Being prepared for Rome, Italy: A few things to know before visiting the city

It is the Italian capital. Rome. Obviously a place of history. With a population of 2,872,800 residents today, Rome spans a history of 28 centuries – heavily influenced by the Roman Empire. Here are a few facts about the city.

Rome is divided into two by the river Tiber, or Tevere. The third-longest river in Italy. Although the shores are not spectacular in particular, the bridges are. Here is a view in southern direction to Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II. Just a few meters from Vatican City State, an independent city-state enclaved within Rome.

Speaking of Vatican City: If you go there to visit the area of 44 hectares with a population of about 1,000 peopel and ruled by the pope, the bishop of Rome, be prepared to stand in line. Even in November it may take a few hours to get inside sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel or the Vatican Museums – although there a higly offensive people talking you into joining a, as they say, faster waiting queue. The same happens at the Colosseum.

South of Vatican City is the district of Trastevere. Its name comes from the Latin word Tiberim, meaning “beyond the Tiber”. Trastevere is both, touristic as well as interesting. A place for ancient houses, art, famous people, restaurants and Universities.

Speaking of food: While visiting Rome, it is also a good idea to go to some of the food markets in town – such as the one in the district Quadraro. Fresh and local fruits, vegetables and pastries are available every day – to low prices.

If you go to Quadraro from the city, take one of the three Metro lines (built in the 1980s) in town. The red one, heading to Anagnina. Exit, or Uscita, as the Italians say: Numidio Quadrato. A few stops later you arrive at Cinecittà. Italian for Cinema City. One of the largest film studios in Europe and considered as the hub of Italian cinema.

The studios were constructed during the Fascist era as part of a plan to revive the Italian film industry. Filmmakers such as Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Sergio Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Mel Gibson have worked at Cinecittà. More than 3,000 movies have been filmed there [source]. Visitors can go to the museum on location and take part in guided tours to walk through the actual film sets.

Real Roman buildings and what is left of them, can be discovered in the area around the Colosseum. Including the Amphitheatre itself and various old forums dedicated to Roman personalities such as Julius Caesar.

In the direct neighborhood of the historic site – parts of which are covered by a now blocked street that may be deconstructed in the future – is Piazza Venezia, or Venezia Place. Including the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of Italy. It may look like an old Roman building but its contruction was rather finished in the early 20th century. Celebrating the unification of Italy.

And two more final facts: First, Piazza del Popolo – a large urban square in Rome. Its name in modern Italian means “People’s Square”. It is the location of the museum Leonardo da Vinci. And it is below the impressive park Villa Borghese, from which you have an impressive view over Rome.

And the last fact: It goes back to the red Metro line. Getting off at station Colli Albani it is just a few meters to ancient park Appia Antica. It includes a large variety of animals as well as old monuments and sometimes looks like an old Italian village – located just a few Metro stations from the city.