All SEE in Rome

One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy is well known for its rich art and culture, and for its numerous landmarks. With 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world, and an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (churches, palaces, museums, fountains, sculptures and archaeological remains), Italy is home to about half of the world’s artistic treasures. And if you are looking for inspiration, here is a list of Italy’s best-known attractions and sights…

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    Colosseum

    Located in the archaeological center of Rome, the Flavian Amphitheatre, or more commonly known as the Colosseum, is one of the most visited attractions of the Eternal City. The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre not only in the city of Rome, but in the whole world, symbol of the power of the mighty Roman Empire.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the Colosseum began in the year 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian, of the Flavian dynasty, hence the name of Flavian Amphitheatre. The amphitheatre was inaugurated by Titus, son of Vespasian, in 80 AD, and completed by his brother, Domitian, in 82 AD. In 217, after a fire, the Colosseum was partially destroyed. The restoration works closed the amphitheatre for five years, and the games moved to the Circus Maximus. In the year 523, the Colosseum hosted the last spectacle and, afterwards, the amphitheatre went through a period of neglect. In the 6th century, it was used as a burial area, and later as a castle. The name Colosseum appeared for the first time in the 8th century, and it probably derived from the colossal statue of Nero which was found near the monument. In 1803, after an earthquake, Read more [...]

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    Pantheon

    With a history of nearly 2000 years, the Pantheon is the best preserved roman building in the world. Once a Roman temple, the Pantheon is now a catholic church, and one of the main attractions in Rome.   SHORT HISTORY Although the inscription on the frontispiece shows that it was built by Marcus Agrippa, the Roman consul, Agrippa’s pantheon was built in fact during the reign of Augustus, between 27 and 25 BC, and it burned in the year 80 AD. The façade was the only part to be saved, that was later used to rebuild the new pantheon. The temple was rebuilt by the Emperor Domitian, but it was burnt again in 110 AD. Today’s building was built between the years 118 and 125 AD, during the reign of Hadrian. In 609, Pope Bonifacio IV converted the Pantheon into a Christian church and consecrated it to St. Mary and the Martyrs. Two kings of Italy are buried in the Pantheon – Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, as well as the painters Raphael and Annibale Carracci, the composer Arcangelo Corelli, and the architect Baldassare Peruzzi.   ARCHITECTURE At 43 meters wide and 43 meters high, the Pantheon’s dome is Read more [...]

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    Trevi Fountain

    The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The monument has been featured in many films including Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, Roman Holiday and Three Coins in the Fountain. Over time, a tradition related to the fountain has developed – almost every tourist throws a coin in the fountain, using the right hand over the left shoulder, hoping, according to the legend, to return to Rome. An estimated 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day, meaning that the fountain swallows over 1 million Euros each year.   SHORT HISTORY In the year 1730, Pope Clement XII organized a contest for the construction of Fontana di Trevi. Alessandro Galilei, a Florentine, won, and Nicola Salvi came second. The city was not satisfied with the winner being from Florence, and the commission was awarded to Salvi. The work began in 1732 and the monument was completed long after Salvi’s death in 1751. Pietro Bracci’s sculpture, Oceanus, was set in the central niche and Giuseppe Pannini completed it in 1762. The fountain was inaugurated on May 22 by Pope Clement XIII.   Read more [...]

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    Arch of Constantine

    The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch with three archways, located in Rome, near the Colosseum. The arch was commissioned by the Roman Senate to commemorate the victory of Constantine the Great against Maxentius in the Battle of Ponte Milvo in 312.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that the monument was built at the time of Hadrian, Roman emperor between 117 and 138, and subsequently remodeled in the Constantinian era, with the displacement of the columns, the remaking of the attic, the insertion of the Trajan frieze on the inner walls of the central archway, and the execution of the reliefs and decorations specific to the time of Constantine. The arch was inaugurated in 315, on the occasion of the decennial of Constantine’s reign. In 1530, Lorenzino de’ Medici was expelled from Rome for cutting the heads of the sculptures on the arch, which were partially restored in the 18th century. In 1960, during the Games of the XVII Olympiad, the Arch of Constantine was the spectacular finish line for the marathon event won barefoot by the Ethiopian Abebe Bikila.   ARCHITECTURE The Arch of Constantine is 21 meters high, 25.9 meters wide and 7.4 meters deep. The central Read more [...]

