by Chloe Hay

The Colosseum is just the start to the wonder that this ancient city has to offer the ever-inquisitive traveller

The Colosseum is just the start to the wonder that this ancient city has to offer the ever-inquisitive traveller.

Rome is all too often classed as a weekend city-break destination when really two or three days just doesn’t cut it. If you really want to grasp the wonderfully rich history of this city as well as experience its true diversity as a holiday destination, then you will at least need a week.

Via Appia Antica, escape the hustle and bustle of the tourist-ridden city centre and spend a Sunday afternoon cycling over 3 km of ancient basalt flagstones discovering more and more ruins as you go.

Via Appia Antica, escape the hustle and bustle of the tourist-ridden city centre and spend a Sunday afternoon cycling over 3 km of ancient basalt flagstones discovering more and more ruins as you go.

Everyone studies Roman History at some point throughout their schooling because it’s so intriguing and exciting. The city of Rome is the key to understanding and discovering this myth-like history, which doesn’t seem quite believable until you retrace the steps of those ancient Roman emperors in the Roman Forum and on Palatine Hill. The humongous stone structures from Julius Ceaser’s day remain as the Forum has become a type of outdoor living history museum. Donning a pair of Romanesque leather sandals and meandering through the very same dust-covered streets that infamous figures such as Marc Anthony did thousands of years previously is something truly overwhelming.

Walking into the Roman Forum truly feels like you have entered a time-warp; it is completely unbelievable the impeccable condition of some of these ruins

Walking into the Roman Forum truly feels like you have entered a time-warp; it is completely unbelievable the impeccable condition of some of these ruins.

The Colosseum, of course, is another spectacular sight to the beholder. Its exterior appears to change dramatically with the rise and fall of the sun and is completely hypnotic at twilight. Once inside you can choose whether to wonder around freely or to participate in a guided tour. Whichever you choose the sheer vastness of the space before you will take your breath away, guaranteed. And now the gladiators’ dungeons are also open to the public (by guided tour only) allowing you to witness the rooms in which the gladiators prepared for battle and where the animals were caged before their fights. It’s an eerie, but irresistible experience. Passes can be purchased allowing you access to the Colosseum, The Palatine Hill and The Roman Forum. These passes can be purchased from any of the three but The Palatine Hill generally has a very short queue whereas the Colosseum will always have the longest.

On some levels this architectural feat can only be appreciated once inside. Its construction was begun in the year 72 AD. How that was possible really is mind-boggling.

On some levels this architectural feat can only be appreciated once inside. Its construction was begun in the year 72 AD. How that was possible really is mind-boggling.

Rome is a spectacular city to explore on foot and if your hotel is central you really will never have any need to use public transport unless travelling to the city outskirts on a day trip. The Trevi Fountain, the Vittoriano, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and many more attractions are all just a short walk from each other and the Colosseum and, without a doubt, are all very worthy of a viewing. The entire city has a completely different feel to it at night to what it has during the day and so each nook and cranny needs to be discovered both by sunlight and by moonlight.

The Vatican City is of course another must-visit during your stay. You can’t miss the opportunity to hop over the border into what is officially another country knowing that no one will even check your passport, can you? But be sure that your shoulders and knees are covered if you are hoping to be granted access to the Basilica.

That’s probably the basics covered. But even after all that, you will nowhere near have exhausted Rome. Hey, forget a week, go for a month!