Rome, called the "Eternal City", fascinates visitors with museums, palaces and churches that house some of the most important artistic treasures in the world. An intriguing destination for those who see it for the first time, truly wonderful for those who take a little more confidence. Not only canonical paths, but also those more particular and less traveled have their charm.
Capital of the Roman Empire and of the Papal State, it was founded in 753 B.C. and over the course of its three millennia of history it was the first metropolis of humanity, the beating heart of one of the most important ancient civilizations: its town planning and its historical center faithfully reflect its long and complex history.
The undisputed symbol of the Eternal City is certainly the Coliseum, famous all over the world, inserted in 2007 among the "Seven Wonders of the modern world".
The Coliseum, formerly called Amphitheathrum Flavium, was built during the Flavian period in an area on the eastern edge of the Roman Forum and is the largest amphitheater in the world. Its construction was started by Vespasiano in 72 A.D. and inaugurated by Titus in 80, with further changes made during the empire of Domitian in 90. It was formerly used for gladiatorial shows and other public events such as hunting shows, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on classical mythology.
The Imperial Forums, represent one of the most important tourist sites of the capital; in the Ancient Imperial Rome they represented the main place of public and private life; they included Temples, Archs, the Domus Flavia and other houses built between 46 B.C. and 113 A.D. The first Imperial Forum built was the Forum of Caesar, followed by those of Augustus, Nerva and Trajan in later times.
Another interesting building of Ancient Rome, is the Pantheon, famous for its central opening at the top of the dome, which creates luminous suggestions inside, emphasizing its beauty.
Located in the historic center, it was built as a temple dedicated to all past, present and future deities. Its foundation dates back to 27 B.C., by arpinian Marco Vipsanio Agrippa and was then rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian between 120 and 124 A.D., after some fires had damaged the previous construction of the Augustan age. The building is composed of a circular structure joined to a portico in Corinthian columns that support a pediment. The large circular cell, called roundabout, houses at its apex the circular opening, called oculus. Among the domes in unarmed concrete, the diameter of the one in the Pantheon is still unsurpassed in size.
St. Peter's Basilica and Vatican Museums
Dedicated to the homonymous saint, the St. Peter's Basilica is the center of the Catholic religion, able to bring together both religious believers and art lovers. The Basilica is located in Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world in terms of territorial extension and population.
The construction of the current St. Peter's Basilica was begun on April 18, 1506 under Pope Julius II and ended in 1626, during the pontificate of Pope Urban VIII; the arrangement of the monumental St. Peter's Square ended only in 1667, under Alexander VII by Bernini. The works were carried out by several brilliant minds such as Giuliano da Sangallo, Donato Bramante, Raffaello Sanzio, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giacomo Della Porta, Carlo Maderno, the aforementioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini and many others, who helped create one of the most amazing buildings in the world.
Directly connected to St. Peter's Basilica are the Vatican Museums, which currently include the Museums and the open spaces of the Vatican palaces, with the collections housed there. Founded by Pope Julius II in the sixteenth century, they occupy much of the vast courtyard of the Belvedere and are one of the largest collections of art in the world, since they exhibit the huge collections amassed over the centuries by the Popes: the Sistine Chapel and the papal apartments frescoed by Michelangelo and Raffaello are just part of those wonders that visitors can admire during this journey.
Rome, a city rich in history and erudition, is characterized by numerous places of cultural importance as can be witnessed by the presence of the Capitoline Museums, which include several museums and palaces, including the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Museum of Roman Civilization.
The most famous work that is preserved there is the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius; the one in the middle of the Campidoglio square is actually a copy, while the original, after having undergone restoration work, is now placed inside the new glazed lecture hall, the Esedra of Marcus Aurelius, inside the Roman Garden of Palazzo dei Conservatori.
The visit to the other museum building, New Palace, is included in the same entrance ticket; you can always access it from the square or from an underground gallery dug in the thirties and currently set up as the Lapidary Gallery. Here is also the symbol of the city, the bronze of the Capitoline Wolf, together with the famous colossal head of Constantine I, visible in the courtyard, which dates back to the fourth century A.D. There are also numerous modern and contemporary exhibitions, often of a scientific nature.
Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Navona
Rome is one of the favorite cities for those who love shopping: indeed from Piazza di Spagna, characteristic for the steep and majestic staircase leading to Trinità dei Monti, you get to Via Condotti, where there are the boutiques of the most luxurious fashion brands renowned.
By walking, visitors also come across Via del Corso, a very important historical road that starts from the beautiful Piazza del Popolo. Today it is the real Roman shopping street as it is studded by the biggest Italian and international brands, but also by big stores.
Finally, Piazza Navona, always crowded, is the ideal place to gather in the evening thanks to the many clubs in its vicinity; always full of street artists and painters, having fun between the wonderful Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini and the Church of Saint Agnese of Borromini, is a unique experience.
St. John in Lateran
The Arcibasilica of St. John in Lateran rises near Mount Celio and is the mater et caput of all the churches of Rome and the world. The excavations, conducted several times under the floor of the basilica and under the cloister, have brought to light various features of the foundations of the Severian era. The Basilica was consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester I and from the fourth century until the fourteenth century. when the Church moved to Avignon, this was the only seat of the papacy on Roman soil.
After a long period of neglect and various reconstructions following several fires, in 1650 the total reorganization of the Basilica was entrusted to Francesco Borromini, whose work is still evident today.
The beautiful Sant'Angelo castle was built in 123 A.D. and today it houses the National Museum of Sant'Angelo castel, rich in weapons, paintings and sculptures. Also called Hadrian's Mausoleum, it is located on the right bank of the Tiber river opposite the Sant'Angelo bridge, not far from the Vatican, inside the Borgo district; it is connected to the Vatican State through the fortified corridor nicknamed the "passetto".
The castle has been radically altered several times in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Within the center's alleys, you can admire the romantic Trevi Fountain, also made famous by Fellini's "La Dolce Vita"; the monument made of travertine and marble is a combination of classicism and baroque style. It is the largest and best known, as well as visited, fountain of Rome. Designed by Nicola Salvi, it's placed on one side of Conti of Poli palace, and was built between 1732 and 1762.
Villa Borghese and city parks
Many parks, villas and green areas such as the Gianicolo, a hill from which you can enjoy a splendid view of the city, are one of Rome's benchmarks.
Villa Borghese is the most famous city park in Rome, and is divided into several areas including the Garden, the Fallow Dear Park, the Lake Garden and the Riding Track; it also hosts the Biopark. In terms of wildlife, Villa Ada is the richest park in Rome, while the beautiful Savello Park, also known as Orange Garden, is located on the Aventine Hill. The park of the villa hosts a good number of buildings. The most important are: Casino called Raffaello and Casino Nobile also known as Borghese Gallery, inside of which you can admire works of art of rare beauty.