I’m so excited to be starting my bucket list series today! I do want to say as well, if you follow me on social or here on WordPress, please make sure to leave a comment with your buckets list destinations and tell me about your experiences in the places I write about! Now, on to destination number 1: Rome, Italy (also, thinking about all my Italian friends as I write this post. Stay healthy!). I think every American, at some point, has fantasized about going to Rome. For me, I’ve had an obsession with history since I left college, which is unfortunate, because I hated history while I was in school! Now, I’m fascinated with almost all of it. For instance, the castle I posted on Friday from my time in Ireland had a date on it of around 1200. That is just baffling to me that the structure I visited has been on this earth for 800 years! It’s mesmerizing because we learn about our American history dating back to predominantly the 1700s, which sounds incredibly old, until you visit a castle that’s been here since the 1200s! Throughout this post, I’m gonna talk about the 3 things I want to do in Rome, and this will serve as somewhat of a guide for when I’m lucky enough to be able to go!
First: The Colosseum.
The Colosseum is about as synonymous to Rome as anything. As a sports junkie, this would be the one thing I MUST do when I go to Rome! The more I research on the history of the Colosseum, the more magnificent it becomes. According the planetware.com, construction of the Colosseum began in 72 AD, and was ‘inaugurated’ in 80 AD with a “series of games.” To get a grasp of how big the Colosseum is, I pulled this paragraph from ducksters.com:
“The Colosseum was huge. It could seat 50,000 people. It covers around 6 acres of land and is 620 feet long, 512 feet wide, and 158 feet tall. It took more than 1.1 million tons of concrete, stone, and bricks to complete the Colosseum.”
Now, 50,000 doesn’t seem gigantic today, especially when we have college football stadiums holding over 100,000 people. But thinking about the time in which it was constructed, that had to be astronomical! I also read that the first events held in the Colosseum lasted lasted 100 days and held over 3,000 gladiator fights (also from ducksters.com). I certainly won’t criticize from my narrow point of view, especially because this is such an integral part of the history in Italy, but it’s sometimes shocking to think that we used to use “fights to the death” as entertainment. Again, not criticizing! It’s just crazy to think about what would happen if that were applied in today’s modern times. From what I’ve been reading online, you can get self-tour tickets for about $30, but I’m seeing that the better value is to get the deeper tours, like one for $85 where you can go out into the arena, see where animals were caged, and see the rest of the underground chambers (probably the one I’d want to do the most). When our family goes, I’ll make sure to include what we paid and what we got to see!
Next: Vatican City.
While I, myself, am not a Catholic, I do think that this would be a great experience. For one, this is where to leader of the 2nd largest Christian denomination in the world is housed. Two, it’s the home of the largest church in the world (St. Peter’s Basilica). And 3. It’s where arguably the most famous artist in world history, Michelangelo, completed his work on the Sistine Chapel. By the way, I’m on “awesome history overload,” right now, meaning it’s difficult for me to process how unbelievably important and awe-inspiring all these things are, and the fact that they’re all in this one place! Other fun fact, up until a couple years ago, I didn’t realize that Vatican City was actually it’s own country! Yes I feel dumb, and no, you’re not allowed to make fun of me for it. Another thing that draws me to visiting Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica particularly, is that this is where all of the Popes are laid to rest. Like I said earlier, I’m not Catholic, but I do think there’s a measure of respect that should be paid to people that have had this much influence over such a massive population. I would have the same level of reverence at the burial sites of people like Confucius, Martin Luther, Muhammad, etc. This is number 2 on my list of amazing places to visit in Rome.
Last: Palatine Hill.
The hardest part about this post is that there are so many other places that need to be visited! But I ultimately settled in on Palatine Hill as a must for when I visit Rome. From what I’ve been researching, Palatine Hill has evidence of it being the first place that was settled in Rome (as early as 9th century BC!). This is also the site where early leaders (emperors and the very wealthy) chose to build their homes. I’d be very curious to see what their definition of magnificent would be compared to what we have today. The main reason, however, that I chose Palatine Hill for a “must visit” on my list is simply because of the extraordinary history that goes into being the oldest settlement in Rome. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around some stories I’ve heard from great grandparents that lived through the great depression and World War 2, let alone seeing ruins from 9th century BC up close and personally. I’m amazed just thinking about it. This circles me back to why I fell in love with the idea of travelling and exploring the world. There’s so much to see and so much history to learn. I not only think this is fun, but I think it helps us have a better understanding of who we are as humans. We don’t just have to read about this in a textbook and say, “Oh, that’s cool, it’s really old and some crazy stuff happened.” We can actually see remnants of what our ancestors left behind and have some sort of connection with those that came before us. I’m not thinking about this from a spiritual perspective, but I do think that an expanded worldview is a good thing, and seeing what our ancestors left behind only adds to our worldview.
I know I missed so many things! There are probably some people from Italy that have already thought of 25 things I should be doing while I’m there, and I truly hope I get to do them some day soon! I really think that a trip to Rome would have to be at least 2 weeks long for me to get to some of the things I’d want to do. I have to have time not only to see all the awesome “touristy” things, but I want to just be part of Rome for a while! I want to go to the restaurants, the sporting events, see the architecture, and just do everything that it is to be part of Rome. I know it’s a lot to ask for a short trip, so this one is gonna be a long one!
If you have any amazing ideas for things to do in Rome, whether it’s based on your own research or from your own experiences, leave it in the comments here or on my social media!