Circus Maximus or Circo Massimo in Italian, an ancient Roman Chariot racing stadium, the first and largest stadium in Ancient Rome and its later Empire. Unfortunately, very little remains of the Circus, except for the grass-covered racing track and the outline of the central barrier. Some of the starting gates remain, but most of the seating has disappeared with the passing of time.
The Mouth of Truth or la Bocca della Verita, an image of a face carved in Pavonazzetto marble, located in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The most famous particularity of the Mouth is having been used as a lie detector starting with the Middle Ages. It was believed that if someone told a lie with his/her hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off.
Our third stop was at the National Roman Museum or Museo Nazionale Romano, where we activated our Roma Passes (which provide free access to public transportation in Rome for three days since the moment of validation, plus free entry to the first two museums and/or archaeological sites of your choice-all for the price of 30 euros).
We started our second day in Rome early in the morning, by visiting the Colloseum or Coliseum (Italian Anfiteatro Flavio or Colosseo), an elliptical amphitheatre, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire, considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. It was really impressive and crowded with tourists (I would recommend going as early in the morning as possible, in order to capture a few shots without the crowd in the background). This was our second and last objective visited with Roma Pass, from here on out we were on our own, so to say. Next, we wanted to see the Roman Forum (Il Foro Romano), but were quickly discouraged by the huge queue and decided to change our plans.
We therefore walked to the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II) , situated between Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. The monument is controversial since its construction destroyed a large area of the Capitoline Hill with a Medieval neighbourhood for its sake and is disliked by the locals because its whiteness contrasts with the mostly brownish buildings surrounding it.
Our journey continued on Via del Corso, all the way to Piazza del Popolo, then to Piazza di Spagna with its impressive steps and, of course, the Trevi Fountain (la Fontana di Trevi), where the saying is that you have to throw a coin if you want to return to Rome. Next was the Elephant (Il Elefantino), which we saw on our way to the Pantleon. We couldn’t have missed Piazza Navona with the two fountains and the Campo di Fiori.
Fontana di Trevi- a place crowded with tourists
Although we were already tired, we walked to The Mausoleum of Hadrian, more popularly known as Castel Sant’ Angelo and then headed to the nearest subway station, Lepanto, having a delicious ice-cream (gelato) on the way. Be sure not to miss these delicious treats if you travel to Rome, it would be a pitty.
The last stop for the day was the Pyramid of Cestius (la Piramide), at the metro station with the same name. After that, our hunger won us over and we decided to head for a restaurant for dinner.
We started the third day of our Rome adventure at the Saint Peter’s Basilica (Basilica San Pietro),the well-known late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City . We went all the way up in the Dome and I can tell you that it was a unique experience and the view is unforgettable from up there. It was worth the effort of climbing all the over 500 spiral steps which were getting more and more narrow as we were approaching the top.
The amazing view from the Dome
The Sistine Chapel
I must confess that my personal favorite ‘objective of the day’ was the Bioparco Zoo. I found it to be both exciting and relaxing at the same time and enjoyed seeing all the animals (very well taken care of). I loved the small monkeys exhibition, the European bisons, the grey seals, the bears, the house of reptiles and the lions.
Our last stop for the day was the mall- EuRoma 2, where we ate and made a little shopping. On day four we headed back home, carrying a huge luggage of memories with us. Now I am looking forward to returning someday - after all, I did throw a coin into Fontana di Trevi.
Arrivederci, Roma, alla prossima! (Good Bye, Rome, see you next time!)