Rome Sights – The Main Attractions And Leading Sightseeing Places / Landmarks In Roma Italy

Sightseeing In Rome Overview./

If your not interested in architecture or history this may not be the city for you. An interest in religion even from an agnostic stance might also help! Rome is awash with historic buildings some that date back to the early days of the Holy Roman Empire in the first century AD and others that illustrate the history and development of Italian culture since then. From a tourist’s perspective many of these sights are fairly centrally situated – easily reached and within walking distance of one another.


Sights & Historic  Landmarks In Rome

Sistine Chapel Raphael Rooms & St Peters See The Vatican City./

Hadrians Viilla(Villa Adriana). One of the Roman Empire’s most colourful characters was Emperor Hadrian who ruled the dominion during its heyday. Hadrian’s interests included art religion, philosophy and Greek History. His metro sexual personal life included an affair with a 13 year old boy who died mysteriously. Hadrian, who many in the UK know only for the building of Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, built for himself a personal retreat which many archaeologists and historians view as the finest example of Roman architecture ever built. Some historians believe that he dedicated this retreat to the ‘Gods’.

The Villa, in the grounds of the Imperial Palace covered 300 acres later fell into ruins. For the last 500 years parts of this estate have been excavated and at least partially restored. For some the most impressive building is the Maritime Theatre in the middle of a pool / moat and accessed by a swing bridge. There are also bath-houses, theatres and libraries the latter dedicated to the works of philosophers. Across the estate are numerous fountains and statues. Most dramatic in its time was Hadrian’s replication of the Sanctuary of God, which includes an interpretation of hell. Also set in the grounds is The Vale of Tempe reportedly the home of the legendary Goddess Diana. Address Via di Villa Adriana. Open daily from: February 9am – 6pm. March & October 9am – 6.30pm. April & September 9am – 7pm. May – August 9am – 7.30pm. November – January 9am – 5pm. Important note. Last ticket is sold 90 minutes before closing times. Tickets around €7 some concessions.

More macabre is The Colosseum (Piazza del Colosseo) an amphitheatre that was built between AD72 and AD80. The building is name is derived from the presence nearby of an enormous statue of built by then emperor Vespasiano as a tribute to his predecessor Nero. At its highest point the amphitheatre stood 57 metres towering the 527 metred circumference. The stands within this area measured around 30,000 metres rendering seats for 68,000 people and space for 5,000 standing. The central arena was divided into four levels each with free seating. Other features included a church, a theatre, a hospital and fittingly a cemetery. From the day it opened until the fifth century AD its prime purpose was to stage gladiatorial games. The origins of the ‘games’ are thought to date back to the 4th century BC Campanians though some historians attribute them to the Ancient Greeks. In those days they were held in the memory of a noble’s death. The games involved slaves who had to fight to the death the person they had been paired off with. By the first century AD gladiatorial games had become quite sophisticated with the participants paraded to the public several days beforehand. Emperor Julius Caesar produced ‘Acta Diuma’ a daily newspaper to promote these events and their gladiators. The most famous gladiators often were sponsored by businesses to promote their wares. On the eve of the games those hosting the event would hold banquets with those due to be slain amongst the guests.

The games usually began with several fights involving animals set loose upon one another. At midday local criminals sentenced to death would be publicly decapitated. In the afternoon the gladiators would be sent into the arena to fight animals including tigers and lions. The main event were the one on one gladiatorial fights with the winner of each fight going on to fight another winner in the next round. This continued until one gladiator was victorious. If his overall performance was regarded as very courageous he would live to fight at the next games if not he would executed in front of the crowd. One strange fact is about the Coliseum itself is that in the 15th century the then Pope used some of it ruins in the construction of a staircase at St Peters. Now days the forum area of the building offers a good view of the skyline of Rome. Address Piazza del Colosseo. Telephone 0 3996 7700 (nearest metro Colosseo) also accessible on tram 3, buses 60 Exp, 75, 81, 85, 87, 117, 175, 673, 810 and 850. Open daily from 9am until sunset – last admission 1 hour before closing time. Admissions under €10 with concessions available.

The best preserved building in Rome from the early days of the Roman Empire is The Pantheon. It was first constructed as a ‘Temple to The Gods’ in BC27 the before being extensively rebuilt in 126 AD and has been in constant use ever since. Since the seventh century it has been a Roman Catholic Church which now boasts the oldest a dome (quite intricately decorated) in Rome the top of which is over 43 metres high. Address Piazza della Rotonda. Open weekdays from – sunset. Sat & Sundays – 1pm. Admission free.

