Attractions

Top 10 Things to do in Rome

I’m so glad I’ve got Rome checked off of my Bucket List – it’s an absolutely stunning city (although, it doesn’t hold a candle next to Venice, sorry!).  This is a list of the Top 10 Things (in my opinion) that anyone visiting Rome needs to do.

DSC_068810. The Spanish Steps

The main reason The Spanish Steps are at the bottom of my list is because I didn’t actually get to see them – there was a bunch of construction work going on, so they were all barrier-ed off.  But they are usually on people’s lists of things to see when in Rome, and I’m definitely going to go back and see them next time I’m in Rome!!

DSC_06599. The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain was lovely – but wow!  I’ve never seen so many people in one place before!!  I had to elbow my way down to the water, practically, just to throw my coin in the fountain – but I’ve thrown the coin in, so I’m definitely going back to Rome one day!

IMG_0760
8. Capuchin Bone Church

The hotel I was staying at was literally just across the road from the Capuchin Bone Church – I could even see it from my window!  This church was fascinating – I went through a museum that told me about the history of the church (and there were a lot of religious paintings) and then into the main part of the museum – the Bone Church.  These rooms are completely decorated with the bones of the Capuchin Monks who had been buried there.  Fair warning to anyone wanting to visit: they are totally against people taking photos and will make you delete them while they watch – not that I know about this from personal experience, though…

DSC_07367. Sistine Chapel/ Vatican Museums

I know, I know, the Sistine Chapel should be higher up on the list, but, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t that taken with it.  Sure, the ceiling is incredible but the chapel itself was really dark and the atmosphere was kinda ruined by the guards at the front of the room shouting ‘No photo!  Sshh!!’, which I thought was a little ironic.  I was more taken with the Gallery of Maps – some of the maps have been painted with North pointing down the way, which I thought was interesting.

DSC_0854
6. Castel Sant’Angelo

Originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian (yes, the Hadrian’s Wall Hadrian!) it is now a museum and a really interesting one at that!  There are original floors, which are really awkward to walk on, and an amazing view from the top, among other interesting tidbits.  The geeky gamer in me got really excited when I saw the main courtyard and recognised it from Assassin’s Creed 2 (because I’m cool).

DSC_0774
5. St Peter’s Basilica

St Peter’s is beautiful – there is detail everywhere.  Unlike the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s is free to enter – but be prepared to wait in a long queue!  Fortunately, there was a nice Australian couple in front of me that I chatted away to, so the time passed a bit quicker.  Also, the Pope was not there so the queues weren’t as long – I’ve heard they’re insanely long when he’s there!

DSC_0551
4. The Pantheon

The Pantheon is impressive – it’s one of the best preserved Ancient Roman buildings in the world – and it’s incredible!  You step inside and everything is hushed – people just seem to respect the building and keep their voices lowered.  The oculus at the top is also interesting – I originally thought that they would have put a window or something in it to protect the inside of the Pantheon when it rains but nope!  It’s still open to the elements.  That would have been interesting to see.

DSC_0130
3. The Colosseum

My first Wonder of the World!  And I loved it!  I arrived at 8.30 and picked up my tickets from the Forum ticket office – and I’m glad I did!  By the time I exited the Colosseum, the queue was massive!  I kinda wish now that I’d paid the extra money to get the guided tour underground – and maybe the Colosseum would be higher up in my list!

DSC_02962. Palatine Hill

Palatine Hill is supposedly where Romulus (where Rome got its name) and Remus were found by Lupa.  It is one of the oldest areas of Rome and I loved wandering through the ruins.  Later, the more affluent members of Rome built their palaces here and there are a good many ruins of them!  I got there just after 9.30am and it was still pretty quiet, which was really nice, compared to the rest of Rome!

Roman Forum1. The Roman Forum

The centre of ancient Roman life, I loved this.  I’m fascinated by ruins and how people used to live and there was history everywhere here!  I could have wandered around here for hours but I had stupidly forgotten to take a bottle of water with me and was getting seriously dehydrated, so, unfortunately, I had to leave.  But, despite my looming dehydration, I made sure to wander round everything at least once!

Top 10 Things to do in Edinburgh

Even though I lived in Edinburgh for four years whilst at university, that didn’t stop me from doing touristy things!  This is my list of the Top Ten things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland.


