When in (The Eternal city) Rome (parte uno)

Rome, the city where the past lives on and on

Rome, copyright mrscasonato
Rome or Roma in Italian and Bahasa Indonesia, renowned for its Roman Empire heritage, one of the oldest and most powerful civilizations on earth. It serves as a great and an ancient city Like Anatole Broyard ever said: "Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city". Indeed Rome is magical like a poem and an old and rhythmical one. You'll find such a beautiful surprise every time you take a step to each of its corners. "Meraviglia" like the Italians said.

We found it like a huge museum, yes..the whole city is a museum, packs with everything you want to see from its glorious past, Roman Empire.

So, it's been 3 years or more my husband wanted to bring us to Rome, the capital city of Italy which is 4-hours away traveled by fast-train. Our vacation to Rome this time is kinda once-in-a-year vacation which Italians normally take in the mid of August, it is officially called 'Ferragosto'. We, instead, couldn't take vacations in August for many reasons so we decided to take in September.

We got a huge discount for our trip to Rome thanks to Summer discount (pssstt, two times in a year, Italians enjoy a big discount off almost everything, one in January-February and the other one in July-August). Anyway, I am not going to talk about tickets and hotels in details to make this blog post shorter (I don't want you guys to feel bored though :)). DM me for more info about those details!

Traveling to Rome by far is the farthest journey I've done since we moved to Italy. We traveled a lot around Veneto Region and Friuli-Venezia Giulia but most of them are just within reach, like maximum 4 hours driving a car going to Dolomites (via Cortina d'ampezzo) or 3 hours driving to Verona. Been to 60+ cities around Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, I've realized how lucky I am because for my taste and preference, northern Italy is the best one. Green spots with the hills and mountains are my things, I won't be able to get my eyes off them.

So September 1 we took regional-train from our beloved San Donà di Piave heading to Venezia-Mestre train station. That's where our fast-train Freccia-Rossa be. Freccia-Rossa is a part of Tren-Italia that specialized in long-trip, with its speed it can cut the trip duration till like 50 percent (compared to the normal trains)
My boy on the train.. choo choo...

Venezia-Mestre -- Roma-Termini

We took the train at 10.45am with the estimated arrival around 3.15 at Roma-Termini station. Everything was under control till we realized we won't get 'pranzo' or lunch on the train, so we decided to just eat some milk bread till we arrive in Rome, we thought we wouldn't be late though, in fact, we were wrong.

If I have to come up with the similarities between Italy and Indonesia, I have to say I'll come up with their reluctance of respecting timetables and rules. Northern Italy is a bit better though but the rest is just the same. Most of the times, trains or bus won't be coming at the exact time as the timetables (I am not sure about the airplanes). So, it could be late from 5 minutes till 20 minutes and for the Italians, it doesn't really matter, so as for the Indonesians like we all know.

We arrived 30 minutes later than the schedule, so we decided to go strolling around straight away. We walked to our hotel which, fortunately, was only some blocks from the train station. pfiuuhh, to be honest I expected that we'd get kinda smooth trotoar, at least good enough for the stroller, in fact, lots of holes and cracked pavement making all things difficult, for a moment I thought I was in Medan, Sumatra-Indonesia where all streets are mostly covered by holes which would never get repaired because government are too freaking crooked. Anyhowww... WE HAVE ARRIVED IN ROME!!!

You know Rome is damn huge, literally! so you should have had your plans and itinerary ready beforehand. You'd better have a map of Rome city streets on your hand instead of relying solely on your phone because -everybody knows this- GOOGLE MAPS SUCKS

The tourist attractions are basically within 5km range and they are quite near to one another. If you are a genuine walker (like me and my husband), it's an easy-peasy thing to do sightseeing all the landmarks and tourist spots in just one day, the rest you could do quite calmly, like visiting museums and basilica.

Sooo... what is the main landmark of Rome that everybody got to see? anybody? I heard you whispered 'Colosseum', yup you are right, Rome is identical with the word Colosseum, then once you get there, you'll have to find it.

