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FOUR GREAT DAYS IN ROME



Rome wasn’t built in a day but you can just about see all its highlights in four. Its history can be traced in the crumbling columns of the ancient empire, the medieval alleys lined with Renaissance palaces and Baroque fountains splashing on elegant piazzas. Rome has dozens of museums, from the vast Vatican to compact collections like the Gallerie Borghese. There are hundreds of art-stuffed churches too, from tiny chapels to the great basilicas and St Peter’s itself. These itineraries offer you a taste of it all. The price guides include cost of travel, food and admission fees.

Day 1

Morning

Cram highlights of the 1,000- year history of ancient Rome’sRepublic and Empire into one very full day. Start at its heart, the Roman Forum , then spend an hour or so perusing some of its treasures inside the Capitoline Museums . Stroll over to Largo della Torre Argentina to gaze upon the remains of three Republican era temples and the crumbling brick steps of the 55 BC Baths of Pompey, where Julius Caesar was murdered, ending the Republican era. The Baths of Pompey complex included a theatre that has now vanished but some of its vaults survive in the foundations of the Campo de’ Fiori area’s medieval buildings – including the basement rooms of Ristorante Da Pancrazio , which serves excellent pasta.

Afternoon


Return to the core of ancient Rome past the Teatro di Marcello – model for the Colosseum – and the two tiny Temples of the Forum Boarium  in Piazza della Bocca della Verità. Nip up Via del Velabro to the Forum’s back entrance and cut through to Via dei Fori Imperiali to explore the ruins of Rome’s Imperial era – the Market and Forum of Trajan , and the Forums of Caesar, Augustus, and Nerva. At the end, you can tour Domus Aurea (Nero’s Golden House) and the nearby Colosseum , built over Nero’s former artificial lake. Stroll up the Via Sacra to roam the Palatine Hill, peppered with some original palatial homes.

Day 2

Morning


Exploring the Vatican Museums  can easily occupy a full morning. When you’re hungry, leave the museum and walk four streets up Via Tunisi to shop for goodies at the outdoor market on Via Andrea Doria. Take them back to picnic on Piazza San Pietro.

Afternoon

Pop into St Peter’s Basilica to marvel at this capital of Christendom, then head to admire the glittering mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore . Afterwards, visit San Clemente , a gorgeous 12th-century church built atop a 4thcentury one, which stands on an ancient Mithraic temple. You will find important works by Raphael, Bernini, Caravaggio and Bramante in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo . Enjoy the evening passeggiata – Rome’s see-andbe-seen stroll along the Via del Corso – with a drink at one of the busy cafés flanking the piazza. Round off by eating in one of two restaurants run by nuns: the simple, family-style Fraterna Domus , or the exotic but pricey L’Eau Vive .

Day 3

Morning
Start at the fruit and flower market of Campo de’ Fiori , located around a statue of Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake in the Middle Ages. Piazza Navona , with its Baroque fountains and excellent cafés, owes its oval shape to the ancient stadium beneath (a fragment is visible at its north end). Visit the collections of the National Gallery in the Palazzo Altemps . Peek into the church of San Luigi dei Francesi  for the early Caravaggios, then duck into Corso del Rinascimento 40 to see the hidden fantasy façade on Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza. Do not miss Rome’s Pantheon , an ancient temple (now church), and Santa Maria sopra Minerva , for its art. Try the cappuccinos at Caffè Sant’Eustachio .

Afternoon

 Cross the Via del Corso, and enjoy an afternoon’s shopping in the chic boutiques of Via Condotti  and its tributaries fanning out from the base of the Spanish Steps . To end the day treat yourself to one of Rome’s best ice creams at San Crispino, and wander over to the nearby Trevi Fountain before it melts.

Day 4

Morning




Rent bikes in Villa Borghese park  where, as well as exploring, you can visit the Etruscan Museum in Villa Giulia  or the excellent Galleria Borghese . If the kids need less art and more fun, take in Rome’s zoo, the Bioparco . If it’s a Sunday, stop at Pincio Gardens  for an open-air carousel and the San Carlino, one of Rome’s few remaining puppet theatres that puts on Pulcinella shows from 11am

Afternoon

 Return the bikes and stroll past the top of the Spanish Steps  down Via Gregoriana, looking out for the Palazzetto Zuccari at number 28, whose windows and doors are shaped into hideous creatures. Below Via Veneto’s Santa Maria della Concezione  lies the creepy Capuchin Crypts, which are covered in mosaics made from the bones of monks. (Cappuccino coffee was named after the colour of these friars’ robes.) At Piazza della Bocca della Verità, on the porch of Santa Maria in Cosmedin , sits the Mouth of Truth, an ancient drain cover carved as a monstrous face. The story goes that if you tell a lie with your fingers in the mouth, it will bite them off. Head across the river to Trastevere , an area of twisting medieval alleys. Climb Janiculum hill  to enjoy the sweeping views of the city. Descend to Trastevere for a pizza at Pizzeria Ivo 

FOUR GREAT DAYS IN ROME FOUR GREAT DAYS IN ROME Reviewed by MELANIE INFINITY on January 08, 2020 Rating: 5

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