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. The construction of the Colosseum began in the year 72 under the empire of Vespasian and was finished in the year 80 during the rule of the emperor Titus. After completion, the Colosseum became the greatest Roman amphitheatre, measuring 188 meters in length, 156 meters in width and 57 meters in height.
During the Roman Empire and under the motto of "Bread and Circuses" the Roman Colosseum (known then as Flavian Amphitheatre) allowed more than 50,000 people to enjoy its finest spectacles. The exhibitions of exotic animals, executions of prisoners, recreations of battles and gladiator fights kept the Roman people entertained for years.
The Colosseum remained active for over 500 years. The last recorded games in history were celebrated in the 6th century. Since the 6th century the Colosseum has suffered lootings, earthquakes and even bombings during World War Two. Demonstrating a great survival instinct, the Colosseum was used for decades as a storehouse, church, cemetery and even a castle for nobility.
At present the Colosseum is, along with the Vatican City, Rome's greatest tourist attraction. Each year 6 million tourists visit it. On 7 July 2007 the Colosseum became one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
The first nucleus, a collection of ancient sculptures, was constituted by Julius II (1503-13) but the idea of the museum was born with Clement XIII (1758-69), who with the assistance of Winckelmann had the Museo Profano exhibiting set up Greek and Roman sculptures. With Clement XIV (1769-74) and Pius VI (1775-99) the Museo Pio Clementino was born, which brings together the most famous examples of ancient sculpture such as the Apollo del Belvedere, the Laooconte group and the Torso del Belvedere, while in 1807 -10, under Pius VII, the Chiaramonti Museum is set up by Canova, which houses Roman sculptures.
In 1822 the Braccio Nuovo is opened with over 150 sculptures including statues such as the wounded Amazon, the Doryphoros, the enormous statue of the Nile, the Augustus of Prima Porta. With Gregory XVI the Gregorian Etruscan Museum was opened in 1837 , with finds coming mostly from the nineteenth-century excavations carried out in southern Etruria, and in 1839 the Egyptian Gregorian collecting a series of statues depicting deities or characters of the royal family, sarcophagi, mummies and elements of funerary furniture. In 1844 he opened the Lateran Profane Museum (today Gregoriano Profano) and later the Pio Cristiano which collected materials from excavations in the Roman catacombs including numerous sarcophagi.
The Pantheon, completed in 126 AD, was a Roman temple with a 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 126 A.D. The name of 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 transformed it into a church, in which function it currently finds itself in a perfect state of preservation.
In the interior of the Pantheon the tombs of numerous Italian kings and a multitude of art works are found. The best-known person who can be found buried in the Pantheon is without doubt the painter and Renaissance architect Raphael. The outskirts of the Pantheon are usually full of people at all hours, either photographing the imposing building or having a traditional supper in some of the terraces of the Piazza della Rotonda while they enjoy the shows put on by different street artists.
The Trevi fountain, inspired by Roman triumphal arches, is the largest and most famous Baroque fountain in Rome (standing 25.9 meters high and 19.8 meters wide).
In 1629, Pope Urban VIII, asked Bernini to sketch possible renovations of the fountain, finding it insufficiently theatrical. After the Pope's death the project was abandoned. Bernini's lasting contribution was to situate the fountain from the other side of the square to face the Quirinal Palace (so that the Pope could see and enjoy it).
The Trevi Fountain as we know it today, was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and competed in 1762.
The central figures of the fountain are Neptun (God of the sea), flanked by two Tritons. One struggles to master a very unruly "seahorse", the other lead a far more docile animal. These symbolize the two contrasting moods of the sea.
Appropriately for a fountain resembling a stage set, the theatrical Trevi Fountain has been the star of many films shot in Rome, including romantic films such as "Three coins in a fountain" and "Roman holiday", but also "La dolce vita", Federico Fellini's satirical portrait of Rome in the 1950s.
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.
After the fall of the Empire, the Roman Forum was forgotten and little by little it was buried under the earth. Although in the 16th century the existence and location of the Forum was already known, it was not until the 20th century that excavations were carried out.
Interestingly, the place where the Forum was built was originally a marshy area. In the 6th century B.C. the area was drained by means of the Cloaca Maxima, one of the first sewer systems in the world.
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 and was executed in Rome and buried where the Basilica now stands.
Visiting St Peter’s Basilica is an unforgettable experience when staying in Rome. Visitors mustn’t miss out on climbing to the top of the dome, where a stunning view of St Peter’s Square, and if the day is clear of most of the city, awaits them.
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 possess a huge number of subterranean passageways that form real labyrinths that are several kilometres long, along which rows of rectangular niches were dug out. Roman law at the time prohibited the burial of the deceased in the interior of the city, for which reason all of the catacombs were located outside of the walls. These separated and hidden places below ground constituted the perfect refuge in which the Christians could bury their own, freely using Christian symbols.
