Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Travel Tip: Rome & Vatican City

Roma as it is affectionately called is an amazing City. Within its city center, you’ll be able to transport yourself backwards in time to the Ancient City of Rome, with the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and more, all within walking distance.

Whether you are a Christian or not, or maybe an art lover, whatever the reason, it is no excuse to miss the Vatican City! On this holy ground, you not only pay homage to the current pope and those past, but you get a glimpse of how the many art collections and sculptures, esp those by Michelangelo.

The best way to visit Rome is by walking! Better yet, why not take a Walking Tour. These guys are also history students who do part time tours for tips. They'll make your visit more lively than trying to read from a guide book, and they're cheaper than taking a proper tour (very touristy). On days that you do take the walking tour, just make sure you're are ready to walk - have bottled water, cap/umbrella, camera, whatever, just make sure you don't become targets of pick pockets.. coz you may be so intent on listening/taking photos, that you don't notice someone picking your bag/pocket (Milan is the worst i think, coz there are more gypsies).

Things to see:

Ancient Rome

  • Colosseum - book ahead through, but join the guided tour.
  • The Pantheon
  • Trevi fountain – throw a coin backwards, and you’ll return to rome!
  • The Roman Forum
  • Capitoline Hill
  • Piazza Navona

    • Vatican City

      You’ll need to go early and queue! Don’t miss it!
      • Michaelangelo’s Pietà near the entrance of St. Peter's Basilica
      • Bernini's Funeral Monument for Pope Urban VIII in the St. Peter's Basilica
      • Michelangelo’s Frescoe in the Sistine Chapel
      • Vatican Museums (if you have the time)
      • Oh, and time to ogle the cute Guards.
      Beyond Rome
      If you have an extra day in Rome, why not take a day to south to Pompeii & Sorrento. Most tours pick you up at dawn, and drop you off around 9pm.

      Pompeii and Herculaneum
      If you want to see how the Romans lived, one of the most well preserved sites are the ruins of
      Pompeii and Herculaneum. After the nearby volcano Mount Vesuvius, erupted on 24 August 79 AD, both ancient cities was lost to civilization, having been buried by clouds of ash and extreme heat.

      To experience
      Sorrento, you need to take the “Amalfi Drive” which is a narrow road that threads around the high cliffs above the Mediterranean, connecting Sorrento with the Amalfi coast. It’s a great drive, maybe not for the driver, but the views are stunning. Sorrento is also known for it’s liquor called “Limencelo”.

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