Here are some photos  :


OK, here's a fact about Colosseum, ITS FREAKING HUGE. Colosseum or as Italians call it Il Colosseo is kinda amphitheater, pretty much like a theater but in such a huge version. It got its massive name and fame after that epic movie starring Russell Crowe 'Gladiator'. This landmark was started to be built in 72AD under Emperor Vespasian and completed in the Era of Titus, 80AD. It was used to 'entertain' the Romans in that period, which most of them were bloody entertainment. Munera or the gladiatorial fight used to be held and cheered here, till the adoption of Christianity in 6th century AD. Oh ya, did you know Colosseum was built by the slaves? Vespasian who ruled Roman Empire that stretched until Jerusalem tackled a Jewish Revolt in 70AD and took lots of valuable materials from Jerusalem temple (he used this to fund the construction of Colosseum) plus brought 100.000 more Jewish prisoners to do a manual work needed for construction. Ah, this kinda breaks my heart, anyway. Colosseum now is an international symbol against Capital punishments, most recently The Colosseum was illuminated in gold following the abolishment of capital punishment in Connecticut, USA (April 2012)

Yup, those are some facts of Colosseum I gathered from around the internet and guidebooks. As a history geek, I found The Colosseum is quite interesting but we still didn't have much time to spend to explore the interior part(sadness). The queue was amazingly long (like in any other tourist attractions across Rome, quite tiring though) so we decided just to take some pictures from the outside, near the Arch of Constantine.

In front of the arch of Constantine
Arch of Constantine is a monument erected to commemorate Constantine's Victory over Maxentius in the battle of Milvian Bridge 312AD.

The area of The Colosseum and Arch of Constantine is probably the most famous compared to other areas. In this spot, you'll see a lot of people offering you useless things such as guided tour package to 'skip the line' or a bottle of water or even a selfie stick. My advice: avoid those people as fast as you can, because some of them might be pickpockets. A big city like Rome is basically a safe tourist destination but if you don't pay attention or even only flaunt your camera, you could be an easy target. Another warning, you should not buy anything from street resellers as they make some kinds of stuff like 200 percent higher than the usual prices, if you need some basic things, just google some 'Mercato', they sell kinds of stuff at a reasonable price.

From The Colosseum we walked to the south, we kept walking and stumbled upon some cool views, remember I said that Rome is a museum? it's in a literal meaning, no matter in what direction you choose to walk, you'll find something interesting to explore. For me, every step is like walking on my dreams. Yes, Rome is dreamy, it's blowing my mind away every inch of it.

buddies, love of my live

Circus maximus

Rome, this city can be traced back to 800BC that makes it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. Its people from the very beginning were a mix of Latins, Etruscans, and Sabines which speak mostly ancient Latin and other unspecified languages. This La Città Eterna (eternal city) is considered the birthplace of western civilization as it coined many principles which are embraced by the western countries till now.

Rome as Caput Mundi just like many scholars call it, is pretty much the capital of the world if I may say, here you'd find people from almost all countries, races and ethnicity something that you'd barely find in any other cities in Italy. They are assimilating good enough, respecting each other and applying tolerance at the highest level.

One of the most important monuments and spots everybody has to see once they're in Rome, I guess would be Capitoline Hills, because for the Romans this place is a symbol of eternity. It was considered indestructible for it was a temple designed to worship Jupiter. Now you know where Rome got its name of Eternal City...

Capitoline has beautiful steps and piazza designed by the most renowned Renaissance artist, the one and only Michelangelo Buonarotti. It's not exaggerating to deem this hills as one of the most beautiful sights you could ever have in Rome, everything designed by Michelangelo would take your breath away automatically

Take a look at the picture, please ignore my innocent pale-face there anyway, those hills are awesome, trust me it's even better in real life, can you imagine that? Alas, we didn't explore the piazza because we couldn't afford to take the stairs along with Dario's stroller. Question: is there an elevator to go up? answer: yes, of course, but by the time we reached this place the service was no longer available due to its schedule. So we got over it.