The catacombs of Rome offer a very special visit in which the funeral remains of those buried many centuries ago can be seen. It is fascinating to travel through the dark and damp passageways, where you can see, in addition to the niches, some inscriptions with the names of the people that once occupied them.
Due to the high infant mortality at that time, you can see a large quantity of spaces prepared for these children, alongside some larger graves in which the whole family was buried.
During the visit, a guide who is specialized in the topic gives the visitors several interesting facts relating to the catacombs and the period in which they were operating.
Situated on Via dei Fori Imperiali, Trajan's Market is an archaeological complex that currently holds the Museum of Imperial Forums (Museo dei Fori Imperiali). It is considered to be Rome’s first “shopping center”. The complex, made of red brick and concrete, had six levels in which there was once up to 150 different shops and apartments.
When you visit the Imperial Forum Museum, you can stroll through Mercati di Traiano's various levels, as well as admiring several exhibitions that show the Imperial Forums' different aspects. The exhibitions are comprised of models and videos that accompany the various remains that are left from the Imperial Forums to try to transport visitors to classical Roman times.
Although it does not enjoy as much fame as the Colosseum, Trajan's Market maintains an important part of its original appearance and offers a really interesting visit.
Located 40 meters above the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill is the most central of the seven hills of Rome and forms one of the oldest parts of the city.
The Palatine Hill is considered to be the birthplace of the Italian capital and is believed to have been inhabited since the year 1000 B.C. During the Republican Period Roman citizens belonging to the upper class settled in the Palatine Hill and built sumptuous palaces, of which important traces are still preserved. n the Palatine Hill you can see hundreds of ruins of the imposing buildings that were created for high Roman society in ancient times. Although the whole scene is impressive, these are some of the points that deserve special attention: Domus Flavia, House of Livia, House of Augustus, Farnese Gardens, Hippodrome of Domitian and Palatine museum.
The Palatine Hill is a very pleasant place for a quiet stroll under the shadow of the trees while passing many of the preserved corners of ancient Rome.
Trastevere is one of the most pleasant neighbourhoods in the city. Its peaceful and bohemian atmosphere is capable of dazzling tourists without failing to attract assiduous Roman citizens.
The life of the neighbourhood is especially concentrated around the Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, where you can see the ancient Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere. The great fountain in front of the temple serves as a meeting place, a resting spot, or simply somewhere to have an ice cream on a hot day.
A walk through the narrow cobbled streets of the Trastevere shows hidden treasures such as modest medieval churches, small shops with the most unusual objects, or even some scenes of everyday life seemingly taken from a forgotten age.
The Arch of Constantine was erected in the year 315 in commemoration of the victory of Constantine I the Great in the Battle of Milvian Bridge. It is located between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill.
Constructed from pieces of previous buildings, the Arch of Constantine is the most modern of the triumphal arches that were built in ancient Rome. It is 21 meters high, 25 meters wide and is made up of three arches.
The Arch of Constantine is one of the best preserved monuments from ancient Rome. Thanks to its excellent location it is one of the most representative and photographed points of the city.
Known as Hadrian's Tomb, the Castel Sant'Angelo is a fortress located on the right bank of the Tiber, a short distance from the Vatican City.
Construction of the building began in the year 135 under the direction of the Emperor Hadrian, who intended to use it as mausoleum for himself and his family. It was finished in the year 139 and a short time later, it became a military building, which in the year 403 would be integrated to the Aurelian Walls.
The Castel Sant'Angelo is split into five floors which can be reached by a spiral ramp that first reaches the chamber of ashes and subsequently the cells in which a number of historical figures were incarcerated.
Advancing toward the upper part of the castle you will find different rooms that functioned as a Papal residence, decorated with perfectly preserved frescoes from the Renaissance period, besides the extensive collection of weapons.
In the upper floor there is a large terrace where you can take amazing photographs of the city from above. Advancing toward the upper part of the castle you will find different rooms that functioned as a Papal residence, decorated with perfectly preserved frescoes from the Renaissance period, besides the extensive collection of weapons. In the upper floor there is a large terrace where you can take amazing photographs of the city from above.
Villa Borghese of Rome is one of the largest urban parks in Europe. The State acquired the gardens from the Borghese family in 1901 and opened them to the public on 12 July 1903.
What differentiates Villa Borghese from other large parks such as Hyde Park or Central Park is the perfect combination between nature and Roman art. Villa Borghese is home to interesting architectural elements, sculptures, monuments and fountains created at different times by famous artists.
If you have enough time in Rome, travel with children or are looking for a little relaxation, the Villa Borghese is a mandatory stop in your itinerary. If you want to tour the Villa Borghese and take advantage of the time to do some exercise, it is possible to rent rollerblades, bicycles and other forms of transportation at the main gates.