5 Wonders of Ancient Rome | KCET
5 Wonders of Ancient Rome
Time travel may not be physically possible, but a visit to the ancient metropolis and Italian capital of Rome might just be the closest thing to it. Its rich culture and layers of history are ever present today.
In the first of three episodes dedicated to this magnificent city, travel show host Rick Steves explores the ancient wonders of this "Eternal City" and helps us envision what Rome was like during its peak. Here's a recap of some of the amazing sights he visited. You can also get more details on Rome and travel ideas by watching the full episode here.
Continue to live vicariously through Steves' European travels with episodes airing every weeknight at 7:30 p.m.
1. The Roman Forum
Here's an excellent starting point for your tour of ancient Roman artifacts. The Roman Forum, located in the valley of the city's seven hills, is essentially a plaza lined with ancient landmarks. Rome's main street, the Via Sacra, passes through the forum and leads the way through sights like the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Curia, and more. Even if you're not a history buff, you'll be amazed by this sprawl of ruins.
Just as the name suggests, this ancient amphitheater was, and still is, colossal. Built around 72 AD, the Colossuem was the spot where Romans came to unwind, watch Gladiator fights, and cheer on gory animal slaughters.
Today, for a small fee, visitors can enter the theater, walk through the aisles, and imagine the place in action. It's one of the city's most thrilling sights and one of the greatest examples of Roman engineering. Needless to say, a trip to Rome simply wouldn't be complete without visiting this glorious structure.
3. The Appian Way
Starting just two miles south of the Colosseum, this road has been Rome's gateway to the East for centuries. During its heyday, it was the greatest and fastest road, stretching 400 miles and connecting Rome with Capua (near Naples).
Nowadays, it's fun to explore on bike. As you make your way along the Appian Way, you can take in more incredible ancient marvels, such as the old catacombs and Rome's beautiful Aqueduct Park -- yet another awe-inspiring sample of Roman engineering.
With its massive granite columns and striking façade, this 2,000-year-old temple is the best preserved of Rome's ancient monuments. It's still used today as a Christian church and open to the public. As you go inside, you can admire the brilliant construction -- from its vast bronze doors to its incredible concrete dome -- that has inspired architects for years.
5. The Capitoline Hill
This is one of Rome's seven hills and has long been home to the city's government. It's also home to the Capitoline Museums, which showcase the finest collection of classical paintings and sculptures. The hill's original staircase, designed by Michelangelo during the Renaissance, is displayed at the museum. A replica of the statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius stands in the middle of the square and is also worth seeing.
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Few travelers venture beyond Prague to experience the Czech Republic's many cultural riches and offbeat delights. We'll get you started with a whirlwind of Art Nouveau, local pub music, stinky cheese-tasting, river-rafting, and peat-bathing in places like Olomouc, Moravsky Krumlov, Telc, Trebon and Konopiste. We'll also tour a remarkable memorial to the holocaust in Terezen, and the charming castle town of Cesky Krumlov.
Island getaways are fun, but the real heart of Greece is found in the Peloponnese Peninsula. After enjoying the charming old port town of Nafplio, we'll time-trip through the ruins of Olympia, take center stage at the remarkably preserved theater at Epidauros, and explore the ancient capital of Mycenae. Then we'll wander off the beaten path along the rustic, rough-and-tumble Mani Peninsula, relax in the idyllic beach town of Kardymli and marvel at Greece's Rock of Gibraltar: the fortress town of Monemvasia.
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Using Copenhagen as a spring board, we'll visit the very best of Denmark. Aarhus welcomes us with its ruddy affluence, charming open air museum and eerily well-preserved ancient bog man. Roskilde impresses visitors with its royal burial church and the best Viking ship museum anywhere. And the delightfully quaint Isle of Aero beckons a bike ride among thatched cottages, "snooping mirrors", and cobbled alleyways that reminds us of the world of Hans Christian Andersen.
As he's done with previous programs on Israel, Egypt, and Eastern Turkey, Rick takes us beyond Europe to a place that's rich with history...and mystery. In this first of two half-hour shows on Iran, Rick dodges traffic in Tehran, enjoys the tranquility of a nearby village, and encounters both anti-American propaganda and a warm welcome from everyday Iranians.
Iran's rich history goes back millennia, to the days when Persepolis was home to "the king of kings." In this episode, Rick Steves explores three historic capitals of Iran: Persepolis, with its splendid monuments; Shiraz, with the tombs of Iran's most beloved poets; and Esfahan, with its extraordinary mosques and endearing people.
Exploring Andalucia, we experience the quintessence of Spanish culture. Starting up high, in Spain's whitewashed hill towns, we roll down to the coast to enjoy the windsurfing mecca of Tarifa. Then we catch a bit of Britain on the Rock of Gibraltar, and sail to Africa for a Moroccan finale in Tangier.
The fascinating capitals of Finland and Estonia offer a chance to sample each country's history, art, and distinct love of life. We'll start in Helsinki with its Neoclassical old town, modern flair for design, and steamy saunas. Then it's just a two-hour boat ride to Tallinn-with its medieval charms and new-found prosperity-celebrating its freedom and thriving in its post-USSR renaissance.
We follow the trail pilgrims have trod for centuries, from the French border to Santiago de Compostela in the northwest corner of Spain. Along the way, we stop off in Pamplona to run with the bulls, and dive into the unique Celtic culture of Galicia-where Riverdance meets flamenco.
The homeland of the proud and resiliant Basque people is split between France and Spain. From our San Sebastian home base, we tour the ancient Basque capital of Gernika, the dazzling Guggenheim Modern in Bilbao, and then cross into France for more Basque Country charms. From yummy tapa bars to lightning-fast jai alai games, we'll experience Basque culture at its most vivid.
Part one of three on the Eternal City, this episode resurrects the rubble and brings back to life the capital of the ancient world. Focusing on the grandeur of classical Rome, we marvel at the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the empire's exquisite art. Then we go offbeat by bicycle to see the Appian Way and marvels of Roman engineering.
Read our ancient Rome travel guide.
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