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Lonely Planet Pathfinder Abigail King recently visited Rome,  just in time to witness the result of the city’s recent renovations. Here she shares the highlights of her trip.

‘As the ancient stomping ground of gladiators, emperors, visionaries and more, the city of Rome doesn’t hold back when it comes to majestic splendour. With visible history on almost every corner, it’s Rome’s current approach to life that’s hard to resist: gelato anyone? Sun-sparked coffee in a Vespa-dotted piazza?

This year, Rome raises its cultural cachet even higher. The Pope announced a global Year of Mercy, the Colosseum’s restoration project finished with a flourish and even the Trevi Fountain benefited from a luxury facelift courtesy of Fendi. So, to celebrate the city’s good fortune, and inclusion in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel destination list this year, I set out to snap Rome’s iconic stone: recharged in white beneath a sky of blue.’

The Trevi Fountain

A photo posted by Abi King (@insidetravellab) on May 20, 2016 at 9:25am PDT

‘Water and stone tumble one over the other at the magnificent Trevi Fountain: the largest Baroque fountain in the city and a monument to the power of water. According to tradition, throwing a coin into the fountain guarantees a return to Rome. 3000 Euros per day result from this enthusiasm.’

Skyline view

A photo posted by Abi King (@insidetravellab) on May 19, 2016 at 9:47am PDT

‘The legend of ancient Rome claims that Romulus founded the city by gathering together the settlements of the seven hills (Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal and Viminal.) What does that mean? Plenty of chances to enjoy the city skyline! I watched this sunset from a balcony on the Via Alberto Cadlolo.’

A Roman sport

A photo posted by Abi King (@insidetravellab) on May 27, 2016 at 9:34am PDT

‘If there’s one thing Rome doesn’t lack, it’s tourists. In particular, tourists taking selfies. The old saying “When in Rome…” dates back to the 4th century Archbishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose. Today, we say, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” So, yes. This is me, in St Peter’s Square beside the world’s smallest sovereign state, the Vatican City.’

Crossing the Tiber

A photo posted by Abi King (@insidetravellab) on May 31, 2016 at 10:58am PDT

‘Stone and squat, the Castel Sant’Angelo overlooks the flowing Tiber and its bridge of marbled angels. Originally designed as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian (he of the Scotland-England wall fame) the building served as a fortress for popes before morphing into the museum it is today. The neighbouring Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II provides the best view.’

World Records

A photo posted by Abi King (@insidetravellab) on Jun 6, 2016 at 1:59am PDT

The Pantheon, in Piazza della Rotunda, makes its mark in stone by taking some away. The oculus opens the roof to the sky, lighting the interior with sunlight and cooling the building with rain. Almost 2000 years after construction, this ‘temple of every god’ still carries the record for the largest un-reinforced concrete dome in the world.’

Look up

A photo posted by Abi King (@insidetravellab) on May 26, 2016 at 8:47am PD

‘Look up anywhere in Rome and you’re likely to see history looking back down at you. This stone struggle looms overhead on the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, a bridge across the Tiber that connects the historic centre of Rome with Vatican City.’

Do you love to write about your travels? Or perhaps Instagram is your thing? Find out more about our Pathfinders programme and how you can contribute to Lonely Planet here.

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