5.2 miles, Full day
The old adage claims that "Mille viae ducunt homines per saecula Romam" : All roads lead to Rome...
3000 years of History are mixed in this City, which can be considered the most magnificent open air museum in the whole world:
Roman giant monuments with their terrific past, Baroque and Renaissance-style wonders and intriguing medieval streets are gathered in motley clusters surrounded by traffic jams of noisy Vespas and honking battered cars.
Rome was founded by the" Etrusques" 800 years BC. The Roman society was organized as a republic up to 60 BC and the first dictatorship of the "triumvirate" (Crassus, Pompeius, Caesar). At the death of Crassus, Pompeius attempted to eliminate Caesar who reacted and attacked Rome. The legend claims that on the way to Rome, when crossing the "Rubicon" river, Caesar was mumbling his so famous "Alea iacta est" (The die has been cast).
As an emperor, Casear, under the influence of Cleopatra, had the dream to unify Rome and the territories of the emperor Alexandre (existing Asia) to create a peaceful empire including all the known territories. After the death of Caesar, Octave became the first emperor to control all the territories surrounding the Mediterranean sea (-27).
Simultaneously, San Pietro, one of the twelve Apostles and Christ's best friend, arrived in Rome and became the 1st bishop of Rome. He died in 67 AC crucified in the Circus Vaticanus located under the existing Basilica di San Pietro and is buried on the Vatican hill.
During the peak of the empire, between 96 to 192 AC, the emperors Trajan, Nerva, Marc-Aurelius have built magnificent forums near the Coliseum. 476 is the end of the empire with the victory of the "barbarians" on the last emperor Romulus Augustule.
The city of Rome was then under the control of the popes up to the defeat of Napoleon III against the Prussians. As Napoleon protected the pope, his defeat allowed the invasion of Rome by the Italian army of the king Victor-Emmanuel II in 1870. The existing Italy was founded.
As for politics, Rome's architecture has been under the successive influence of the Roman emperors (for 1300 years) and of the Christian popes (for 300 hundreds years).
Most of the Roman remnants are located in the surroundings of the Coliseum.
The political power of the popes in Rome have led to the construction of countless churches including the Basilica di San Pietro, one of the symbols of Rome and world's biggest church.
To the exception of the Vittoriano (Piazza Venezia) and roads constructions, the outline of the centre of Rome did not change much since 1870.
If you have just one day to visit Rome this hike includes most of the wonders of Rome.
You could do the trail early in the morning (about 7am) or at night without visiting the interior of the monuments. That early or late, you'll avoid the usual compact crowd of Rome and enjoy the colour of the buildings with the gentle light of the sunrise or artificial light; great pictures warranted.
With traffic jam and scarce stations, buses are the worst way to move around in Rome. Just two Subway lines are insufficient as well. To visit Rome, wear good sport shoes and walk, it is definitely the best way...
Prices: On the hike all the visits are free except the Coliseum, Palatine Museum and Roman Forum (16.50 euros), the elevator to the Vittoriano (7 euros) and the Musei Capitolini (12 euros).
The letters SPQR written on the Roman monuments mean: Senatus Populusque Romanus ("The Senate and Roman People"). It is a symbol of the Roman republic that means that the Senate and the Romans have to share the political power. The senate is the oldest Roman political structure. According to the legend, it was founded with the city in 753 BC by the 1st king of Rome, Romulus, and 100 friends of Romulus. Senate members are always issued from the Patricians, direct family of these 100 mens.
Another more commonly accepted historical interpretation of the SPQR is "Sono Pazzi Questi Romani" meaning Those Romans are so Crazy!
Out of this hike, do not miss the "Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura" (Subway station Basilica S. Paolo), the "musei Vaticani" with the Sistine Chapel, the street "Viale di Trastevere" at night, the Tiberina island, the Bocca della Verità, the Teatro di Marcello, the Terme di Caracalla and the "Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano (Subway station San Giovanni).
All museums in Rome are overcrowded.