A big city it is, Rome has a lot to offer, with many places of attraction and plenty of interesting things to explore, and the attempt to travel in such a metropolitan in just 2 days was definitely a challenge. It wasn’t impossible though; on a budget my friends and I did manage to make the most out of our 2 days in this Italian capital and went to most, if not all, the important places.
On October 3, 2009, after a few plans of going to Rome failed the weeks before, we finally made the decisions and took off to Rome – the third Italian city my Cambodian friends and I had visited after Padua and Venice.
After several hours of a big dinner together, of finalizing our plan, and of packing, we in a group of 5 Cambodians, left Residence Luzzatti at near mid-night and headed toward the train station to catch a 12.45 night train to Rome. The thought of this trip made me both excited and nervous, excited because Rome is really famous and was mentioned as the dream destination of the leading female character of a blockbuster, Jumper, and nervous because none of us is quite sure about the roads ahead, whether things were going to be fine, whether there’d be affordable hostels for us to spend the night, and whether I had made the right decision to come along.
one-way ticket for 5 persons
The air was around 18 degree, and at 12:45 the train arrived. We all went up, first going onto the wrong compartment and almost missing the train; it was great that we didn’t actually miss it and need to change the whole plan. This night train was average and it was pretty hard to find a suitable room for the 5 of us. Finally we managed to find one room, with only one person sleeping. We woke him up and only after a while of us joining him, he stood up and forever left the room, leaving us just by ourselves.
After about 7 hours on the train with hardly any sleep, we made it in Roma Termini, the city’s main train station. The first thing we did was to go find the tourist information office where we could grab a map and find any suitable hostel to spend the night.
After a while of walking around checking available hostels, with heavy bags, we finally cave in to the fact that Rome is big and expensive, so we resorted to choosing Mosiac, the youth hostel nearest to the train station, although 25 euro/night/person was shockingly expensive for us average Cambodians.
Places to visit with a little more than half a day left of DAY 1
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II: It was our first stop from the hostel. There are some interesting statues and nice gardens, although overall, this square is pretty normal to me, considering many other amazing sights in this beautiful city.
Basilica di San Giovanni: About 15 mn walk further south of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, there is a colossal church of San Giovanni. Compared to some other churches this one looks pretty modern and newly-built and it does have something really impressive inside. Walking inside, it’s simply amazing gazing at what’s in stores, the inside beautifully ornamented with colorful paintings, lightings, and, what amazed me the most, the elegantly and sophisticatedly carved sculptures. It really made up for the exhaustion from the crazy trip we had the night before.
Vatican City (Citta di Vaticano): There was about an afternoon left, which was just enough time for us to visit this smallest country in the world. The details of what have given this city such popularity can be found here.
The day couldn’t be started in a better way than going straight to visit one of the most well-known ancient moments in the world, the Colosseum, which was commissioned in 72 AD by Emperor Vespasian to be completed in 80 BC by his son. From the hostel, we went on foot to find the Colosseum, along the way enjoying the Roman city views with people, common small-sized businesses, pubs, beautiful buildings and architectural structures, and interestingly-shaped, italianly-common pine trees.
Colosseum is just at the end of this street
Colosseum (originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre): I was in awe, and I couldn’t feel better about deciding to come visit this city. The feeling then was quite comparable to the one I experienced when I first had my eyes gazing at the Angkor Wat Temple. Many say pictures say a thousand words, but the thousands of words of all pictures I’ve taken can do no justice to this wonderful colosseum.
Seems like I was not the only one who would bear the pain of such a long queue
The entrance fee was then 11 euro, which also
The Arch of Constantine, just beside the Colosseum
The Palatine Hill: A walk across this hill was really refreshing. From this busy Roman city, the Hill feels like a great place of nature, with flowery grasses and big trees accompanying traces of ancient civilizations.
This looks quite similar to a Cambodian design
The Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill: When we had walked across the Palatine Hill, there we arrived at the Roman Forum with just the Capitoline Hill behind. The remaining ruins of the Roman structures lie there elegantly, which couldn’t be any more interesting to me. As I went on visiting these places, I couldn’t help keep thinking how more fascinated I could have been if I were a student of archaeology or the like.
After we had made the most of the 11-euro ticket, we went on to places nearby, all which kept complementing the beauty of this wonderful city. We went to a few more piazza (squares), took photos, and after a while, took off from this area and headed for another place in my agenda.
The Pantheon: This one may not be as impressive and famous as the Pantheon on the Acropolis, Athens, I quite enjoyed visiting the place. Atmosphere around was cosy and relaxing, with pubs, gift shops, and many people, both tourists and locals, all around.
The Trevi Fountain (La Fontana di Trevi): The statues are beautiful and the water of the fountain seems cold and attractive in the summer, humid air. And as many believe, a wish made to come revisit Rome with a coin into the fountain will come true, and that’s exactly what I did.
The Spanish Steps: These steps, located in the Piazza di Spagna, are “one of the city’s iconic tourist attractions”. If I remember correctly, it’s written somewhere in one of the books I learned that every years there are a lot of patients coming to lay around the place hoping to be healed.
As it was getting dark, the Spanish Steps was the last attraction in Rome that we went to. For sure, there are still a lot more beautiful sights this Roman city has to offer, but what I have seen was enough to keep me forever impressed and in love with Rome. Plus, the rest that I haven’t seen is definitely the reason for me to go back.Share This: