Places to visit:
- Castel Sant’ Angelo
It is Hadrian’s mausoleum or as it is called the Castle of the Holy Angel. Hadrian was a Roman emperor, he ordered the building of the mausoleum for himself and his family. It was completed in 139 AD, the place is so gigantic that only the pyramids are bigger. It was used as a fortress for almost a thousand years, nowadays it functions as a museum. That is where Hadrian’s grave can be found. Since 1280 a covered fortified corridor connects it to the Vatican. It was used as a shelter for popes as well, so in the 16th century a chapel was built in it. It is named after the angel statue found on the top of the fortress. You can visit the beautiful staterooms of the pope here, if you go down to the cellar you can see how a torture chamber looked like.
The bridge leading to the Caste is called the Ponte Sant’ Angelo, many think it is the most beautiful bridge in Rome. It was also built during the rule of Hadrian from 134-139 AD. The bridge is decorated with the statue of Paul and Peter the Apostles and 10 angles. The angels were put on the bridge later in the 17th century by Bernini and his disciples.
- Piazza Navona
It is the most beautiful and most popular square in Rome. It is oval shaped as the square was home of the games and some theatrical events. Also it used to be the home of the market, they organised naval battles on the square as well, whereas it was flooded with water. There are 3 fountains on Piazza Navona including the work of art of Bernini the Quattro Fiumi. It is recommended to have a coffee in one of the cafés. From here you can enjoy the spectacular view of the architectural masterpieces found on the square. Piazza Navona has got a vivid night life. After dark street performers and buskers entertain the crowds. The restaurants and cafés are usually full.
- Villa Borghese
The villa and its area is the second biggest park in Rome. It has got an artificial lake where you can rent a boat and enjoy the idyllic scenery. Its spectacular beauty with its walks and statues offer you a jaw dropping experience. The park was owned by the Borghese family until 1902, since then it is open to the public. You can find Galleria Borghese (museum) in the magnificent castle (Villa Borghese). You can view the priceless artworks of Rubens, Veronese, Raphael, Tiziano and Lucas Cranach.
- Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna
These are the longest and widest open steps in Europe. It is the favourite meeting point of the locals. It has got 135 steps. It was built in 1725, after a huge donation – 20.000 scudi – was given by a French diplomat Etienne Gueffier. It was last renovated in 1995. The Spanish embassy is located by the steps to this day, hence the name. The steps lead to a church called Trinita dei Monti, there is an Egyptian obelisk in front of the temple – Obelisco Sallustiano. At the bottom you can find a nice square (Piazza di Spagna) with a baroque fountain.
- Piazza di Trevi – Trevi Fountain
One of the most famous and most beautiful fountain in the world. It is walking distance from the Spanish steps. It is the biggest fountain in Rome. It is 26m high and 20m wide. This baroque fountain was finished in 1762. It was designed by the architect Nicola Salvi. Tourist usually throw money in the water, by the end of the day it is usually around €3000, it is collected at the end of the day.
Places to visit:
- Vatican City and Saint Peter’s Basilica
Vatican is the smallest country in the world. It exists since 1929 and its geographical size is 44ha. Its main tourist attractions are Saint Peter’s Square, the Basilica and 14 great museums.
The Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano, or Saint Peter’s Basilica is one of four cathedrals can be found in Rome. The cathedral itself is the tallest building in the Vatican and it can be seen from all over Rome. Its sizes are enormous, it was the biggest Catholic Church in the world until 1989. Its size is 2.3ha it can welcome around 60 thousand people for masses. 211m long and 186m wide 132m tall. We can find a lot of artworks here including the Pieta by Michelangelo – it is his only signed creation. It can be found turning right just after the entrance. The tower of the basilica was designed by Michelangelo. You can take the elevator to the tower, then you have to climb 537 steps to get to the top.
Saint Peter’s Square was completed in 1667 following the plans of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The main goal was to design a square which can host a mass for as many people as possible. The square itself is a masterpiece of optical illusion. By getting closer to the dome it looks as it is getting further, also the square looks round but it is oval shaped.
