Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Posted May 10, 2012
Once the capital of the world, Rome is a glorious ancient city that uses its illustrious buildings as a backdrop for what has become a stunning metropolis. Passengers on a Mediterranean cruise will be inundated with sites the moment they step foot off the Princess vessel in Civitavecchia, the gateway to the Eternal City.
Buzzing with life, Rome is riddled with taxis, scooters and carriages, which only add to the city's unique charm. Locals carry on their daily rituals without batting an eyelash or paying much attention to the millions of tourists that flock here throughout the year. The people in Rome fully embody the spirit of the city and never miss the chance to show off their fashion sense.
There's no question that the city's ancient architecture is second to none, and the Colosseum remains the grandest of all of Rome's monuments. Luring artists, architects and philosophers for centuries, the Eternal City offers passengers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relive the greatest era of Western history.
The Colosseum: Rome's symbol of power
Gladiator competitions pitted the most athletic Romans against wild beasts and each other as emperors and spectators placed their bets in the world's most gruesome entertainment venue. More than 2,000 years later, droves of visitors still flock to the arena that, although no longer hosting gory battles, still manages to inspire awe. The massive Colosseum has withstood the test of time and to this day is one of the most complete Roman monuments in the world.
Built in the 1st century A.D., the Colosseum was, and still is, an architectural marvel. Upon entering the arena, Italy cruise passengers will be transported to another world and if they close their eyes long enough, they can imagine the roaring crowds in the stands. No stadium or amphitheatre in existence can match the sheer scale of the Colosseum, which acts as a centerpiece to Rome.
Render yourself speechless at the Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo produced his most incredible masterpiece on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. A symbol of heavenly beauty, this painting is nothing short of breathtaking. Upon entering the chapel, visitors won't know where to look first, whether it's at the iconic outstretched fingers of Adam and God or the cherubs situated throughout the elaborate work of art. The frescoes span about 130 feet long and 45 feet wide, making it one of the largest paintings in the world.
Depicting scenes from the Biblical book of Genesis, the ceiling features portraits of Adam and Eve as well as Noah. Michelangelo, who was a sculptor by trade, took more than four years to complete the ceiling, which includes more than 300 separate painted figures.
Whether or not Princess passengers are religious, a visit to the Sistine Chapel is an unforgettably spiritual experience.
Sip an espresso at Campo de' Fiori
After stepping back in time, passengers on Italian cruises can rest their feet at Campo de' Fiori, a hot market popular among locals. This noisy and colorful open-air space is ideal for those who want to live like an Italian, if only for a few brief moments. By day, the square is riddled with jovial vendors trying to sell their fresh produce or preserves. Once the sun sets, however, the entire marketplace becomes a lively outdoor pub full of the most sophisticated locals and tourists.
Visitors who need an extra jolt of energy can order a traditional espresso drink or even a glass of wine before heading back to their Princess cruise ship.