Rome is one of the most magical places on Earth. It’s both dramatic and romantic at the same time. So many cities in Italy scream for your attention, but of them all, I think Rome is the most enduring and most fascinating. It’s also the setting of one of my favourite ever films, Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn. It may be black and white but it really captures the flavor and nothing can deny the magnificence of the 7 wonders of Rome that span the centuries.
This magnificent fountain is not only an architectural gem but is a wonder of Roman engineering. It is where the waters of the Salone Springs pour out after being transported from 15 miles away along the Aqua Virgo. The monumental edifice was completed in 1762 and legend today says that if you throw in a coin over your shoulder with your back to the Trevi Fountain, you will one day return to Rome.
This is one of my favourite wonders of Rome. The arch was built in 203 AD to commemorate the victories of Emperor Septimius Severus in Parthia (now parts of Iraq and Iran). It’s 23m high and 25m wide and there are 3 passageways. When first built, there was a flight of steps leading to the central passageway, but these were replaced by a road in the 4th century AD. I particularly like the relief panels and carvings of Nike.
A great place for people watching, the Piazza del Popolo is a beautiful square built in the neoclassical style. It used to be the site of public executions. It was the original northern gateway to the city, but has been altered with the addition of the gorgeous Baroque churches designed by Rainaldi in the 17th century, the Porta del Popolo created by Bernini in 1655 and also, the re-siting of the Egyptian obelisk moved from Circo Massimo.
Even if you have no faith, St. Peter’s is undoubtedly one of the wonders of Rome. Not only is it a magnificent church inside and out, but it is set in a square of incredible beauty. I can only imagine what Roman Catholics must feel standing on the cobblestones, listening to a papal address from the church balcony.
By day and by night, the Colosseum is the most iconic of all the wonders of Rome and just about anywhere else for that matter. It’s instantly recognized the world over and certainly doesn’t need the extra advertising that Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott gave it. Just to look at it inspires awe, even in a photograph.
At times, this can be one of the most crowded places in Rome, so it’s hard to actually see the Spanish Steps for the throngs of people. It’s best visited in the early morning before the tourists have finished their morning coffee because then you can stand at the bottom and enjoy the uninterrupted view to the church at the summit or drink in the panoramic Piazza di Spagna and the city beyond from the top. That’s if you’ve got the energy to climb the 137 steps, of course.
I’ve chosen this wonderful park as the last of my wonders of Rome. Not only is it a serenely beautiful place where you can escape the tourist crowds, but the villa houses one of the world’s best private art collections. The grounds of the 17th century former residence of Cardinal Scipione Borghese include a lake, shaded avenues, hedged walk, landscaped flower beds and plenty of statues. It’s is used for outdoor exhibitions and events, and as well as being the site of the Piazza di Sena, the amphitheatre used for Rome’s top equestrian event, just by the southern entrance you can visit the Cinema dei Piccoli, the world’s smallest cinema. Bike riding in the park is one of the best things you can do, ever.
Those are my choices for the wonders of Rome. It’s such a small selection of what is there – Lonely Planet for instance lists 236 sights. If you ever have but one chance to visit Europe – choose Rome. You won’t be disappointed. What wouldn’t you want to miss?
Top image source: data.whicdn.com
Please rate this article