Rome, Italian Roma, historic city and capital of Roma Provincia (province), of Lazio regione (region), and of the country of Italy. Rome is located in the central portion of the Italian peninsula, on the Tiber river about 15 miles (24 km) inland from the Tyrrhenian sea. Once the capital of an ancient republic and empire whose armies and polity defined the Western world in antiquity and left seemingly indelible imprints thereafter, the spiritual and physical seat of the roman catholic church and the site of major pinnacles of artistic and intellectual achievement, Rome is the Eternal City, remaining today a political capital, a religious center, and a memorial to the creative imagination of the past. Area city, 496 square miles (1,285 square km); province, 2,066 square miles (5,352 square km). Pop. (2011) city, 2,617,175; province, 3,997,465; (2007 est.) urban agglom., 3,339,000; (2016 est.) city, 2,873,494; province, 4,353,738
ATTRACTION OF ROME
1. The Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine
3. Vatican city
4. roman forum
5.San Giovanni in Laterano (Basilica of St. John Lateran)
7.Centro Storico & the Spanish Steps
1.THE COLOSSEUM AND THE ARCH OF CONSTANTINE
The largest structure left to us by Roman antiquity, the Colosseum still provides the model for sports arenas – present-day football stadium design is clearly based on this oval Roman plan. The building was begun by Vespasian in AD 72, and after his son, Titus enlarged it by adding the fourth story, it was inaugurated in the year AD 80 with a series of splendid games. The Colosseum was large enough for theatrical performances, festivals, circuses, or games, which the Imperial Court and high officials watched from the lowest level, aristocratic Roman families on the second, the populace on the third and fourth.
Beside the Colosseum stands the almost equally familiar Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch erected by the Senate to honor the emperor as “liberator of the city and bringer of peace” after his victory in the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. Lines are long and move slowly, so you can save time by joining the ancient Rome and colosseum half-day walk tour and have a knowledgeable guide, as well.
2. THE PANTHEON
The Pantheon – the best preserved monument of Roman antiquity – is remarkably intact for its 2000 years. This is despite the fact that Pope Gregory III removed the gilded bronze roof tiles, and Pope Urban VIII ordered its bronze roof stripped and melted down to cast the canopy over the altar in St. Peter’s and cannons for Castel Sant’Angelo. The Pantheon was rebuilt after damage by fire in AD 80, and the resulting brickwork shows the extraordinarily high technical mastery of Roman builders. Its 43-meter dome, the supreme achievement of Roman interior architecture, hangs suspended without visible supports – these are well hidden inside the walls – and its nine-meter central opening is the building’s only light source. The harmonious effect of the interior is a result of its proportions: the height is the same as the diameter. Although the first Christian emperors forbade using this pagan temple for worship, in 609 Pope Boniface IV dedicated it to the Virgin and all the Christian martyrs, and since then, it has become the burial place of Italian kings (Victor Emmanuel II is in the second niche on the right) and other famous Italians, including the painter Raphael.
The Vatican is the smallest independent state in the world, with an area of less than half a square kilometer, most of it enclosed by the Vatican walls. Inside are the Vatican palace and gardens, St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Peter’s Square, an area ruled by the Pope, supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church. This compact space offers much for tourists to see, between its museums and the great basilica itself.
Inside St. Peter’s Basilica is Michelangelo’s masterpiece, Pieta, along with statuary and altars by Bernini and others. The unquestioned highlight of the Vatican museums is the Sistine Chapel, whose magnificent frescoed ceiling is Michelangelo’s most famous work. Inside the Vatican, Palace is the Raphael Rooms, the Borgia Apartments, the Vatican Library, and a number of museums that include the Picture Gallery, Museum of Secular Art, Etruscan Museum, and others. The collections you can see in these cover everything from papal coaches to 20th-century art reflecting religious themes.
THE ROMAN FORUM
Walking through the forum, now in the middle of a throbbing modern city, is like stepping back two millennia into the heart of ancient Rome. Although what survives of this center of Roman life and government shows only a small fraction of its original splendor, the standing and fallen columns, its triumphal arches, and remains of its walls still impress, especially when you consider that for centuries, the history of the Forum was the history of the Roman Empire and of the western world. Roman political and religious life was centered here, along with the courts, markets, and meeting places. After the seventh century, the buildings fell into ruin, and churches and fortresses were built amid the ancient remains. Its stones were quarried for other buildings and it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that systematic excavations brought the ancient buildings to light from under a 10-meter layer of earth and rubble. Highlights not to miss are the Temple of Antoninus Pius, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Curia, the Temple of Vesta, and the Arch of Titus.
5. San Giovanni in Laterano (Basilica of St. John Lateran)
San Giovanni in Laterano
As you might expect for the episcopal church of the Pope, St. John Lateran is one of Rome’s most impressive churches. After centuries of alterations, it still retains its original form from the age of Constantine, when it was built. Its façade, by contrast, is a purely baroque embellishment and a fine example of that period. Along with the mosaics in the apse, be sure to notice the beautiful 16th-century wooden ceiling. If the octagonal baptistery, San Giovanni in Fonte, looks a bit familiar, it’s because it provided the model for later ones throughout Europe. Built by Constantine, it is the world’s oldest Christian baptistery. Across the piazza, in the church of the Scala Santa, is the Holy Staircase, 28 steps believed to have been brought to Rome in the fourth century by St. Helen, from Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem.
One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, this 17th-century masterpiece has been immortalized in films until it is almost a required visit. Throwing a coin (not three) into the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is a tradition that is supposed to assure your return to Rome. Rome’s largest fountain, Fontana di Trevi is supplied by an aqueduct originally constructed by Agrippa, the great art patron of the first century BC, to bring water to his baths. The fountain was created for Pope Clement XII between 1732 and 1751 by Nicolò Salvi, and built against the rear wall of the palace of the Dukes of Poli. It depicts the sea god Oceanus (Neptune), with horses, tritons, and shells. The water swirls around the figures and the artificial rocks, and collects in a large basin, always filled with coins.
7.Centro Storico & the Spanish Steps
Centro Storico & the Spanish Steps
Take a look at a Rome tourist map, and you’ll see one area so filled with things to do that it’s hard to read the street names. This is the Centro Storico, the historic center of Rome, with so many art-filled churches, resplendent palaces, and lively squares that you could spend your whole vacation strolling its ancient streets and lanes. Spend some time just to absorb the neighborhood’s atmosphere instead of going from one of its must-see sights to the next. Along with Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, stop in less well-known churches, such as Santa Maria del Popolo, where you’ll find works by Bernini and Caravaggio.
Pause at the Spanish Steps, the flight of irregular stairs and landings that lead up to the French church of Trinità dei Monti. The stairs take their name from Piazza di Spagna, the plaza at their base and one of Rome’s most typical squares. The stairs have been a favorite haunt of tourists, where they can sit and enjoy a gelato in the summer or warm their hands around cones of hot roasted chestnuts in the winter. The boat-shaped fountain at the foot of the Spanish Steps is known as the Barcaccia and was created by Pietro Bernini, father of the great Baroque architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Via Condotti, leading southwest from Piazza di Spagna, is Rome’s most fashionable shopping street, where the Caffè Greco is famous for the artists, writers, and musicians who have frequented it.