They say that a lifetime’s not enough for Rome.
Having visited for only three days, I can absolutely agree with this statement. I’ve never been in a more beautiful or fascinating city than Rome. The historic cathedrals, abundance of golden sculptures and Ancient Greek and Roman influences make it feel truly magical. I’ll admit almost Disneyland-esque, given the unnecessary quantity of tourist shops, photo ops and vendors selling selfie sticks and magnets on every corner. Give them too much eye contact and they’ll be on you like a hound. Despite this, its still impossible to enjoy everything Rome has to offer in only a few days.
On New Year’s Eve, we didn’t waste a moment. Despite the day’s frigid temperatures, we spent took advantage of the short hours of sunlight getting lost between the elegant piazzas, spectacular fountains and cobblestone streets.
Just before midnight, we joined a few new Brazilian friends and headed to the Colosseum. Hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets, young and old, cheering and shouting, setting off fireworks and drinking champagne and beer – right on the streets of Rome. At midnight, everyone began the count-down at their own interpretation, developing into a crescendo of “Happy New Year” that swelled around the Colosseum and throughout the city. Fireworks erupted from behind the monument and continued to stir the public. Cries of “Auguri” and “Buon Anno” could barely be heard from over all the fireworks and commotion. It was truly a spectacular experience followed by a slightly hectic night at a late night concert in Circo Massimo.
Tip: Click on the pictures below to enlarge them and see my remarkably informative comments.
Inside the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Pope Pius IX
The Colosseum in its hayday.
View from the Colosseum
The Pantheon was undoubtedly one of the most magnificent and astounding buildings I’ve ever seen.
I sometimes include people in my photos so that you don’t think I don’t have any friends or something.
You can’t help but stare up in awe at the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built. One of the city`s best-preserved ancient monuments (which is saying something), the Pantheon was originally built as a temple to dedicate the classical gods, but – as most things in Rome – was later consecrated as a Christian Church.
The inside is even more incredible.
I could have spent hours there if not for the cold!
Campo de’Fiori hosts a beautiful market by day, and apparently becomes a rowdy open-air pub by night (I, sadly, did not experience this first-hand). This is a the most scenic and memorably place to buy high-quality Roman souvenirs like Italian leather purses and gloves, and also expensive olive oil, spices and pasta.
This is one of the reasons why Rome reminds me of Disneyland. Yes, these are real vegetables, but they are not the kind of vegetables real Italians eat every day. They’re the most perfect vegetables I’ve ever seen – and I grew up in North America where all produce is perfected with GMOs – which is certainly not the reality for the rest of Italy. So beautiful as it is, I found this picture kind of ironic.
To escape the cold, nothing’s better than doing a little world-class shopping in Rome.
Vendors sell everything here.
There’s no end to activity and entertainment in Rome.
Just try to find some space to sit on the Spanish Steps.
Luckily all this stair climbing kept us warm.
Vendor selling bottles of Prosecco on NYE.
View from the glorious Chiesa della Trinità dei Monti at the top of the staircase.
New Year’s Eve in Rome was like Canada Day in Ottawa – except on a much larger scale. Millions of people from all over the world poured into the streets to celebrate the one day a year that almost every nation recognizes.
Thousands upon thousands of people crowding – but peacefully – to see the show and celebrate the New Year.
The next day we woke up with the intention to take it easy and just wander a museum or two; instead, we ended up at the glorious Piazza del Repubblica …
… where the fountain had miraculously frozen overnight.
We overheard some Romans walking by say that this is the first time they’d ever seen any of the fountains freeze. (Snow in Sicily, frozen fountains in Rome, 11’C for NYE in Toronto … Is this what the Day After Tomorrow looks like?)
Post NYE celebrations could be seen all over the city on New Year’s Day. It was pretty cool.
We continued to be distracted by our explorations.
(“If you can’t make marble, fake it.” – Michelangelo, probably)
Sometimes I ask people to take pictures of me so that you know I am actually in Rome and not just downloading images off the internet.
Then we somehow ended up in Piazza del Popolo …
… where this happened …
… and this …
… and then this.
Beauty of a view.
Palazzo Barberini. Sadly the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica closes on New Year’s Day (why can’t Italy be more like North America when everything is open all the time??)
Needless to say, there’s no such thing as a ‘chill hangover day’ in Rome, especially when you only have 3 days to enjoy it!
Final Stop: Pugli-region adventuring in Bari, Alberobello and Matera