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Rome, the "Eternal City"


There is no city like Rome. I arrived late in the afternoon about 10 km north of the city at a camping ground. The idea was to camp here and explore the city from here. After all, there was a rail connection to the city center. I would cycle through the city center a couple of days later.

Rome Vatican city, Vatican Museum, raphael school of athens
School of Athens, painting in the Vatican Museum by the Renaissance painter Raphael

The Vatican

St. Peter Rome Vataican CityOne of the must sees in Rome is the Vatican. Not only this is the home of the Pope and the heart of the Roman Catholic World but it also houses some of the worlds greatest architecture, paintings and sculptures. I spend a whole day exploring the St. Peter basilica and the Vatican Museum.

Inside the museum I saw the Sistine Chapel, Raphael's masterpiece: the School of Athens" and many other pieces of (mostly) Renaissance art.

The St. Peter basilica construction began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626 and build on the supposed grave of the apostle Peter. Over the centuries several churches were build on top of the grave until in the 17th century the St. Peter was constructed.

Rome City Center

If the Vatican is impressive, Rome has plenty of other, older sights to visit.

I wandered through the old streets, where Bob Dylan wrote about:

"Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble,
Ancient footprints are everywhere.
You can almost think that you're seeing double"

and

"Oh, the hours I've spent inside the Coliseum,
Dodging lions and wasting' time.
Oh, those mighty kings of the jungle, I could hardly stand to see 'em"

Rome, the Senate

Despite it was my third visit to Rome, this time I spend much more time in walking through the city, seeing the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, watching countless fountains, visiting the Coliseum and the Senate where Julius Caesar and other Roman emperors held their political power.

It was like walking in a living open air museum. The breath of hundreds of years history was to be felt everywhere, more than even in Florence.

This was the city where great artists like Nero, Julius Caesar, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rafael, Galileo, Botticelli and so many other great people had walked. To some extend it was a surreal if not magical experience.

I had come a long way from Amsterdam and I felt arriving in Rome had finished the first leg of my tour which eventually would lead me much further away than I ever imagined.

Rome CollosseumSenate opf Rome
The Coliseum and the Senate

On the last morning I left the camping site to cycle right through the heart of Rome passing the Coliseum and continue south to find more history. And although I found many more impressive monuments, great people and other worthwhile sights, the impression of Rome would never leave me.

Accommodation in the Eternal City

As said, the cheapest option is to stay at one of the many campings around the city center. But if you prefer to stay inside the Eternal City, you have to spend some extra money. Hotels and hostels are not cheap but you might find some good bargains on Tripadvisor or Agoda.com.

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