Friday, 3 May 2013

Points of View

This itinerary is designed to point out the many different photo opportunities whilst taking in the major sights of the city.

Day 1
Start your day at the Colosseum. For the best photo shots take the Underground/Third Tier guided tour. You will need to book this before you leave home here.  Click on 'Buy single' and, once you have inputted your required date, you will have the option to select the Underground tour. With your pre-booked tickets you will be able to 'skip the line' by using the middle queue which is specifically for reservations. On the tour you will get a Gladiators view of the arena as well as the area below ground where the animals were kept.

On ascending to the third tier the views are even more impressive. 

As well as a birds eye view of the whole arena you can get good internal shots of the iconic arches.


Looking down from the third tier gives you  a good view of the Arch of Constantine, in front of which are remains of the bathhouse of the Domus Aurea or 'Golden House', built by Emperor Nero.

Head out of the Colosseum and cross the road on to Via Nicola Salvi. Turn right on to Via delle Terme di Tito. Look back as you walk up the road for another view of the Colosseum.

A little way up the road you will find Caffe Colle Oppio where you can enjoy a lunch outside, glimpsing a view of the Colosseum through the trees as you eat.

After lunch retrace your steps, passing behind the Arch of Constantine on to Via di San Gregorio and the entrance to the Palatine . Your ticket to the  Colosseum also covers entrance here and to the Forum . After exploring the Imperial remains on the Palatine , head towards the Farnese Gardens for another photo opportunity. The terraces of the garden, linked by steps, afford excellent views of the Forum as seen below.

Arch of Septimius Severus
 from Farnese Gardens
Basilica of Constantine & Maxentius
from Farnese Gardens

The balcony at the far west corner of the gardens immediately overlooks the dome of San Teodoro and beyond to the Forum Boarium
San Teodoro from Farnese Gardens
Forum Boarium
from Farnese Gardens

Make your way down in to the Forum - a good guidebook is essential if you wish to make the most of your visit here. However there are plenty of opportunities for close up shots that show the incredible detail to be found amongst the ruins.

Exit on to Via dei Fori Imperiali. Cross the road and take Via Cavour as far as Via Serpenti. You are now in the Monti area of Rome which will provide many photo opportunities, the first of which is a short way up Via Serpenti on your right - Piazza Santa Maria dei Monti.

This delightful square is the hub of the area and is full of local colour at all times of the day.
Almost opposite the Piazza is Via Baccina. A short stroll along this street will give you a great shot of the columns from the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus.

 Retrace your steps and turn left on to Via Serpenti. Walk up and turn right on to Via Panisperna. The dome of Santa Maria Maggiore is perfectly framed by trailing ivy across the street.

 If you are ready for aperitivo then you are in the right area as there are a plentitude of good bars  to choose from. On Via Panisperna is Tre Scalini where you can sample Lazio wines. Other good choices would be Vino al Vino on Via Serpenti, Fafiuche, Via Madonna dei Monti, Libreria Caffe Bohemian, Via Zingari, Periodico, Via Leonina and Urbana 47 on, where else but Via Urbana.
As night falls take another stroll along Via Serpenti for an illuminated view of the Colosseum.

Day 2

If you wish to get the best shots of the Spanish Steps then you need to get up early. Start at the top of the steps to watch the early morning sun hit the domes of the city.
At the bottom of the steps the Fontana della Barcaccia or 'boat' fountain will be easy to photograph without the usual crowds.... will the steps themselves.

Take the Metro from Spagna to Ottaviano and follow the signs to St Peter's Basilica. As you are here early you shouldn't have to queue to visit the dome - worth it for the stunning views.

After you have explored the interior of the basilica, walk out in to the square and look for one of the two circles set in to the ground, as pictured below.

Stand in the centre of the circle and look towards the colonnades. The three rows of columns now appear as one. A very clever optical illusion designed by Bernini. The colonnades themselves are very photogenic.

From the square take Via della Conciliazione all the way to Castel Sant'Angelo.This fortress was originally built as Hadrian's Mausoleum but for a photographer the views from the terrace are worth the entrance fee alone. Also, if you are ready for refreshment there is a café on the first level where you can sip your cappuccino whilst savouring a panoramic vista of Rome through the open arches.

