The Many Sites of Rome (Part I) – Italy
Rome has a lot of sites to visit, and the city is quite large to navigate. After checking into our hotel, we decided to hit the ground running and check out some sites nearby.
The first place we visited was a church that had several armed guards in front of it. The inside looked very old and dated and you could tell it was a very historical church. Upon walking in, we saw numerous people going up a set up stairs on their knees.
These stairs are said to be from Jerusalem and are the stairs Jesus Christ stepped on his way to trial under Pontius Pilate. It was quite amazing to see such devoted people go up the set of stairs on their knees.
Another site we decided to check out, since it was just across the street, was Lateran Basilica. It completely caught us off guard on how massive it was going to be. According to our hotel, it’s the second most important church in Rome (first being St. Peter’s at the Vatican).
The day we arrived in Rome also happened to be the day that one of my old coworkers, Courtney, was in Rome as well. She’s now working as a flight attendant and it just so happened that our schedules matched up perfectly that we were both in Rome on the same day!
The day after we visited the Vatican, the Rome transportation system was on strike and there was traffic everywhere. Luckily there was a great sandwich place within walking distance of our hotel called Otbred. They had a really delicious Porchetta sandwich with truffle spread.
After lunch we managed to grab an uber (at surge pricing..) to the Borghese gallery.
Borghese Gallery: Make sure you purchase your tickets online prior, as you must make an appointment and most likely won’t be able to purchase tickets at the door.Two Peas Travel Tip
The Borghese gallery is not that large, but it has a very high concentration of famous works within its gallery. My sister, Keanna, and Minh were both looking forward to this gallery as they both studied art/art history in college. If you have interest in sculpture and paintings, this gallery is a no brainer. I, myself, am not too familiar with the famous works (I took Asian art history..), however, there are great works of art regardless. I would also recommend getting the audio guide, since there are so many significant pieces in the collection.
The Borghese gallery really reinforced our appreciation for Bernini’s work. Prior to visiting this gallery I had never even heard of him. After seeing this particular work of art and seeing how realistic it was sculpted – with the lines showing so much movement – really made me a huge fan. The pictures don’t really do it justice, and seeing it up close in person and the extremely smooth and clean lines carved into marble is amazing.
As we went through the gallery, there were several other amazing works by Bernini. His style is so dynamic and impressive! When looking at the same sculpture from different angles, it looks completely different and even more interesting.
There was also a bonus gallery for me as they were showcasing Alaia couture pieces alongside the works of art!
After the Borghese gallery, we joined a free walking tour of Rome. The walking tour took us to some significant sites such as the city gates where Julius Caesar marched into Rome, the Masouleoum of Augustus and The Pantheon.
Our tour guide provided some great information on the history of the town including amazing facts such as, the city still uses the aqueduct system built in ancient Roman times and the Pantheon is the largest unreinforced concrete dome! The knowledge, science, and mathematics of the ancient Romans was so far ahead of their time, it’s amazing to know that there were and are such brilliant minds in the world.
The walking tour also made us realize that Bernini practically sculpted everything around town! We were taken to this magnificent fountain – the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi.
And to the Arch bridge – Ponte Sant’Angelo. There are 10 angels along the bridge, each better than the next! The draping on each angel’s clothing has Bernini’s signature amazing style – with lots of movement and flow. We actually had walked along the bridge the previous day after visiting the Vatican, but because it was raining, we didn’t even realize there were a bunch of Bernini sculptures right above us!
After finishing up with the walking tour, we attempted to visit Trevi Fountain, but it was closed and under construction! Trevi Fountain is the famous fountain where visitors are supposed to toss a coin in the fountain to mean that you’ll return. Another great quote from my sister, “I guess we can’t return, even if we wanted to!”
Our last stop of the night was at the Spanish steps where lots of people just hang out and drink.
While waiting for our uber to pick us up, we saw a really grand fountain that looked like it could be a Bernini. We look up at the hotel behind it, and the it is called Hotel Bernini…yup, another Bernini! Even more confirmation of our love for his work, and that his work is everywhere in Rome!
Rome is a really big city, with tons of major sights to see, but the metro and buses are very easy to take to get around (as long as they’re not on strike!). There’s so much rich history and art at every corner, that Minh would constantly say “Wow, this is Amazing!” After visiting all these amazing sites, we still had plenty more incredible sites to see.