Rome

The Eternal City

Italy’s capital Rome has in it haunting sights, inspiring art and a vibrant street life. Rome has been the cradle of one of the world’s greatest civilizations. It is hence, rich in culture, and has been the centre of power for over a millennium and has greatly influenced the world , as a millennium-long centre of power, culture (having been the cradle of one of the globe’s greatest civilisations ever) and religion, has exerted a huge influence over the world in its roughly 2800 years of existence.

Rome is the world’s most visited capital that presents a blend of a rich history and heritage with a very cosmopolitan ambience.

Rome is today, a shopping haven and a fashion capital of the world.

Major Attractions
Colosseum

The architectural skills of the ancient Romans are phenomenal, truly evident in the Colosseum, where the gladiator games were celebrated. The bloody fights first began in 82 A.D. that established man’s thirst to prove himself stronger, winning bloody duels with man and beast, egged on lustily by huge crowd up to several thousands.

The Arch of the Constantine outside the Colosseum was built in 315, to commemorate the victory of Constantine over Marcus Aurelius vaerius Maxentius. Booking your tickets online in advance can help you avoid crowd and is valid for the Forum and Palatine hill nearby.

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum was the centre of city life in ancient days. Festivals were hosted, celebrations and rituals were attended to and funerals too were held there. This was an empty marshland till 7th Century BC, around which the city grew later. The place lost its charm after the 8th century, much after the bloody games were stopped and it stood through natural calamities. The excavations in 19th century brought helped clear the debris and also brought to the fore many inscriptions dating back to the 5th and the 6th centuries. The Colosseum has stood the test of time, and is a relic of the Roman history. You can enjoy a self-guided tour with a map, or join a group. The climb to Palatine Hill nearby will give you a panoramic view of the city.

Pantheon

Constructed in 27 B.C., this Roman temple is still intact. It was rebuilt in the early 2nd century A.D., after a fire accident. The advent of Christianity added an altar in the temple, and saw the abandonment of the pagan gods. With the Renaissance, the Pantheon also became the designated tomb for some of the dignitaries of the city, including the famous artist Raphael and former kings of Italy.

The Pantheon’s architecture has many imitations around the globe. Its tall columns, expansive interior and beautiful dome. The sun shines through the oculus which is a 27 foot hole in the centre of the rotunda.

St Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is a major tourist attraction aside to it being the fulcrum around which the Catholic Christian world revolves. It is a huge church with an interior spanning 120 m in height. A space shuttle with its booster rockets or the Statue of Liberty, can fit inside this structure. The basilica stands on the site where the apostle St. Peter was crucified and buried. St. Peter is considered to be the first pope.

The construction of the current building commenced in 1506 and ended in 1615. Famous artists like Michelangelo designed the dome and Bernini designed the St. Peter’s Square.

Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel

Pope Julius II founded the Vatican Museum in the 6th century. It is inside the Vatican City and boasts of some of the world’s important relics.

The spiral staircase, the Raphael Rooms and the beautifully decorated Sistine Chapel are the attractions the museums offer.

Between 1508 and 1512, under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted the Sistine chapel ceiling. The ceiling, and the Last Judgement in particular, though painted around 25 years apart, are considered to be Michelangelo’s masterpieces.

Piazza Navona

The public square at Piazza Navona is the most beautiful among all the others in Rome. Like all others, this one is lined with restaurants and open-air cafes too. Sporting events were held here at the Domitian’s stadium in A.D. 89. There are 3 fountains in the square and Bernini’s fountain – Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi – is the largest among them. This is the fountain of the Four Rivers, with the four statues representing the four rivers in four continents, as acknowledged by the then Renaissance geographers. The four rivers are, the Nile in Africa, the Ganges in Asia, the Danube in Europe and the Rio de la Plata in America.

Trevi Fountain

Tourists are seen throwing coins in the Trevi fountain. There are many folklore woven around this ritual, ranging from finding your love to returning once more to the Eternal City! The fountain is a Baroque masterpiece designed by Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci, depicting the god Neptune riding a shell-shaped chariot led by seahorses. The money collected from this fountain is used to support food programs for the city’s poor.

Galleria Borghese

The Galleria Borghese is in the sprawling gardens of the Villa Borghese. The museum houses impressive collections like the Bernini’s sculptures including Apollo and Daphne, a depiction of young David preparing to take on Goliath, and works of masters like Correggio, Raphael, Rubens and Caravaggio. The museum allows only 360 visitors every 2 hours. Hence, reserving your tickets well in advance is advised.

Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant’angelo is a fortress on the river Tiber. It was originally designed by the Emperor Hadrian and was to be used as a mausoleum for his family. Its lavish design makes it a fitting place of rest for the royalty. It towers above the city and has fabulous views. Over the centuries, it was used as a military fortress and then as a papal residence and even as a prison for some time. Visitors are allowed to see the apartments. The statue of the archangel Michael above the terrace is a sight not to be missed.

Spanish Steps

The bubbling Barcaccia fountain at the foot of the longest and widest Spanish steps, and the Trinita dei Monti church above the steps, together, are a sight to watch. Relax comfortably on the stairs and view the city move by, with its high-end shops, designer boutiques and restaurants.

For more information about customized itineraries to Europe, SMS Europe to 53456