Things to see and do - Rome
Rome...between heaven and earth :
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Rome...between heaven and earth
Rome...between heaven and earthPedestrian, Public Transport, 14 km, 4 days
The spoil of riches that is Rome means that it can take at least a week to get all the way around! This walking tour will allow you to access the essence of the Eternal City in just a couple of days...Customise this route and add it to My travel book
At the centre of Rome, this huge and busy square was extensively remodelled in 1911 when the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II was erected. Palaces border it on all sides: Palazzo Venezia to the west, Palazzo Bonaparte (where Napeoleon's mother died in 1836) to the north, Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali di Venezia (early 20C) to the east , and to the south the controversial Vittoriano.
This makes for a magnificent scene, bristling with columns, triumphal arches, battered walls, temples converted into churches, and crisscrossed by paved streets, bearing witness to 12 centuries of history. Before starting a detailed exploration of the site, visitors should view it from atop the Capitoline Hill or the tabularium, forming a terrace in the Musei Capitolini overlooking the old city. From here, the forum can be seen in its melancholy majesty redolent of bygone great civilisations.
On the ancient hill that symbolises the might of Rome stands the church of Santa Maria d'Aracoeli plus Piazza del Campidoglio and its palaces: Palazzo Senatorio (the town hall), Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo (these last two housing the Musei Capitolini collections. Superb panorama of the Forum Romanum!
Designed and partially built by Michelangelo from 1536, the square is bordered by three palaces and a balustrade overlooking the statues of the Dioscuri; in the centre Michelangelo placed the statue of Marcus Aurelius (today a copy stands in its place, the original is in Palazzo Nuovo). From Via del Campidoglio there is a view over the ruins of the Forum Romanum.
Piazza del Campidoglio is bordered by numerous palaces, including Palazzo Senatorio, built in the 12C and remodelled between 1582 and 1602 by Giacomo della Porta and Girolamo Rainaldi (today Rome's town hall).
Running the length of the Forum Romanun, this was the most prestigious Roman thoroughfare in Antiquity, along which the triumphal processions of victorious generals made their way.
Inaugurated in 80 AD, the Flavian amphitheatre or Colosseum is the biggest in the Roman world (527m in circumference and 57m high). Three levels of arcades enclose this impressive arena built on part of the site occupied by Nero's Golden House. 50 000 spectators could watch its circus games, gladiator fights and even naval combats.
On this hill, where Romulus and Remus were found, Domitian built his imperial palace, the Domus Flavia, the focus of official life, the Domus Augustana, the private imperial residence, and the stadium. The House of Livia was perhaps home to Augustus (fine vestiges of paintings). North of the hill are the pinewoods of the 16C Farnese gardens.
The backdrop for the Pope's speeches to the faithful, this is undoubtedly the most famous square in the world. Partially enclosed by two sweeping curved colonnades that imbue it with sobriety and solemnity, it was laid out from 1656 by Bernini, the master of Baroque. At its centre stands a 1C BC obelisk which was shipped from Heliopolis to Rome in 37AD on Caligula's orders. It was erected here in 1585 at Sixtus V's request by Domenico Fontana.
Countless artists and architects, including Bramante, Michelangelo and Giacomo della Porta, have worked on this building since the Emperor Constantine first erected a church here in 324, on the site of St Peter's martyrdom. Today a vast basilica looks onto St Peter's Square. The huge interior has countless masterpieces: Michelangelo's Pietà, St Peter's throne, the monument to Urban VIII and Bernini's canopy... From the top of the dome there is a superb view of Rome.
These museums house some fabulous collections... that you will only be able to fleetingly glimpse at, because of the compact crowds. So, follow the flow of people through sumptuously decorated galleries. Take a glance at an Egyptian sarcophagus here, or a Raphael fresco there, until you spill out near the Sistine Chapel. Only the side art gallery will give you a chance to breathe and enjoy an intimate face to face with works of art; Raphael's in particular.
The statue of Giordano Bruno sternly stands at the centre of this square, formerly decked with flowers. It was here that this monk was burned at the stake, in 1600, for heresy. Today, a colourful market overruns it every morning. In the evening, it is a meeting place for young Romans, who are drawn to it by its avant-garde cinema, many bars, "birrerias" and pizzerias.
It is universally known since Anita Ekberg bathed in it, wearing an evening dress, in Dolce Vità. The monumental Trevi Fountain is a late Baroque masterpiece, erected by Nicola Salvi in 1732, on Pope Clement XII's orders. Its water comes from a 20 km-long canal, built by Agrippa in 19 B.C. The day-long crowd will force you to be patient before being able to throw two coins into it, as it is believed that this action will ensure your return to Rome.