Sant Mary the Mayor – St. John's in Lateran – St.Paul Outside the Walls – Basilica di San Clemente – Palace of the Holy Steps – St. Peter in Chains – Church of Jesus – Santa Maria in Cosmedin – Santa Maria in Trastevere – Capuchin Crypt – Sistine Chapel
Catacombs – Piazza Navona – Campo de' Fiori the Jewish Ghetto – Jewish Sinagoghe – The Spanish Steps – Baths of Caracalla – Castel Sant'Angelo – Circus Maximus – Ara Pacis – Nero's Golden House – Pantheon – Appian Way – Vittoriano – The arch of Costantino – Colosseum – Roman Forum – Fountain of Trevi
This church was founded in the 5th century to house the chains that bound St. Peter in Palestine they're preserved under glass. But the drawing card is the tomb of Julius II, with one of the world's most famous sculptures: Michelangelo's Moses. Michelangelo was to have carved 44 magnificient figures for the tomb. That didn't happen, of course, but the pope was given one of the greatest consolation prizes a figure intended to be "minor" that's now numbered among Michelangelo's masterpieces. In the Lives of the Artists, Vasari wrote about the stern father symbol of Michelangelo's Moses: "No modern work will ever equal it in beauty, no, nor ancient either". Moses is badly lit, so bring 500L coins to turn on the light box.
The Sistine Chapel was built for the Pope Sixtus between 1475 and 1480, and by 1483 the decoration of the walls, entrusted to Perugino, was complete. Perugino began with the wall behind the altar, and also painted the now lost Annunciation. In 1481 he was joined by Sandro Botticelli, Domenico del Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli, and in the following year by Luca Signorelli, who finished the work. The most important artworks in the chapel are the frescoes by Michelangelo on the ceiling and the west wall. The frescoes on the ceiling, collectively known as the Sistine Ceiling, depict incidents and personages from the Old Testament. The "Last Judgment" fresco on the west wall was painted by Michelangelo for Pope Paul III in the period from 1534 to 1541. A 10-year-long cleaning and restoration of the Sistine Ceiling completed in 1989 removed several centuries' accumulation of dirt, smoke, and varnish. Cleaning and restoration of the "Last Judgment" was completed in 1994.
The smallest and the most precious of the four basilicas, first place of cult of the Virgin, extraordinary witness of roman early christian art with the wonderful mosaics, the magnificient golden decorated cealing, the relic of the manger of Bethlehem, the tomb of Bernini.
the most ancient basilica, built by the Emperor Constantine, first residence of the Popes until the year 1307, cathedral of the City, with the wonderful seventheenth century remakings by Borromini, the wonderful gentilitial chapels, the relic of the table of the Last Supper, the Baptistry, the Holy Stairs of Christ's Passion, the oldest and tallest among the 13 egyptian obelisks in Rome.
the farthest from the historical center, built on the burial place of the apostle of the People, along the Via Ostiense towards the sea, with its austere and evocative aspect, the quadriportico with mosaic of the front, the medallions that withdraw the 264 popes of the church, the gothic canopy by Arnolfo di Cambio, the benedectine cloister of the thirteenth century.
From the Colosseum, head up Via San Giovanni in Laterano to this basilica. It isn't just another Roman church far from it. In this church-upon-a-church, centuries of history peel away. In the 4th century, a church was built over a secular house from the 1st century, beside which stood a pagan temple dedicated to Mithras (god of the sun ). Down in the eerie grottoes (which you can explore on your own), you'll discover well-preserved frescoes from the 9th to the 11th century. The Normans destroyed the lower church, and a new one was built in the 12th century. Its chief attraction in the bronze-orange mosaic (from that period) adorning the apse, as well as a chapel honoring St. Catherine of Alexandria with frescoes by Masolino.
Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano. It's alleged that the 28 marble steps here (now covered with wood for preservation) were originally at Pontius Pilate's villa in Jerusalem and that Jesus climbed them the day he was brought before Pilate. According to a medieval tradition, the steps were brought from Jerusalem to Rome by Constantine's mother, Helen, in AD. 326, and they've been in this location since 1589. Today pilgrims from all over the world come here to climb the steps-on their knees. This is one of the holiest sites in Christendom, though some historians say the stairs may date only to the 4th century.
