The 3 Best Spots in Rome for Lovers on Valentine’s Day

Rome unquestionably is one of the most romantic cities in the world (actually, The One). On the occasion of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, here’s our list of 3 sights to visit on a romantic ‘In Love Tour’ plus one special hint!

1. Fontanina degli innamorati “The small fountain of lovers”

fontaninaWhere else to start a romantic tour than the beautiful Trevi Fountain? Make sure you toss a coin for your return in Rome than head to the right external side of the monument, where you find the lovers’ fountain, a rectangular marble basin without any particular sign. The legend says Roman soldiers before leaving the city for service came here with their sweethearts to swear eternal faithfullness by drinking from the water together then breaking the glass. The virgin water “acqua vergine” assured they would never forget about Rome and their love left behind. So follow the tradition, drink from the water of faithful love with your loved one!

2. Ponte degli innamorati “Lovers’ bridge”

milvio lucchettiThe story of the lovers’ bridge is a with or without you for the City of Rome. It started ten years ago with a cult novel of Federico Moccia, Tre metri sopra il cielo where the couple attaches a padlock on a metal bar of the bridge then throws the key in the Tiber as the demonstration of their unbreakable love. Locals and tourists made a tradition of it, transforming the ancient bridge to the living testimony of Everlasting Love – until, as the City hall declared, the massive iron weight and rust of the thousands and thousands of locks started to cause serious damages to the stone structure. Despite the removal of the love locks in 2012 the Milvian Bridge remains one of the most romantic spots for the couples, especially at sunset! Lovers, on the other hand, became very creative in finding other sights around the city to clip their padlocks on.

3. Vicolo degli Innamorati “The path of lovers”

zodiaco1Getting here is quite tricky with public transportation but, without doubt worth the hassle. Monte Mario’s 139mt height, named Lo Zodiaco, offers a breathtaking view over the Eternal City and the Roman Castles area. There’s no more romantic place to be after sunset, looking at the starred sky holding your loved one close… and take a walk on the path of lovers. In the Monte Mario Park you can also visit the Astronomical Observatory.

+1 Special Around-Trip Chiesa degli Innamorati & Ristorante delgi innamorati

About an hour drive from Rome you can visit the Church of Saint Valentine, la Basilica di San Valentino in Terni. Saint Valentine, bishop and saint patron of the city of Terni (Interamna), died as martyr in Rome as the patron of young lovers on 14th February 273. If you choose to visit the basilica of lovers, on the way back to Rome you may choose to stop at the unique Solo per due Restaurant, which has its particularity in having but one table for two! A complete restaurant for the sole two of you, is there anything more romantic than that? Of course, reservation is a must.twofinger

Most importantly, being in Rome, or anywhere else in the world – let love be all around you every day of the year!

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Hidden Rome Gems – Basilica di San Clemente

Ever wondered about Time travel? It definitely is possible!
Near the Coliseum towards the Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano exists a magical and enchanted place where you can dive in 2000 years of history moving back in time with every step you take.

basilica-san-clementeThe Basilica of Saint Clement is a Roman Catholic minor basilica as well a unique architectural complex. Its structure is spectacular, the present basilica where you enter, is a 12th century medieval church which has 2 underground levels; the first is a 4th-century basilica that had been converted out of the home of a Roman nobleman, part of which had in the 1st century briefly served as an early church, and the basement of which had in the 2nd century briefly served as a mithraeum; and all erected on the foundations of a republican era building that had been destroyed in 64 AD in the Great Fire of Emperor Nero. (wiki)

If you love full immersion history experience as we do and curious about the incomparable underground world of the Eternal City – this hidden gem is waiting for you!

sotterraneiBeTreasure tip: early morning visit is highly recommended!

As the Basilica is a fairly known attraction and is frequented by tourist groups, it’s best to plan your visit early in the morning (the ticket office opens at 9 am) and try to be the first to visit the underground levels before the groups.

The experience is indescribable you must really try it to understand. Complete silence, darkness but not the hostile one, and frescoes that tell stories of long gone times… In the background you will only hear the flowing water of an underground fountain which dates back to the Imperial Rome era and is still running!
Try to follow the sound of the water, it will guide you to the most hidden corners and deep spots of the structure where you can admire the construction of the first century, the ancient State Mint (Zecca dello Stato) and a Roman house with original pavement, windows and frescoes.

altare-del-mitreo-di-san-clementeBeside the domus you will find a “mitreo“, the temple of Mithras with its altar depicting the god.

On the superior level, above the temple you find the construction of the 4th century where is built the first basilica dedicated to Saint Clement.
Here you can admire the affresco painting of the Madonna from the 8th century – and also here lies the tomb of Saint Cyril who was the inventor of the Cyrillic alphabet.

On this level there’s a very special affresco from about 1100 representing the miracle of Saint Clement. It appears like a cartoon and the curious particularity of the fresco is that it reports the first written testimony of profanity (swearing) “traite fili de le pute“.

Climbing back to the street level you can visit the current Basilica of San Clemente. The medieval church features a marvellous 12th-century apse mosaic depicting the Trionfo della Croce (Triumph of the Cross) and some wonderful Renaissance frescoes in the Chapel of St Catherine.

translation-st-clement-relics

BeTreasure tip: For a snack or breakfast don’t miss Ciuri Ciuri – the art of Sicilian Cannoli in via Labicana, just right in front of the basilica!

 

Sex And The Eternal City

Passion, intrigue, jealousy, love… emotions come to life – in Rome every piece of marble and stone tells a story. A common story of us being human. And how being human makes our life an extraordinary story.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, self-portrait, c1623.jpg

Let’s follow someone who knew a thing or two about human emotions and telling stories that last for centuries to come.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini is a symbol for the city. He was more than an artist, a sculptor, he was a universal artistic genius. Trough his live, dynamic, passionate art he remains a palpable presence in his beloved Rome. Take a walk to discover the taste of his open air museum that the Eternal City was, with the help of three cornerstones of his immense art.

