Things to Do in Rome - page 3
Rome’s Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano(Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano) offers wonders both above and below ground. The interior of the 12th-century church is richly decorated with Byzantine mosaics considered among Italy’s best, and below the surface are two layers of ancient ruins including a fourth-century basilica, a temple, and a first-century villa.
From the site of its foundation to the residence of its head of state, theSeven Hills of Rome (Sette Colli di Roma) are an integral part of the city’s historic and cultural identity. Follow Rome’s history, from individual communes to its rise to power as an empire until the present-day. Visitors can find traces of the city’s storied history in the Seven Hills.
The third-longest river in Italy, the Tiber (Tevere) winds down from the Apennine Mountains, passing through the city of Rome on its way to the coast at Ostia. This famous waterway, more than 250 miles (400 kilometers) long, has played a fundamental role in Roman history since its founding.
In a city of famous fountains, Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana delle Quattro Fiumi)in Piazza Navona is a headliner. This baroque masterpiece was built in 1651 in the center of one of Rome’s most elegant squares, and it continues to delight centuries later with its ornate sculptures and starring role in pop culture.
Once the largest basilica in the world, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura) is one of four papal basilicas in Rome and among the city’s most important Christian sites. Presumed to be set over the tomb of St. Paul, the church has a striking interior decorated with 80 columns and extensive mosaics.
Though Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo) is not one of the seven hills of ancient Rome, its history is long and its attractions worthwhile. Visit San Pietro in Montorio church, see the monumental Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, and wander the hidden university botanical garden, but the hill's main draw is its sweeping views of the city.
One of Rome’s seven legendary hills, Aventine Hill (Aventino) lies farthest to the south along the Tiber River and is home to the fifth-century Basilica of Santa Sabina, Rose Garden, Orange Garden, and, perhaps most famously, Knights of Malta “keyhole” view of St. Peter’s Basilica in Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta.
At the height of its power, the ancient city of Rome was home to millions and the capital of a vast empire, crowded with monumental temples, civic buildings, and villas. Today, visitors can get a sense of the ancient city’s wealth and power by visiting the archaeological ruins covering the Palatine Hill in the center of modern Rome, including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Temple of Julius Caesar, and Arch of Constantine.
The Roman emperor Nero was not known for his restraint, and the Golden House (Domus Aurea) reflects his decadent taste and lifestyle. Built after Rome’s great fire in AD 64, the remains of this sumptuous pleasure palace, covering nearly one-third of the ancient city of Rome—dwarfing the nearby Colosseum—are now open to the public.
The Appian Way (Via Appia Antica) was the first and most important Imperial Roman road, stretching from Rome to Brindisi. The cobblestone road—built in the fourth century BC to transport supplies and soldiers to strategic points throughout the Roman Empire—still exists today, lined with archaeological sites and impressive ruins.
More Things to Do in Rome
The undisputed headliners of the sumptuous 16th-century Church of Saint Louis the French (Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi), commissioned by the Medici family and located near Rome’s elegant Piazza Navona, are three magnificent masterpieces by Caravaggio, among the baroque artist’s few surviving works that can be viewed in their original location.
One of the most intricate ancient landmarks in Rome, the enormous Trajan's Column (Colonna di Traiano) near Quirinal Hill was built in the second century to commemorate Emperor Trajan’s victory over the Dacians. The triumphal column is decorated with bas relief carvings that constitute a diary of battle scenes.
One of Rome’s the most unique public parks, theAqueduct Park (Parco degli Acquedotti) is home to the remains of two ancient aqueducts—Aqua Felix and Aqua Claudia—and the 2nd-century Villa delle Vignacce. Part of Appian Way Regional Park, this 593-acre (240-hectare) expanse just outside the city center is a popular respite from the bustle of downtown Rome.
This marble pedestrian bridge spanning the Tiber river between Castel Sant'Angelo and the historic center of Rome is lined with 10 monumental angel statues based on designs by Bernini. The most beautiful bridge in the city, Sant'Angelo Bridge (Ponte Sant'Angelo) dates from AD 134 and provides an unforgettable approach to St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
Lovers of trompe l'oeil optical illusions will appreciate the ornate ceilings decorating the 16th-century Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola). Painted by Andrea Pozzo, these compositions use perspective to create cupolas and domes on the flat ceiling surface and are among the most captivating baroque masterpieces in Rome.
