Walking Around Rome

Rome, the best walking city in the world

best walking city in the world

The Temple of the Vestal Virgins

Rome is a great walking city—maybe the best walking city in the world.  Where else can you see so much art and history just by strolling down the street?  London has Big Ben, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, and New York has The Empire State Building.  But can any of those really compare to the 2,000 year-old Coliseum?  And that’s just one of the many ancient ruins casually lying about the city. 

After two and a half years, I’m still occasionally surprised when I round a corner and encounter the remains of a Roman temple butting up against a newsstand or restaurant or government building.  Step into a random church and you might just find a painting by Caravaggio.  People pass by these great treasures every day as if they’re the most commonplace things.  Well, in Rome, they are.

The came, they saw, they conquered

This all despite the fact that Rome has been plundered for centuries.  The Barbarians sacked it, Mussolini tried to bury it, and even today tourists vandalize it.  Every so often you’ll see a news story on RAI about some old couple from New Jersey who got stopped at Fiumicino with a suitcase full of sampietrini. Vergognatevi!

Rome walking tours

Downtown Ancient Rome from above

However despite these efforts to destroy it, Rome survives.  In fact, there’s a famous saying by Lord Byron that says, “While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand; when falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls–the World.”

There’s so much to see in Rome—too much, really, for a tourist only visiting for a few days.  So I would advise people to put away their checklists and just do what the Romans do: go for a walk, a passeggiata, a stroll, and enjoy this city for what it is:  2,500 years of living history out in the open for you to appreciate.

I have more to say on this topic, and if you want to take a self-guided walking tour, read my full article at the More Time to Travel website.

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Living in the Caput Mundi and trying to decipher Italian culture for the English speaking world.

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