The home church of the Jesuits. It's the finest example of Baroque in Rome, and if you have time, and it's open, stop in for a brief visit. While self – effacing in a worldly sense, the Jesuits' purpose was to convert people to God. Among other tools, they used wondrous (if to many, overly gaudy) architecture to suggest–trumpet– the glory of God and the notion that while a person's present life may be dreary and difficult, there would be splendor in the afterlife for the good Christian.
This little church was begun in the 6th century but subsequently rebuiltand a Romanesque campanile was added in the 12th century. People come not for great art treasures but to see the "Mouth of Truth", a large disk under the portico. As Gregory Peck demonstrated to Audrey Hepburn in the film Roman Holiday, the mouth is supposed to chomp down on the hand of liars who insert their paws. (According to local legend, a former priest used to Keep a scorpion in back to bite the fingers of anyone he felt was lying).
This Romanesque church at the colourful center of Trastevere was built around A.D. 350 and Is one of the oldest in Rome. The body was added around 1100 and the portico in the early 1700s. The restored mosaics on the apse date from around 140, and below them are the 1293 mosaic scenes depicting the life of Mary done by Pietro Cavallini. The faded mosaics on the facade are 12thor 13th century, and the octagonal fountain in the piazza is an ancient Roman original restored and added to in the 17th century by Carlo Fontana.
This is the home church of the Capuchin order. Once inside you’ll immediately recognize, undoubtedly, the color of the monks’ habits as the derivation of the name for Cappuccino coffee. The monks used to bury all their brothers in the basement. How about a chapel of tastefully arranged pelvises? Perhaps one of shoulder blades? Would vertebrae make a delicate ceiling decoration? Why not?
The steps-filled in spring with azaleas and other flowers, flower vendors, jewelry dealers, and photographers snapping pictures of visitors and the square take their names from the Spanish Embassy, which used to be headquartered here. Designed by Italian architect Francesco De Sanctis and built from 1723 to 1725, they were funded almost entirely by the French as a preface to Trinità dei Monti at the top.At the foot of the steps is a boatshaped fountain designed by Pietro Bernini.
The steps and the piazza below are always packed with a crowd: strolling, reading in the sun, browsing the vendors'carts, and people - watching. Near the steps, you'll also find an American Express office, public rest rooms (near the Metro stop), and the most sumptuous McDonald's we've ever seen.
This overpowering castle on the Tiber was built in the 2nd century as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian; it continued as an imperial mausoleum until the time of Caracalla. If it looks like a fortress, it shouldthat was its function in the Middle Ages, built over the Roman walls and linked to the Vatican by an underground passage that was much used by the fleeing papacy, who escaped from unwanted visitors like Charles V during his 1527 sack of the city.
In the 14th century it became a papal residence. But its legend rests largely on its link with Pope Alexander VI, whose mistress bore him two childrenthose darlings of debauchery, Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia.
Of all of ancient Rome's great buildings, only the Pantheon ("All the Gods") remains intact. It was built in 27 B.C. by Marcus Agrippa and reconstructed by Hadrian in the early 2nd century A.D. This remarkable building, 142 feet wide and 142 feet high (a perfect sphere resting in a cylinder) and once ringed with white marble statues of Roman gods in its niches, is among the architectural wonders of the world because of its dome and its concept of space. Animals were sacrificed and burned in the center, and the smoke escaped through the only means of light, the oculus, an opening at the top 18 feet in diameter.
Michelangelo came here to study the dome before designing the cupola of St. Peter's (whose dome is 2 feet smaller than the Pantheon's). The walls are 25 feet thick, and the bronze doors leading into the building weigh 20 tons each. About 125 years ago, Raphael's tomb discovered here (fans still bring him flowers). Vittorio Emanuele II, king of Italy, and his successor, Umberto I, are interred here as well.
The largest and most famous arch erected in Rome is the Arch of Constantine (Arcus Constantini). It was erected in honor of Emperor Constantine after battle over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD for sole control of the Roman empire in the west. It also celebrated the tenth year of his reign (decennalia) in AD 316. The inscription, which is repeated on both sides of the attic, is the only reference to the arch and alludes to the vision (instinctu divinitatis) which Eusebius says inspired Constantine to victory. The arch stands near the west side of the Colosseum.
The present catacombs are a series of underground galleries and vaults of various sizes. These were holy sites where Christians buried their dead and came to pray and celebrate liturgy. After Constantine, the bodies of many of the famous martyrs and saints were moved to Churches within the city. Being outside the old city wall, the catacombs were often pillaged and seriously damaged by the invading Goths and Lombards in the 6th and 7th centuries. In time, the catacombs were lost to visiting Christian pilgrims. In the 19th century, the first attempts were made to restore the catacombs by excavating and cataloguing them. By the late 19th century they had once again become an important and romantic place for visitors to learn about their early Christian past. The 40 known catacombs circle Rome about 3 miles from the center. The Catacombs of Saint Callistus is the official cemetery for the Christians of Rome.
