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Rome: The eternal city

Designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732, the fountain is one of the largest Baroque fountains in the city and one of the most famous in the world. Nearly 3,000 euro is thrown into the fountain each day by tourist, which is collected and used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s low-income population.  (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Michael Battles)

Designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732, the fountain is one of the largest Baroque fountains in the city and one of the most famous in the world. Nearly 3,000 euro is thrown into the fountain each day by tourist, which is collected and used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s low-income population. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Michael Battles)

Also known as Flavian Amphitheater, the Colosseum is not only the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire, but the world. The Colosseum is also one of the wonders of the world and is Rome’s most visited destination.  (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Michael Battles)

Also known as Flavian Amphitheater, the Colosseum is not only the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire, but the world. The Colosseum is also one of the wonders of the world and is Rome’s most visited destination. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Michael Battles)

Built at the base of the Trinita dei Monti church, the Spanish Steps was built by French diplomat Etienne Gueffier and is comprised of 135 steps. Known as the widest stairway in Europe, the Spanish Steps descend into Rome’s high end shopping district in Piazza di Spagna. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Michael Battles)

Built at the base of the Trinita dei Monti church, the Spanish Steps was built by French diplomat Etienne Gueffier and is comprised of 135 steps. Known as the widest stairway in Europe, the Spanish Steps descend into Rome’s high end shopping district in Piazza di Spagna. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Michael Battles)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- A few Fridays ago, I was sitting at work wondering what I should do with my weekend. With very little time to plan out a trip it hit me -- Rome is basically in my backyard.

As the work day ended, I hustled home to plan my last-minute, 48-hour adventure, and within an hour I had a hotel booked and was on the short five-hour train ride to the ancient city.

Arriving in the city, I knew I only had a short amount of time to explore and experience everything Rome had to offer. The great thing about the train station in Rome is that it connected to every destination in the city via the subway system. With the train arriving around 11 p.m., I made my way to my hotel, which was conveniently located within a 10-minute walk of the Roman Colosseum and cost only 39 euro per night.

After locating my hotel, which was easy to find through the subway system, I took a short break before venturing out on the town. As I walked the streets, I noticed that the city really comes alive at night with the lights of the modern city illuminating the historic monuments, and the sounds of tourist and local filling the side street pubs. The Roman capital seems to be Italy's version of the city that never sleeps.

On my first full day in the city, I hit the streets to explore some of the many iconic monuments. I suggest buying a Roma Pass from one of the local convenience stores for about 20 euro, which allows you to move to the front of the line, covers entrance fees and public transportation for many of Rome's larger attractions. Even for a two-day trip it's well worth it when entrance fee can costs up to 10 euro per site.

So with my pass in hand, I headed toward the largest site in Rome: the Colosseum. Also known as Flavian Amphitheater, the Colosseum is not only the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire, but the world. The Colosseum is also one of the wonders of the world and is Rome's most visited destination.

Within walking distance of the Colosseum is the Pantheon, a temple built to honor the gods of ancient Rome. The temple is one of Rome's best-preserved ancient monuments and is still used as a Roman Catholic Church.

Another location of ancient Rome within walking distance is the Forum, which was a center for government including elections, speeches and court proceedings. Although the Forum is not accessible to walk through it provides a great backdrop for photos.

The final destination for the day was the Trevi Fountain, which cannot be missed on a trip to Rome. Designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732, the fountain is one of the largest Baroque fountains in the city and one of the most famous in the world. The most interesting aspect I found about the fountain is that nearly 3,000 euro is thrown into it each day by tourist tossing coins over their shoulder hoping their wishes come true, which is collected and used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome's low-income population.

Wrapping up my trip, I decided to visit Vatican City, which is only a 15-minute subway ride from the heart of Rome. Home of the Pope, the Vatican is the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world with only 839 residents in an area less than a mile long. I was captivated by sites at the Vatican including: St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Apostolic Library that were created by influencial artist such as Michelangelo, Botticelli and Raphael. For those lucky individuals who catch the Vatican on the right weekend, you might catch a glimpse of the Pope during Sunday mass.

The trip to Rome was a short one, but knowing I'm so close to a city with an abundance of culture and history, I know it won't be my last time in the ancient city. For anyone looking to take a quick adventure in Aviano's backyard, Rome is an easy location to check off the bucket list.