Exploring Rome - A Guide To The Ancient City

Rome is undoubtedly a city steeped in history. Its breath taking architecture, incomparable art and religious importance make it the perfect place to visit for an awe-inspiring wander, while the good food, welcoming people and beautiful Rome hotels make it a great choice for those who want more than a lazy week spent sunbathing poolside.

The rich combination of entrancing history and myth that has infused the city of Rome since its foundation in the 8th century BC has made the Italian capital a rewarding and complex topic of study for millennia. The legend that twins Romulus and Remus founded Rome in 753 BC after being saved by a death sentenced imposed by their great-uncle Amulius sets visitors on a path paved with tales of corruption and family feuds, while the rise of the Roman Empire to become the world's very first superpower after the burning of Rome in 64 AD reveals the strength and power the city has demonstrated in time gone by.

Rome's top attraction, the Colosseum, was constructed in 80 AD under the rules of the emperor Vespavian and his son Titusis. Today, it really is a must-see. Visitors won't fail to be astounded by the size and excellent condition of the structure given its age. Taking the opportunity to explore the Colosseum really fuels the imagination to recreate the scenes of wonder witnessed all those years ago; from the bloody battles fought by gladiators to the collections of exotic animals brought out to amaze the watching crowds. In its heyday, the Colosseum housed 73,000 spectators and was made up of four levels, as well as a maze of subterranean tunnels where waiting entertainment prepared to delight the masses. Admission to the Colosseum is €12.00 but this also includes entrance to the Palatino and Roman Forum. The monument shuts early in the colder months, with the earliest closing time being 4.30pm.

The Fontana di Trevi, or Trevi fountain, is a beautiful example of Baroque architecture, but it is the story of its magical powers that really draws visitors to its side. Throw in a coin, the popular legend goes, and you are sure to return to Rome one day. Even Audrey Hepburn, in her film Roman Holiday, has taken part in the tradition. The fountain's enthralling façade shows Neptune’s chariot with sea horses pulling it onward, each representing the changeable nature of the sea; one is calm while one looks wild and fierce. Visitors needn’t pay to see this world famous construction, but a wishing coin and a few euros to spend on the incomparable Italian gelato available nearby would not go amiss.