Roman holidays (part 3)

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Hey guys ! This is the third and last part of my Roman adventures (how sad, I know!). I left you with my visit of the Caracalla public baths, so let’s go on.

The first picture above is Tiber island. To be honest, I had not heard about it before, it was actually my boyfriend who wanted to check it out because he saw it while playing Assassin’s creed  Brotherhood (I know, I know haha).

The Tiber Island is the only island in the Tiber river which runs through Rome. The island is really, really small, boat-shaped, approximately 270 metres (890 feet) long and 67 metres (220 feet) wide (I told you!). It used to be a seat of the ancient temple of Asclepius and later a hospital,and that is why it is now associated with medicine and healing. Honestly, you can just walk through it very quickly, but if you’re feeling hungry, there’s a little gelateria which is very successful !

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As you might have understand and realize from the parts 1 and 2 of this Roman adventure, Rome is an amazing city with an immense historical and cultural legacy. Museums are everywhere, and quite cheap, which is good if you’re a student like me. Even if you’re not that into culture, you are bound to find something your eyes will enjoy, I promise.

And again, apart from museums, there are a lot of buildings of public baths you can visit. After the Caracalla ones, my boyfriend and I decided to check out one we did not know about : the baths of Diocletian.

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The Baths of Diocletian were named after emperor Diocletian’s Baths and built from 298 to in 306 under the demand of Maximian upon his return from Africa to Rome in 298. This made them the largest and most impressive of the imperial baths. Parts of the structure were converted to ecclesiastical.

As you can see, there is a bit more to see compared to the baths of Caracalla, and again there was not a lot of people visiting them which made the visit extra nicer to be honest. We had time to just wander around and take pictures.

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Finally, for the last monument I’m going to tell you about : piazza del popolo and the gardens around the villa Borghese.

Piazza del Popolo, literally “People’s Square”, is a large urban square in Rome. It lies inside the northern gate in the Aurelian Walls, once the Porta Flaminia of ancient Rome, and now called the Porta del Popolo. For centuries, the Piazza del Popolo was a place for public executions, the last of which took place in 1826, and some political leaders use it for their meetings or conventions too.

 As you might have noticed, in the middle of the piazza, there is an Egyptian obelisk, from the Seti I / Ramses II epoch to be exact. This is not an exception as in fact Rome is the city that harbors the most obelisks in the world. There are eight ancient Egyptian and five ancient Roman obelisks in Rome, as well as more modern ones too. The Romans used special heavy cargo carriers called obelisk ships to transport the monuments across the Mediterranean sea down to Rome. This gives an extra magical aspect to the eerie city.

As for the Villa Borghese gardens, they contain a number of buildings (there is replica of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre built in 2003, the Silvano Toti Globe theatre), museums (such as the Galleria Borghese) and attractions. It is the third largest public park in Rome. In the 19th century much of the gardens were remade as a landscape garden in the English taste. There are worth checking out, and it is a great place to relax one afternoon, just walk around, take pictures, play cards while drinking an iced café or a gelato.

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Now, I thought it would be a good idea to end this series of article about Rome with… food (and especially pizza !). What worked best for my boyfriend and I was to eat a light breakfast on the go, like a smoothie, then we always had pizza al taglio for lunch because it was really cheap, and allowed us to quickly continue our visits without loosing too much time, yet be able to relax too. But of course, every night we would go to a restaurant (and sometimes eat pizza again, I’m not kidding guys, we love it !).

The point is, food in Italy, in addition to being cheap (we could have pizzas for 10€ at a real restaurant), is amazing. People were nice with us, and all the meals were really satisfying. I particularly remember a radish and gorgonzola risotto the day we visited the Vatican… So good !

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in a nice neighborhood of Rome, enjoy a Spritz during happy hours and snack on Italian deliciousness, I strongly recommend you check outage Trastevere, near Tiber island. There are a lot of tourists, but the atmosphere is really nice : music everywhere, good food, discounts, jewelry… I think it worth checking out, trust me.

As for the burger, this was our only experience of a “fast food” like place. We wanted to get something not far away from our Airbnb, so we went to this vegan place called Veggy Days, situated Viale dei Colli Portuensi, and tried the vegan burger ! We were the only one in the restaurant, which was really cool, and the service was really nice.

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I think this concludes my travel guide of Rome. I hope I inspired you to go there, and go there again in case you’ve already visited it. Please, do share your experience and tips in the comments guys !

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