The museums of the Vatican display a sumptuous collection. They were founded in the 16th century. 4 million people visit the collection every year. The main entrance can be found at the Viala De Vaticano. There are more the 50 thousand pieces of artwork to see it is a one of a kind experience. To be able to navigate in between the collections, colour coded routes were set up for the visitors. There are 4 colours to follow: blue, beige, green and yellow. The blue one is 90 minutes the yellow one is 5 hours, so plan your time accordingly. All routes lead to the Sistine Chapel. You cannot miss out the art gallery where you can find the works of Raphael, Leonardo, Caravaggio and Bernini. The Museo Pio Clementino holds the biggest antique collection of the world from ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.
It is the symbol of Rome the biggest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire, the most prominent building in Roman architecture. It was built from 70 AD-72-80 AD. It could seat 50 thousand people. It was the home of gladiator and beast fights. It was also used as a scene for public executions during the early days of Christianity, usually combined with beast fights.
- Forum Romanum/ Roman Forum
It was the centre of ancient Rome. It is fully excavated so it is easy to imagine how ancient Rome looked like, a flourishing busy metropolis. The Forum Romanum was the centre of political life, trading and the court. There were numerous temples built here for different deities/ gods alike, the senate was built here, you can also find ruins of palaces as well. We must not forget the four triumphal arches either.
- Palatine Hill
It stands 40 meters above Forum Romanum. It is one of the seven hills in Rome. The legend says that two brothers – Romulus and Remus – were raised by a wolf . Romulus killed Remus out of jelousy and decided to build Rome here in 753 BC.
This was the most upscale area of ancient Rome, all the villas and palaces of nobleman were built here, as a matter of fact, this is still the most expensive place to buy real estate in Rome nowadays. It is due to the fact that the view is magnificent in a beautiful calm environment, surrounded by nature, not to mention the beautiful panorama.
Numerous ruins can be found here. The biggest is the Stadium, it is 165m long and 80m wide. Its purpose and date of build is not known. Another significant ruin is the Flavian Palace, it was completed in 92 AD. Southeast from Flavian Palace lies Augustus’ Palace, it used to be the home of Roman Emperors. One of the best preserved building is Casa di Livia (Livia’s House), it is roughly 200 meters away from Augustus’ Palace.
This is where you find palaces from the middle ages. Most of them were designed by Michelangelo. The main square of the Capitolium is called the Piazza del Campidoglio, the square itself and the surrounding buildings were all designed by Michelangelo, there are 3 museums and the gold plated bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius here. The palaces and the museums are connected via underground tunnels.
Places to visit:
This is the best preserved building from ancient Rome. It was built to worship the 7 gods of Rome. Today it is a catholic temple. It is the final resting place of Raphael and Victor Emmanuel I (the first king of Italy). The original Pantheon was built in 27 BC and it was destroyed by fire. The building which stands today was built in 125 AD under the rule of Emperor Hadrian.
- Isola Tiberina – Tiber Island
The island can be found on the River Tiber. It is a boat shaped, small island 270m long and 67m wide. Some say it is the smallest inhabited island in the world. It is a calm and quiet place after busy Rome, especially if you go for a walk by the river. There are restaurants and cafés on the island. A big church has been standing here. It connects to Rome with 2 bridges. Ponte Fabricio was built in 62 BC, the oldest bridge in Rome. Ponte Cestio was built in 46 BC leads to the Trastevere. Trastevere is the west bank of the Tiber, district 13 in Rome, has got an original Mediterranean character with its narrow streets, ancient buildings and many restaurants and pubs.
- St. John Lateran Basilica
It is the oldest and biggest basilica in Rome and the most important catholic building in the world as this is where you find the Pope’s throne. It is the cathedral church of Rome. This basilica is “the temple of temples” it was founded in the 4th century during the rule of Constantin the Great, it was destroyed a few times during the centuries, but it was rebuilt every time. The basilica as we know it today originates from the 14th century, it was extended and renovated in the 17th-18th century. The façade was designed by Alessandro Galilei and built in 1735.
- Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
According to the legend the Blessed Virgin Mary raised snowfall in the middle of summer on Esquiline Hill, where she wanted the church to be built. Nowadays it is customary that on that august day they scatter white petals on the people attending the remembrance ceremony. It was built in the middle of the 5th century, there are a few mosaics remain from this period. It has been renovated a few times. Some exquisite artworks can be found here, including the breath-taking frescos.