Rome was called the “Eternal City” by the ancient Romans because they believed that no matter what happened in the rest of the world, the city of Rome would always remain standing. Exploring the city centre by foot surrounded by glorious monuments and colossal remains takes you back in time to the “glory that was Rome”.
With its unparalleled history, Rome is the third most visited city in Europe and the fourteenth worldwide. It attracts visitors from all over the world who are impatient to discover the city’s impressive monuments and archaeological sites; not to mention its renowned cuisine and its lively atmosphere.
When exploring the Colosseum, visitors will easily imagine how the gladiators fought for their life in the arena, cheered by the crowd. In the Circus Maximus, travelers will picture the chariots crashing into each other in order to be first in the race, and in the Roman Forum visualise what the Roman public life was like.
How was Rome founded? How did it become an Empire? What was the role of the Catholic Church throughout Rome’s history? The exact origins of the city of Rome are still somewhat of a mystery. There are several theories all based on the writings of ancient authors and the archaeological discoveries. For this reason, the founding of Rome is based mainly on legend and myth. Instead of solid facts and figures. The existence of Roman Kingdom was even questioned during practically two centuries by expert historians. During the nineteenth and twentieth century, they dismissed the idea of the early kings of Rome (Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius) as well as the date of the founding of what would later become the capital of Italy, in 753 BC. This part of history was merely considered a legend and not taken seriously. It was only during the late twentieth century when, thanks to the findings of numerous archeological digs and other sciences, that the myths surrounding the establishment of the city and its first rulers were reconsidered. It is believed that the first inhabitants of Rome came from various parts of the region and had neither the economic nor the cultural development of their northern neighbours, the Estrucans, nor the southern civilization called the Sabines and Latins. In the Palatine Hill archeologists found the remains of a primitive settlement from the eight century BC, with burials on the outskirts of the village. It is thought that as the population grew, the inhabitants settled on the slopes of the nearby hills and during the next century they established themselves in the valley.
The Colosseum: Known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Roman Colosseum is one of the capital’s most remarkable monuments. Every year over 6 million people visit it. The Colosseum is the main symbol of Rome. It is an imposing construction that with almost 2,000 years of history, will bring you back in time to discover the way of life in the Roman Empire.
Roman Forum: Located between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum, the Roman Forum was the hub of political and social activity of the Roman citizens. The Roman Forum was where religious and public life in ancient Rome took place. The Forum is, along with the Colosseum, the greatest sign of the splendour of the Roman Empire that can be seen today.
Trevi Fountain: Have you been told to throw a coin into the Fontana di Trevi? Learn the myth behind this tradition and learn about its history. Trevi Fountain is the most beautiful fountain in Rome. Measuring some 20 metres in width by 26 metres in height, Trevi Fountain is also the largest fountain in the city. The origins of the fountain go back to the year 19 B.C., in which period the fountain formed the end of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct. The first fountain was built during the Renaissance, under the direction of Pope Nicholas V. The final appearance of the Trevi Fountain dates from 1762, when after many years of works at the hand of Nicola Salvi, it was finalized by Giuseppe Pannini. Interesting enough, the name of Trevi derives from Tre Vie (three ways), since the fountain was the meeting point fo three streets. Why are there always people in the fountain throwing coins into the water and taking photos of themselves? The myth, originating in 1954 with the movie “Three Coins in the Fountain” goes like this. If you through one coin: you will return to Rome. If you through two coins: you will fall in love with an attractive Italian. If you throw three coins: you will marry the person that you met. In order to achieve the desired effects, you should through the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder. An interesting statistic is that approximately a million euros worth of coins are taken from the fountain each year. Since 2007 this money has been used to support good causes.
Piazza Navona: Defined during the fifteenth century, the Baroque-style Piazza Navona is one of the most charming and popular squares in Rome. The public square is built on the site where the Stadium of Domintian (Circus Agonalis), founded in 86 AD, once stood. It could hold approximately 20,000 spectators, which came here to see different athletic competitions.
