Rome is a wonderful city full of fascinating historical details. Thousands of years of history provides for countless tales of feuds and drama, and you can’t go far without stumbling across piles of ruins. We really enjoyed exploring and taking tours to learn more about the food culture, the history of the Colosseum, and the tiny nation of the Vatican. But after several days of looking at the details, we wanted to see views of Rome from above.
Andy stumbled across something online about Gianicolo Hill where we would have amazing views of Rome. So we hopped on a bus (check out Andy’s post here for more photos and how to get there) and made our way up to the top after lunch one day.
At the center of the road where the bus stops are, there is a big statue of Garibaldi, the man who united Italy in the 1860s, riding a horse. His statue is everywhere in Italy, so this wasn’t really surprising. Around the edges of the piazza are vendors selling postcards and other souvenirs as well as drinks and snacks. But have no fear, there were only a few and this was not a crowded place.
Picking out the monuments
From this vantage point, we could see so much of the city. I loved the overall views, but it was also fun to try to find the famous monuments throughout the city.
The first thing we recognized was Piazza Venezia. That bright white building can be seen from just about anywhere.
Then we started searching for the Colosseum. Big as it is, it was not so easy to find. Its coloring blends in with so many other buildings around it, and it is quite far from where we were standing. I wasn’t even positive I had found it while we were on the hill because I was stretching the limits of my zoom lens and it was hard to see the screen on my camera in the sunlight. But after looking at the photos on my laptop, and even cropping this one a bit, I’m convinced we had it right.
We were able to pick out what I assume is Palatine Hill near the Colosseum. It’s an impressive collection of ruins when viewed up close and from far away.
One of the few castles we didn’t actually visit on our trip was Castelo Sant’Angelo, but we did see it from our viewpoint. It’s the circular building behind the big domed one.
We even saw the bridge in the Garbatella neighborhood where we were staying.
For some reason the Vatican had us stumped. We knew about the rule that states no building in Rome can be taller than St. Peter’s Cathedral in Vatican City, but we couldn’t tell which of the many, many domes we saw was St. Peter’s.
Eventually we decided there was no way of knowing which one we were looking for, and we walked across the street to see what the views looked like from over there. And that’s when we saw it, unmistakably St. Peter’s Cathedral.
>>The Vatican is the smallest country in Europe. Read more about it and the other smallest countries in Europe.
Views from our apartment
The apartment we rented in Rome was a little farther out of the center then we would’ve liked, but other than that, it was the best apartment we had the entire trip. One of the best parts was the view. The shower had full length windows that you could see through from the inside, but luckily you could not see through from the outside. See that dome through the trees? That’s St. Peter’s in Vatican City.
The apartment was also a great place to watch the sunset or storm clouds roll in. Luckily that was on a day we planned to stay in anyway.
Rome is so full of history, and I highly recommend going to see at least some of the big sights. But take a few hours to get away from the crowds, go to Gianicolo Hill, and enjoy the wonderful views of this ancient city. Just don’t forget your camera!
You might also enjoy:
- Unconventional Italy Guidebook: 100 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In
- Behind the Scenes at the Colosseum in Rome
- Which Food Tour in Rome Should You Take?
- How Much We Spent Traveling in Rome