Port in focus: Rome

There is nowhere else on earth quite like Rome. A colossus among the world’s great cities, it is steeped in the grandeur of the past and present as the ancient capital of the Western World and the indomitable powerhouse of Papal magnificence.

Light streaming through windows and illuminating ornate carvings in St Peter's Basilica in Rome

St Peter’s Basilica

This is a city that has lain at the heart of Christianity for nearly 2,000 years and was the powerful epicentre of the ancient Roman Empire, laying the foundations for the intoxicating spirit and grandiose glories that flow through its stone streets today.

Painters, philosophers and architects who flocked here in centuries past have left an outstanding legacy of priceless treasures and artistic masterpieces; atmospheric churches brimming with exquisite artworks and superlative sculptures by the likes of Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto and Caravaggio, their works also filling the many museums and galleries, while striking fountains by Bernini bring elegance and grandeur to the squares and piazzas.

From Baroque to Renaissance and Classical to Byzantine, the Eternal City is a living masterpiece of artistic styles that have shaped Western civilisation, but with such an abundance of riches the choice can be overwhelming.

Exterior walls of the ancient Colosseum in Rome

The Colosseum

A yellow scooter parked in a side street in RomeFor most first-time visitors on Mediterranean cruises to Rome, the top draw is inevitably the Colosseum where, in its day, baying crowds of 50,000 strong gathered to watch adversarial gladiators fight to the death. The Roman Forum’s cluster of ruined temples and the well-preserved Pantheon, built by Emperor Hadrian as a temple but later consecrated as Christian church, also offer a fascinating window into this ancient civilisation.

But for sheer splendour, it is the heady opulence of Vatican City that stands out with its incredible art collection housed in lavish museums, and the celestial majesty of Michelangelo’s breathtaking frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.

Nearby St Peter’s Basilica, its distinctive dome soaring over Rome’s skyline, is another outstanding sight, but there is more to the Italian capital than its historical and religious glories.

This is a place that pulsates to a passionate Latin tempo, where la dolce vita is an integral part of the Roman experience as visitors revel in the contrasting flavours of its buzzing restaurants and street-side cafes.

Don’t forget to climb the famous Spanish Steps in the heart of the trendy bohemian quarter, and remember to toss a coin in the magnificent Trevi Fountain a short stroll away to ensure that you return to this unforgettable city. Who could resist?

Top tip

It’s worth investing in smart pass tickets at the most popular attractions to skip the queues and avoid inevitable crowds at the famous sites. Try visiting in the early morning or late evening, too.

Sara Macefield
Sara Macefield is an award-winning travel journalist of more than 20 years standing, and has spent the last decade writing about the cruise industry – exploring the world's oceans and rivers on ships of all sizes. Having notched up more than 100 cruises, her most memorable trips have been to Alaska with its superb wildlife, and sailing along Burma’s remote Chindwin River to villages far off the tourist track. She writes regularly for The Times and Daily Telegraph and has written for the Daily Mail, The Guardian, Daily Express and Woman & Home Magazine.

No Comments

Be the first to start a conversation

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)