Rome, Italy - Where ancient meets modern

 
Giorgia Pase - IMG_20170425_174610-01.jpeg
 

It was almost a year ago when I first went to Rome, the capital of my lovely Italy, with my camera. It was not the first time, I’ve already been there, but I was too young to remember anything. These photos were taken in some beautiful days in December 2016 (quite cold but sunny) and in April 2017. In a few days I’ve had the opportunity to see and explore many places in the city and I’ll come back soon, at the end of September.

 

Contributor:
Giorgia

Nationality:
Italian

Social Links:
Instagram: @gi.throughthelens
                  @mainormale

Age Group:
19 - 30

Gender:
Female

Travel Style:
Tourism
Discovery
Exploring

 

Destination: Rome Italy

Inspiration:

I went there because my boyfriend lives in Albano Laziale, in the so called area of “Castelli Romani”, at about 25km south of the city centre. In that occasion, I could also visit the Capital and its marvellous pieces of history, like the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Villa Borghese and its gardens etc.

Getting There:

If you live in Italy, the easiest way to reach Rome is surely by train. With high speed trains as Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca or Italo Treno, you’ll reach it in few hours. Obviously you can use your car, but it’s easier moving around the city using subway, bus or tram. If you live in another country I recommend to come by plane to the airport of Roma Fiumicino or Roma Ciampino and then to use public transport.

Local Knowledge:

Not all knows that Rome was built on seven hills: Aventino, Palatino, Esquilino, Quirinale, Viminale, Celio and Campidoglio. There’s another one city in Europe built on seven hills: Lisbon. Lisbon was part of Lusitania after the punic wars and there’s a clear recall to the structure of Rome right because of its position over the hills.

What To Do:

As many others did before me, I like defining Rome an open air museum. This city has unique characteristics you cannot find anywhere. It’s a special mix of ancient and modern. Here are some of my favourite places:

- The Colosseum
This monumental ancient roman theatre is a “must see” in Rome. Take a look around it, and be sure you have booked tickets to enter and visit it some days before you’ll be there (if you want to come during summer, it’s better book them some weeks before your visit). Once inside, you’ll be totally transported in the Ancient Rome atmosphere and you can usually walk inside at all levels and different heights. Be prepare to make some stairs!

 
Giorgia Pase - DSC_0212.jpg
 



- The Imperial Forums
As yet said for the Colosseum, the Imperial Forums are something magical if you want to be transported in the Ancient Rome atmosphere. You can walk through the ruins, and imagine how was life during the period of Roman Empire. Somewhere you can see the rests of a little temple, or some columns and the majestic Arch of Septimius Severus. Then I recommend to make some stairs and reach the top of Palatino hill inside this archeological area: there you’ll find a terrace with a stunning view over all the Imperial Forums. The best moment of the day to come here is when the sun is almost down and all the ruins around have some special golden shades.

- Giardino degli Aranci (The Orange Garden)
This little public garden over the Aventino hill is a beautiful place for couples and generally for all the people who want to see Rome by an unconventional point of view. From the terrace over the river Tiber you can take a look over the rooftops of the Capital and see the giant St Peter’s Basilica’s dome, the white walls of Altare della Patria with its rampant horses on the top, and many others domes (Rome is famous for its domes, everywhere you look for you’ll find at least one of them. It’s something incredible!). This place has a special atmosphere at the sunset, it’s really romantic.

- St. Peter’s Basilica
It is formally part of Vatican City, but it’s another “must see” when you’ll come and visit the eternal city. This is the heart of Catholic Church, where all the Popes are buried. I like defining it as a precious jewel made by the genius of many important italian architects: my favourite one is Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who designed the square in order to embrace people. His circular colonades are one of my favourite pieces of art (you can find many other works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini all over the city, one of my favourite is the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona). You can enter the church for free but you always have to wait in a queue (sometimes your wait may be very long, especially during the festivities and summer) to undergo a security check: as it’s usual in the airports, you have to pass your bags o backpacks to X-rays so pay attention at what you bring with you! Glass bottles and any kind of weapon are severely forbidden.
Once passed this security check you can choose what you prefer to visit for first: I strongly recommend to visit the dome before the church. There’s a secondary entrance on the right of the basilica where you can have access at the stairs to go on the dome. This experience is not recommended if you have some kind of heart or respiratory disease because you’ll have to make nearly 350 steps if you use the elevator for the first part, and nearly 600 if you don’t. It’s not free, you’ll have to pay a ticket but it’s not expensive. Personally I want to assure you that you’ll arrive on the top tired but happy: some parts of the stairs are really difficult and tight but the stunning panorama will be a great satisfaction for you. From this special place you can see the entire city: starting from the wonderful St. Peter’s square and Via della Conciliazione, you’ll see Castel Sant’Angelo, river Tiber, the greatest gardens of Doria Pamphili, Vatican Gardens, Monte Mario and all the magnitude of this wonderful city.
Then you’ll come down and visit the basilica. It’ll be the greatest church you’ll ever see: all the things in it are big and majestic. There’s gold almost everywhere and works of art of immense valour. Stunning.

- Last but not least, the Trastevere district
This district is the centre of the roman movida and during the summer is populated by young people who want to have fun and eat together. These streets are the most characteristics of all Rome. I have loved to spend my summer nights here.

Eating:

When in Rome, It’s important to choose as well as possible the places to eat. Generally I prefer pubs or taverns because you find the real recipes of the tradition and friendly people. My favourite recipes are “Pasta alla carbonara”, “Spaghetti cacio e pepe” and “Supplì”.

