Experience it
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A trip just two hours away from Athens. With minimum costs, considering that you will surely find special offers for air tickets and accommodation, which if you will be proactive and search in advance you will have multiple choices. The culture and temperament of the Italians are so close to our own, so already feels like home.

A trip affordable and easy if you take into consideration all the above. What are you waiting for? If you are fond of art and food, this destination, you will enchant you.  

Our tour starts right from the air. It is amazing that from the small plane’s window, we saw all the historic center and monuments clearly. Pure Magic. How is this popssible? As you will find you ... size ratio of monuments! They are all massive huge. No moderation, on the contrary, strength, power and greatness exude even from the stones themselves. This is not just an ancient city, but the center of an Empire. Following these, here comes the Catholic Church with its own impressive buildings and its own treasures.

For our accommodation we chose to stay in Testatsio district, a less tourist district, with green, many choices in coffee and food but mostly smiley people. Our distance from the points of interest was too small and response with the direct transport. Almost opposite the Trastevere district next to the Tiber River that runs through all of Rome, which you too, may use as a guide. 

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Testachio. Santa Maria Liberatrice, Fontana della Anfore. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

In the city of Rome use fearlessly public transportation as much as possible for longer routes, preferable buses so you can see the whole city, except for some cases that will necessarily get train or subway so you inevitably will be underground. (We downloaded the app “MOVIT” indicating the starting point and the destination each time, with GPS and data, we knew we knew step by step where to go, how, and how many minutes will it take to go there.)  

Must have 

Travel guide with maps, comfortable shoes, Travelcard tickets depending on days of stay, camera and a rudimentary daily plan even if there are deviations, something very reasonable. 

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Details of Testaccio. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

Sightseeing

We suggest to join in as many churches as possible. In Rome, have there are about 900. Not all of them with the same beauty and importance, but few are hiding great treasures of art. Apart from this, it is free admission has really comfortable seats to get one or two breaths between your long walks. 

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Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

We visited the Basilica of St. John in Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano). The temple was built in the exact same spot where there were Agios Konstantinos and Saint Helen’s residence. The complex of the Church and the next door mansions is Vatican’s territory. 

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Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

In the mouth of truth square (piazza Bocca della verita)we entered in Kosmidion St. Mary (Santa Maria in Cosmedin) where there is the mouth of truth the myth has it that if a wife put her hand and lied about her faith and devotion with her husband, the mouth, cut the hand off. Want to know the truth? It was just a sewer or water tank cover.  

For this CAP you will wait in the queue, giving 2 euro, for a selfie. We did it as well and we really enjoyed like little children. In the same square there are also other attractions on the other side of the square and you'll do well to visit (the Temple of Hercules Victor, the fountain of Triton etc). If you are observant you will find out that you are perpendicular to the street called via de la greca. 

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Caravaggio, interior of San Luigi dei Francesi. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

San Luigi dei Francesi. Christian Church, just a few steps away from Piazza Navona, within you will see the work of Caravaggio's “The inspiration of Saint Matthew” “The calling of Saint Matthew” and “The martyrdom of Saint Matthew”.

The Basilica of St. Bartholomew (San Bartolomeo all'Isola) is located in the Neighborhood or Tiber Island (Isola Tiberina). It is one of the two islands in the River, between urban ghetto and Trastevere, connected with bridges. Nowadays, on the island there are the Church and a hospital located in operation. Amazing!

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The Basilica of St. Bartholomew. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

Visiting the Vatican keep in mind pre buy tickets from Greece. Through site you can choose the day and time of your visit. When you get there you will feel really great to overtake so many people to get in without waiting. Don't forget that the Vatican is a State. This means that you will be checked, such as at the airport. Have your ID with you, ticket and not carrying unsuitable objects. After check in is completed a great journey begins. 

Photo credits: 
Photos © λ3 by Melpo

Here you will see exhibits from cultures from all around the globe. Several themed rooms, countless artifacts, ancient – and modern art. Worth saying is that in the Vatican there are eateries and gardens, to enjoy your break.

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Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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Cappella Sistina. Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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The Church of St. Peter. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

The Church of St. Peter has another entrance, cost free, but even there, there is a delay due to controls. If your stamina and your physical condition allows, dare to climb the stairs of the Church to reach the top. The view will reward you, something to remember forever! We combined the visit to the Vatican City and St. Peter on the same day but if we knew, we would make it more loosely. 

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Colosseum. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

In the ancient market and the Colosseum we saw long queues, and we definitely suggest pre booking. By choice we did not entered within these areas. Randomly, but nevertheless, our tour guides, friends told us that we make the right choice.

 

 
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The interior of the Pantheon. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

 The Pantheon, “Temple of all gods” has been at the center of a dome where the light comes through giving to  the room a really special atmosphere. Wonderful feeling to look up towards the light. Here admission is free.

