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... so what are the must sees?
Were you taking part in the Parade?
The only things one really must see, if you're there for the first time, are the Forum Romanum, the basilica of Saint Peter's, and one of the Catacombs. After all, one must enjoy the city in the first place, which means that you never "must" do things.

You can improve your visit by preparing it well; read the full travel guide and select things you like to see. Perhaps read this article of mine, so that you won't have false illusions.

Make sure you have a quiet room in a good hotel.

Meanwhile, know that you're on the best place in Europe, because next month, AS Roma will win lo scudetto.
Besides the forum, of course, you should certainly visit the Palatine and the Colosseum - you need to pay for these, on a combined ticket. A good tip for avoiding the queues is to get your ticket from the Via di San Gregoria entrance of the Palatine, just down the road from the Arch of Constantine. It's sort of the back door to the Palatine, and there's hardly ever anyone there... From there, you can walk easily over to the Colosseum and stroll past the (usually mammoth) queue, or enter the Palatine itself by either that gate or the usual one just past the Arch of Titus.

Other stuff - the Baths of Caracalla are pretty impressive, although a little out of the way. There are some sections of the Aurelian wall in the vicinity, though, which can make the trip a little more diverting. On the Campus Martius, there's a little group of surviving Republican temples in the Largo di Torre Argentina that are worth a look, plus some surviving masonry from the Theatre of Pompey, where Caesar was murdered. Nearby is the Pantheon, of course, and also the Theatre of Marcellus, which looks very good at night. It might be worth checking if the Domus Aurea is open to the public when you visit too.

But. as Jona suggested, rather than rushing about trying to see everything it would be better to take things easy, explore and enjoy. Oh, and I recommend Trastevere for eating - the streets around Piazza San Callisto have some excellent pizzeria, away from the tourist ripoff zone...

- Nathan
Quote:Were you taking part in the Parade?

Thanks guys ..very useful.
The annual Natalli festival...never mind.
When are you going? I'm heading there on the 17th for 10 days.....looking forward to it myself. Big Grin
Going 20th April for six days ... girlfriends 40th birthday present from me ... she will be Audrey Hepburn and I will be Gregory Peck :roll:

I'm not familiar with that festival?
Quote:I'm not familiar with that festival?

Here some pictures from the Belgian Legio XI from last years birthday of Rome.
Hi Conal
Quote:Going 20th April for six days ... girlfriends 40th birthday present from me ... she will be Audrey Hepburn and I will be Gregory Peck
Enjoy yourself and don't forget to lease a "Vespa" :wink:


Gee Siggi, thats a nasty thing to propose to a fellow legionary!! Those things are dangerous!! Confusedhock: :roll: :lol:
Quote:Enjoy yourself and don't forget to lease a "Vespa" :wink:
Gorgeous movie stars not included - unfortunately.
[Image: romanholiday.jpg]
Just to add some comments to those above. In no particular order...

1) Visit the pantheon (stunning, breathtaking, the superlatives run out) or the baths of Diocletian before seeing the forum, palatine, or other ruins. They give you an idea of what the collections of brick and reconstructed columns actually looked like!

2) If you have half a day, visit Ostia Antica ([url:1p125ycc][/url]) - you can get there on the metro. To my mind, it's better than Pompeii, and certainly more fun to visit. There are no crowds, and you can just wander through a deserted Roman city. It's hard to recapture the romance of the grand tour, when the colosseum was shrouded in vines and trees, and was a place of wonder and discovery. Now everything is stripped back, protected, and slightly sterile. Good for preservation, yes, but slightly less fun! If you want crumbling ruins you can picnic on, the Circus of Maxentius ([url:1p125ycc][/url]) is also a good bet - its just outside the city, and you can get there by city bus and visit the nearby catacombs as well.

3) Get a good historical guidebook. I'd strongly recommend Amanda Claridge's "Rome: an Oxford archaeological guide". Accessible but detailed. But Coarelli's Roma, now translated ([url:1p125ycc][/url]) is pretty good.

4) Slightly lesser known:

The Basilica di San Clemente ([url:1p125ycc][/url]) is absolutely wonderful. It's just down the road from the Colosseum, and is a twelfth century church built on a fourth century church built on a 2nd century insula built on a republican foundation. You can go down beneath the church to the fourth century church, and then down to the insula beneath. Aside from being amazing in its own right, it also gives you a real sense of how the city is built on, well, itself. I've taken many people around Rome, and aside from the Pantheon, this is the building with the greatest wow factor (although I've never taken people to the Casa dei Cavalieri Rodi).

If you're there on the right days, visit the Casa dei Cavalieri Rodi (instructions on how to book are at: [url:1p125ycc][/url]). Part first century insula, with the forums of Augustus and Trajan built around it, part castle, part palazzo. There's a church in the lowest levels, and the best view in the world from the loggia at the top, especially if you can dare the small balcony (visible on the left here: [url:1p125ycc][/url]). The frescos are brilliant, the military banners slightly scary, and the architectural reliefs - many of which are from the forum of Augustus - top notch. It has the added bonus of (I think) still being home to the military wing of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Rhodes. When I visited, people were in (modern) military uniform - Dan Brown really missed a trick here! The most fascinating place, anywhere, I've ever visited.

The Largo di Torre Argentina ([url:1p125ycc][/url]) is a 15-minute treat for military history fans. It contains a series of victory temples raised along the triumphal route by Roman commanders to commemorate their triumphs. It also contains the back end of Pompey's theatre complex, and it is said by some that you can see the spot where Caesar was stabbed.

If you want something rather different, try the church of Santo Stefano Rotondo ([url:1p125ycc][/url]). The martyrdom frescos were memorably described by Dickens: "a panorama of horror and butchery no man could imagine in his sleep, though he were to eat a whole pig raw, for supper...every sufferer gives you the same occasion for wonder as poor old Duncan awoke, in Lady Macbeth, when she marvelled at his having so much blood in him."

5) Despite all of the above: don't try to see too much! After a while, once ancient building blurs into another. And don't spend too long in the forum unless you and your girlfriend have some experience with Roman history. Its amazing at first, but many people find it disappointing. I've been there many times, often with professional archeologists, written essays on it, given tours around it, and could draw a pretty good map of the place from memory, and when I get down there it's still a bit of a confusing mess of reconstructed buildings all piled together.

Have fun! I'm very envious. My girlfriend has not-so-subtly hinted that our next holiday should not include any Roman ruins Smile

Blue skies

Do not forget a Roma Pass. Cheap public traffic, free museums.
Some great tips, as its not my birthday trip I will be leaving the choices to my better half but Ostia sounds good I hadn't realised it was close enough to visit.

thanks again
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