Is built on the foundations of Dominitian's Circus and you'll recognize the shape. A Christmas fair fills it in December. There are three fountains, of which the one in the center world class, the fountain of the four rivers. The Tre Scalini ice cream shop (Gelateria) is just to the west of the fountain. Tre Scalini is famous, justly, for its Tartufo (Truffle) ice cream, preferably Tartufo con panna with wipped cream. Forget the calories... Splurge! Go to the north end of the piazza, past the toy store to see the remains of the stadium foundations. Walk around the corner to your left and you'll see them below the sidewalk.
South of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, centered around Piazza Farnese and the market square of Campo de' Fiori, many buildings in this district were constructed in Renaissance times as private homes. Walk on Via Giulia, the most fashionable street in Rome in the 16th century with its antiques stores, interesting hotels, and modern art galleries. West of Via Arenula lies one of the city's most intriguing districts, the old Jewish Ghetto, which has far more opportunities for dining than for lodging. The Jews, about 8,000 at the time, were ordered here by Pope Paul IV in 1556, and the walls were not torn down until 1849. This is another of the most we think ancient and medieval Rome have a lot more atmosphere. Nevertheless, hoteliers still sock it to you on prices.
Lungotevere Cenci (Sinagoga) 00186 Roma
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The Jewish Community of Rome is the most ancient in Europe. The first Jews arrived here in the year 161 A.C. They came as ambassadors of Judah Maccabi seeking Roman protection against the Hellenistic, Syrian emperor Antiochus IV. Subsequently, may Jews decided to move to Rome because it was a major Mediterranean trading center. The Jews brought with them rituals and traditions that were in use in the Temple in Jerusalem, which today are commonly referred to as the "Italian tradition". They originally lived in Trastevere where all foreigners were required to reside. At the time Jews were not citizens of Rome because Israel and Judea were not yet part of the Roman Empire. Later after both Israel and Judea became client states of Rome there was a Jewish uprising, which was repressed in 70 A.D. by the Roman general Titus who destroyed and sacked Jerusalem and the Temple with the loss of many thousands of Jewish lives. Many of the Jews who survived escaped in two different directions (Diaspora -Dispersion): one group went to the Medirerranean area and are known as Sephardic (spanish) Jews; while another group, known as Ashkenazi (German) Jews, migrated to northern Europe. Titus brought a third group of Jews to Rome seized in the uprising and who became slaves. Subsequently, they joined the Jewish community living in Rome. Durign the Middle Ages many Jews moved form Trastevere to the area around Ponte Fabricio. However, as a result of the attitude of the Papacy there was discrimination and the Jews were separated and isolated from the rest of the population. In 1215 the Curch forced the Jews to wear distinctive insignia on their clothing identifying them as Jews. In 1492 the Catholic monarchs of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, expelled the Jews from Spain and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilys (Sicily, Calabria and Sardinia). While the Borgia Pope Alexander VI allowed these Jews to remain in the Papal States, in 1555 his successor, Paul IV, estabilished the Ghetto in Rome and required all Jews to live there. The Ghetto area was very small, surrounded by a wall with five gates and living conditions were very unhealthy with constant flooding in winter. The Jews were allowed to leave the Ghetto during the daytime but were required to wear Jewish insignia. Only two professions were permitted: money lending and selling used clothing. In the Ghetto there were five synagogues: Scola Catalana, Scola Castigliana, Scola Siciliana, Scola Tempio and Scola Nova. Some of the objects that were used in these synagogues are exhibited in this Museum. The Jews werw emancipated and obtained full citizenship after 1870 when Italy was unified. The Ghetto was abolished and the Jews remained full citizens until 1938 when the anti- Semitic and discrimitatory Italian Racial Laws were adopted. Durign the German occupation (September 1943 until June 1944) 2091 Jews were deported to extermination camps, mainly Auschwitz. Only 16 survived the camps. In 1944 in the caves outside of Roma (Fosse Ardeatine) the Germans massacred 335 Italians, includign 75 Jews. Rome was declared an "Open City" during World War II due to presence of Pope Pius XII. As a result, the Nazis did not destroy any monuments in Rome including the Synagogue, which was sealed and reopened after the war. In 1982 immediately following the festival of Simchat Torah the synagogue was attacked by terrorists and a two - year - old boy was killed with many injured. Since that time security has been provided by the Italian police. Today, approximately 16.000 Jews live in Rome and there are several Italina, Sefardic and Ashkenazi synagogues in the City.
