Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rome - 8 Must-See Sights ~ Travel Guide -- Rome, Italy

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Although one could easily spend a month or more in Rome and never see everything there is to see, there are 8 must-see sights for the first-time visitor.

1. St. Peter's Basilica -- One of the most famous churches in the world, St. Peter's is monumental in scope. Its majesty is evident both inside and out. The Piazza San Pietro is a grand entrance to the church itself. A special treat within is Michelangelo's Pieta that some consider his greatest work. Also, climb 537 steps to the top of the great dome for a breathtaking view of all of Rome. In addition, you might want to take in the Sistine Chapel with its frescoed ceiling by Michelangelo and the scenes from Genesis. Allow at least 3 hours after entry to fully appreciate everything St. Peter's has to offer.

2. The Colosseum -- One of Rome's most famous attractions, the Colosseum will not disappoint. There is much to explore, and a recent addition of Rome's history in pictures and words can easily eat up a few hours. Plan accordingly.

3. The Pantheon -- Rome's best preserved ancient building, the Pantheon was built in the 1st century A.D. The only light entering the interior is from a circular opening - the oculus -- in its huge, hemispherical dome hidden behind the classical facade. Be sure to check visiting hours as the Pantheon tends to close early at times.

4. Roman Forum -- Wandering through the Forum, one can feel the ghosts of ancient Rome haunting what was one of the most active arenas in daily their daily life. Although much of the Forum has been reduced to seemingly rubble, it is nonetheless of great historical significance. One used to able to roam the Forum at will. Unfortunately, today it is another tourist trap with entrance fees. It is still a must-see sight.

5. Trevi Fountain -- Rome's largest, most famous, and one would say most beautiful fountain, the Trevi is actually the end of an aquaduct that supplied water to the fountains in Rome's historic center. Legend has it you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water. You should toss it over your shoulder with your back to the fountain.

6. Victor Emmanuel Monument -- One of the grandest tributes to any man, this massive structure was begun in 1885 and completed in 1911 to honor Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of unified Italy. Its bulk hides another grand attraction of much greater antiquity -- The Capitoline Hill with its museums of some of the finest sculptures in Rome.

7. Spanish Steps -- A gathering place for literally thousands of people both day and night, the Piazza di Spagna is the most famous square in Rome. It is at the end of the Via Condotti, one of Rome's most fashionable shopping districts with names like Gucci, Armani, Valentino and Bruno Magli on the storefronts. As a side treat, don't miss one of most differently designed McDonald's in the world just to right of the Spanish Steps.

8. Piazza Navona -- The area around the Piazza Navona has been is known as the centro storico (historic center) and has been inhabited for over 2000 years. The plaza itself follows the shape of a 1st-century stadium that was used for chariot races, athletic contests and other sports. Today it is the social center of the city. The plaza is lined with palaces and sidewalk cafes punctuated by outlandish Baroque fountains. Watch your pocketbook here. An espresso and a biscotti (Italian coffee and a cookie) could run 15 Euros (including tip). Ouch!!

Of course, there is much, much more to Rome -- more than one person could see in a lifetime. If you have more time to spend in The Eternal City, check guide books for other attractions of interest.

Candee Lynn Wilson first visited Italy in 1990. She has returned on an average of every other year since then making her something of an Italophile. She shares her love of this beautiful country at http://www.Vacations-In-Italy.com

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