Must Do:

Every traveller should go to Trevi's Fountain and throw a coin in the water. The legend say if you do that and don't see where the coin fall, you'll surely come back to Rome one day. So throw the coin behind your back!

Must See:

Maybe I should be banal, but I would pick a photograph of Colosseum.

 

 

Venice, Italy - The Floating City

 

Contributor: Dinu
Nationality: Romanian
Instagram: @ioanasimonadinu
Age Group: 19-30
Gender: Female
Travel Style: Leisure
Destination: Venice, Italy
Date: late April 2017

Inspiration:

Finding motivation to travel to Venice is not a hard thing. It is a well-known unique destination, very promoted on social media and placed on the top 10 destinations in many blogs and reviews. That means I came across with a lot of Venice photos on Instagram and other social networks, that I have always admired. Also, some years ago I got to see Venice for half a day and I knew there was so much more to discover. That's how I included Venice in a beautiful trip in the north of Italy this spring. 

Getting There:

Vicenza was the start point, as we have also visited other cities in Veneto. From Vicenza, Venice is very easy reachable by train, in about 45 minutes.

Local Knowledge:

The unique fact about Venice is its location in the Venetian Lagoon with the amazing system of canals, linked by bridges and its water transportation. It is called "The Floating City" and is situated at only 3 m above sea. That's why, in its rainy periods, Venice is often flooded and Venitian people call it "aqua alta". It is said that Venice could dissapear in nearly 20 years, so you better hurry up if you want to visit it!

Where To Stay:

It is not a secret that Venice is an expensive destination. So, if you want to save on the budget avoid central locations. That is why we have chosen to stay in Venice Lido, at Hotel Atlanta Augustus, a very nice hotel, easy to access from the ferry station in Lido. The ferry station is next to San Marco Square and it takes only about 10-15 minutes (working non-stop) to Lido. We enjoyed very much staying at this hotel, nice and comfortable room, with beautiful balcony and rich breakfast. You can find many offers on Booking.com.

What To Do:

There are a lot of things to do and see in Venice. Some of them are so popular, filled with many tourists, but, in my opinion, the best way to feel the vibe of Venice is getting lost on the little stretts, bridges and taking a gondola ride, or more convenient the ferry no 1 on the Grand Canal.

1. Saint Mark's Square- wander across the square and take pictures with the beautiful Saint Mark's Basilica; 
2. Saint Mark's Basilica- you must enter the basilica, the interior is amazing and for a panoramic view you can go up to the terrace (nice views of the St. Mark's Square and Saint Mark's Clocktower). Tip 1: don't queue if you haven't let your bag/backpack at the specific place that is written at the entrance of the basilica. The place for bags is easy to find and you can let there your baggage for 2 hours and it's free. Tip 2: don't rush to visit it in the morning, because the queues are bigger (also available for Saint Mark's Campanile)
3. Saint Mark's Campanile - seeing Venice from above is impressive and the campanile offers views to all the 4 directions (north, south, east, west) at the price of 8 euro ticket per person; I think the best time of the day to go is afternoon (good light and smaller queue).
4. Doge's Palace - unfortunately we only had the chance to see it from the outside, but the inside must be amazing too, as you also get to cross the Bridge of Sighs.
5. The Bridge of Sighs - beautiful architecture and magic athmosphere watching the goldolas pass under it at any minute.
Tip: Everybody tries to take shots with this bridge sitting on Ponte della Paglia, you will see how crowded Ponte della Paglia can get, so you need to know that there is a spectacular place from where you can take even more beautiful pics with the Bridge of Sighs behind you. You just need to get down from Ponte della Paglia on its right side (as you are looking towards the Bridge of Sighs), go left and approach the canal under Ponte della Paglia (bassicaly you need to go "under" Ponte della Paglia).
6. Dorsoduro and Cannaregio- just put the map away and get lost
7. Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute - amazing location with great history. It is said that it was constructed during the plague epidemy in order to ask the divinity for help; there are some statues in the basilica telling this story.
8. Ponte dell'Accademia- not to miss, offers great views to the Grand Canal
9. Rialto Bridge- beautiful architecture and views over the Grand Canal
10. Fondaco dei Tedeschi- not so touristy, the roof offers spectacular views over the Grand Canal and its surroundings
11. Church of Madonna dell'Orto
12. Small and cute bridges : Ponte delle Tete, Ponte Chiodo, Ponte delle Guglie, Ponte dei Tre Archi
13. Burano- the last, but not the least; the candy of the Venice Islands; colourful houses, seagulls, small canals and boats make you feel like being in a fairy tale; I higly recommed it! Stay here at least half a day.

Eating:

There are many places to eat in Venice... Usually the central spots offer dishes at very high prices, but you can grab a sandwich or something on the go for a reasonable price even in the center, if you want to save time visiting. In Burano, we ate good at Su&Zo.

Favorite "Must Do"

I think is the ferry ride on the Grand Canal, because seeing Venice from water gives you an unique feeling, you can admire all its palaces alligned over the canal, you can hear the gondoliers sing Italian songs, you can smell the salty water and go under the beautiful bridges. We took it on our way back to the train station and it was a special moment, a magic conclusion of our trip to Venice.

Favorite "Must See"

It's hard to think of a favourite must see, but I will peak the Bridge of Sighs, from the spot I mentioned about.

Number 1 Travel Tip:

If you are willing to travel by ferry in Venice, buy Venezia Unica travel card. It also covers the routes to Burano and Murano islands and is very convenient.

5 Word Travel:

magic - bridges - canals - gondolas - architecture