The Capitoline square has been designed by Michelangelo. Here in its museums, you will see many sculptures and paintings of Velázquez, Titian, Van Ntaik, Rubens, Caravaggio and many others. Some halls are free, but not all of them.

Squares  and Springs

2000 fountains, 550 belonging to the municipality. 45 monumental fountains in Centro Storico.

Walking the alleys will come across eventually to some kind of square and certainly in some of the 2000 fountains. One more beautiful than the other. The most famous and beautiful are the Trevi fountain in Baroque style, which looks like a movie scene. Almost all hours of the day are crowded with people. 

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Piazza di Spagna. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

On the road with the more expensive shops of Rome you will find the well known Piazza di Spagna, with the fountain «barcaccia».

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Piazza della Minerva. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

In Piazza della Minerva will see the elephant of Bernini.  The Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful baroque squares with the Neptune's fountain, the fountain of the four rivers fountain of the Moor's. The fountain of Giacomo della Porta in Pantheon. 

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Piazza Navona. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

Walks

Long walks in Villa Borghese square. Going up just above the Piazza del Popolo, you will see the city from above. A large park in the center of Rome with Lake, galleries, museums and the Zoo. Ideal for walk and relaxation. You can drink coffee, rent a bike, walk, run and to spend beautiful moments in nature.

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Long walks in Villa Borghese. Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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The view from Villa Borghese. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

You should absolutely walk alongside the River Tiber.  

Stop by the Maltese Knights ' square (piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta), a green area on the Aventine hill, where the famous, keyhole is located. It is not visible at first, the people who will be there will advise you. Here we didn't see places where you can eat, so get a little prepared to sit above and enjoy the wonderful view and the shade of trees. 

Photo credits: 
Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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The view from the cill of Aventino. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

Make as many walks to enjoy the Trastevere district, filled with narrow streets and picturesque squares. Here we could say that is the center of artistic life of Rome. Many coffee shops, for breakfast, local food but also for drink in the evening. Something like our own old Athens. Feel free to follow whatever way big or small you feel for, something beautiful you will see wherever you go. 

Drink and food

Whatever has dough, in cafés, restaurants and bakeries. Handmade pasta, ravioli, pizza -lot of pizza- always a whole pizza od each one of us, because we could. After many tests we concluded that the best pizza, it was in our neighborhood,  the Remo restaurant in San Francesco a Ripa (piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice 44), justified by the long queues that we saw every time we were passing by and of course prefer the locals habitants. Important remark, many local restaurants open afternoon at the 7. Especially those who are not in a tourist area. 

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Pizzaria Remo at Testaccio. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

We had Breakfast and coffee in many places, all beautifull, but the most delicious were in Mercato Nuovo di Testaccio market, combined with our shopping. Bright, pleasant place, which houses shops with food and other products, as well as cafes and restaurants. Very good prices and quality options. Here you will have the opportunity to observe the locals and feel one with them.

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Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio. Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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La Prosciutteria. Photos © λ3 by Melpo

We had drinks, in La Prosciutteria (via della Panetteria 34) escort of gorgeous charcuterie and cheeses.A Shop true revelation in my opinion, where we got “drunk” by a slightly sweet Italian white wine and the place itself, I guess. There fully relaxed, we recalled the beautiful feeling of happiness and love, the joy of a journey and the magic of learning the world first hand. Gifts for the home we got remote from the most touristic places half price of course.

We liked: 

The pyramid of Caius Kestioy, we saw it coming out of the train going to the San Francesco a Ripa.

How Italians are drinking their coffee and in how many variants. BOOM!!Single, double, with milk, without, with cream, cold, hot … However it was, it was always delicious!  

We found the Italians very elegant considering their eating habits. So many pastries, pizzas, pasta, ice cream, here I guess, don't have the same calories.  

The huge number of tourists. We had the impression that the full season in Rome should be all year long. Perhaps this is the reason that people from the Center seemed more fatigued.

We talked to immigrants who had passed through Greece and they knew about our places. What country did they like most? Greece they claimed. And we were wondering what they are looking for and where their own journey stops?

What we saw and what we tasted fed our spirit for months. Despite all this, βased on the article, flared the longing for going back, after we found out recalling our walks, that ultimately, there are many still in Rome for us, to do and to see.   

A few more photos

Photo credits: 
Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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Photos © λ3 by Melpo
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Photos © λ3 by Melpo

Text and photos: Melpo

Translation: Elena Kondyli

*Απαγορεύεται η αναδημοσίευση, χρήση του φωτογραφικού υλικού και οτιδήποτε άλλο χωρίς τη συγκατάθεση του δημιουργού τους.

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