Rome, Italy: An overview of getting lost amongst ancient history
Ah. Rome Italy.
Well I am not sure how this piece is going to go because I am still a little lost for words! Which for those who personally know me, that is kind of really surprising.
Rome kind of has that effect on you.
So much has been written already about Rome, but here is, my take on the ‘Eternal City’
Rome is such a contrast of old and new. Mostly old and for any Australian traveller who loves historical sites, we are like the fat kid in the candy store. I mean our ’oldest’’ building was constructed in 1793!!! Bless our young hearts.
There is literally so much to see and do in Rome and I really don’t know how long is enough time to say you’ve ’done Rome’. I know I missed a lot. Like I didn’t even get to Trastevere which was on my list of must sees. In all honesty, I simply ran out of time and was pretty determined to get in a ‘live like a local, relaxed day in Rome before my 22 hours of flying home.
I will start by saying, I am no history professor, yes, I know a bit BUT what I know is limited. I simply enjoy seeing the historical relics and learning about the history of the country in which I am visiting. I am a bit of a nerd like that! But I really do think that if you travel to a place its respectful to know what has happened there in the past. However long that past may be. Rome’s is long! Plus, I feel you’re doing yourself a disservice not knowing where a country, city or town has come from and what makes it what it is. But that’s me, who am I to judge…….
So, Rome. Oh Rome! All roads lead to Rome. Rome if you want to.. ok I’ll stop now 😉
A history that is diverse and long. Rome is fucking ’ancient’. There, I said it! If it is something you care for, Rome was around before Jesus. Home to numerous Gods and Goddesses and the mighty Roman Empire that conquered most of Europe. It is a city with so much. So much food, so much of Italy, so much of fashion, wine and culture. And most importantly, so much history! History that we know of, and so much that we don’t.
And it is at that last point that I found myself on so many occasions walking around and coming across a ruin of some kind where my mind would wonder. Who was here? What did they do? Was it a goddess who was desired? A god who was loved or feared? A gladiator? A criminal? What happened here?
Rome is a place of historical fact. But it is also a place where your imagination can really come alive. Mine certainly did.
On this trip, I didn’t want to see modern Rome. I’ll leave that for another time. Being in Rome for 4 days meant a lot of ‘roaming’ around and experiencing the city as I wanted to. With what was important for me.
The views and sights
I got lost a lot in Rome. Very easy to do. But getting lost became a massive highlight for me but one in particular was turning off a small cobblestoned street onto a main road (about 2 minutes from my apartment) and seeing the Colosseum. Right there at the end of the main road standing there in all its ancient glory. All an estimated ten-minute walk from where I was. Unbelievable!
The sights in general across Rome are incredible. Taking in centuries of architecture, art and culture. Rome changes from the ancient to the middle ages to modern times at a quick walking pace. Like one minute you’re walking past a building from the last century and then up pops the ruins of what would have been something impressive 2000 years ago. Unbelievable!
Then there’s something like the Pantheon. Which you turn a corner from a side street with buildings that are only (oh dear) a few centuries old and there it is! Just standing there.
And then there’s the Roman Forum. The Spanish Steps. The Knights of the Malta Keyhole. The Gladiator School. The Baths of CaraCalla. The list goes on. And on.
It would be remiss of me to not mention the Vatican. It’s Saint Peter’s Basilica. It’s museums. SO MUCH HISTORY! SO MANY STORIES!
For all parts, Rome and its sights and history really blew this Aussie mind.
On getting lost in Rome
Boy did I get lost!
Thought I’d nailed this getting lost business on day one with a very easy stroll from the train station to my Airbnb. 1 hour later after unpacking and getting settled I venture out to find the local supermarket and got lost on the way. Actually, pretty much as soon as I walked out of the apartment and turned down the street I was lost. Not a great start! I laughed at myself after discovering on the way home from the supermarket, that it should have been a 5-minute walk to get there, took me an hour.
I got so lost on my Vatican City ‘cram in as much of Rome as possible’ day. Several times. Actually, every time I turned a corner!! If you are someone like me who has subpar navigation skills then it is VERY easy to get lost in Rome. But that is half the fun of exploring isn’t it? In my getting lost experience I was able to see things off the tourist trail and immerse myself more so into Roman life.
Like I said earlier, Rome really blew my mind. It is actually hard to articulate the immense power that this city emanates and the impression that it leaves on you. It is impressive. It is powerful. It actually is a wonderful city, filled with so much that at times it is overwhelming. The food (well all of Italian food really), the wine (again, all of Italian wine), the people, even the tourists make for an experience that is something of wonder and amazement.
I will definitely go back to Rome. There is so much I didn’t get to see in my 4 days, more experiences to have. I really want to go back to the colosseum. I really want to spend a whole day at the Vatican. I really want to go to places I didn’t get to. And I really want to eat the food, drink the wine and chat more to the locals.
This Roman story is not over! I will see you again sometime soon Rome.
Stay tuned for more Rome stories over the next few weeks.
Check out the review of the apartment I stayed in while in Rome HERE