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Welcome to my blog.

I love cities - glam - airlines  -  and photography.  All of the images on this site were taken by me on my travels around the planet.

I can't wait to have you come on some of my adventures!

 

Top Ten Free Things To Do in Rome - (FCO)

Top Ten Free Things To Do in Rome - (FCO)

Rome is one of the most magical cities in the world. There's so much to see, that it takes several trips to take it all in.

And a lot of the sites are free!

You can save your Euros for extravagant pasta feasts or rooftop cocktails.  Here’s a list of my top-ten favorite spots that cost absolutely nothing to visit!

Number 10: The Arch of Constantine - Free

 The Arch of Constantine - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

The Arch of Constantine - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

Located beside the Coliseum -  I could stare at this arch for hours.  There’s so much to take in.

It’s over 23 meters high – and covered in reliefs.  If you’ve ever taken an Intro to Art class you’ve probably studied this iconic piece of architecture. The arch was built to commemorate a military victory in 312 (over a bridge crossing the Tiber) – and it’s still standing strong today!

 The Arch of Constantine - Detail    Photo: Calvin Wood

The Arch of Constantine - Detail  Photo: Calvin Wood

 The Arch of Constantine - Detail    Photo: Calvin Wood

The Arch of Constantine - Detail   Photo: Calvin Wood

Number 9: Basilica di Santa Maria del Popolo - Free

 The Cappella Chigi - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

The Cappella Chigi - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

This is one of my favorite religious sites in Rome.  I had always overlooked this jewel on on previous trips - and only popped in when I was on a Dan Brown Angels and Demons sight-seeing trek.

What a magnificent, Renaissance gem!

There are so many treasures in this church - but the best ones include the Caravaggio masterpieces (the Conversion of St. Paul and the Crucifixion of St Peter) and Raphael’s Cappella Chigi  (the tiled dome is wonderful!).

 Conversion of St. Paul - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

Conversion of St. Paul - Rome  Photo: Calvin Wood

 The Crucifixion of St. Peter - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

The Crucifixion of St. Peter - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

Number 8: Vittore Emanuelle Monument - Free

 Vittore Emanuelle Monument - Rome    Photo; Calvin Wood

Vittore Emanuelle Monument - Rome   Photo; Calvin Wood

This extravagant, humungous, white-marble edifice is a showstopper.   It’s absolutely massive.  Locals refer to it as the “Wedding Cake.”

It was built to honor the first king of Italy, Vittore Emanuelle, who unified modern Italy.

There aren’t many buildings in the world that mirror it’s impact or grandeur!   Make sure climb right to the top.  Along the way you will pass the tomb of the unknown soldier.  You’ll also have spectacular views of the Forum and the Colosseum.

 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Rome    Photo; Calvin Wood

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Rome   Photo; Calvin Wood

Number 7: Ponte Sant'Angelo - Free

 Ponte Sant'Angelo  - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

Ponte Sant'Angelo  - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

This is my favorite bridge in Rome.  It’s adorned with majestic statues of angels – looking down at pedestrians as they pass by.  The bridge has no automotive traffic – so it has an extra heavenly feel to it!

It was originally build in 175 AD by Hadrian to connect the city to his mausoleum– which is an imposing, grand building on the other side of the bridge (and a great framing device in photos!)
 

 Castel Sant'Angelo - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

Castel Sant'Angelo - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

Number 6: Piazza Navona - Free

 Piazza Navona - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

Piazza Navona - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

The Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful – and photographed – squares in they city.  It used to be a sporting stadium for the Romans – which accounts for its massive size. 

At the center of the square is a famous fountain by Bernini. It features the four river gods – and a huge obelisk from ancient Egypt. The Piazza is lined with restaurants (all a bit too expensive – but the views are spectacular). It’s all particularly magical at night in my opinion.

Number 5: The Spanish Steps - Free

 The Spanish Steps  - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

The Spanish Steps  - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

The Spanish Steps are an absolute must see for any visitor: beautiful and enchanting.   And if you are a lover of “Roman Holiday” it’s easy to imagine Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck descending the central staircase.

The best place to take it all in is at the foot of the staircase –beside Bernini’s fountain - Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat). From this vantage spot you’ll be able to take in the breathtaking views – and capture the energy of the crowds that flock to this site. 

And if you are thirsty – and who isn’t on a hot Roman day -  sample the water from the fountain, which comes from the Acqua Vergine (an aqueduct from 19 BCE).  It’s been nourishing people for over 2000 years!

Number 4: Outside The Colosseum - Free

 The Colosseum  - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

The Colosseum  - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

Every child dreams of seeing the Colosseum – and it doesn’t disappoint.  It’s incredible!   It’s the largest amphitheater EVER built – and it’s almost 2000 years old. 

You have to pay to go inside – but the free views from the outside are priceless.  Millions of people visit this site each year – so expect crowds.  But you’ll have a fab time absorbing the history – and imagining what it might have been like to go to a sporting event in ancient times.

 

Number 3: St.Peters Basilica - The Vatican - Free

 St Peter's Basilica - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

St Peter's Basilica - Rome  Photo: Calvin Wood

I don’t need to tell you to go to St. Peter’s Basilica.  It’s on almost every traveller’s list for Rome.  Make sure you give yourself enough time to take it all in.  The basilica is monolithic and there’s so much to see. The mosaics and art on the walls are almost over-powering.

Go as soon as the place opens up – as the sun is rising.   At that time of the day, the interiors take on an ethereal, heavenly feel.

 Heavenly Works - St. Peter's Basilica - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

Heavenly Works - St. Peter's Basilica - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

 Imposing Columns at St. Peters - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

Imposing Columns at St. Peters - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

Number 2: The Fountain of Trevi - Free

 The Fountain of Trevi - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

The Fountain of Trevi - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

One of the most famous monuments in the world!  

It’s not the easiest place to find – but it’s worth the search! It’s an incredible fountain that has attracted visitors for centuries.  An absolutely spectacular piece of art and energy.  

Whenever I’m there – I can almost see Anita Ekberg from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita traipsing through the water in a black gown. Glamour at its utmost!

Number 1: The Pantheon - Free

 The Pantheon - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

The Pantheon - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

You might not agree with me making the Pantheon the number one free spot, but it’s my favorite building in Rome!  There’s something about it that draws me right in – every time I visit.

The former Roman temple is captivating.   The massive, ancient structure features a dome that opens-up to the heavens – and it's particularly interesting when it rains!  I can’t believe that something so big and unique was constructed 2000 years ago!  How does the roof stay up?

 The Pantheon - Skylight - Rome    Photo: Calvin Wood

The Pantheon - Skylight - Rome   Photo: Calvin Wood

Rome for Free

 Rome for Free!    Photo: Calvin Wood

Rome for Free!   Photo: Calvin Wood

The city is full of fantastic, iconic sites – and there’s a ton you can see for free! You could spend two weeks there and not see everything it has to offer.  Have fun – and enjoy this amazing city!

Swiss Business Class Review - A330-300 New York to Zurich (JFK-ZRH)

Swiss Business Class Review - A330-300 New York to Zurich (JFK-ZRH)

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United Club Lounge Review - LAX