Our all time favourite museum is where we start. Galleria Borghese is situated in the beautiful park of Villa Borghese.The museum hosts several Bernini sculptures, like Apollo and Daphne, David, but our call here is the Rape of Proserpina.

gian_lorenzo_bernini_046_plutone_e_proserpina_1621

Bernini’s art  (especially the scupltures) is very personal, therefore the beauty and value of it can not completely be explained by guides or essays – more it is a vivid sensation of each one of us when getting close to one of his masterpieces. Did we mention he finished this one when he was 23? Let’s look at it again. 23. The marbel seems clay or wax under Bernini’s hands, it’s hard to find appropriate words to describe the majesty and the dynamic, alive presence of the composition in the huge museum hall. Ok, there’s one. Goosebumps.
(Note: to visit Galleria Borghese reservation is aways needed! More info here.)

Next stop is Largo Santa Susanna, the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. Here we can admire Bernini at his best – as he said, The Extasy of Saint Teresa was his “men cattiva opera”, the least bad piece. A complete theatre scene represents an episode of Teresa d’Avila’s life as she encounters with an angel.

teresa2“I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s
point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God.”
(Santa Teresa d’Avila, Autobiografia, XXIX, 13)

The outright provoking sexuality, in case of religious themes called also “sacred eroticism” is far from unfamiliar for the Baroque Rome. Not in profane ways, yet it must be taken as it was, a direct intuition of the divine, an engaging internal mysticism experience of the artist.” However Saint Teresa’s Extasy is unquestionably sensual with strong erotic drive, we love the interpretation of Irving Lavin who said “the transverberation becomes a point of contact between earth and heaven, between matter and spirit”.

Let’s move on towards Trastevere, touching Piazza Barberini with Bernini’s Fontana del Tritone, Piazza della Minerva with the Obelisc and walking through the Tiber Island.

Our last stop is in the curch of San Francesco a Ripa, a funerary monument, one of Bernini’s last work.ludovica The Extasy of the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni represents a similar union with the divine like the above described Saint Teresa, presented in a simpler and soberer form. The intimacy of the chapel and the theatrical setting, where Bernini designed with a hidden window the focus of the light on the marble figure’s face, emphasize the artist’s pictorial approach.

Should you need tips & suggestions on where to eat or anything comes in mind, let us know and we’ll be happy to share pearls of our treasurebox! 😉
Route of this walk here.

barberini faun

 

 

 

BeTreasure tip: plan a special walking tour route following a character or specific element you choose, like angels, dolphins or satyrs.

Our favourite satyr statue, the Barberini Faun is not in Rome but was found below Castel Sant’Angelo and has been restored by the great Gianlorenzo Bernini.

Hidden Rome Gems – Breathcatching Attractions You’d Hardly Hear About

We’d love to share with you insights on archeological sites and other secret spots you’d probably not have picked on your first (/ second / third) visit to the Eternal City – until now!

Time to go personal – Agnes was so full of ideas about hidden gems that we needed to split the list and schedule in several parts. She’s the one madly&lost in love with the underground Rome (Roma sotterranea, Archeologia Ipogea). agicaEvery single weekend she puts her boots, her safety helmet with the torch on and adventures around in narrow caves, aqueducts, dark-as-hell tombs on hands and knees in the mud… you know, the kind of activity that makes you feel in flow with the world and after which back at home all dirty and tired you have that ear-to-ear simle all day. That’s how she feels and we’re always keen to see the pictures 🙂

So this is her list of Ancient Rome Must See – first part.

Domus Valentini

Palazzo Valentini is situated few steps away from the Piazza Venezia – Via del Corso hub, in via IV Novembre, 119/a and most likely during your stay in Rome you pass by at least twice a day. The palace, headquarters of the Province of Rome, with security guards at the entrance is not a walk-in site. The 90 minute guided tour (groups in limited number) must be booked in advance, nice touch that if you purchase RomaPass this can be one of the two free museum admissions included! Everything about booking tickets, opening hours and prices here.

Surprising, exciting, it’s a kinda magic. We heard a lot about it before going but didn’t really expected what we got – left speechless. Well deserved the Traveller’s Choice Award of TripAdvisor 2013.

The remains of two Roman domus from Imperial Era belonged to powerful families of the time. The buildings were in fact embellished with mosaics – ridimensionaone of these is made up of more than 500,000 pieces! -, walls and floors decorated in polychrome marble.The modern glass stairs above the original ones have already extraordinary effect while you walk down beneath the palace, seems like walking directly on the ancient paths…

What makes though the difference here compared to other archaeological sites?

The “being there” experience! With multimedia techniques all becomes real, you can almost touch and feel the history through virtual reconstructions , graphics and movies. About 1800 square meters of extension will be “reborn” thanks to computer graphics – walls, rooms, peristyle, spas, salons, decorations, kitchens, furniture – you’ll have it all walking through the virtual tour. As you listen the tourguide voice, accordingly, different parts of the rooms get illuminated, guiding your eyes and helping the reconstruction of the domus. Hard to transmit the goosebumps but don’t worry you’ll feel that for sure 🙂

valentini 2valentini

 

BeTreasure tip: if you have over 6 year old kids, take them with you to the visit, you’ll be surprised how much they will enjoy it!

If you feel this was just an appetizer about the attractions of the Ancient Rome we have in store for you – you’re right! We’re so not finished yet – check back for the next episode of the series.

Til’ then be safe and #BeTreasure!