Named for Emperor Caracalla, the baths were completed in the early 3rd century. The richness of decoration has faded, and the lushness can be judged only from the shell of brick ruins that remain. In their heyday, they sprawled across 27 acres and could handle 1,600 bathers at one time. A circular room, the ruined caldarium for very hot baths, had been the traditional setting for operatic performances in Rome, until it was discovered that the ancient structure was being severely damaged. However, there are rumors that operas will again be held here, stay tuned. Admission 8.000L adults; children age 11 and under free.
The Circus Maximus, with its elongated oval proportions and ruined tiers of benches, will remind you of the setting for BenHur. Today a formless ruin, the oncegrand circus was pilfered repeatedly by medieval and Renaissance builders in search of marble and stone. At one time, 250,000 Romans could assemble on the marble seats, while the emperor observed the games from his box high on the Palatine Hill. The circus lies in a valley formed by the Palatine on the left and the Aventine on the right. Next to the Colosseum, it was the most impressive structure in ancient Rome, located certainly in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods. For centuries, the pomp and ceremony of imperial chariot races filled this valley with the cheers of thousands.
Is a monument erected on order of Augustus marking the end of the struggles leading to his emperorship. It is near the river. While a small and seemingly drab object, the sculpted reliefs on it are of excellent quality and represent the best images we have of Augustus and his family. Not far away, to the east, are the remains of Augustus' Mausoleum.
The remains of Emperor Nero's "Golden" are newly opened to the public. The original entrance to the house was all the way over at the Arch of Titus in the Forum. The massive house sprawled across the valley where the Colosseum now stands and up the hill (the part you tour today). Larger even than Bill Gates' place, it was a pain to vacuum. A colossal 100foot bronze statue of Nero towered over everything. The house incorporated an artificial lake (where the Colosseum was later built) and a forest. Every building used the best multicoloured marble and walls held the finest frescoes. Visits are allowed only with an escort ( 25 people every 15 minutes) and reservation (L 12,000, daily 9:00-20:00, last entry at 19:00, tour lasts 40 min, escort speaks Italian, audioguidesL 3,000. To reserve a place call 06-481-5576).
No other road is so well known in the world as the Via Appia. Proudly called the "Regina Viarum". It was begun by Appias Claudius in 312 B.C. Bordering it for many miles, were sepulchres and tomb-stores of 20 generations. Only patrician families could have tombs here. Here were the tombs of the Scipios, Forii, Manili, Sestili.
Dominatine Venice square The Vittoriano is the monument to King Victor Emanuele, the unifier of Italy (1870 Italy is a young country despite its ancient heritage) Gaudy to some, many italians call it the Wedding cake or the typewriter. The flame in the center and the military guards mark Italy's tomb of the unknown soldier.
The Roman Colosseum, erected by Emperor Titus in 80 CE, was the first Roman Amphitheater made entirely of stone. During its inauguration, it could hold about 50,000 spectators. The exhibition area was encircled with seats and the actual floor of the arena was sand. Underneath the sand there was a maze of corridors and machinery to help transport animals used for gladiatorial games from their cells to the exhibition area above. The exhibition of the Colosseum usually included gladiatorial games where gladiators fought among one another or against animals that were caught. These games were paid for by the emperor and the other Roman political figures to gain popularity.
Piazza del Colosseo (06 700 4261) Open 9am–6pm Mon–Sat; 9am–4pm Sun. Admission L10,000
The Roman Forum is unique, not only because of its architectural shape, but especially because of its cultural-historic importance. The Forum has developed, expanded and changed from a symbol of Republican freedom and democracy into a symbol of the Empire. The magnificent design of the Forum is a collective creation of people from many different generations. The forum is the meeting place for Romans, the center of political, religious, business, and social life. Built up over many years on an ancient site, the Forum Romanum is the oldest and most important forum. It is laid out on an axial plan and everything is organized within defined boundaries. At its peak during the days of the Republic and the Empire, the forum held the main public buildings, temples, basilicas, shops, colonnades, triumphal arches, pillars and statues.