Quirinale Palace (Palazzo del Quirinale), the official residence of the president of the Italian Republic, sits on Quirinal Hill, the highest of Rome’s historic seven hills. Formerly a royal residence, the palace has dozens of sumptuous, art-filled halls around a stately central courtyard and a beautiful garden with expansive views over Rome.
Piazza della Repubblica is a square in Rome not far from Termini train station. The square was the original site of the Baths of Diocletian. It was known as Piazza Esedra until the 1950s, and many older locals still refer to it by its old name. In the center of the square is the large Fountain of the Naiads, or water nymphs. Figures of the four water nymphs adorn the sides of the fountain representing oceans, rivers, lakes, and underground water. When the fountain was unveiled in 1901, it was considered too provocative due to the nudity of the statues.
One of Rome's most well known streets, Via Nazionale, starts at Piazza della Repubblica. On this street and in the surrounding area you'll find upscale hotels, shops, restaurants, and cafes. Near the piazza is the Teatro Dell'Opera Di Roma, a lavish 19th century opera house. There are also several churches and ornate buildings in the area.
One of the liveliest squares in the heart of Rome, Piazza della Rotonda is lined with bustling bars, historical cafés, and alfresco restaurant tables. The piazza was built around the Pantheon, one of the city’s most famous ancient monuments, which predates the square by about a thousand years.
This towering Roman triumphal arch was erected by Emperor Domitian in the first century AD to commemorate the Roman siege of Jerusalem. Located in the Roman Forum, the Arch of Titus(Arco di Tito) is an impressive monument in the vast archaeological site and a model for dozens of triumphal arches erected in the millennia since.
Discover “authentic Italy” in vibrant Testaccio, the historically working-class neighborhood that has become a gourmand destination and nightlife hot spot. Aficionados of classic Roman cuisine flock to the bustling Testaccio market, for tastings at the historic Volpetti deli, and to savor a gelato or espresso at the landmark Giolitti café.
In an Italian neighborhood known for its winding streets and narrow back alleys, Via del Corso has become well known as the only perfectly straight lane in the historic center of Rome. The iconic stretch of narrow roadway extends from Porta del Popolo to Capitoline Hill and grants travelers access to Baroque churches and other local landmarks.
Visitors will find the picturesque street that once served as the racetrack for Roman Carnival to be the perfect place for people watching, as locals and travelers alike stroll along the sidewalks as part of a traditionalpasseggiata—a casual, leisurely stroll. In addition to being an ideal spot to see and be seen, Via del Corso also offers plenty of shops, restaurants and boutiques.
The Great Synagogue of Rome (Tempio Maggiore di Roma) has a storied past, with the city housing one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The first set arrived in the city in the second century BC, and by the mid-16th century, the area of Trastevere on the west banks of the River Tiber became a Jewish ghetto, which lasted for three centuries until it was disbanded by King Victor Emmanuel II. The Great Synagogue was built across the river from Trastevere shortly afterwards in memory of the dark days of the ghetto; the Art Nouveau structure is stopped with a distinctive square dome and ornamented with floral reliefs.
On April 13, 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the synagogue, making him the first pope since early Christianity to do so. The synagogue celebrated its centenary in 2004 and serves as a hub for the Jewish community of Rome, as well as housing for the offices of the Chief Rabbi. The city's Jewish Museum is also on the premises, which opened in 1960 and displays precious textiles, manuscripts and silverware documenting centuries of Jewish life in Rome.
Ponte Sisto is a stone pedestrian bridge that crosses the Tiber River in Rome. It connects the historic center of Rome on one side of the river with the Trastevere neighborhood on the other side. The bridge dates back to the late 1400s and uses the foundations of an older Roman bridge that was destroyed in
the early Middle Ages. Today the bridge is one of the few bridges crossing the Tiber River that does not allow vehicles. This makes it a pleasant crossing point for visitors exploring the city by foot.
The bridge also provides nice views of the city. From here, you can see the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, Ponte Garibaldi, Ponte Mazzini, Tiber Island, and Gianicolo Hill. The bridge connects Via dei Pettinari and Piazza Trilussa. Several boutique hotels, restaurants, and cafes can be found in this area on both sides of the bridge, some offering views of the river and the bridge itself.
Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Popolo) is the most important church in Rome’s sweeping Piazza del Popolo. With a 17th-century facade designed by Bernini, chapels by Bramante and Raphael, and museum-quality art by Pinturicchio and Caravaggio, the church is a highlight on any tour of Roman art treasures, architecture, or Catholic sights.
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