After your visit cross over the Ponte Sant'Angelo decorated with Bernini's Angels.
Turn right and head towards the next bridge - Ponte Vittorio Emanuele. If you go down to the river at this point & look back underneath the arch of the bridge you will get a perfectly framed shot of Castel Sant'Angelo.

Take Corso Vittorio Emanuele until you see Via Leutari on your left which leads to Piazza di Pasquino . Here  is a good place to stop for lunch - Cul de Sac. This was one of the first wine bars to open in Rome and is a good place to sample platters of cheese or cured meats alongside your choice of wine by the glass. On the other side of the piazza is Palazzo Braschi. This imposing palazzo now houses a collection of paintings and objects that show what life was like in Rome from Medieval times to the 19th century. It also happens to offer a splendid view of Piazza Navona from the open windows!

Wander in to Piazza Navona itself to get close up shots of the fountains.


Take some time to chill out before making your way to Piazza del Popolo just before sunset. Climb the steps out of the piazza and pause for a shot of the square below.




Continue walking up the steps until you reach the Pincio - another perfect spot to watch the sun going down over the city.

If you are happy to splash out on
dinner then a lovely choice for a meal with a stunning night time view is Casina Valadier,  which is just a short stroll from the Pincio.



Day 3
Today we are going to view an optical illusion. In order to do this you need to make your way to Piazza Risorgimento which is easy to reach either by taking Metro Line A to Ottaviano, then walking along Via Ottaviano until you reach the Piazza or taking tram number 19 from Piazzale Flaminio. Once at Piazza Risorgimento pick up bus number 982 (Piccolomini) and take it as far as Piccolomini/Albani. As you leave the bus turn to look at the view of the dome and notice how tiny it appears.


Walk along Via Nicolo Piccolomini  towards the Villa Dora Pamphili park. Just before you reach the park turn to look at the dome again - this time it appears to be huge!

Take a leisurely walk through the park , the largest in Rome, until you reach Vivi Bistrot Café - a perfect place for lunch. You can either choose to eat in the café or pick up one of their picnic boxes and enjoy lunch under the pines.

Leave the park at Via Vitella. For your next viewpoint you will need to pick up the 870 (Paola) bus at Vitella/Donna Olympia which will take you to Piazzale Garibaldi on the Giancolo. The piazza is dominated by a statue of Garibaldi.

His wife, Anita, has her own statue a little further on.

The views  of the city   are breathtaking. The distant mountains make the perfect backdrop.
Walk back along the Passeggiata Giancolo in the direction that the bus bought you until you reach the Fontana dell'Aqua Paola for another stunning view of the city. Follow Via Garibaldi all the way down in to Trastevere. About half way down you will see the entrance to San Pietro in Montorio. Tucked inside the courtyard is the delightful Tempieto, designed by Bramante.

Continue down into Trastevere then cross the Ponte Sisto back in to the historic centre.
Take a break before heading out to tonight's sunset viewpoint.
When you are ready, make your way to Santa Maria in Cosmedin, better known as the home of the Bocca della Verita or Mouth of Truth. Reach there by taking bus number 44, 81, 95, 271 or 628. Even if there is the usual queue of tourists re- enacting the famous 'Roman Holiday' scene, you can still get a good photo through the railings.

Walk along Via del Circo Massimo until you reach Piazzale Ugo La Malfa then follow Via di Santa Sabina until you reach Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. Head for the green door and peep through the keyhole for a perfectly framed view of St Peter's dome.

Retrace your steps as far back as the church of Santa Sabina  then  head into the Giardino degli Aranci or Orange Garden. Walk to the viewing platform at the end of the garden and pick your sunset spot.


Again take Via di Santa Sabina only this time turn left down the steep Clivio del Publici to take you to the river.
For dinner you could continue on to the Jewish Ghetto and sample Cucina Romana in one of the many restaurants there or, if splashing out, try Circus Restaurant in Hotel 47 on Via Petroselli. This is the perfect spot to dine with a view of the Temple of Hercules. What better way to end your trip.


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