One of Rome’s most well known landmarks is the Trevi Fountain which commemorates the discovery in BC19 of a sourced a natural well of water by a virgin (the importance of which is puzzling) which was subsequently fed into the city centre through an aqueduct. Over the centuries it became to build a fountain at the end of aqueducts. The present Trevi Fountain replaced an earlier less powerful fountain in 1762. It has been custom for people, visitors and indigenous citizens to throw coins into the fountain but the fate or luck that is expected to follow this act is often misread. Legend has it that throwing one stone will ensure a visitors return to Rome. Throwing two coins is reported to be followed by a new romance. Three is thought to lead to divorce or marriage. One often quoted opinion is that it is lucky to throw three coins with right hand over the left shoulder into the fountain. At the end of every day several thousand €’s are collected from the fountain. Recently the money has been used to subsidise a supermarket for the poor and given to the Red Cross.

The fountain is now monitored by CCTV as it has been the target of thieves. One man known as d’Artagnan in 2002 was banned from the vicinity after admitting stealing from it for 34 years. However, a year later another woman caught taking money from the fountain was cleared of theft when she argued that the money had been discarded and therefore did not belong to anyone. Address Piazza di Trevi buses: 52, 53, 61, 62, 71, 80 Exp, 95, 116, 119, 175, 492, 630 & 850. No viewing fee except the coins you choose to donate.

The Roman Forum, (Foro Romano) was originally marshland between the Capitoline and Palatine hills and until it that was drained in the 7th century BC so that at it’s lowest point an enclosed sewer system could be installed. In the following century a temple and Rome’s first temple was built there and the land paved. It soon became the home of the Roman Senate and the administration centre of the then republican government. The square in the city centre became the regions most important market. Most of the original buildings fell into disrepair or were rebuilt in the first century AD when Julius Caesar and his successor Octavius redesigned the area. Much of the original area was left as waste ground or used to graze cattle. By the 8th century AD little remained but the history.

In the fourteenth century some of the ruins were used by the Catholic Church in other parts of City and it was not until the 18th century that archaeological interest in its past arose. Early in the 19th century under Napoleonic rule the slow excavation of the forum began – a task which took over a hundred years. Today the forum contains the ruins of eight temples, four arches and three Basilica’s further info on these is given below. Address There are several entrances: largo from Romolo e Remo, from Sacra Sacra (piazza del Colosseo) from Foro Romano and from di San Teodoro. The nearest metro is Colosseo and buses 60 Exp, 75, 85, 87, 117, 175, 571, 810, 850 stop close by. Daily opening hours are Apr-Sept 8.30am – 6.30pm daily and from Oct-Mar 8.30am – 4.30pm daily. Entry is free up until and an hour before closing.

Via Appia Antica (old Roman Appian Way) is one of Rome’s oldest roads. It was built in 312 BC to link Rome with Brindisi and reportedly is where St Peter met Jesus when he fled Rome. Today the place where this is thought to have happened is marked by the 17th century Church of Domine Quo Vadis. Inside the church is the replica of a marble stone containing two grooves that it is claimed are prints of Jesus’s feet. The original is in the nearby San Sebastiano Church which has several catacombs (underground cemeteries) in it’s grounds. These can be visited at a price but are often closed from lunchtime to mid afternoon. The southern end of the road has been designated a national park is only open to cyclists and walkers. There are quite a few places to eat here but only near the city. Further on is the tomb of Cecilia Metella which later became a a castle. As the road goes deeper into the countryside other tombs and mounded graves are visible. There are many cafes and and small restaurants at the beginning of the road but none in the country. In the summer when it can be hot there is little shade so visitors should take water with them.

