I wanted to do something cute for Hayley's 26th Birthday so I started to look into flights all over Europe. Since her Birthday is on the 3rd of January flights can get pretty expensive because it is so close to the Christmas / New Year madness. You all already know that we are all about affordable travelling the world. I started my search and found relatively cheap flight tickets to Rome. Nothing could change my mind anymore, Rome was going to happen.
After I booked the tickets I started thinking about Rome, my beautiful girlfriend and our life together. It wasn't only Hayley's Birthday but also our last weekend together before she was leaving for Australia again. It was time for her to visit home and to soak up the sun in beautiful and sunny Perth.
Rome is the city of romance, fountains, churches and so much more. The history in this city is incredible and we will tell you all about it.
A lot of people say that Paris is the city of love. But for us Rome definitely stands above it. Just walking around Rome takes us back thousands of years. The amazing architecture and ruins all over the city. The stories about the cruel history aren't always glorious but damn, this city has character and we just fell in love with Rome. And we are sure you will too.
10 Facts About Rome
The population of the city of Rome is around 2.7 million. The entire metropolitan area of Rome has an estimated 3.7 million people.
Tourists throw about 3,000 euro per day in the Trevi Fountain which eventually will be donated to Caritas, a catholic charity who uses the money to support needy families in Rome.
Rome is known as the "Eternal city" and also "Caput Mundi," coming from Latin and meaning capital of the world.
Rome became the capital city of Italy in 1870 after taking the title from Florence.
St. Peter`s basilica inside Vatican City is the largest church ever constructed.
The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater (meaning “theatre in the round”) in the world! Oval in shape, it measures 189m long, 156m wide and 50m high (about the height of a 12 storey building). This ancient sporting arena could easily fit a modern day football pitch inside!
First Shopping Mall
The first ever shopping mall was built in Rome between 107 and 110 AD by Emperor Trajan. It sold a wide variety of goods and grocery items.
Great Public Transport
Public transport in Rome is very efficient and convenient.
On the day the Colosseum officially opened, 5,000 animals were killed. During its history, it has been estimated that over 500,000 people and over a million animals were killed there.
Rome is an outdoor museum with many ruins, beautiful architecture and history all over the city.
Make sure you are wearing your walking shoes because you are about to have some really big days of exploring. We literally did so much walking that we couldn't go out for dinner on day 1. We left home at 3:30 AM and arrived in Rome at 9 AM and started exploring straight away. After 25,000 steps our legs were hurting and ready to fall off. So make sure you are ready for a good walk and don't forget to breathe in all the beauty.
You can't miss visiting the Colosseum. If you don't like waiting in line I recommend you to buy tickets online. It will be cheaper and you will get in a lot quicker.
The Colosseum is not only beautiful to see, the history is shocking and cruel but so interesting. Try to go back in time by using your fantasy. Imagine all the brave gladiators and exotic animals fighting against each other and facing their death.
In contrast to many other amphitheatres, which were located on the outskirts of a city, the Colosseum was constructed right in the heart of Rome between 72 A.D and 80 A.D. This brilliant building had 80 entrances and could seat approximately 50,000 spectators who would come to watch sporting events and games.
Below the Colosseum were numerous rooms and underground passages. Here is where the animals and gladiators were kept, waiting to meet their fate in the arena above. There were also 36 trap doors in the arena for special effects.
Do you know why the Colosseum looks like it is half built?
There is a solid reason for the shape of the Colosseum.
First of all the Colosseum is around 2000 years old. The damage is attributed to several factors including natural disasters. Storms, lightning, fires and earthquakes lead to its decline. When the colosseum was damaged by an earthquake the ground shook so severely that parts of the upper stories and eventually the entire south wall fell down.
After the Roman Empire fell people started to build new projects, such as the St. Peters Cathedral. They plundered valuable items from the Colosseum like gold, bronze and marble to reuse it in new constructions. The steps of multiple cathedrals are build from Colosseum stones. The metal of the Colosseum was used to make weapons.
