Rome Walking Tour | Ancient Rome and the Grand Tour

By | 9 September, 2009

A view of the Roman Forum from the Capitoline Hill

A view of the Roman Forum from the Capitoline Hill

Beginning in the 17th century for many of those on the Grand Tour Rome was to prove the highlight of their journey. It became fashionable for young aristocrats to visit Paris, Venice, Florence, and above all Rome, as the culmination of their classical education. Italy was the primary destination for the Grand Tourist who was attracted to its cultural treasures, fascinating landscapes and historical cities. Thus was born the idea of the Grand Tour, a practice which introduced Englishmen, Germans, and later wealthy Americans to the art and culture of Italy continuing to this day as popular reference for travelers.

Start your walking Grand Tour of Rome from the outstanding Trevi Fountain, a famous gathering spot and an excellent place to enjoy a nice italian gelato. The Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain is the most famous and arguably the most beautiful fountain in Rome, although I personally really like the beautifully restored Bernini’s 4 rivers fountain located in the Navona Square. The Trevi fountain, built by architect Salvi in 1735, is not only celebrated for its excellent water but also for the legend that visitors throwing a coin in the Trevi fountain are ensured a return to the city of Rome.

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Trevi Fountain in Rome

The outstanding dome Pantheon is a very easy 15 minute walk from the Trevi Fountain and offers another glimpse of the splendor of Rome. Originally built as a temple to all of the Roman gods, the Pantheon was rebuilt by emperor Hadrian around 120 AD. That structure is the same as the one you see today making the Pantheon the oldest intact structure still standing from the ancient Roman world. Since the 7th century the Pantheon has been used as a Christian church. Don’t miss the nearby Caffè Tazza d’Oro, Rome’s favorite place for its granita di caffè con panna (Coffee Granita with Whipped Cream).

A short walk from the Panteon and at the foot of the Capitoline Hill opens up Piazza Venezia which is the perfect spot to see how Rome over the centuries blended together Modern and Renaissance buildings with Ancient Rome relics and ruins. Another short walk where you will come across the amazing Area Sacra di Largo Argentina and you”ll reach the famous Piazza Venezia.

Piazza Venezia takes its name from the first great Renaissance palace of Rome commissioned in 1455 by the Venetian Pope Paul II. One side of the square is dominated by the neoclassical Vittoriano Monument devoted to the first king of Italy Victor Emmanuel II. Completed in 1935, it’s known to Romans as the ’typewriter’ or the ’wedding cake’ for its ostentatious design. Do not miss the small and beautiful but often neglected San Marco Basilica, dedicated to St Mark the Evangelist, patron saint of the Venetian republic, San Marco is one of Rome’s oldest churches.

A view of the roman forum from the capitoline hill | Walking Rome Tour

A view of the roman forum from the capitoline hill | Walking Rome Tour

The Capitoline Hill, the highest of the Seven Hills of Rome, was the religious centre of ancient Rome. The Cordonata is Michelangelo’s monumental stairway connecting the low-lying Campus Martius to the Capitoline Hill and the Piazza Campidoglio. In 1536 Michelangelo was commissioned to design the beautiful piazza on the hill overlooking the ancient Roman Forum and placed the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius on a new pedestal. The statue was removed in 1981 for restoration and it is now located in a newly-designed exhibition hall in the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Capitoline Museums. A replica currently stands in the Capitoline Piazza. Michelangelo designed new facades for the two already existing buildings, the Palazzo Senatorio and the Palazzo dei Conservatori, and created a new building known as Palazzo Nuovo, to mirror the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the other side of the Campidoglio square. These three beautiful renaissance palaces are now home to the extraordinary Capitoline Museums, the most ancient publicly owned museum in the world dating back to 1471.

From the Vittoriano walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali and feel at the heart of the ancient Roman Empire! Walk and admire the Roman Forum and the the ruins of ancient Rome’s Trajan Market until you reach the world renowned Coliseum, the most famous monument and iconic symbol of the city of Rome.

Area Sacra in Torre Argentina, Rome

Area Sacra in Torre Argentina, Rome

The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the ‘original Beverly Hills’ of ancient Rome, are now on a combo ticket for Euro 12.00. You get 2 days to see all three sites. Ignore the gladiators, who charge Euro 5.00 for the joy of taking their picture (with your camera). As for the vending trucks, they are overpriced. They will sell you a small bottle of water for Euro 3.00. Last are the souvenir carts, one by the entrance, and one by the exit. These souvenirs are much overpriced, but you can bargain with them or just avoid them altogether.

Walking Rome is easily manageable with comfy walking shoes and the desire to explore what the Eternal City has to offer, even if only have a day to spend in Rome!

Would you like to share your Rome travel tips with us? Please write us your comment and we will be happy to post it!

Ciao from Rome:-)

Nancy Aiello

NancyAielloTours.com

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Since 1997 Nancy Aiello Tours based in Rome specializes in Tailor-Made Private Guided Vatican, Rome & Italy Tours for Leisure & Business Travelers.

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Rome Capitoline Museums | Private Guided Rome Tours | Nancy Aiello Tours