The Magnificent Italy
By Nick P. Mendoza III
December 9, 2019
During my time in the military, one of the duty stations I had the opportunity to serve at was in Italy, primarily Sigonella Sicily and Rome Italy, but, that didn't hold me back from visiting much of the country. Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, south of Europe and iconic to it's boot-looking shape, Italy cannot be missed.
Though the land mass is a little larger than the state of California, just like visiting CA, you cannot visit the whole country in a week's timeframe, simply because there is so much to see and do, not to mention, so much historical facts all around. Since there is so much to see, I will just highlight Rome, Italy, for this travel journal. Before I begin, just a little background knowledge about the country. Italian is the primary spoken language, though English is heard all around for the tourist. Euro is used as their currency and there are money exchanges almost in every corner of any city you visit because of the frequent traveler. Weatherwise, it is cool, mild, most often times humid during the summer and not to bad during the winter with lows in the 60's, unless you travel way up North near the alps, where snow is found for the ski going visitors.
The capital of Italy is Rome. When flying into Italy and heading to Rome, you are most likely going to fly into Leonardo di Vinci International Airport, which is to the west of the capital, about 40 miles away. I recommend boarding the city train to bring you into the city, vice paying for a taxi. It's much cheaper, but, you can rent a vehicle, if you know how to use manual. Most vehicles driven in Italy are manual, though there are automatic vehicles available at the airport car rental facilities. You just have to pay a much higher price. When staying in Rome, there are hotels and hostels all around the city. I recommend staying at a hotel within the middle of the city center. Hotel Navona, Hotel Coliseum and The Trevi Collection Hotel are among the best to stay at. Five stars all around and close to the main attractions of the city. Walking around the city is the best way to almost see everything. I walked the city on foot and used the inexpensive local subway to see much of the city. It was very inexpensive for the five days I stayed in Italy. The history of the city is what drove me to visit. Here are three top things that were my favorite to see.
Rome stands as one of the finest and oldest cities in the world. The history of Rome spans over 2500 years and it has been a centre of power, politics, culture and development since its inception. Creation of the city is steeped in legend and mythology and there are various different accounts of how this majestic place was built. Various Roman emperors and Casers have ruled mighty Rome and this is the place where the colossal Roman Empire grew from.
The mighty Pantheon stands as one of the best preserved ancient Roman buildings in the world and is one of Rome’s most famous attractions. Constructed in 118 AD by emperor Hadrian, the building that stands today was actually built on the site where an earlier temple stood that was commissioned by Agrippa.
There are not many other fountains in the world as lavishly decorated and sculptured as the Trevi fountain. Constructed in 1762 by Nicola Salvi, the fountain pays tribute to the Roman God Oceanus who can be seen riding his chariot pulled by Tritons and taming several Hippocamps.
The Colosseum cannot be missed. This mighty structure is one of the most renowned and iconic landmarks in the world and a trip to Rome would not be complete without visiting the Colosseum. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum was constructed between 70-80 AD and at its peak was estimated to hold 80,000 spectators. This building was used to hold game, gladiator tournaments and other forms of entertainment and would regularly be attended by the Roman Emperors.
When traveling to Rome, I would recommend at least a week to see everything that the city has to offer. The best time to visit would be shortly after Easter in the late Spring or early fall, to avoid the massive visiting crowds, plus, the weather is great during those timeframes. Other great places to visit in Rome for cultural history, The Vatican City, The Forum, The Spanish Steps, St. Peter's Basilica and The Sistine Chapel, are all great locations to not miss as well!