Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Things to do on a city break in Rome

Rome is a fascinating blend of old and new traditions, many hotels and shopping sites, delicious dishes and classical culture. With a history of over two thousand years, legend says that the city was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus on April 21st, 753 BC. As you would expect with a bustling European capital city, there is plenty to do here.

The Criminal Museum in Rome

The Criminal Museum, run by the Ministry of Justice, is housed in what used to be a prison so its authenticity is not in question! Built in the early 1800s for Pope Leo XIII, several offices of Rome's police departments call it home. The museum has three sections: one dedicated to the main categories of crimes; one that deals with investigation techniques and police search methods; and one that covers what is involved in serving a criminal sentence. 'Punishment and Crimes' - gory and gruesome - attracts the most visitors. Life-sized models illustrate how criminals were dealt with for centuries the world over, including the infamous Iron Maiden.


No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the iconic structure. This was the biggest venue built during the Roman Empire and took ten years to finish. Standing 160-feet tall with a seating capacity of up to 50,000, the stadium hosted infamous gladiatorial contests, public spectacles and it was also the place Romans fed Christians to the lions.

Circus Maximus

This place makes Wembley Stadium seem woefully inadequate. The Circus Maximus was one of the largest sports arenas ever built with an apparent capacity of several hundred thousand. It is famous for the 64 AD fire that left masses of casualties, and the city in ruins.

Vatican City

Home of the Pope, Vatican City is one of the holiest places in the world and the only place on earth where people speak Latin. It is an independent state right in the middle of Rome. Just 108.7 acres, with an estimated population of 800, the Vatican has its own broadcasting facility, flag, postage stamps, currency, citizenship, newspaper and station. The must-see sites are St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.

Stay on your feet

The best way to see Rome is on foot. At street level is also where you will discover those unexpected gems; the warm aroma of a bakery, the handmade leather of a local craftsman or perhaps the tucked-away piazza that seems stuck a world long since past.

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