Inspiration for Europe
Travel and dream: discover the continent’s meeting points and explore the traces of its history through fresh eyes.
Rome, a city difficult to describe, but a must on any traveller’s list. As Petrarca said: “A fool is one who admires other cities without visiting Rome.” But you should be warned that its immensity makes Rome an intense, overwhelming city.
If your idea is spend a weekend there, most of the essential sites are in the centre of the Italian capital, in classic Rome. But bear in mind that such a rich city has numerous little-known corners hidden away elsewhere that are just as enchanting.
The city is absolutely indescribable: chaos, cityscapes, monuments and modernity all coexist in one same space.
We begin our itinerary at the Trevi Fountain. Don’t forget to toss a coin into the fountain (using the right hand over the left shoulder) if you want to return to Rome. The second photo will be in front of the Colosseum, where our gaze will take us back to the years of the Empire, to the creation of this huge amphitheatre in which gladiator fights and the martyrdom of Christians could be witnessed… by more than 50,000 spectators!
We continue time-travelling to immerse ourselves in the Roman Forum, a space where the essence still lingers of the great rulers: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Trajan and other emperors. Of course, you have to pass the acid test of lovers by sticking your hand in the mouth of the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth), which stands against the left wall of the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck made this monument famous in the film Roman Holiday.
The Circus Maximus is another of Rome’s enormous monuments and the former setting for chariot races. From there we can climb up the Aventine Hill, one of the Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built. We can then go on to Savello Park, where we’ll find the Garden of Oranges and the residence of the Knights of the Order of Malta. We recommend you take a peek through the gate keyhole; you’ll get a sensational view of Rome with the dome of St. Peter’s in the distance, perfectly framed in the middle of the image.
The next visit is to Vatican City, one of Europe’s microstates. You can’t fail to be amazed when you see the immense colonnades that shape Saint Peter’s Square, with 248 columns and 140 sculptures. You simply have to enter the dome created by the genius, Michelangelo. This iconic artist of the Italian Renaissance is also author of the paintings that decorate the walls and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City’s other great church.
Rome not only causes impact at ground level. If you like exoteric routes you must visit the famous Catacombs, which are to be found underground along the Via Appia, covered by the beautiful Roman countryside. Monuments and nature in complete harmony.
Among Rome’s magnificent spots, the Piazza di Spagna is the one where you’ll find the most joyous, international and modern atmosphere. The stately and imposing Spanish Steps is a setting where you’ll really feel part of the city and its stories.
Don’t miss losing yourself in the streets and squares of the Trastevere neighbourhood.
The time has come to disconnect and lose yourself in the bohemian streets of Trastevere, the most romantic neighbourhood of Rome, tucked away behind the River Tiber. It’s a good place for shopping and to try a delicious al taglio pizza or a plate of fresh pasta. And to round off your feast, a beautiful ice-cream cone in the Piazza Navona, the tastiest finishing touch to a perfect weekend.
At this point we propose a challenge: there’s a magic formula hidden somewhere in Rome that allows metals to be turned into gold. The recipe is carved into one of the doors of the villa built for Massimiliano Palombara, the Marquis of Pietraforte, in Piazza Vittorio. The problem is that it’s written in hieroglyphics and, to date, no-one has been able to decipher the secret. Can we get you to have a try?
LES CLAUS D’AQUESTA CIUTAT:
Un otoño romano [A Roman Autumn], by Javier Reverte. This is a travel guide for a city full of back streets that we should explore “with the curiosity of a dog, because you come across a treasure on each corner”.
Federico Fellini, the film director who masterfully captured the essence of Rome.
The top of the Palatine Hill where, in addition to visiting the remains of Octavian Augustus’ private residence, you can enjoy the very best views of the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus.
“Three Coins in the Fountain”, dedicated to the Trevi Fountain and sung by Frank Sinatra in the film of the same title, a romantic comedy set in the nineteen-fifties.
Porchetta, pork, roasted in the oven with aromatic herbs and served cold in slices.
July is the month of the annual Festa de’ Noantri in the district of Trastevere. For a fortnight, this maze of little streets is filled with music, lights and gastronomy. It begins with the procession in which a statue of the Virgin Mary is carried through Trastevere from the church of St. Agatha to the church of St. Chrysogonus.