Things to Do in Rome
A trip to Rome is a trip through history. Rome is a kind of open-air museum, where you take a step into the world of the ancient Romans. Visit the Roman Forum, the Pantheon and certainly do not miss the Colosseum! There are also the numerous sculptures and fountains of Bernini and of course the center of Catholicism: the small city-state Vatican City.
The Trevi fountain in Rome is probably the most beautiful fountain in the world. The ‘Fontana di Trevi’ is in any case the most famous. The fountain was built in 1762 after a design by Niccolò Salvi, an Italian architect. Unfortunately, he died prematurely and has never been able to admire the final result. His work was taken over by Pietro Bracci, the sculptor who also made the statue Oceanus for the Trevi Fountain. The images tell the story of Neptune and the goddesses of abundance (Abundantia) and health (Salus). When you throw a coin through your left shoulder in the fountain, you are assured of a return to the beautiful old city of Rome. The daily revenue is for the benefit of a good cause.
In this former Roman center you can admire remnants from a period in which the city turned into what was later called the ‘navel of the world’. From this place speeches, elections, festivities and other public announcements were made to the people. There has been a lot of history here. The Roman Forum is located between the Palatine Hill (Palentino Hill) and the Capitol. Among the ruins and buildings are imperial palaces, temples, triumphal arches and colonnades.
The almost always crowded Spanish Steps in Rome are very popular. The 138 steps of the Scalinata di Spagna are often used as a well-deserved resting point when you walk through the city. The view of Piazza di Spagna is truly beautiful. It is therefore not surprising that many artists from the past and present feel so attracted to this place. In the immediate vicinity are the fountain ‘Fontana della Barcaccia‘, the monastery church ‘Trinità dei Monti, the home of the poets Keats and Shelley and the Casa Museo Giorgio De Chirico.
The most important landmark of Rome is the Coloseum. This impressive amphitheater has taken a prominent place in the center of the city. The ‘Colosseo’ of Rome is a legacy from the first century AD and was intended to entertain the inhabitants. Within the walls of the Colosseum, bloody battles were organized between gladiators, lions and criminals, with which people often continued until death followed. Certainly for that era, the construction was progressive. According to Vespasian, the founder, it had to be big and spectacular. In the museum of the Colosseum you will learn more about the history surrounding this beautiful building.
Thanks in part to the beautiful dome and stately appearance, the Pantheon has never lost its popularity over the centuries. The ancient structure was built on the orders of Emperor Hadrian. It still belongs to one of the best preserved old buildings from Roman times. The inside has remained largely intact throughout the centuries. In terms of decoration, some things have changed. For example, various sculptures, paintings and altars have been placed that come from different episodes. In the dome there is a hole through which a special light can be admired. Since the inauguration of Pope Boniface IV in the year 609, the Pantheon has been in use as a church of Saint Mary and the martyrs (Santa Maria dei Martiri).
On the spot where the stadium of Domitianus was located around the first century, there is now a large square with the ‘Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi’ on it. This Four-stream fountain with obelisk was designed in the seventeenth century by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Ever since the origins of Piazza Navona, this impressive square has been central to various festivities, performances and Christmas markets.
In the vicinity of Parco Adriano stands the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Roman emperor. The mausoleum was commissioned by this emperor in the second century. Around the fourteenth century the mausoleum was taken into use as a papal fort and later as a prison where executions took place. Nowadays Castel Sant’Angelo has been decorated as a museum, Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo.
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is the second largest and most famous church in the world, located on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. The square is a creation of architect and sculptor Bernini and designed as a pilgrimage place where all Christians in the world can come together. The church was built on the site where the Nero Circus used to be in Rome. According to tradition, the Apostle and first Pope, Peter, were buried there. The construction lasted from 1506 to 1626. In the church you can admire various art treasures, including the Pietà by Michelangelo (marble sculpture). The dome of the basilica with a diameter of 43.3 meters is the largest in the world. Do not forget to climb the dome. The view at a height of 137 meters is magnificent.
As the official residence of the Pope, the Sistine Chapel (Capella Sistina) can count on a lot of attention every day. The chapel is located in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City. The richly decorated chapel is the masterpiece of the well-known Michelangelo. The painting ‘The Last Judgment’, which can be admired here, is frequently visited. Other artworks are made by Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Demenico Ghirlandaio and Hendrick van den Broeck.
Gardens of Villa Borghese
Although we speak about gardens here, the word park seems more appropriate. The gardens of Villa Borghese are approximately eighty hectares and are very close to the center of Rome. From the end of the sixteenth century the estate belonged to the papal family Borghese. Apart from visiting the various museums, the park is now frequently visited by recreationists, sports enthusiasts and families. In addition, the park contains several stately villas, a zoo, the Zoological Museum, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna and various sculptures.
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