Rome is not just a mere city. It is a whole world by itself, large part of which still remains unexplored to me
Rome was not built in a day—resorting to that age old adage is probably the easiest thing to start with when penning an article about Rome.
After visiting Rome for quite a few times, I have realised another less popular adage: Even a lifetime is not enough to explore Rome completely.
I have wondered around the city's ruins, breathed its history and culture, tasted the marvellous cuisine that it offers. At the end, I always had to leave with a desire to return again to fulfill my own Roman holiday.
But last month was exceptional as I visited Rome during the Covid-19 pandemic. Though the first Covid-19 lockdown was over and everything was getting back to normal, everybody was still concerned and nervous about the second wave of the pandemic in Italy.
I started my journey one fine Saturday morning by visiting the Colosseum - one of the true seven wonders of the world - still standing in full confidence, reflecting the glorious past of the Roman Empire.
This time, the queue was much smaller and almost everyone was wearing masks and carrying hand sanitisers.
There was a big, stage-like platform, which was vanished due to thousand years of rain, sun and time.
As I was wandering around the galleries and beneath the stage, I saw the ruined rooms which were used for various purposes such as caging animals and gladiators, as storage, etc.
Then I explored the nearby Roman Forum - the 2,500-year-old and very important historical ruin which remained subterranean even 200 years ago.
Thanks to the archaeologist, we now can wander the place where Mark Anthony delivered his speech after the death of Julias Caesar.
Next to the Roman Forum stands the 230-feet-high architecture made of white marble, which is known as the Vittorio Emanuele monument - named after the first king of united Italy.
This is a colossal work done by the Mussolini government in 1935 and from its top almost all of Rome is visible.
After getting down from the monument, our destination was the Church of San Pietro, where resides Michelangelo's world-famous sculpture of Moses on the tomb of Pope Julias II.
The church was constructed between the year 1513 and 1515. It is 235 cm tall and a true giant figure. But we were stunned not only by the size but by the beauty of Moses.
Every single inch of the marble sculpture, the muscles, hair, bones and facial structures are so perfect that you will bow down to the genius that was Michelangelo.
Another fine morning we went to Pantheon - the oldest structure of Rome which stands tall even today.
The 2,000-year-old temple was later turned into Pantheon and used as the burial ground for famous people. Now, it is a museum.
Now it is situated at the deepest point of Rome, which was once on a high point. Over the centuries, it has sunk deep into the ground.
Upon entering the temple, I was left speechless by its perfect and gigantic dome - another breathtaking work. I found some time to pay respect to my favorite Renaissance artist Raffaello Santi, also known as Raphael, whose grave is inside the Pantheon.
The Metro routes of Rome are friendly and cheap for tourists. You can explore all of Rome quickly by the Metro and get off at any touristic attraction you want.
One afternoon, we went to Piazza Navona, which is famous for the fountains made by Bernini - another Renaissance master.
There are three fountains there but the central one, known as the fountain of four rivers, is the most famous.
There are four giant statues, each of which symbolises a river of Eden.
The four rivers are from Ganges, Niles, Danube and Plata. This was a fantastic blend of history, art and exploration.
At the centre of the fountain stands an Egyptian obelisk, which has been there for ages.
I also went to the most famous of all the fountains in Italy - the Trevi fountain, which remains immortal through the movie "La Dolce Vita" and its size and beauty. The sea god Neptune stands in the middle of all the sculptures while being surrounded by water.
For many years, people have been throwing coins in the fountain after wishing for something.
Prior to the pandemic, anyone could sit by the water. But now, no one can go near the water and people have to throw coins from a distance and many of the coins do not land in the water.
I spent almost a week in Rome and our local friend Mithun Baroi, who is a well-known chef, took us to several places to try some real Roman delicacy; like the 140-year-old ice-cream parlour which always has 20 flavours, or the best place for tiramisu, or even pasta.
We tasted two very special pizzas called Pizza Rustica and Pizza Teglia, which were crispy and delicious.
Another local friend of mine, Giadda Rosetti, gave me a tour one afternoon and I visited the Villa Borghese Garden and a few other places from where one can get a panorama view of Rome.
On the last day, I went to this graveyard in Rome - known as the Pyramid. This graveyard is the final resting place of many famous people, such as English poets and close friends Shelly and Keats. They both died in Italy at a very young age and are buried here.
Rome is not only a city. It is a whole world and this world still remains unexplored to me, for which I must return someday soon.