal marches now you could see only cows, sheeps and wild animals like wolfs and bears. Noble and/or powerful families used the still standing ruins as their own private fortresses, in a never-ending war against the other powerful families: most of them leaved in high towers protected by their private army. One of the main achievement was to have a cardinal or a Pope in the family: that would help to expand its power and reachness in the ethernal competion against the other families.
We are going to explore the remainings of those times: Santa Prassede and Santa Pudenziana with their beautiful bizantine mosaics, the medieval areas of Trastevere and of Campo Marzio trying to visualize the economical and artistical changes that occurred during those centuries: from the Fifth to the 14 c. a.d.when also in Rome the Renaissance began and represents the other end of the middle-ages. From that time Castel Sant’Angelo became a fortress property of the Papacy and several times has been used to save the life of Popes and Cardinals. In the Old Jewish Ghetto I would strongly suggest a stop by the little and unexpensive Trattoria “Sora Margherita”: very good tipical roman food served on very simple wood tables surrounded by real romans (and some wise tourists as well: those who prefer the real “aroma” of a place better then the international restaurants where you eat the same food whether you are in Paris or Hong Kong!). What’s a real roman food? First of all Pasta (amatriciana sauce, Gricia way etc), then meat: lamb or…tripes! Artichokes prepared in the “Jewish Way” (fried) or “Alla Romana” (baked). A tipical jewish cake cannot be missing: Torta con Ricotta e Visciole (A cake with Ricotta cheese and cherries)…yammyyyyy!!!
Day Three: Renaissance, Baroque and Modern Rome
This day cannot start anywhere else then the Vatican Museum: the 14 century sees the beginning of the real power of the Popes that, little by little, became sort of Kings. Here, in the Vatican Palaces, they collected most of the master-pieces of art that were discovered in Rome and which they used to adorn their private apartments. Starting from the 17 c. some of these apartments were open to the public and became a museum, finally opened with entrance fee etc. in the 19th c. as a way to commemorate the signature of the Latheran Treaty between the Vatican and Mussolini. Later we’ll enjoy a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica and talk about the expansion of christianity
Walking or by public buses we are going to see most of the Palaces, Churches, Squares and Monumental Fountains built by the different Popes and Cardinals to show the other leaders of Rome and of the rest of the world the power achieved by the Papacy and by some of the roman families: Palazzo della Cancelleria, Palazzo Farnese, Piazza Navona. Here nearby is one of the very best Ice- Cream places: Frigidarium. Personally at home I always have some half a kilo of their icecream in the frezeer…! The Campo dei Fiori Square is one of the most popular and trendy place for a drink sitting by one of the many picturesque cafes located all around the Square. In the middle of the square is the Statue dedicated in 1890 by the Roman Free-Thinkers to Giordano Bruno, here burned alive in 1600 by the Papal authorities because of his philosophical ideas!
Later we’ll continue with the Chiesa del Gesù, Piazza SS. Apostoli, via del Corso, Trevi Fountain, Spanis Square and the Piazza del popolo. Nearby is La Buca di Ripetta, another nice and unexpensive tipical roman Trattoria: notwithstanding the location (right by the fashion and expensive area), this Trattoria maintained a family profile with wood tables and good local food.
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