Tag Archives: Rome
Europe is a hive of cultural attractions, but if it’s history you’re particularly interested in, then there are some destinations that really stand out. Of course, in terms of individual attractions there are enough to write about to fill a library, so today we’re going to focus on the top attractions of three of the continent’s most exciting historical cities.
Before we get started, though, it’s worth pointing out that you don’t always need to take several holidays to see the highlights of several places. In fact, if you are particularly interested in Europe’s history and want to explore a number of destinations in a single trip, then you ought to book a cruise, since you can find itineraries that include great combinations for history lovers, like Messina, Rome and Athens.
The gateway to Sicily, Messina is a port city that has welcomed a diverse array of people to its shores over the years, with Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Byzantines being just a few of those who landed here and helped shape the local culture.
Like many of Europe’s most dazzling historical cities, Messina’s past can be discerned in amongst the modern constructions. One of the most important historical buildings, for instance, is the Duomo of Messina, which was built in the 12th century by Roger II of Sicily.
While this building is very historic, it’s only the lower part that’s been preserved as it once was – you see, the cathedral was actually destroyed by an earthquake in 1783, and then again by bombings in 1943, meaning it has been rebuilt several times.
While you’re here, look out for Fontana di Orione – a beautiful fountain in the square outside the cathedral. This was built in the 16th century by one of Michelangelo’s students, Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli.
As well as being one of Italy’s most beautiful urban destinations, Rome is among its most historical and important. Its crowning glory is the Colosseum – once a stage for gladiatorial battles and other blood-soaked contemporary entertainment, this Roman amphitheatre is one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
In its heyday, it could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. While it’s not in pristine condition, an incredible amount has survived given the fact that it’s around 2,000 years old – and exploring it today you can really get a feel for the impact it would have made back in Roman times.
Another must-visit is the Vatican – the tiny independent walled state that has acted as the home for Catholic popes for centuries. The historical highlight here is the Basilica of St Peter, which has a beautiful 17th-century facade and impressive dome, and is one of the largest churches in the world.
Athens is virtually synonymous with ancient history, and no visit here is complete without a trip to the mesmerising Acropolis. First, though, you might like to visit the Acropolis Museum, which was created back in 2009.
Here, you can peruse the remarkable finds at the Acropolis site, including sculptural decorations of the Parthenon (you can also watch a really interesting video on this subject on the third floor).
Of course, the real highlight is the Acropolis itself, which sits right in the heart of the modern city. Standing tall on Sacred Rock above the modern streets, the complex is home to world-famous buildings like the Parthenon and the Erechtheion.
Of course, these are just a few of the top historical sites in Europe, but you have to start somewhere. Once you start exploring, it’s hard to stop … that’s the beauty of the travel bug!
Rome may be the seat of the Catholic faith but this city has so much to offer than just its churches. Compared to other European countries, staying here becomes really affordable once you have set yourself up in one of the nice places to stay in the area. Even if you have to enjoy Rome on a budget, you can still get to see much of the city without missing the most important stops by getting attuned to how the locals live.
Eat a full meal at lunch rather than dinner. Weight conscious individuals will love this because dinner is deemed to be that meal when you should eat like a slave. The same idea goes for people on a tour to Rome because most restaurants offer all inclusive lunch at competitive prices but during dinner, you could be charged double the price. Hence, it would be better to eat snacks or go on a picnic at dinnertime.
Don’t tip more than 5% unless you are really impressed by the service. Contrary to the practice in the US, the waiters in Rome do not expect a 12% tip and Romans do not leave tips which are greater than 5%. So, do not feel obliged to leave more money on the table when you are in Rome.
Stay on your feet while grabbing your meal. A sweet croissant or cornetto and a cup of cappuccino is the perfect combination but when you are in a café or a bar, do what the locals do, stand up and move on. Since the prices for table services can double, standing at the bar to save is definitely an option.
Taste the Gelato. Ice cream happens to be one of the best things about Rome. To those who have a sweet tooth, Rome is just the place to get a lot of it. One good place to eat ice cream is the Piazza delle Province. Ice cream comes in a lot of flavors such as yogurt with strawberries, smarties and anything you want. Just follow the crowd and you’ll know the best place to get ice cream.
