A classy, leisure trip to the city of Rome

Rome as a city has a lot to offer to all types of travellers. History, religion, art, architecture, fashion, food, scenic beauty... the list is endless. I happened to be travelling with my sister to Rome in the month of November, just when it was beginning to get cold. I was surprised to see that the city offers you the space to be just yourself.

You could walk down the streets and enjoy the performances of a variety of art forms or just shop to your heart’s content, a range of brands. You may even just walk into museums and admire the paintings and sculptors of all-time artists or just visit a church and spend time revelling in the peace. One may even gist himself a portrait or a caricature as he/she enjoys the time posing by the side of the famous fountains at Piazza Navona or just stand on the bridge over the Tiber River and feel the breeze caress your face while you admire the view of thousands of birds flooding the sky and hovering over in amazing geometrical patterns.

n Planning your trip: Rome has a vast number of spots and sites that any traveller would want to visit and experience, but it’s not humanly possible to cover a lot in short vacations spanning a week or ten days. Though each museum or tourist spot has its own significance, it is best to choose and plan in advance. We booked guided tours for most places we visited and it turned out to be a good option as it offers you with an opportunity to better understand the history behind everything you see and at certain places, one also have access to areas not open for public otherwise. Walking around the ruins and buildings without a background might be boring. At most museums, one will find beautifully printed guide books and audio guides. These books which cost almost the same as the audio guide is a keeper’s item. 

Apart from visiting a handful of famous spots, we kept some time aside for the lesser known yet enchanting places like the Catacombs or the Baths of Caracalla. The Catacombs, which are essentially underground cemeteries, are four storeys underneath and date back to second or third century. Visiting this site sums up the Roman experience for me. It offered glimpses of life and death all at once. In sharp contrast to this, the Baths highlight the everyday public spaces which are as old as the Catacombs.

Another spot lesser known is Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini. It is a modern day building, underneath which lay the archaeological remains of houses dating back centuries. These remains showcase the beautiful designs used back then, as you look down through the glass flooring in the absolute dark. It also takes you into an underground tunnel for a closer look at the Trojan Column.

n Day trips from Rome: We wanted to see as much of Rome as possible and kept eight days of sightseeing. But having heard much about Florence and wanting to see the most admired work of Italian sculptor and painter Michelangelo we planned a day trip to Florence. Apart from the all imposing Italian Cathedral Duomo, Gallery Academia and Uffizi Gallery Museum of Florence are worth a visit. In fact, it is the Gallery Academia which houses the larger-than-life Michelangelo’s sculpture work named David. We also took a day trip to city of Orvietto, which is located on a cliff and presents a breathtaking view of the valley below.

n Transport: Rome has a well-connected public transport system which includes buses, trams and metro trains. The metro train system has stops for almost all the important tourist spots like the Vatican City and Roman Colosseum. Though many of these spots are within a walkable distance from each other and that is how, I often ended up visiting spots like the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.

n Vegetarian food: Food can be problem for pure vegetarians like me, but to my surprise, there was no dearth of vegetarian restaurants. Margutta Ristor Arte and Raphael are quite popular for their vegetarian Italian menu along with Vega Foods and Biblioethe. 

The people are usually warm and friendly. As lone female travellers, we didn’t face any security issues and felt quite comfortable travelling by ourselves in the well-lit streets which are bustling with people almost till
midnight.

Rajul Jain

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