The Trevi Fountain (tre meaning three in Italian, and via meaning road; the Trevi Fountain is located at the intersection of three roads) was built by Nocolo Salvi in the 18th Century, and depicts Neptune's seahorse drawn chariot. Many movies have used scenes at the Trevi Fountain and popularized the notion that if you throw three coins in the fountain, you will return to Rome.
This Palazzo has been the home of the most important Roman family since the 17th century. It's open regularly from 10 to 5, with guided tours of portions of the private apartments between 10:30 and 1. The Gallery price is ITL 12000 and the apartments are an additional ITL 5000. You'll find an assortment of great (and terrible) art, including artists like Titian, Caravaggio, and the Breughels. It's a worthwhile couple of hours.
At EUR contains a "plastico", or scale model (much like an extensive train set) of Rome as it looked early in the Christian era. Many of the "Rome Reconstructed" pictures you'll find in books sold on the street are taken from that model. Viewed from a balcony above, you'll be able easily to recognize many of the remains evident now, and many major streets which run today the same route as 2000 years ago.
Is at the east side of the Villa Borghese. The builder of the Palazzina Borghese, Cardinal Scipione Borghese built this "suburban villa" entertaining, and at the same time amassed one of the world's greatest private collections of sculptures and paintings, much given to the Louvre at the time of Napoleon. The remains are nonetheless one of Rome's finest patrician collections. The collection includes ancient works of sculpture containing works such as "Apollo and Daphne" and "The Rape of Proserpine". The collection of paintings includes works by Raphael, Titian, Ruebens, Caravaggio and Dosso Dossi. This remains a "hot ticket" in town. Reservations aren't mandatory, but strongly recommended. (Only 300 visitors at a time are permitted). Tours start evry two hours. You can also reserve by phone (011 39 06 32810) or fax (011 39 06 326 51329). An English speaker should be available. Price is ITL 10,000 plus ITL 2,000 for the reservation. Guided tours in English available on request at certain times through 011 39 06 8555952 for a cost of ITL 6,000. (No credit cards for either). Show up an hour before your appointed time at the desk in the basement of the museum; you'll need your reservation number to claim your tickets. You'll be allowed two hours in the galleries.
Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica (National Gallery of Old Art) which has paintings by (mainly) Italian masters from the 13th to the 17th century. It doesn't look like a museum, by the way, it's in the first (upper) floor of the Palazzo Barberini. There are a number of first rate pieces here. The tow masterpieces are Raphael's famous La Fornarina, and the oft-reproduced portrait of English Henry VIII, by a Dutch artist, Hans Holbein. (Despite the collection's intent (Italian artists), when they get a good one, they show it!). The museum's disappointingly small and will take less than an hour to visit.
Was built in the 17th century based on an architectural sketch by Michelangelo. In the first room is The Dying Gaul, a work of majestic skill that's a copy of a Greek original dating from the 3rd demurely covers herself. This statue was the symbol of feminine beauty and charm down through the centuries (also a Roman copy of a 3rd century B.C. Greek original).
Across the way, was also based on a Michelangelo architectural plan and is rich in classical sculpture and paintings. One of the most notable bronzes, a work of incomparable beauty, is Lo Spinario (a little boy picking a thorn from his foot), a Greek classic dating from the 1st century B.C. In addition, you'll find Lupa Capitolina (the Capitolina Wolf), a rare Etruscan bronze that may go back to the 5th century B.C. (Romulus and Remus, the legendary twins the wolf suckled, were added at a later date). The palace also contains a Pinacoteca (picture gallery) mostly works from the 16th and 17th centuries. Notable canvases are Caravaggio's Fortune-Teller and his curios John the Baptist, The Holy Family by Dosso Dossi, Romulus ands Remus by Rubens, and Titian's Baptism of Christ. The entrance courtyard is lined with the remains (head, hands, foot, and a kneecap) of an ancient colossal statue of Constantine the Great.
In the 1998, The Palatine Museum (Museo Palatino) here finally reopened, displaying a good collection of Roman sculpture from the ongoing digs in the Palatine villas. In summer, they run guided tours in English Monday to Sunday at noon for 6,000L; call in winter to see if they're still running. If you ask the museum's custodian, he may take you to one of the nearby locked villas and let you in for a peek at surviving frescoes and stuccoes. The entire Palatine is slated for renewed excavations, so be on the lookout for many areas to be roped off a first, but soon even more than before will open to the public.
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Licenza rilasciata dalla Provincia di Roma Numero 32888/15. Partita Iva 13627291001
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