After taking a glance of Capitoline hills, we're moving again to the south. Goal: Trevi fountain or Fontana di Trevi. I've heard it's magnificent at night for its glows and water reflection pluuuussss less crowded (Y'all know I hate a crowded place, and so do Dario and my husband :)) but on the way, we checked out some cool kinds of stuff, oh well the view was great from there, check this out..

In front of Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II

it's just a breath-taking view

Altare della Patria or Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II

At the moment I thought I was dreaming, instead, it's damn true. I AM IN ROME. I am so thankful that my childhood dream could come true in such a sweet way. Grateful is my middle name!!!

Then, we kept walking again, the sun started to set, and Yes we've arrived at the most famous fountains, everybody!!!

Trevi fountain is a baroque-styled fountain designed by Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762! and I'm telling you that though this fountain has been around for some hundred years and going through such massive refurbishment and renovation, it's still going strooooonggggg!!! AMAZING!!!

Have you ever watched 'Roman Holiday' which starring Audrey Hepburn along with Gregory Peck, they have some scenes at this fountain, and it still looks the same only slightly smaller in the film!

Amongst the many interesting facts about Trevi fountain, I'd like to highlight one: Thanks to 'Three coins in the fountain' film, coins thrown at the fountain each day reach like 3k euros! then these coins collected every day and used to subsidize the poor people in Rome, such a good gesture!

Throwing coin here which is done with the right hand through the left shoulders has a sign like you've got a piece of luck or you're coming back again to Italy or specifically to Trevi fountain in the future.
Anyway, I don't believe in any superstition, cmon... it's 2018 peopleeeeeeeee!!

ahh.. day one almost finished, and we finished it by taking pictures of Dario in front of a Toy shop which specialized in a hand-made wooden toy. They have such a great collection of Pinocchio on the shelves. Pinocchio is notably the icon of the city because this city is the birthplace of Pinocchio.

sitting by pinocchio


It's Sunday and the first morning we were staying in Rome. Our hotel was in the outskirt of Rome, some blocks away from Saudi Arabia Embassy. Every morning we took a bus or tram to go to the downtown which can be reached like 20 or even 30 minutes pretty much depends on the traffic jam. Dear, traffic jam in Rome is quite something though, for 3 years more or less, I haven't seen a traffic jam in any kind, so it's kinda a bit surprising and depressing.

On this second day in Rome, we decided to go to Castel Sant'angelo and spending a half day in the museum. Ah you know we are such Museum-geeks, especially me. I always loved going to the museum. I have visited like 20 museums around Northern Italy. I remember my first-time museum visit back in my hometown, Medan, North Sumatra Indonesia, It was so memorable that I could see pre-historic human skulls.

the bridge and Vatican from Castel Sant'angelo

Castel Sant'angelo

the bridge in front of the Castle, there are the statues from 14th century

my loves in front of The Castle

Castel Sant'angelo or in English The Castle of Holy Saint, was at first a mausoleum of Roman Emperor: Hadrian. He built this castle for his and family final rest but along the way this castle had been used as a fortress, cemetery, private castle and then now functioned as Museum.

Inside, we didn't see much anything really interesting and for people that have kids in a stroller like us, it's kinda difficult. The stroller should be kept by the Museum's staff and we got to do all the stairs while embracing Dario (Dario still can't walk a lot due to extreme fatigue for his heart condition). Ah yes, anyway, we came here on Sunday which means free-entrance. Free-entrance for all museums across Rome is on the first Sunday each month ( except the Vatican Museum, that will have free-entrance on the last Sunday each month)

From Castel Sant'angelo, we can see Vatican city in a minuscule version, such good panorama. We decided to walk to the Vatican City to see how beautiful it is. This day, going to the Vatican would be only sightseeing, because we were about to do the whole tour of Vatican's Basilicata and Museum on Tuesday.