See Vatican at Night. Getting inside the Vatican Museum is a must when you are in Rome and as one of the places with the most extensive art collections; it’s not surprising why there are tons of people. To avoid the foot traffic and for thinner crowds, catch the last entrance. The tour will be self-guided but you can peruse the paintings and other museum display at your leisure.
Drop by the cat sanctuary. There is much to see in Rome and one of these is the cat sanctuary which sits beside the ruins of Torre Argentina. This sanctuary is in a cave-like area which is run by volunteers. The location is actually where Julius Caesar was stabbed by Brutus. You can feed the felines and drop by the cat shop.
Get an art pass. There is so much to see around Rome and if you love the arts, a Roma Pass is just what you need. You will have free access to 2 sights or museums, unlimited rides in public transport and reduced fees when gaining entry to various events and sights. Research is essential to plan ahead and get the most of your pass.
People in Rome are known to live beyond their means and by getting some hints from locals, you will surely relish your stay in the city without worrying about overspending. These are just some of the tips that can help you plan a smoother trip while living within your financial capacity.
As the gloom of winter reaches its lowest point, it seems there aren’t many things around to bring energy into our lives. The cold rain, mist (and occasional snow) drain us of our motivations, and the early darkness of January is enough to make anybody question why one would live so far north at this time of year. Both you and your partner need a pick-me-up, and fast.
Fortunately, you two have the perfect excuse to get the bloody hell out of town … Valentine’s Day! Since it is easy as pie to leave your car at short stay parking at Heathrow, a holiday of this nature is well within your reach, even if you don’t live directly within Central London.
Over on the continent, there is no shortage of cities where one can get away at a moment’s notice. Not only do they prove that living in Europe has its advantages at any time of the year, but they also provide a deep bench of romantic destinations where you can have an intimate weekend with your adorable snugglebunny (or whatever pet name that you have for your love).
Today, we will share three cities that are no-brainers for rekindling the spark in your relationship, no matter how dour the weather might be at home.
1) Paris, France
Out of all the cities on our list, Paris is the metropolis that sticks out like a sore thumb, given that “the city of love” is one of its nicknames. There are many romantic attractions that will vie for your attention, but start your day in Montmartre, a district that is set on a hill, for some gasp-inducing views of Paris in all its ageless glory.
Head to the Wall of “I Love You’s”, known in French as Le Mur Des Je T’Aime, to revel in the corniness of that famous phrase, written in 250 different languages. Finally, after a sensuous dinner at Laperouse, a restaurant set in an atmospheric 17th century mansion, go out for an evening of high society entertainment at Palais Garnier, a century-old opera house that was immortalized in Gaston’s Leroux’s seminal work, “The Phantom Of The Opera”.
2) Rome, Italy
The Italians also give the French a run for their Euros in the romance Olympics with their ancient capital, Roma. After doing the mandatory hand-in-hand stroll past the Trevi Fountains, head up Aventine Hill to give your lover the surprise of a lifetime. At the top, there is a place referred to as the Aventine keyhole, an arch in the headquarters of the Priory of the Knights of Malta, where the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral is perfectly framed between the ivy covered walls of that building.
Afterwards, check out some exquisite art at Villa Farnesina and then attempt to re-create the infamous scene from Disney’s Lady And The Tramp, by getting some plates of pasta at Ristorante Pecorino, located at Via Galvani, 54, a wonderful place to have authentic Italian pasta.
3) Budapest, Hungary
If you want to take your relationship to new places, then head to one of the hottest new places to get away for a romantic city break: Budapest, Hungary. Head to the Fisherman’s Bastion on the River Danube to get a sweeping view of this historic Central European gem, then check out its thermal baths, which are Budapest’s biggest claims to fame.
After a relaxing soak among character-filled bath houses, go to the docks on the Danube, where river cruises are offered. With a glass of authentic Hungarian champagne each, toast each other for the red hot love that you still share with each other even after all these years.
You may not have time for a proper holiday this winter, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t escape the city of a weekend of quality time with your loved one this Valentine’s Day. By taking advantage of your proximity to some of the most starkly beautiful metropolises on the planet, you will keep stoking the flames of passion that are key to a successful long-term relationship!