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Explore Rome, Italy: A Virtual and Accessible Tour

This week we are heading to Italy to explore the capital city, Rome. Rome has a rich history and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. We are trying to make sure the content we suggest is accessible in different ways. Although it can be difficult to find websites that are fully accessible, we review many to offer you the ones that are the most accessible. As always, if you find barriers or have suggestions please reach out to us at info@bluetrunk.org and let us know so that we can improve!



Visit the Museums and Sites

One of the most intriguing and fascinating cities of the ancient world, Rome continues to garner attention from modern audiences and invites tourists to flock to its various attractions, such as museums, underground catacombs, and sculptures.


Popular Roman museums include the Villa Torlonia, the Ara Pacis, the Capitoline Museums, and the Vatican. From frescoes to paintings, the exhibits found here are integral in preserving Roman history and Italian history as a whole.


You can take a virtual tour of Villa Torlonia, one of the most recent Roman aristocratic villas. It is explored in greater detail in a blog written by Rome Hints, who explains the past of the building and the artists behind its creation.


Continuing on, this virtual tour takes you through the Ara Pacis, one of the first architectural creations in Rome after the age of fascism in Italy. Episode 46 of the Ancient Worlds podcast takes listeners through the ways in which Romans used the Ara Pacis to paint themselves as peaceful and prosperous. A transcript of the podcast is available on the site.

The Capitoline Museums is seen as a great storage of Roman history and sculptures, and you can take a virtual tour at this link. There is also a blog on the Capitoline Museums which examines the highlights of the museum and why they are so intriguing.


Finally, the Vatican virtual tour explores the Vatican art collections, often considered some of the greatest in the world. As an alternative to a virutal tour you can read this blog which details the most famous artworks and gives an overview of what the Vatican museums entail.


Each virtual museum tour linked above takes the viewer through the main exhibits through a map with annotations. After landing on a specific location, the viewer is able to look around and click on videos, view texts, zoom in on images, and listen to audio guides. The videos do not have any spoken words.


Roman culture definitively traverses boundaries, as examined through the underground Catacombs of Priscilla and Nero’s Domus Transitoria. The Catacombs of Priscilla virtual video tour explores restored religious frescoes as well as the bones of Christian martyrs and popes. Nero’s Domus Transitoria and its virtual video tour takes visitors through the past life of Emperor Nero’s palace, which was destroyed in the great Roman fire of 64 BC. The linked videos above include closed captioning and a thorough walkthrough of each point in the tour.


Perhaps the most quintessential parts of Rome, the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Pantheon remain heavily visited attractions in the city. A symbol of Rome itself, the Colosseum – its virtual video tour can be accessed by this link – was the main arena of the city, where citizens could view gladiator fights and other similar events. The Forum, which also has a virtual video tour, was the main seat of power in the city, and it was the scene of all political upheaval and renewal. Finally, the Pantheon gave Romans a main place for worship, being a temple dedicated to all Roman gods, and can be explored thorugh this virtual video tour. The videos above give access to incredibly informative and in-depth videos walking through almost the entirety of the sites. Each video includes written blurbs related to the relics shown.


Tune in to Shows and Movies About Rome

To visit Rome from the comfort of your couch, check out the documentary Dream for Italy: Rome, which takes the viewer on a journey around the city and all its exciting marvels. Posted on PBS, the video is free to watch and includes closed captioning.


Take a deep dive into Italian cuisine with Rome Italy: 24 Hour Food Tour on Amazon Prime. Once acquainted with the basics, allow Stanly Tucci to continue the food exploration through his series Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, this is also available on CNN with a regular account or Hulu with a premium account. Both shows have the option for closed captioning, and will definitely have you drooling for some flaky focaccia bread or cheesy gnocchi.


For a mix of historical truth and fiction (and an exciting dose of drama), be sure to turn to the Netflix series Roman Empire, which circles around the events leading to the Roman empire’s demise. The show has the option for both closed captioning and audio description.


Get Lost in Books About Rome

There are novels galore relating to Rome and its vast history. The History of Ancient Rome explains just that and is currently only available on Audible. Rome: An Empire’s Story goes even deeper into the motivations behind Roman leaders, examining how they maintained such an expansive empire.


A captivating historical novel, I, Claudius by Robert Graves details the autobiography of Roman Emperor Claudius, and the trials he faced in his rule.

The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff is also a phenomenal read for young adults, centering around Roman Britain in the 5th century and how the removal of Roman troops from Britain affected British citizenry. All books listed, except the first, are available both on Kindle and Audible.


Bring Rome to Your Kitchen

Much of Italian cuisine that we are familiar with is usually centered around bread, cheese, pasta, and pizza. Luckily, these dishes can be modified to allow those with gluten and dairy sensitivities to still enjoy the fruits of Roman cooking. A staple of pasta dishes is the vegan aglio e oglio, which is essentially a good quality pasta of choice, garlic, and olive oil. We found two simple recipes, the first recipe is closer to the original recipe, and the second recipe also adds in mushrooms.


The well-loved Italian dessert gelato relies on copious amounts of cream and sugar to achieve its unique flavor and texture. However, there are alternatives that allow lactose intolerant individuals to still enjoy the treat. The brands Talenti and Puro Vegan Gelato have dairy free gelato options, but it is also just as easy to make at home. This vegan gelato base recipe allows the cook to add whatever toppings or flavors they want, and this chocolate vegan gelato recipe is perfect for a rich, creamy finish to a great meal.


 

Where to Next?

Thanks for wandering Rome, Italy with us virtually. Join us next time as we explore Athens, Greece.

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