When in Rome: Travel like a pro
Searching for a new place to explore? Look no further than Rome, a picturesque city where ancient ruins are tucked between medieval, Renaissance and modern-day landmarks. Rome’s unique atmosphere provides servicemembers and their families with the vacation of a lifetime.
What to see
Rome’s streets are lined with cultural experiences: beautiful buildings, art museums, historic sites and great restaurants. It’s no surprise that Rome is one of the top 10 destinations in Europe. Since there is so much to see, mapping out your visit will enable you to stroll through the streets of Rome like a pro.
Pantheon: A trip to Rome would not be complete without a walk through the city’s most preserved structure, the Pantheon. Originally constructed as a place of worship for all gods, the Pantheon’s unique circular engineering continues to puzzle architects. Aside from its domed shaped roof, the complex contains some of Rome’s most gorgeous columns and beautiful religious portraits. For a Kodak moment, venture to the Fontana del Pantheon to photograph the Pantheon.
Capitoline Museum: Witness Rome’s art culture at the Capitoline Museum. As you make your way through the complex, you will see some of the city’s most famous pieces, including “Dying Gaul,” “The Fortune Teller,” “Romulus and Remus” and “The Burial of St. Petronilla.” For a listing of the museum’s upcoming exhibits, visit en.museicapitolini.org.
St. Peter’s Basilica: Situated in the heart of Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica is a must see for travelers of all ages. Colorful biblical images and stunning masterpieces — including Pietà, the Altar of St. Jerome, monument to Pope Alexander VII and Bernini’s baldachin — offer a look into the city’s religious background. Afterward, treat yourself to a homemade pizza in St. Peter’s Square.
Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel: Home to a collection of handpicked art pieces by the popes, the Vatican Museum’s exhibition is stunning. Works include the “Miracles of Saint Vincenzo Ferrer,” “Madonna and Child with Four Saints,” the statue of the Good Shepherd, archeological findings and, of course, the Sistine Chapel. This breathtaking church contains Michelangelo’s 12,000-square-foot fresco, which displays his perspective of Adam and Eve’s encounter with God, the story of Noah and his depiction of God.
Bocca della Verità: Originally part of one of Rome’s fountains, the Bocca della Verità is a trip highlight. Located in the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cosmedin, this unique drain is one of the city’s most peculiar artifacts. The 120-kilogram marble structure’s depiction of Oceanus, a pagan god, gives the city a sense of mystery. Legend says that if you fib while touching the pothole’s mouth, your hand will be bitten off. Whether you choose to talk while touching the face is up to you; just remember to watch what you say.
Museum of Ara Pacis: Home to the Altar of Peace, one of Rome’s most important sculptures, the Museum of Ara Pacis is the perfect place to explore the city’s past. Originally constructed as a symbol of peace, the altar depicts the early days of Rome. Along with its flowery exterior and realistic statues, this stunning artifact is sure to impress any history buff. During your journey through the complex, attempt to decipher the story being told by the faces etched on the altar.
Colosseum: Since opening in A.D. 80, the Colosseum, or Coliseum, has been one of Rome’s most recognizable landmarks. Today the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world and a great site to delve into Roman history. Despite dealing with years of natural phenomena and neglect, the complex’s pillars, seats and walls remain. As you make your way through the Colosseum’s paths, remember that in spite of everything that’s happened, the Colosseum has not fallen.
Roman Forum: Travel back in time during a stroll through Rome’s oldest business center, the Roman Forum. Once the hub for commerce, religion and justice, these grounds provide the chance to discover Rome’s past in an amazing way. As you walk among some of the city’s oldest buildings, picture yourself at an ancient religious event or city verdict.
Circus Maximus: Circus Maximus was the entertainment hub of ancient Rome. Today the complex’s pillars and lookout points provide visitors with a chance to get a sense of what life was like during Rome’s early years. As you explore, imagine sitting in the stands during one of Circus Maximus’ spectacular events.
Although most of Rome’s museums and landmarks are closed during the evening, there are still a variety of sites awaiting you! Three of the most popular evening destinations include the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona. Venturing to these locations during the night is a great way to experience all Rome has to offer.
Trevi Fountain: Dating back to 1732, this Baroque fountain provided the Roman community with water for baths and continues to symbolize the city’s power. If you need a reason to experience the structure’s magic for a while, grab a gelato before making your way there. To ensure that you come back to this incredible city, toss a coin in the water before you leave.
Spanish Steps: Half a mile from the Trevi Fountain is Europe’s longest staircase, the Spanish Steps. Originally built as a way for citizens to travel from the square to Trinità dei Monti, the Roman Catholic Church, these 135 steps are the perfect place to regroup. During your visit, you will be welcomed by some of Rome’s striking buildings and the Barcaccia Fountain, which depicts how wine was transported to and from Rome. The stairs are so significant to the city that you are forbidden from eating on them (finish your gelato first!).
Piazza Navona: After a full day of trekking, you may be in the need of a pick me- up. If so, a trip to one of Rome’s most breathtaking squares, Piazza Navona, should be on the top of your list. Built in the village’s Stadium of Domitian, this glorious destination will not only supply you with an array of dining options, but also allow you to wind down. For a list of Piazza Navona’s most popular dining establishments, visit www.navonasquare.com; reservations are highly recommended.