Rome – the very word conjures up gladiators, ancient civilizations, the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, pasta, wine and of course the Pope! By choosing a Mediterranean cruise you open yourself up to a world where time stands still, yet it moves forward, as on Via Condotti, where Italy’s fashion designers call home. Upon entering this glorious city, it’s hard not get goose bumps as you pass the Coliseum and find yourself immersed in thoughts of Julius or Augustus wandering these very corners; a true piece of world history before your eyes.
One of the world’s best preserved ancient buildings, the Pantheon, is home to the tomb of the painter Raphael. Go inside and be stunned by the magnitude of this building – a perfectly shaped dome some two-thousand years ago. Cross the Tiber and get a chill as you enter the Sistine Chapel – Michelangelo’s greatest accomplishment – be sure to remain quiet or one of the guards will utter their famous admonition, "Silenzio!” Often overlooked, book an appointment with the Vatican and be taken three stories underneath St. Peter’s Basilica to view the relics of St. Peter, and see where the original church was built. When you exit you are on the same level as the Pope’s crypts. Walk past Pope John Paul ll’s crypt and see how his legacy lasts with flowers and tokens placed on his tomb. During some free time after a visit to the Vatican, wander Via Cola di Rienzo, a 15 minute walk away. This is where Romans shop – clothing stores, specialty stores and a market all at your fingertips. Make sure to bring a Roman treat home from Castroni, which some call Rome’s finest food store.
Treat yourself and choose a cruise embarking or disembarking in this magical city. That way you can spend a few days following the footsteps of famous Romans, and explore so much more beyond Vatican City. Spend evenings wandering cobblestone streets with Romans and dine on some of the best fare Italy has to offer, from pizza at a sidewalk vendor to the very best restaurants overlooking the Eternal City. Delight your taste buds at a gelateria offering over 100 flavors of the frozen treat, or visit a traditional enoteca to sample fine local wines…it’s your choice! And remember to toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain for the eternal wish of a return to Rome. There are many "old” new corners to explore in this gift of a city.