Rome is one of the most beautiful cities that I have visited. It has a long rich culture and history brimming with ancient monuments from the Roman Empire. Some of these moments are almost 2,000 years old. The top site is the Palatine Hill, where the first emperor of Rome, Augustus, constructed his frugal palace. Palatine Hill was significant to the ancient Romans, because they believed two brothers, Romulus and Remus, were kept alive by a wolf in a cave in Palatine Hill. The boys were found and raised. Then Romulus eventually killed Remus, and established the city of Rome after his name. The Colosseum and Forum Romanum are at the base of the hill. The Forum Romanum was originally a market place that evolved into the center of Roman life. The forum had government buildings and temples, and was a place for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches.
The only problems with Rome are the tourists. You know when you are approaching a famous monument. You turn a corner and crowds of people are strolling like herds of cattle along the sidewalks.
I love a good cup of cappuccino of course, and Rome has the best cappuccino in the world. Even a small coffee shop hidden away from a main road would make a great cappuccino. The coffee glides down the throat softly like silk. Just remember, latte means milk in Italian. If want the coffee latte, then ask for a latte cafe, or you will get a frothy hot cup of milk.
- Area of the country spans 116,346 square miles, making Italy the 71st largest country in the world.
- The currency is the Euro.
- The capital is Rome, which has a long rich history.
- In 2010, the population was estimated at 60 million, making Italy the 23rd populous country in the world.
- Rome is the largest city, and the financial, manufacturing, and political hub of the country.
- Rome is 2,500 years old and dominated Western Civilization. Rome was the center of the Ancient Roman Republic and Empire.
- The foundation of the Roman Catholic Church, the papacy, is headquartered in Rome since the first century A.D.
- Rome is the major tourist destination for foreigners while Venice is second.
Trieste is a small port city located in Northern Italy near the Slovenian border on the Adriatic Sea. The city is extremely clean, modern, and has a very Italian character and flavor to it. The best amenity is the lack of tourists. The sidewalks are spacious and devoid of rustling people and tourists. The roads have little traffic, and the train station is located downtown near the central park. On the peripheral of the central park is the transportation hub with links to the local and international bus stations. I planned to stay a couple of days and visit the local museums; however, Trieste is still part of Italy and just as expensive. I decided to hop on a bus and head directly to Ljubljana, Slovenia. After Venice, I needed the break from the high tourist prices.
The Vatican is one of the most beautiful places that I have visited. The Vatican is an old Roman fortress that is well preserved and surrounded by massive castle walls. The Vatican has been the center of the Catholic Church since the first century A.D. As I walked through the entrance to the Vatican through the monstrous tall Roman columns into the main courtyard, I was struck with awe. An obelisk is located in the heart of the courtyard and the Basilica of St. Pietro is located to the back side. The Vatican contains a mixture of Roman, Middle Ages, and Renaissance architecture.
I went to the Vatican on a Sunday, and the courtyard was filled with thousands of people. As I was walking around, the crowd went ectatic and started to cheer. Then I heard the words of Pope Benedict XVI, as he began to speak. I had to scan the courtyard, searching for the Pope. He was speaking from a window on the top floor of a building that overlooks the courtyard.
Venice is spread out over 117 islands along the marshy lagoons in the northern Adriatic Sea. Venice was founded in 461 A.D. as the citizens consecrated the church San Giacomo di Rialto. Venice rose to prominence and dominated the civilizations along the Adriatic Sea. Similar to Amsterdam, Netherlands, the Venetians relied on ships and barges to transport goods. Trade became the foundation of Venetian economic development.
Venice has a population around 270,000 inhabitants in 2008. Venice has been called "the most beautiful city in the world" and "the most romantic city." My impressions of Venice are quite different. Although it is a beautiful city, Venice has only one function: To extract all the money it can from the tourists. I am lucky to flee from this city with my bank account intact. Here are examples of prices.
Venice has the ambience of New Orleans without sounds of jazz echoing through the streets. Everywhere one went, crowds of tourist meandered slowly along the streets.