Time for a retro post to share one of my favorite cities in Italy!
I have visited Rome a few times on business, many years ago on the way back from the Gulf War (1991) and once again in 2008 on a long weekend trip with some friends.
Back in 1992, you could actually visit and go inside the famous colosseum and walk around with no restrictions and no tickets! I only wish they had digital cameras and smartphones back then. When I was in the military, I did not make a lot of money and you had to be very careful and thoughtful on how many pictures you took as you may not have enough money to get all the film developed! It was actually cheaper to buy the tourist postcards or books than it was to pay for film!
Now, when you visit, there are LONG lines and lots of pickpockets and lots of people in costumes hassling you take a picture with them for $10.
One of the most surprising discoveries whenever you visit Rome, even recently, is that the city is still being excavated and uncovered over time. Not everything is known and not all structures are even exposed.
You will often see many places and diggings underway throughout many places in the city.
Speaking of all the hidden history. Did you know that Rome used to have a wall around it? When you drive in and out of the city, some of the wall still remains to this day.
It even has some mini pyramids based on their attraction from earlier times and their discoveries in the middle east.
I wish I had some before and after pictures, but one of the major differences between my first visit in 1992 and my most recent visit in 2008 was how much cleaner the city was. The buildings, the streets, the marble were shining and clean compared to 20 years ago, everything was black and covered with decades of pollution.
What is the one recommendation I can make for visits? The cathedrals.
They are simply amazing and HUGE. They will blow your mind. Go inside an explore if you can!