Rome

So, after writing about last week’s trip northwards to Scandinavia it’s time to cast my mind back to Italy – this one is the last stop on our tour which means we finish with the capital, Rome!

By the time we reached Rome it was getting on for mid-June, temperatures were soaring. Apparently the city gets even hotter in July and August, it must be unbearable because the temperature was already almost hitting 40 degrees, approximately 15 higher than I like it. The heat and the hectic nature of the place made it quite overwhelming and exhausting at times, I’d like to try Rome again in the autumn or winter months.

Enough moaning though, it goes without saying Rome has a lot to offer, it was the centre of the world after all! My friend was interrailing and we decided to meet up in Rome, he’d been there a day and showed us around, the first place we visited was the Jewish quarter. In Italy, even more so Rome, Catholicism rules so it was interesting to see a place of worship that wasn’t a cathedral for once. This synagogue is apparently guarded 24/7 in case of attacks, quite concerning really. It’s definitely an impressive building, if I remember rightly the roof had to be shaped like a square to distinguish it from the round-shaped roofs of the Christian buildings.

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Any city worth its salt has its number 1/you simply cannot miss it/go at all costslandmark. Rome’s is the Colosseum, the ancient structure defies the laws of time really, to still be in this condition at the ripe old age of almost 2,000 is some going.

It held almost 60,000 people in its day, which is a similar capacity to that of my football team’s ground which was built in the 21st century! (Arsenal, for those curious).

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You can really envisage the gladiator battles that took place when you go inside, from a distance you get a sense of the building’s scale. Kudos to the Romans for designing and building something this grand back in the year 80 (or something ridiculous like that anyway. The year 80, I can’t get my head around the fact that’s an actual year still!).

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Across from the Colosseum is the Roman Forum, a whole area of ruins from the Roman era – famous names such as Julius Caesar walked up and down these very streets. Again, the sheer age of place just knocks you back, history always fascinates me but seeing ancient history before your eyes is truly incredible.

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The next landmark was my favourite, the Pantheon is almost as old as the Colosseum and is in even better shape!
The building in still in tact, hats off to Roman engineering.

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The huge missing circle in the dome lights up the whole room. I really took to the Pantheon, it’s an amazing place and free to enter unlike its mate across the city.

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Two of Rome’s other famous landmarks proved to be a bit of a let down unfortunately – as we’d seen throughout the trip scaffolding had been set up. To make matters worse my friend said he’d seen the Trevi Fountain with water in it, the building work must have literally started the day we arrived! So, no coin-throwing into the water to ensure I return to Rome, if I never go back we know why…
The second landmark receiving a bit of TLC was the Spanish steps, the pictures online make the steps look beautiful – sadly this wasn’t the case for us.

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The last building I’ll include in this post is the opinion-splitting structure that sits on the Piazza Venezia. It has many nicknames – ranging from the moderate – ‘the typewriter’, to the not-so-complimentary  according to Wikipedia admittedly ‘the national urinal’. Personally I think it looks the part sitting at the top of one of the main squares in the city.

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Time to wrap up both the Roman and Italian adventures of summer 2014 then, in my opinion Italy’s a great place and the food is even better. On that note, here’s me cooling down before my final pizza – by this point I’d actually kinda become fed up of eating them, sacrilegious I know, forgive me.

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