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    Theatre of Marcellus

    The Theatre of Marcellus is an ancient theater in Rome, built at the behest of Julius Caesar in the southern area of Campo Marzio, between the Tiber River and the Campidoglio.   SHORT HISTORY Julius Caesar wanted a theater to rival the one built in Campo Marzio by Pompey. For this purpose, a large area was expropriated, and many buildings were demolished. At the death of Caesar, only the foundations had been laid, and the work was resumed by Augustus, who raised a building larger than originally planned. The first use of the building for performances dates back to the year 17 BC. In 13 BC, the theatre was officially inaugurated, and dedicated to Marcus Claudius Marcellus, the nephew of Augustus. A first restoration of the theatre took place under Vespasian, in the first century AD, and other restorations were made under Severus Alexander, in the third century. In medieval times, the area was gradually occupied by small buildings and the theatre was turned into a fortified castle.   ARCHITECTURE The original height of the building was approximately 32.60 meters, while its diameter was about 111 meters, and it could hold up to 20,000 spectators. The travertine facade has three Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria di Loreto

    The Church of Santa Maria di Loreto is a beautiful church located in Piazza Venezia, in Rome, close to the Trajan’s Column and the Forum of Trajan.   SHORT HISTORY In 1500, the Congregazione dei Fornai (Congregation of Bakers) obtained from Pope Alexander VI a small chapel, that was demolished to build the current church. The works, based on a project by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, were started in 1507. The dome of the church was built by Giacomo del Duca in 1582. In the 19th century, the church was restored by Luca Carimini, and completed with a presbytery by Giuseppe Sacconi, the architect of the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The architecture is characterized by pilasters in travertine that stand out on the brick walls, and is notable for the beauty of its proportions. The project is characterized by simple overlapping volumes – the body of the church with a square plan, surmounted by the octagonal volume of the drum, on which is placed the dome. At the top of the dome, we can find the lantern, with a very elaborate shape. The interior is octagonal in shape, with four chapels, and the Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli

    The Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is a church located on the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill), in Rome, known for housing relics belonging to Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built here in the 6th century, on the ruins of a Temple dedicated to Juno Moneta. In the 9th century, the church was taken over by the papacy. Near the end of the 12th century, Palazzo Senatorio (Senatorial Palace) was built on the Capitoline Hill, and the area started to develop. In 1250, the Pope Innocent IV granted the ownership of the church to the Franciscan Order. The Franciscans restored the church, giving it the current Romanesque-Gothic appearance. The imposing marble staircase was built in 1348, as a vow to the Virgin, to put an end to the plague that raged throughout Europe. During the occupation of Rome, in 1797, the French took possession of the hill, killing the Franciscan friars and reducing the church to a stable. The restorations of the church began as early as 1799, the little temple of Saint Helena was rebuilt in 1833, and the new organ of the choir was inaugurated in 1848. With the Unification of Read more [...]

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    National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II

    The National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II), commonly known as Vittoriano or Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland), is a large monument located in Piazza Venezia, on the northern slope of the Campidoglio Hill, in Rome. The monument, which can be seen from almost every point in the city, is dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, the first king of the unified Kingdom of Italy, and to the idea of Risorgimento, the process of national unity and liberation from foreign domination.   SHORT HISTORY After the death of Victor Emmanuel II on 9 January 1878, there have been several initiatives to build a permanent monument to celebrate the king. On September 23, 1880, it was launched an international competition for the project of the monument, in which 311 competitors took part. The competition was won by the French architect Henri-Paul Nénot, but his project was later abandoned. After a second and a third competition, it was chosen in 1884 the project of the young architect Giuseppe Sacconi. After the death of Giuseppe Sacconi, which took place in 1905, the works continued under the direction of Gaetano Koch, Manfredo Manfredi and Pio Piacentini. Read more [...]

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    Trajan’s Column

    The Trajan’s Column is an ancient monument built to celebrate the conquest of Dacia by the emperor Trajan. Nearly 2000 years after its construction, the column is almost intact, and it’s the best preserved element of the Trajan’s Forum, the largest Imperial Forum of Rome.   SHORT HISTORY The column, probably built under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus, was inaugurated on May 12, 113 AD, and describes the wars with Dacia held between 101 and 106. In 1162, a document of the medieval Senate established the column as a public property and forbade its damage. During the 16th century, some private buildings in the vicinity of the column were demolished, to create a space around it, and the monument can be admired from afar. In 1588, under Pope Sixtus V, the column was renovated by Domenico Fontana. On that occasion, the bronze statue of St. Peter was placed at the top of the column and a fence was erected.   ARCHITECTURE The column is 29.78 meters in height, or 39.86 meters if you include the pedestal and the statue on top, has a 3.83 meters in diameter, and is made from 20 Carrara marble blocks, each weighing Read more [...]