Everyone said the Vatican is freaking beautiful, I didn't believe it till I saw it with my own eyes. Yes, so far, it is the most beautiful city I've ever been, and thinking that this holy city never changed much since medieval age, I was blown away, I could smell its antiquity, I whispered to myself  'I am not kidding, this place is fucking magical'

Vaticancity as we entered

St peter's square


old fashioned tourist pose

So we've been to Castel Sant'angelo and even visited its museum, but we spent only like 2 hours there (out of our expectation) then we went sightseeing in Vatican city, which only needed another two hours. After lunch, we decided to go to Pantheon and Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II because of course that day was Sunday, it means that free-entrance for museums and some basilica. If you can save some money, why not, right?? FYI, on average each ticket costs 10 euro per person, it's not a lot of money but if you don't have to spend anything, it must have been feeling really good :)

We did pass some beautiful piazzas and fountains too though, some are really famous like Piazza Navona with its enchanting fountain: Fontana dei Quattro fiumi

Piazza Navona

Fontana dei quattro fiumi
Now, here it is Pantheon

Piazza della Rotonda, the square in front of Pantheon

in front of Pantheon
Inside Pantheon in front of the tomb of Vittorio Emmanuelle
Pantheon was once a Roman temple then turned to Church after Rome embraced Christianity. This building is quite one of the oldest and most well-preserved Ancient Roman buildings before Christianity arrived. It dated back to as early as 27BC. Though the exact date is still debatable, experts and scholars have agreed that this temple is somehow really important for Rome itself.

Entering Pantheon is free of charge though and it's open every day. There is no a massive line-up to enter, and you could take as many photos as you want, you need only to be silent because Pantheon now serves as a Catholic church which also holds tombs of famous figures in Italy, as the kings : Vittorio Emanuelle II and Umberto I as well as his queen : Margherita.

The interior of Pantheon in 18 century by Giovani paolo panini. Courtesy google art project
The area around Pantheon was so crowded by the tourists and by the seller. You can, as well, easily find shops that sell postcards, t-shirts, toys and everything about Rome, but for sure, here you definitely need to bargain (I feel like I am in Indonesia :))

This second day would be ended by our visit to Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II which I have posted its picture early on. I know guys, you have this on your mind: who on earth is Vittorio Emanuele II??
Well good question though as I asked that to myself too once I arrived in Italy and that time I threw this question to my dear husband, and he simply answered: Ah, he is, you know, one of the Kings in Italy. Damn, I can even guess he was a king once Italy still a kingdom, but could be elaborated a bit, for God's sake?? -.-'

Anyway, Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II or now it's called Altare Della Patria is a monument built in honor of the first king of a unified Italy: Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emanuelle II). This huge monument was designed by Giuseppe Saconi in 1885, it was inaugurated in 1911 was fully completed in 1925.

If you don't believe me this monument is huge, you gotta regret it later. Based on its official website, it is labeled as the biggest national monument in Italy. Its height reaches 81 meters and it has a total area like 17.000 square meters. GOOD LORD, IT'S FREAKING HUGE!

This giant building sure has the elevator everybody but at the time we came, it was said to be 'under repairment', damn... it's kinda hard to find such a well-functioned elevator here in Rome, I don't know what to say!

Well let's have a look a bit closer to this monument :

Rome from the Altare della patria

close up look, did you notice two soldiers act as guardians there?

Papa and Dario

Dario with the background of mommy pose for the Altare

Rome up from Altare della patria
Now let's take a look inside the monument

collection from World War 1 and 2

some collection of the monument

at the stairs inside the monument
This monument holds mostly military collection from the WW I and II. There is also the tomb of unknown soldier under the statue of Goddess Roma with the eternal flame on the right side. This tomb has two soldiers act as guardians. I guess this place has become a symbolic post to honor soldiers that lost their lives through the wars.

For two days being in Rome, I was flabbergasted. I couldn't wait to explore Rome more the next days. We're going to explore The oldest museum on Earth, Musei Vaticani, but now we have to end the post and stay tuned for the next post, I'll finish it as soon as possible, Allora, ciao e grazie mille per le attenzione :))


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