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Report 943: Italy Alone

By DMae from Alaska, Summer 2005

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Page 6 of 9: Places I loved in Rome

photo by DMae

Santa Prassede

Yet another disclaimer: I love being up high, looking over things. I love viewing architecture and looking at ancient structures. I love looking at churches with powerful histories. Therefore what follows is an opinionated list of what I enjoyed most in Rome.

Foro Romano - When you come from a town where the oldest thing is about a hundred years old, this collection of ancient ruins is especially poignant.

Palatine Hill - A peaceful park with interesting ruins and views of the Foro Romano. I loved walking around here and sitting on the benches taking in the views. I would like to take a guided tour here in the future so I can better understand the area.

Gianicolo - A nice walk on the hill across the Tiber River; it is best on a Sunday afternoon with the populace of Rome. The views of Rome from the other side of the Tiber are lovely. I tried to take a bus to the beginning of the street and got totally lost. I ended up in the parking garage of the Vatican, I think. I made my way from there using the map in the Michelin Green Guide. The area was busy, but not crowded on the Sunday I chose to take this walk. There are great views of St. Peter's from this area. There was even a car club with a collection of antique autos on display! I wandered my way along, stopping for the views. I stopped at San Pietro in Montorio and visited Bramante's Tempietto. After resting here beside this charming, miniature temple, I walked down into Trastevere, across the river and back to Monti.

Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II - The views of Rome are wonderful and there is a nice café which you can approach from the Capitoline.

Villa Borghese - I enjoyed this great park for strolling during some of the hot, weekday afternoons.

Parco Savello and the Giardino degli Aranci - I wanted to see the view of St. Peter's through the keyhole at Piazza del Cavalleri di Malta. Of course, I got lost while taking the bus and ended up having to ask policemen with large weapons for directions. But, I found the park, the piazza and the keyhole. There was a wedding at Santa Sabina and I did not see the interior of this beautiful church.

Forum Boarium - The Piazza is famous for the "mouth of truth" but I did not go there. I spent my time looking at and sketching the two ancient buildings located across the street from Santa Maria in Cosmedin.

Centro Storico - I truly enjoyed exploring this section of Rome, especially the tiny streets, shops, and piazzas: Navona, Campo de'Fiori, della Pace, della Popolo, and others too many to name. I enjoyed walking over Isola Tiberna on the ancient bridges.

Churches - Visiting churches soon became sort of an addiction, I think. Of course, St. Peter's is magnificent and is on everyone's list, as it should be. I visited several other churches, well known and not so well known, and here is a random list of some of my favorites: Santa Maria Maggiore, San Clemente, San Giovanni in Laterno, the Pantheon, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Santa Prassede, San Luigi dei Francesi, San Pietro in Montorio, San Pietro in Vincolo, Santa Maria del Popolo, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, Sant'Eustachio, Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza and Santa Maria in Trastevere. I visited other churches, but these all stood out to me as places of dignity, serenity and artistry.

Museums - On this trip I did not visit museums heavily as I became fascinated with the churches of Rome. I did visit the Vatican on a tour with John Boyden of Context:Rome. John is a great guide who had not only the information on what we were seeing, but the stories behind the creation of what we were seeing. I recommend this tour highly.

I had gone to the Galleria Borghese on my first trip and was thrilled with the sculpture housed there so I engaged another tour with Context:Rome. Anthony Majanlahti was the guide and he gave fascinating explanations of the art we were seeing. Anthony had just released his book, "The Families Who Made Rome". After taking a tour with him, I went to the big Feltrinelli Bookstore on Largo Argentina and purchased a copy.

Capitoline Museums - These museums I had not been to before and I toured them on my own with a guidebook in hand. I especially enjoyed the giant statue pieces.

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