Things to Do in Rome - page 3
This monumental fountain sits at the top of Rome’s Janiculum Hill, one of the tallest in the city. Dating from 1612, the ornate terminus of the Acqua Paola aqueduct brought water to Vatican City and Trastevere for the first time. Today, you can admire both the fountain and the view, one of the best in Rome.
One of Rome’s seven legendary hills, Caelian Hill (Celio) was a wealthy residential district under the Roman Republic. Today, this is home to the ancient Basilica of Saints John and Paul, the circular Church of Santo Stefano Rotondo, and the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla. Travelers can tour Caelian Hill on foot, or by bike, scooter, or bus.
By far the most famous attraction in this square set between the Forum Boarium and the Tiber River is the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verità), located beneath the portico of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Featured in the 1953 filmRoman Holiday, this massive ancient marble mask is one of Rome’s top attractions.
Sitting atop Rome’s Quirinal Hill, Piazza Barberini is home to two 17th-century fountains designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini: the ornately sculpted Triton Fountain near the entrance to Palazzo Barberini and the small yet delightful Fountain of Bees. A stop at this bustling square is a must for lovers of baroque art.
One of the most elegant public spaces in Rome, Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio) is the site of Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo in 1536. This piazza overlooking the Roman Forum includes an open square, three Renaissance palace museums—Palazzo dei Conservatori, Palazzo Senatorio, and Palazzo Nuovo—and Cordonata, a monumental staircase. The square’s three palazzi house the Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini), considered the world’s first public museum. The vast collections include classical sculpture, Renaissance paintings, and archaeological finds.
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.
The Basilica of St. John Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano) is the most important of the four major papal basilicas in Rome and is seat of the bishop of Rome: the Pope. One of the most important Catholic churches in the world, the archbasilica is decorated with rich mosaics, Cosmatesque floors, and 12 baroque statues of the apostles.
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.
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.
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.
More Things to Do in Rome
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the cradle of Christianity, Rome is home to some of the oldest churches in the world. Among the most important is the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere (Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere), with a facade and interior covered in golden mosaics from the 12th and 13th centuries.
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.
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.
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.
Overlooking Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, the Pincio Gardens (Pincio) have been present since the time of the ancient Romans. It is named for the Pincis, a noble Roman family whose estate was built on these grounds in the 4th century. The gardens were separated from the neighboring Villa Borghese by an ancient wall.
Filled with greenery, flowers, and bust statues of famous Italians, the present gardens were laid out in the 19th century. Tree-lined avenues were once (and still are) a grand place to go for a stroll. There’s also an obelisk and historic water clock located in the gardens. They are accessed via a steep, winding path up from the city. Once at the top, you’ll have one of the best views of Rome, looking out to rooftops, piazzas, and St. Peter’s Basilica. The panoramic outlook is arguably best at sunset.
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.
Soaring more than 100 feet (30 meters) above Piazza Colonna, the Column of Marcus Aurelius (Colonna di Marco Aurelio) is a striking ancient landmark in Rome. Erected in the second century to commemorate the emperor’s Danubian War, the column features intricate bas relief carvings that spiral upwards, depicting scenes of war and conquest.
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 Church of Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins (Santa Maria della Concezione dei Capucchini) is home to an unusual Capuchin crypt, made up of five chapels decorated with the bones of more than 4,000 friars. View the bones, arranged in elaborate patterns on the walls and ceilings, alongside other lovers of offbeat, if macabre, attractions.
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