The use of the Colosseum
It was mostly used to host gladiatorial shows (called "munera") as well as a variety of other events. The last recorded games were held in the 6th century. One of the most popular types of shows was the animal hunt called "venatio". Most of the animals were imported from Africa and the Middle East. Creatures such as rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, elephants, giraffes, aurochs, wisents, Barbary lions, panthers, leopards, bears, Caspian tigers, crocodiles and ostriches. Trajan is said to have celebrated his victories in Dacia in 107 with contests involving 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators over the course of 123 days.
Gladiators had to fight against other gladiators and animals until all were diseased. Also the Colosseum was occasionally used for public executions. The condemned person was killed in a way inspired by the mythology - eaten by beasts or burned to death.
Around 500,000 people and 1,000,000 million animals died in the Colosseum.
The Colosseum today
Today the Colosseum is a major tourist attraction in Rome. More than 6 million visitors per year from all of the world come to Rome to see the famous Colosseum.
Tod's (shoe's and luxury company) funded 25 million euro for restoration work in 2011. The actual restoration started in 2013. The first phase consisted essentially of gently removing pollution's ravages on the exterior of the monument which dates back from the first century. Next step is to build a visitors center with a cafetaria. The Colosseum never closed for restoration. Here you can see a before and after shot.
Fontana Di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)
No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the Trevi Fountain located in the Quirinale district of Rome. The Trevi Fountain is finished in 1762 and also the biggest fountain of Rome and known as one of the most stunning fountains of the world.
The Italian fashion company "Fendi" sponsored 2,2 million euro for restoration. Definitely the biggest restoration in the fountain's history. They started in June 2014 and completed in November 2015. The official reopening ceremony was on November 3, 2015.
The Trevi Fountain today
Like I already said above in "the facts of Rome", approximately 3000 euro each day is collected from the Trevi Fountain and donated to charity. Even though there are still people that try to steal coins from the fountain which is illegal and quite sad if you think about. The Trevi Fountain is such a huge monument that tells a beautiful story.
The tradition of throwing coins into the fountain dates back to the ancient Romans who often threw coins in water to help them get back home safely.
So when in Rome, you can (which I actually recommend doing because it is just a cute idea) throw coins in the fountain and here is how you do it and what the exact meaning is.
Coins are purportedly meant to be thrown using the right hand over the left shoulder.
The first coin will ensure a return to Rome in the future. If you are seeking love throw a second coin in the fountain. Throw a third coin for wedding bells in the near future.
The Pantheon is a former Roman temple built in 113-125 AD. It is now used as a church. It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. There is one particularly detail of the Pantheon's architecture that makes it so different than other Roman buildings. There's a central opening (oculus) to the sky which makes a huge dome.
Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps)
It takes 135 steps to get to the monument opened in 1725. At the bottom of the stairway you will find one of the many fountains of Rome. There's a great rooftop bar/restaurant where you can go to for a delicious (but expensive) drink.
Vatican City is the world's smallest fully independent nation-state. Of the six entrances, only three are open to the public. The most important building is the Vatican Palace where the pope lives.
The Vatican City has its own telephone system, post office, gardens, astronomical observatory, radio station, banking system, and pharmacy, as well as a contingent of Swiss Guards responsible for the personal safety of the pope since 1506. Almost all supplies—including food, water, electricity, and gas—must be imported. There is no income tax and no restriction on the import or export of funds.
Get your tickets online if you'd like to visit the Vatican. You don't need tickets to get in Vatican City but you do need one if you want to go in one of the public buildings. There will always be a waiting line and you will get a full body screen. Rome in general has a lot of security all over the city.
Fountains In Rome
Rome has more than 2000 fountains all over the city. Fifty monumental fountains and hundreds of smaller fountains. No other city in the world has more fountains than Rome.
We came across many fountains while wandering around the city of Rome. Fountains have something mysterious, romantic and peaceful. They are all beautiful pieces of art.