(Dynamic Earth)

10. Dynamic Earth – I know some of you will be wondering why this is at the bottom of a list of top ten things to do in Edinburgh – but you haven’t seen what else is on my list yet!  Dynamic Earth basically shows you the history of the Earth from the Big Bang until today.  There are a lot of interactive activities and it’s a must-see if you have children!

(Wikipedia)

9. Scott Monument – This is a monument for Sir Walter Scott.  From what I’ve read, it’s the biggest monument to a writer in the world!  I’d recommend climbing it – the views are incredible!  And there’s a little museum about halfway up, which I wasn’t expecting (I love museums!).  Another interesting thing about the Scott Monument – it used to be a sandy sort of colour, but pollution has stained it black.  It’s not been cleaned for fear of damaging it but I think the black has a nice Gothic-y feel to it.


(Edinburgh Spotlight)

8. Arthur’s Seat – Everyone knows about Arthur’s Seat.  It’s basically a huge hill in the middle of Edinburgh.  I’d recommend climbing this as well – the view from the top is spectacular!  I met my university room-mate after I had climbed Arthur’s Seat.  Unfortunately, I happened to fall over when I was near the bottom and I met my room-mate for the first time covered head-to-toe in mud.  Thankfully, we became really good friends and ended up living together for the next four years!


(Wikipedia)

7. Edinburgh Castle – More a military museum now than an actual castle, Edinburgh Castle is really interesting.  You can’t not miss it when you go to Edinburgh – it’s sitting on top of a dormant volcano!  I managed to visit it when the 1 o’clock cannon went off (which I hadn’t planned!).  This is a must for anyone visiting Edinburgh (even though it took me nearly four years of living there to actually go!)


(TripAdvisor)

6. Scottish National Gallery – Being free, this was a staple for me in Edinburgh.  If I was bored, or wanted to get away from studying, I went here (or the National Museum of Scotland).  I love art galleries and love spending hours wandering through them (or curling up on one of the many sofas dotted throughout with a good book).

Swirling Vortex!

5. Camera Obscura – The World of Illusions.  One of my flat-mates (the one I met covered in mud) and I visited here during our last year in Edinburgh.  It’s one of those places where it’s impossible not to enjoy it.  You have to try the vortex tunnel – it messes with your mind!

DSC_0011

4. The Meadows – I literally lived just around the corner from The Meadows.  On a sunny day, my flat-mates and I would grab our books, or our laptops, and have a picnic on The Meadows.  Being a big green space, there’s not much in the way of things to do, but it’s a nice place to relax and, sometimes, there’s impromptu plays being performed (closer to the university side of the park).  And, when it’s snowing, it’s a great place to build a snowman (or snow kangaroo/T-rex, as my flat-mates and I did)!


(Wikipedia)

 3. Royal Botanic Gardens – Definitely visit the glass houses!  These are beautiful!  All of the gardens are beautiful, but those glass houses are incredible.  The gates to get into the gardens are impressive and I was stupidly entertained by the fact that there were antibacterial mats (I think they were antibacterial?) that you had to walk over to get into the gardens, so that you weren’t treading anything unsavoury into the gardens.


(Edinburgh Localiguide)

2. National Museum of Scotland – this is definitely my favourite museum in Edinburgh.  It’s free (woop!) and has heaps of interesting things to do.  It has Ancient Egyptian artefacts!  I love  anything to do with Ancient Egypt.  I spent many an hour here when I lived in Edinburgh.


(Vizts)

1. St Giles Cathedral – what can I say?  I love cathedrals.  The architecture is amazing.  The inside is amazing.  Everything about it is amazing.  Make sure if you do visit (it’s free!), that you go into the Thistle Chapel tucked away in the back corner.  There’s some impressive carvings and the ceiling in this part of the cathedral is definitely the most impressive!


(DocBrown)

Honourable Mention – Holyrood Palace/Abbey – I never actually had a chance to visit here.  Every time I tried, the Queen (or another royal) was in residence, so they weren’t allowing tours.  I’m desperate to visit here – especially for the Abbey.  I love ruins and Holyrood Abbey looks lovely from the pictures I’ve seen.


(Edinburgh Cafe Enthusiast)

Another Honourable Mention – Black Medicine Cafe – I know everyone wants to visit the Elephant House, as it’s the birthplace of Harry Potter.  But, if I’m being honest, it’s not the greatest.  The food is okay and the prices are a bit touristy expensive.  You can get your pictures here but, if you’re looking for a decent cafe, I’d recommend Black Medicine Cafe.  My flat-mates and I spent a lot of time here – especially when our internet wasn’t working!