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5 Things You Must See When In Rome

5 Things You Must See When In Rome

Many say Rome is not only the capital city of Italy, but the cultural capital of Europe. Rome offers dozens of sights that vary from the ancient to the modern. When every plaza is a world treasure and each building an example of Renaissance architecture, deciding what to see can be overwhelming. If you’re fortunate enough to take a Roman holiday, here are five things you really must see.

Vatican City
Technically its own sovereign nation, Vatican City lies near the heart of Rome. The Vatican is not only the world headquarters for the Catholic Church, but contains many museums and cathedrals. One can easily spend several days just exploring the cultural and religious treasures here.

In addition to libraries and archives, the Vatican houses the Sistine Chapel, with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo. St. Peter’s Basilica and the Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square), two historic religious sites, are also here and a crucial stop for any visitor.

Catacombs of San Callisto
The Catacombs of San Callisto are another ancient Roman religious site. According to the official tourism website of the Italian government, these catacombs are the final resting place for over half a million early Christians, including 16 popes. Found underneath the Ancient Apian Way, the catacombs are over 1700 years old and contain several crypts of early Christian martyrs.

Galleria Borghese
In a city crammed with museums, the Galleria Borghese stands out. Located in a 17th century villa, this museum is a work of art in itself. A small sampling of its gems includes paintings by Raphael and Caravaggio, ancient mosaics and Bernini sculptures. Private reserved tours are available so that you can enjoy these masterpieces at your leisure.

The Roman Forum
If you want to see the glory days of the Roman Republic, there’s no better place than the ruins of the Roman Forum. This archaeological site was first built 2500 years ago and was expanded by several famous emperors like Julius and Augustus Caesar.

The forum was not just the political center of the ancient Roman Republic, but a marketplace and nexus of social life as well. The series of ruins remaining today allow you to glimpse daily life in what was once unquestionably the greatest city on Earth.

Palazzo Valentini
Although the Palazzo Valentini is now a government seat for the province of Rome, it was once owned by a nephew of Pope Pius V. Today, it also offers a high tech laser and sound presentation that exhibit the archaeological ruins of Rome in their past glory. Entertaining as well as educational, it’s a show not to be missed.

5 Awesome Things to Do in the Amazon Rainforest

5 Awesome Things to Do in the Amazon Rainforest

There are few places on Earth that are as biologically diverse and mysterious as the Amazon Rainforest. In fact, the rainforest is so difficult to penetrate that scientists continue to explore for the source of the Amazon River, with what is currently believed to be the source not being found until 2014. Though the Amazon is full of wonder and mystery, there are some specific things that tourists should not miss.

Boat Tours

There are numerous boat tour operators on all areas of the Amazon. These tours provide guests with the opportunity to see the river and the surrounding jungle. Both land and water creatures can be seen on most tours. In addition, river tours provide the opportunity to witness area natives travelling the river to fish, trade or complete other trips. In fact, many native people may approach tourists to sell fresh food, trinkets and other items providing an opportunity to interact with the people of the area.

Canopy Tours

Canopy tours have become popular in all areas of the world, but the idea largely came into practice in the Amazon. With scores of colorful birds, monkeys and other creatures living in the trees and the swampy terrain of many areas being unfit for hiking, rope walkways are an ideal way to explore the rainforest. In addition to walkways, many tour providers also provide zip line experiences for the more adventurous.

Local Cuisine

Though many world foods have become common in the US, foods from the Amazon area are not often found on American menus. Local food offerings vary from exotic fruits to spicy foods that are not too unlike familiar Mexican food offerings. The Amazon provides a wide range of freshwater fish which are used in a variety of foods. Visitors can also have some of the freshest and most flavorful coffees available in the world.

Native Life

The people of the rainforest live in diverse ways. Some are hunter-gatherers, some live primarily from fishing and others have farmed for thousands of years. In fact, many of the groups in the forest have had very little interaction with each other or the outside world. Each country along the Amazon works to protect their native people. Tourists should take time to learn about the native people of the area, but be careful to follow the laws meant to protect the native’s way of life.

Night Sounds

The Amazon Rainforest comes alive at night. Whether it is sleeping in a primitive hut or simply dining outdoors, spending a quiet evening listening to the sounds of the forest is an experience not to be missed. Though heard in countless Hollywood movies and copied by sleep machines, the true tone and depth of the rainforest sounds can only be experienced in person. A trained guide can help tourists to identify the creatures making the sounds that are being heard.