From Rome’s Termini Station you can get a bus along Via Appia Antica to the Metella Tomb. The bus called the “Archeobus’ also calls at Casale Rotondo (see below). Tickets at approximately €8 are expensive though they do entitle you get on off and off the bus as you please. They also can be used to get discounts on bicycle rental in the park area and on entrance fees to the catacombs. The Casale Rotondo is the largest tomb in the park at the top of which is a small farm.

piazza rome

Picture by Arpingstone

Probably one of Europe’s best examples of Baroque architecture can be found at Piazza Navona (above) in central Rome. This square which is in some ways resembles Wenceslas Square Prague was developed during the 15th and 16th century from the plans of a first century Roman Circus the Stadium of Domitian where Romans used to watch sports (including horse races) and other games. The present square has been built on the remains of this circus some of which are still visible if you leave at the northern end of the square and go left. The present Piazza Navona sits on the arena of the old stadium. It includes three fountains of which a Fontana dei Fiumi is thought to be the best examples of architect’s Gianlorenzo Bernini’s work. Built in 1651 the central rocky structure underpins an obelisk that mirrors an ancient Egyptian design. Alongside are four statutes representing the Danube, the Ganges, he Nile and the Rio della Plata.

The piazza’s western side is the 17th century Church of Sant’Angese in Agone. Legend reports that St Agnese was exposed naked here but her dignity preserved by prodigious hair growth. Some say that one of Bernini’s statutes is covering his face so as not to see the naked Saint. The church, built by Francesco Borromini bears a dome and two bell towers. Another Berinini fountain – the fontana del Morocan – with a statue of a Moor fighting a dolphin can be found at the piazza’s southern end. The third fountain – the fontana di Nettuno (the fountain of Neptune) was built in the 16th century though accompanying the statues of Neptune and the Nereids are less than a hundred years old. The piazza is populated by very expensive touristy cafes. It also attracts street buskers and dozens of artists who want you to commission them to draw or paint you. At Christmas market stalls are allowed to sell cribs and figurines there.

Recommended Reading: Rome Is Love Spelled Backward: Enjoying Art and Architecture in by Judith Testa Pages: 287, Paperback, Northern Illinois University Press. ISBN: 978-0-87580-576-4.


Rome Forum Information

The Roman Forum ) is a rectangular square or plaza surrounded by the ruins of several i ancient  buildings in the centre of Rome. The plaza itself is thought to have been the venue for markets.

Temples in the Forum Rome: The Temple of Castor and Pollux (the twins of Gemini) dates back to 495 BC. The, Temple of Saturn dates back to 501 BC.The Temple of Vesta built in the 3rd Century BC was never actually officially declared a temple – this wooden and and once marble building was twice devastated by fire – what remains was renovated about 80 years ago. Work on the Temple of Caesar began in 42 BC. Caesar was the first citizen in Rome to have a temple dedicated to him. The Temple of Vespasian and Titus was completed in AD 87 and to the two emperors who were father and son by the latter’s brother Domitian. The Temple of Venus and Roma built in AD41 in honour of Venus the bringer of good fortune this building has been destroyed by a fire and an earthquake. The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina – when work started on this in AD41 it was dedicated to Emperor Antoninus but after he was deified in AD61 it was also dedicated to his dead wife. The original Temple of Concord is thought to date back to the 6th century BC some historians believe it may have been built as late as 367 BC. It has been rebuilt several times.

Basilicas in the Forum Rome : The Basilica Aemilia built in 179 BC this building reincarnated an earlier buildings used for commercial and public purposes. The Basilica Julia The Basilica Julia, was an immense and heavily decorated public building used by the status quo as the Roman Empire grew. It’s construction began in 46 BC but shortly after opening it was opened it was destroyed by fire. It was re-dedicated in AD 12 but has to be constructed at the end of the third century AD following another fire. The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine was built between AD 208 and AD 312 as a place of worship. It was the building in the Forum.

Arches in the Forum Rome. The Arch of Septimius Severus built in AD 203 commemorated the military victories of Emperor Severus and his sons. However when Severus died one of the sons, who had jointly inherited their fathers throne, Caracalla had his brother Geta assassinated and all references to Geta on the arch were removed. The Arch of Titus marked the successful end of Rome’s war with Jerusalem in AD 70. Since the middle ages It design has often been replicated in other triumphal arches. The Arch of Tuberous celebrated Roman victories over German tribes in AD 16. Only the foundations remain today. The Arch of Augustus built in 29 BC is dedicated to the battle two years earlier ar Actium when the Roman Republic defeated Anthony and Cleopatra. There are only a few remain or the arch but it was depicted on Roman currency at the time.

Also in the Rome’s Forum is Regia the formal home of Roman Kings and later the home for several centuries of the Pontifex Maximus – the high priest (Pope) of Ancient Roman College of Pontiffs.



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