St. Peter’s Square: St Peter’s Square or Piazza San Pietro is probably one of the world’s most famous square and one of the most breath-taking. Designed by Bernini during the seventeenth century, it houses over 300,000 people.
St. Peter’s Basilica: Located in the Vatican City, is considered one of the Catholic Church’s holiest temples and an important pilgrimage site. St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the holiest temples for Christendom and one of the largest churches in the world. Besides, it is where the Pope presides many liturgies all year round. The construction of the new basilica began in 1506, when the old basilica had been torn down, and was finished in 1626. It was consecrated on 18 November, 1626. Several renowned architects designed the temple, highlighting the works of Bramante, Michelangelo and Carlo Maderno. The basilica was called St Peter’s after one of Jesus’s twelve disciples known as Saint Peter, who became one of the founders of the Catholic Church was executed in Rome and buried where the Basilica now stands.
Sistine Chapel: Regarded as Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina) is a jaw-dropping attraction you must see at least once in your lifetime. The Sistine Chapel is one of the greatest treasures of the Vatican City, of Rome and of the world in general. It is known as much for its decoration , as for being the temple in which popes are chosen and crowned. The construction of the building was carried out between 1473 and 1481 during the mandate of Pope Sixtus IV, to whom it owes its current name. The architect responsible for the construction was Giovanni of Dolci and it is the only work that he is remembered for. What grabs the attention in the Sistine Chapel is not its architecture, but the frescoes that completely cover the walls and the ceiling. Some of the most important artists who worked in the chapel are Botticelli, Perugino, Luca and Michelangelo. All of the frescoes of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are the work of Michelangelo, who spent four years painting the vault between 1508 and 1512. If there is one thing that stands out from among the images on the ceiling, it is the nine stories from Genesis that occupy the central area: The scenes from the Drunkenness of Noah to the Separation of Light from Darkness are represented.
Pizza di Spagna & the Spanish Steps: A magnificent example of Italian Baroque style, Piazza di Spagna and its “Scalina Spagna” is one of the most-visited squares in Rome. The Piazza di Spagna (English: Square of Spain) is one of Rome’s most renowned squares. The name comes from the Palazzo di Spagna, the seat of the Spanish Embassy for the Vatican located on this square since the seventeenth century. The Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Trinita dei Monti in Italian) were built at the beginning of the eighteenth century connecting Piazza di Spagna and the Church of Trinita dei Monti. It is one of the most famous parts of Rome. Every July, the square and the 135 steps are decorated to receive the Donne Sotto le Stelle fashion show. The staircase is a favourite spot among tourists to sit, relax and enjoy the views of Piazza di Spagna.
Pantheon: The Pantheon, completed in 126AD, was a Roman temple with surprising oculus that is the building’s main source of natural light. The Pantheon of Agrippa, also known as the Roman Pantheon, is one of the architectural masterpieces of the Italian capital. It is the best preserved building from ancient Rome. The construction of the current Pantheon was carried out during the reign of Hadrian, in the year o126 A.D.. The name Agrippa comes from the place in which the current building is built, which was previously occupied by the Pantheon of Agrippa, built in the year 27 B.C. and that was destroyed in a fire in the year 80 A.D. At the beginning of the 7th century, the building was donated to the Pope Boniface IV, who transomed it into a church, in which function it currently finds itself in a perfect state of preservation.
Catacombs of Rome: The Catacombs of Rome are former underground burial grounds that date from the second to the fifth century and were principally used by Christians and Jews. The catacombs are subterranean passageways that were used as place of burial for a number of centuries. The burials of Jewish , pagan and early Christian Roman citizens in the catacombs began in the second century and ended in the fifth century. The word catacomb, which means “next to the quarry”, comes from the fact that the first exceptions to be used as a place of burial were carried out in the outskirts of Rome, next to the site of ta quarry.