Rome - A city born on the banks of the Biondo Tevere and in the shadows of the seven hills (Aventino, Palatino, Celio, Quirinale, Viminale, Campidoglio and Esquilino). The subject of books, novels and fables, spanning genres and generations, the ongoing lure of this great city leaves little that hasn’t already been said. As a city so frequently visited and a location so coveted, it is clear that there is something magical, even mystical about this great city.
With so much to see, it’s incredibly difficult (in the best way possible!) to advise tourists where to go and what to see. With the Vatican Museums, the Trevi Fountain and Santa Maria in Trastevere as just a few of the amazing attractions on offer, it’s hard to know where to start!
It could be one of the 3000 churches, the dozens of squares, the huge amount of archaeological sites or any other attraction. But, with so many incredible places to visit, it’s virtually impossible for a Roman to advise on one itinerary over another.
The city centre can be divided into 4 zones: Trastevere and Circus Maximus to the south-west; The Vatican, Piazza Navona, Campo de’Fiori and Castel Sant’Angelo to the north-west; The Colloseum, Ghetto, Forum and Piazza Venezia to the south-east and the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Via del Corso and Piazza del Popolo to the north-east. By following these sub-divisions, it is possible to visit the entire city in just 4 days. That is if you are viewing the main attractions from the outside. It is for example, impossible to just ‘visit’ Saint Peters, which includes church, tombs and dome. If you wanted to do the whole lot, it would take around 6 hours!
To better understand the wonder that is historical Rome, consider this - Walking from one end of Via del Corso to the other entails a 2 kilometre walk between shops, monuments and buildings dating to the renaissance. If we consider the historic centre on tourist maps, to arrive at Piazza del Popolo from piazza San Giovanni in Laterano (generally speaking the limits on the map) we are speaking around 4 km in distance, therefore we have an area 16 km squared! This is the historic centre of Rome!
There is a also a ‘5th’ division to the city which also deserves a mention. Appia Antica is an important historical area of Rome. Located in the south of the city and measuring around 7km in length, Appia Antica is an archaeological park where the catacombs of Rome can be found. To visit the entire city, ideally, a break of 5 or 6 days would be recommended.
At this point, I will separate the 5 areas of Rome and offer my own personal advice as to how you can make the most of your visit, see the best attractions, yet still get to breath the wonderful air of Rome.