Destination 5: Rome
Rome tends to be the focal point of Italy. The iconic landmarks are here. The Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps and others. While Rome offers these magnificent architectural triumphs, it also offers hordes of tourists. Want your picture taken with a fake gladiator for an absurd price? This is the place. See the main sites, but take the time to find a restaurant or a bar off the beaten track. You will be rewarded. Take some comfortable shoes too, as my wife and I learned, walking in Rome and most Italian cities for that matter, is a walk on HARD ground. I swear there wasn’t soft spot to take a step in this entire city.
I found myself shooting wide in Rome. I stuck to the Panasonic 20mm prime and 7-14mm on my EPL-1. There’s alot to squeeze into each shot. The 20mm was nice due to its small size. I felt bad for some of the poor souls lugging their 30lbs of camera gear through the streets and landmarks. No thanks.
The good… If you’re short on time, hit the Colosseum and the Pantheon. Walk by the Trevi Fountain and stroll through some of the nearby churches. Have a seat on the Spanish Steps and watch the crowds go by. Eat gelato (Giolitti). Eat al dente pasta. Drink the wine and munch on free appetizers at Campo dei Fiori. Don’t feel like you have to see it all, you can’t and you won’t.
Now for the bad…. This is opinion, but it is a strong one of mine, skip the Vatican museum. Religious and art preferences aside I hated the Vatican museum. Granted, the interior of the basilica was gorgeous and the art work phenomenal, but they herd you like cattle. Ropes and doors are constantly blocking your path. They literally rearrange the available paths by the minute to herd you through and out the doors. IF you survive the gauntlet you are rewarded by the amazing “map room”, “Raphael rooms” and finally the Sistine Chapel ceiling itself. The Sistine Chapel experience was ruined for me by pushing, shoving, and yelling. They allow far too many visitors inside at once which makes for a horrible environment for taking in one of the greatest works of art of all time. For art in Rome visit the Borghese Gallery. The finest sculptures you will ever see without the hassle. Photography is prohibited, but you will remember what you see.
Visit Rome but see it on your own terms.
Next posts: Tour of Italy Continues in Florence