My first trip to Europe was in 2008 and the destination was Italy. Rome was the first port of entry and the Eternal City made such an impression on me that, no matter how beautiful the other European cities that I had discovered in subsequent trips, Rome would always be my favourite.
Why was Rome my all-time favourite European city?
- Ancient history: I was surrounded by ancient history everywhere in Rome and I marvelled at their inventions and formidable achievements, for the Roman civilisation was one of the world’s greatest and left a significant impact on today’s architecture, engineering, and politics.
- Beautiful art: There are beautiful examples of art and culture everywhere in Rome. I looked up at paintings and sculptures, so in awe of my surroundings that I had tripped on pews in churches and kerbstones on the streets. My sister had to caution me to watch where I was going!
We wished we had more time to experience Rome at a leisurely pace but my sister and I were there for only two days on a guided tour, thus our itinerary was quite rushed.
The Eternal City is packed with many things to see, here are the few places that we had visited:
- St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square
The largest of its kind in the world — St. Peter’s Basilica — is situated in the smallest state in the world, the Vatican. The centre of the Catholic world, St. Peter’s Basilica is the most notable building in the Vatican City. Its magnificent dome was designed by Michelangelo.
Situated in front of St. Peter’s Basilica is an expansive plaza called St. Peter’s Square. Designed by Bernini, St. Peter’s Square is bordered on two sides by semicircular colonnades, on top of which are 140 statues depicting popes, martyrs, saints and religious figures. Approximately half a million people fill up the square during special occasions such as Easter or the election of a new pope.
- Vatican Museum
The Vatican Museum is one of the must-see attractions in Rome, notably for the impressive art collection that was amassed by several popes throughout the course of history. For ticket information, opening hours, and the latest events, visit the official website.
- Trevi Fountain
No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the famous Trevi Fountain, the largest Baroque fountain in the city. It is also a belief that if one throws a coin into the fountain, one is ensured a return to Rome.
- Roman Forum
What makes this place amazing? The wonders of ancient Rome right in the heart of the city. The Roman Forum of temples, arches. and basilicas was formerly the ceremonial, political, social, and business centre of ancient Rome. And just a stone’s throw away is the spectacular gladiatorial amphitheater, the Colosseum.
Despite the short stay, I didn’t regret this first trip to Rome one bit. Rome made such an impression on me that I had to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain because I wanted to return to the Eternal City again — and hopefully very soon!