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Impressions of Rome

My favorite aspects Rome

Prior to my recent trans-Atlantic cruise aboard Holland America Line’s Noordam, I decided to spend three nights in Rome to get a real “feel” for the “Eternal City” and take in as many of the city’s numerous sights as possible. Although I had spent a full week here back in the mid-‘70s, almost all of my time then was spent coordinating a large travel group and very little on actual sightseeing.

This time I was able to complete a lengthy two-day walking tour that allowed me to explore and photograph most of the points of interest for which Rome is justly famous. Virtually everyone knows that the city contains extensive ruins remaining from the ancient Roman Empire, and is also home to the Vatican, the bastion of the Roman Catholic faith, but these sights account for just a fraction of those that await the aspiring visitor.

For example, the seemingly countless number of other massive cathedrals and churches here give evidence to the all-encompassing role which the Church has played in the lives of the city’s residents for centuries. The architectural splendor and priceless artwork of these massive structures impressed me.

Additionally, the Pantheon, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Imperial Fora, Palatine Hill and Circus Maxima all provide evidence of the glories of the ancient city. I also toured many renowned outdoor attractions such as the magnificent Piazzas, as well as many of the historical structures, such as the Capitoline Museum.

Of course, Rome is known for a wealth of elegant shops, restaurants and cafés.  Yet after hours spent viewing artwork of all kinds, I found it especially refreshing to stroll through the lush greenery of Villa Borghese Park. Here, I was soon reminded that, however great the achievements of man, the wonders of the natural world remain the greatest.

santa-ignazio10Church of Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola


My least favorite

Though Rome overflowed with true learning experiences, there are some aspects of the city that I disliked, such as the expensiveness and overcrowded feeling. I came unprepared for the traffic that paid little attention to pedestrians. Foot traffic seemed difficult to me since some streets ad no sidewalks. The public bus system is cheap and extensive, but limited by the traffic situation. I also felt the Metro inadequate for a city of this size. Individuals with disabilities choosing public transportation are likely to have a tough time in Rome.

Other aspects I disliked included beggars, hawkers, few public restrooms and less signage than I would have liked. To sum up, while definitely a must for world travelers, don’t expect a visit to Rome to be without challenges.

domes-of-rome3Domes of Rome

villa-borghese4Mounted patrol in Villa Borghese Park