Rome welcomes the new millennium spiffed up as never before. We tour Rome's ancient sights from the Forum and Colosseum to the glorious Pantheon. Then, after exploring the catacombs and a cat hospice, we track down the best ice cream in Rome.
- Read the script from the show.
This 2,500-year-old, cistern-like prison, which once held the bodies of Saints Peter and Paul, is worth a look (donation requested, at the foot of Capitol Hill, near Forum's Arch of Septimius Severus). When you step into the room, you'll hit a modern floor. Ignore that and look up at the hole in the ceiling, from which prisoners were lowered. Then take the stairs down to the level of the actual prison floor. Downstairs, you'll see the column to which Peter was chained. It's said that a miraculous fountain sprang up in this room so that Peter could convert and baptize his jailers, who were also subsequently martyred. The upside-down cross commemorates Peter's upside-down crucifixion.
If you're interested in ecological itineraries, walks that look at Rome's past and present through an architectural and environmental lens, look into Architect Tom Rankin's Studio Rome. Find out more through his blog.
Since the fourth century B.C., this has been Rome's gateway to the East. The wonder of its day, the Appian Way was the largest, widest, fastest road ever, called the "Queen of Roads." Built in 312 B.C., it connected Rome with Capua (near Naples), running in a straight line for much of the way, ignoring the natural contour of the land. Just as Hitler built the Autobahn system in anticipation of empire maintenance, the expansion-minded Roman government realized the military and political value of a good road system.
Tourist's Appian Way: The road starts less than two miles south of the Colosseum at the massive San Sebastian Gate. The Museum of the Walls, located at the gate, offers an interesting look at Roman defense and a chance to scramble along a stretch of the ramparts (tel. 06-7047-5284).