Day 10-13: Rome

Rome is my longest layover for this trip of 40 days, with a full 4 days in the city. Yes, it’s still pretty rushed for the other destinations, but after fitting in the various train timetables, I figured this would be good enough for me.

I first visited the four Papal Basilicas of Rome.

St. Peter’s Basilica is located in Vatican City, the smallest country in the world by land and population.

It is the largest Catholic church in the world, and the only one opened to the public in Vatican City, since most of the places in Vatican City are restricted. St. Peter’s tomb is located below the high altar.

Being a Sunday, the Pope appeared from a window of the Apostolic Palace for the Papal Blessing at 12pm.

Next, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome. It is the oldest and most important of all the four Papal Basilicas of Rome, and is also technically the ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome – the Pope.

The full name of this Basilica is actually “Major Papal and Roman Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in Lateran,
Mother and Head of All Churches in Rome and in the World”.

I found it to be more beautiful than St. Peter’s Basilica, but also probably because it has less tourists and hence shorter queues at the security points.

The Holy Stairs, or Scala Sancta, is located just across the road from this Basilica.

Next, the Basilica of St. Mary Major. It is the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and is the most centrally located, less than 5 minutes walk from Roma Termini and served by many bus and tram routes.

The Crypt of the Nativity can be found under the high altar.

Finally, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. This is located outside of the city, but still easily accessible by metro.

This basilica is huge, not as big as St. Peter’s, but due to the lack of visitors, you could feel the scale of the size of the Basilica when you are standing at the end of it.

Not a Papal Basilica, but just 2 minutes on foot away from the Basilica of St. Mary Major is the Church of St. Alphonsus Liguori, the home of the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The wooden icon is hung behind the altar.

Those being done, it’s time for tourist Rome.

The Arch of Constantine is located between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill, dedicated in the year 315.

The ever-famous Colosseum, which I didn’t enter because I didn’t want to buy a ticket and I wasn’t really interested in the history of it anyway.It is the largest amphitheatre ever built which was used to host gladiatorial shows, staged animal hunting, acrobats, magicians, executions and even sea battles, where the arena would be flooded, for the entertainment of the royalty and people then.

And of course, the Trevi Fountain. Many stop here to throw a coin into it as it is believed you will return to Rome one day if you do it. Some even take it a step further by saying you’ll get a new romance with the second coin and marriage on the third. I didn’t throw any in, though I still hope I’ll be back in Rome one day.

Fun fact: the fountain earns about €3,000 per day thanks to the coins.

The cobbled streets of Rome.

Via dei Condotti, the branded goods street of Rome, leading to Piazza di Spagna.

Piazza di Spagna, which probably looks nicer but there’s some construction going on.

I’m largely satisfied with the amount of attractions I’ve accomplished in Rome. It’s not just these though, there will be a few more posts about Rome before we move on.

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