The Eternal City: 48 Hours in Rome

ABC News suggests some of the best things to do if you have two days in Rome.

ByABC News
October 13, 2009, 5:12 PM

Oct. 14, 2009— -- The sights, sounds and smells that Rome offers visitors could satisfy for a lifetime, and while 48 hours will not do justice to the eternal city, ABC News has compiled a taste of things to do if you are only going to be there for a couple of days.

A Morning Stroll

Why not start your visit with a morning stroll around the Coliseum, site of countless gladiatorial battles, executions and animal hunts? The amphitheatre was built in A.D. 72 and could hold as many as 50,000 spectators. Thousands still flock to the site centuries after it was built. Modern day gladiators strut around the outside, ready to pose for tourists.

Just next to the Coliseum is the Forum, the former center of the Roman Empire, and the site of Julius Caesar's assassination on the ides of March in the year 44 B.C. It was home to the senate, the most major judicial and religious buildings and was also the ancient capital's trade center. As the empire grew, so did the Forum and the monuments dedicated to victorious generals and heralded emperors. Now, the remains of several significant temples flank the ancient roads, and large ornate triumphal arches mark the entrances to the Forum.

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A lunch time break

From the Forum it is a short walk to the hilly district of Monti -- a perfect spot for some light lunch.

Afternoon sightseeing or siesta?

Depending on the pace at which you travel, now might be the perfect time for a quick nap back at the hotel; or if you are in an energetic mood, the Domus Aurea is nearby.

The Domus Aurea (or Golden Palace) was the notorious Roman Emperor Nero's party palace. It was built in opulent style after the Great Fire of Rome -- for which Nero was rumored to have been responsible. Entire rooms and corridors of the palace were decorated with gold leaf, hence the name. Recent discoveries on the site show that it housed the world's first ever revolving restaurant -- a remarkable engineering feat for the 1st century. Much of it has not yet been excavated, but what has is impressive and indicative of Nero's extravagance.