Sitting on the banks of the River Tiber is one of the world’s most beautiful, and most photographed, capital cities, Rome, Capital city of Italy, and known as the Eternal City. Rome is in the Lazio region in the centre of Italy. Rome is also known as the city of the Seven Hills: Aventine Hill, Caelian Hill, Capitoline Hill, Esquiline Hill, Palatine Hill, Quirinal Hill, and the Viminal Hill. The history of Rome spans over two and a half thousand years which goes some way to explain why there is so much to see in the way of architecture, monuments, castles, churches, museums, fountains, parks and gardens, statues, aquaducts, bridges and catacombes. There are over 900 churches in Rome alone.
The city of Rome was the centre of the world’s greatest ever civilisations which exerted so much influence over the world and has left its mark in many of Europe’s cities. The historic centre of Rome is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Rome has been the seat of the Papacy since the 1 st century AD and after the Middle Ages was ruled by Popes such as Alexander VI and Leo X who transformed the city into one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, along with Florence. It was then that the current-day St Peter’s Basilica was built, the first version having been constructed in 313 AD, and Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. Monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are amongst the world’s 50 most visited tourist destinations
Rome is generally a safe city to visit, however do be sensible and take precautions, don’t look like a tourist and don’t display what you have on you, keep items of value out of sight and keep your wallet out of the reach of pick-pockets. If you are robbed don’t hesitate to call out “Aiuto, al ladro!” (Help Thief) people will normally come to your assistance. Be careful on the buses as everyone surges forward it is very easy for the pickpocket to slip your wallet out of your pocket and disappear (I speak from experience on this!). Around the tourist ares of the city you will encounter people trying to sell roses and bracelets, they will give you the rose as a ‘gift’ or try to take your hand to tie on the bracelet, be firm and tell them to go away otherwise they will pester you for money. Being firm and walking away works they move on to someone else. Do not be worried about visiting Rome, these problems are in many cities throughout the world, just be aware, don’t carry too much money on your person, keep valuables out of sight and enjoy the beauty that Rome has to offer in abundance.