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    Forum of Trajan

    The Forum of Trajan, also known as Forum Ulpium, is the largest and most monumental of the Imperial Forums of Rome, and the last in chronological order.   SHORT HISTORY Built by the emperor Trajan with the spoils of war from the conquest of Dacia, and inaugurated in 112, the forum was arranged parallel to the Forum of Caesar and perpendicular to that of Augustus. The building of the new monumental complex, commissioned by Trajan himself, required extensive excavation work, involving the elimination of the saddle that connected the Capitoline and Quirinale Hills, and closed the valley of the Fori Imperiali towards Campo Marzio. At the same time, the Mercati di Traiano (Trajan’s Markets) were built, a complex of buildings with mainly administrative functions, linked to the activities that took place in the forum. The project of the new complex is attributed to Apollodorus of Damascus, who accompanied Trajan in his military campaigns in Dacia.   ARCHITECTURE The complex, which measures 300 meters in length and 185 meters in width, includes the Trajan’s Markets, the Basilica Ulpia, a porticoed courtyard with the Trajan’s Column and the Ulpian Library. All the buildings of the Forum were covered with marbles and stuccos, Read more [...]

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    Palazzo di Giustizia

    Palazzo di Giustizia is the seat of the Supreme Court of Cassation of Italy, located in Piazza Cavour, in Rome. The palace is commonly called the Palazzaccio (Bad Palace), due to its unusual dimensions, excessive decorations and laborious construction, which led, at the beginning of the 20th century, to the suspicion of corruption.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, one of the major works created after the proclamation of Rome as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, was built between 1889 and 1911 by the Perugian architect Guglielmo Calderini. The official inauguration of the works, with the laying of the first stone, took place on the afternoon of 14 March 1889, in the presence of the sovereigns Umberto I and Margherita. The palace was inaugurated 22 years after the beginning of the works, in the presence of the sovereign Vittorio Emanuele III, on 11 January 1911. At the end of the sixties, the cracks and collapses increased, a commission of specialists was established to decide the fate of the monument, and most of them called for its demolition. However, the demolition cost was enormous, and it was decided that the palace will be saved. In the seventies, the palace underwent Read more [...]

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    Piazza di Spagna

    Piazza di Spagna, known in the past as Piazza di Francia, is one of the most beautiful squares in Rome. The square owes its name to the Palazzo di Spagna, seat of the Embassy of Spain among the Holy See.   ARCHITECTURE To the east of the square, we can find the Spanish Steps, a monumental staircase of 135 steps built between 1723 and 1725, which makes the connection between Piazza di Spagna, at the base, and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Church of Trinità dei Monti, at the top. On the right corner of the staircase is the house of the English poet John Keats, who died there in 1821. Today, the building hosts a museum dedicated to his memory and that of his friend Percy Bysshe Shelley. On the left corner of the staircase is the Babington’s tea room, a traditional English tea shop founded in 1893 by two English women, Isabel Cargill and Anne Marie Babington. To the south of the square stands the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide, a palace owned by the Holy See. Its main facade was designed by the sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and the front side of the Via Read more [...]

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    Piazza della Repubblica

    Piazza della Repubblica is one of the most famous squares in Rome, located on the Viminal Hill, the smallest of the seven hills of the city, a few hundred meters away from the Termini station, in front of the Baths of Diocletian.   SHORT HISTORY The first name of the square, Piazza dell’Esedra, still very common today, originates from the great exedra of the Roman baths, whose perimeter is traced by the semicircular colonnade of the square. The arcades that embellish the square were built between 1887 and 1898 by the architect Gaetano Koch, precisely in memory of the ancient buildings that stood there.   ARCHITECTURE The Fountain of the Naiads in the center of the square is the work of the Palermitan sculptor Mario Rutelli, who carved it in 1901. The naiads represented are the Nymph of the Lakes, the Nymph of the Rivers, the Nymph of the Oceans and the Nymph of the Underground Waters. At the center of the fountain is the Glaucus group, sculpted in 1912, symbolizing man’s domination over natural forces. To the north of the square, we can find the Baths of Diocletian, public baths in ancient Rome, built between 298 and 306 AD. Read more [...]

