“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…”
The Roman Forum
After learning about the Coliseum’s gruesome past and the legend of Rome’s foundation on the Palatine Hill, we continued our historic acquaintance with the Eternal City in the Roman Forum, or Foro Romano. This hotspot that lies in between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills for centuries served as the center of Roman public life. Here the citizens of Rome observed triumphal processions, open elections, eloquent public speeches, criminal trials, and never-ending market hustle.
It was through the Roman Forum that Cleopatra triumphantly entered the Eternal City as ally and lover to Julius Caesar and later Mark Antony. Here she chose to commit suicide to avoid a shameful public banishment from Rome after she had realized she would never be able to seduce Octavian and therefore, keep her respected status.
The venue centered around the quintessential historical and architectural landmarks of ancient Rome, was almost ruined when starting in the 1800s, new neighborhoods were erected over it. However in the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to none other than Mussolini, all the housings were shifted and the Forum ruins were eventually excavated and opened for public display.
The Pantheon is yet another prominent Roman landmark. Built by Marcus Agrippa in 31 BC as a temple devoted to all the gods of ancient Rome, it was later rebuilt several times until it became the venue we see standing today. Since the Renaissance, the Pantheon has served as a tomb to several venerated historical figures, among which lie Raphael, King Vittorio Emanuele II and King Umberto I. Due to its long and illustrious history, the Pantheon strikes awe in visitors with its concentrated spiritual energy. I experienced a similar feeling when I was looking at the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
All the restaurants at the piazza surrounding the Pantheon are obviously overpriced, but the atmosphere is definitely very romantic – live music, entertaining street performers and the fountain’s murmur are worth paying 5 Euros for a cup of espresso.
For even more history, you can indulge in delicious authentic pizza at a 400-year-old pizzeria on Via dei Pastini
The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain was my favorite landmark in Rome. While sitting on a skirting of the fountain among other tourists who came from all over the world to see this architectural miracle, I experienced Rome on a completely different level.
While you are there, don’t forget to throw three coins with your right hand over your left shoulder into the fountain—happiness and prosperity are almost guaranteed!
Fun fact: each day tourists throw 3,000-Euros worth of coins into the fountain, which is used by the city to buy food for the less fortunate.
If you get hungry after contemplating the Trevi Fountain, check out a restaurant named Chianti on Via del Lavatore—without a doubt it serves the best pizza in Rome.
Next post – Vatican. Swing by!