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    St. Peter’s Square

    Although St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) is officially a part of Vatican City, an independent state, informally it can be included among the attractions of Rome, as one of the most beautiful square in the Eternal City. Piazza San Pietro is located in front of the St. Peter’s Basilica dedicated to the homonymous saint, an apostle of Jesus and the first Catholic Pope, being the main meeting point for the Catholic faithful from all over the world.   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 16th century, the rectangular square was unpaved, with a difference in height of about 10 meters between the foot of the staircase leading to the basilica and the front of the esplanade that reached the Tiber. Pope Alexander VI opened the first new straight road of Rome, the current Via della Conciliazione, between the Sant’Angelo bridge and the gate of the Vatican Palace. Around this axis, the Borgo, the 14th historic district (rione) of Rome, is reorganized into a mix of public housing and cardinal palaces designed by the most important architects of the time. During the pontificate of Julius II, it was decided to completely rebuild the basilica. Throughout the 16th century, the Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Popolo

    Piazza del Popolo (People’s Square) is a large square in Rome, located at the foot of the Pincian Hill, near the Villa Borghese gardens.   SHORT HISTORY Until the end of the 19th century, when it assumed its current shape, Piazza del Popolo was a modest square with a trapezoidal shape. At the time of the Napoleonic occupation, the architectural and urban aspect of the square was revised by the architect Giuseppe Valadier. Thanks to his intervention, the square assumed the current elliptical shape, completed by a double exedra, decorated with numerous fountains and statues. In 1818, Valadier removed the old fountain of Giacomo Della Porta, which, under the pontificate of Pope Leo XII was replaced by a new architecture. Valadier continued its work of renewal of the square by arranging also the slopes of the Pincian Hill, connecting Piazza del Popolo and the hill with wide ramps, adorned by trees.   ARCHITECTURE In the square, three churches are built. Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is the oldest one, located next to the gate with the same name, Porta del Popolo. The church was built in the 11th century by Pope Pasquale II, but was later rebuilt under Pope Read more [...]

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    Basilica of St. John Lateran

    The Basilica of the Most Holy Savior and of the Saints John the Baptist and Evangelist in the Lateran, commonly called Basilica of St. John Lateran, is the mother church of all the Catholic churches in Rome and the entire world. It is the highest ranking of the four papal major basilicas, receiving the title of archbasilica.   SHORT HISTORY Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano was consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester I, and dedicated to the Most Holy Savior. In the ninth century, Pope Sergio III dedicated it to St. John the Baptist, while in the twelfth century, Pope Lucio II dedicated it to St. John the Evangelist. At the end of the 13th century, great works were undertaken under Bonifacio VIII, with the frescoes by Giotto and by Cimabue, today lost. In the 14th century, with the shift of papal power from Rome to Avignon, the church will be abandoned, and after the return of the papacy to Rome, due to the poor condition of the Basilica, the popes will prefer the Vatican. In the 18th century, the facade of the Basilica was finally completed with the new prospect of Alessandro Galilei. On the occasion of the Read more [...]

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    Castel Sant’Angelo

    A beautiful monument in Rome, Castel Sant’Angelo has been guarding the banks of the Tiber for nearly 2000 years. Throughout the centuries, Sant’Angelo was, in turn, a mausoleum, a fortress, a castle, a prison and, today, a museum.   SHORT HISTORY In the year 135 AD, the roman emperor Hadrian commissioned a mausoleum for himself and his family, a monument worthy of the Antonine dynasty. To link it to the Campus Martius area, he built also a bridge, Pons Aelius, the current Sant’Angelo bridge. In 401, the mausoleum has been partially destroyed, after its conversion to a military fortress and due to the inclusion in the Aurelian Walls. Beginning in the 14th century, the papacy converted the mausoleum into a castle and connected it to St. Peter’s Basilica by a fortified corridor. Later, the Papal state will use Castel Sant’Angelo as a prison, Giordano Bruno or Benvenuto Cellini being among its guests. Today, the castle is a museum, the “Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo”.   HOW TO GET THERE The nearest Metro station is Lepanto, on Line A, 1.2 kilometers from Castel Sant’Angelo or 16 minutes of walking. If you want to reach the castle on foot, use the map Read more [...]