All SEE in Rome

It is hard to name only a few of the tourist attractions in Rome, because there are so many – ancient monuments, churches, castles and palaces, squares, fountains, and the list goes on…

The most important attractions are the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and, although technically not in Rome, the Basilica of Saint Peter, Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo and, again, on Vatican territory, Piazza San Pietro.

Worth mentioning are also the imposing Castel Sant’Angelo, the wonderful Trevi Fountain, the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the Trajan’s Forum, but these represent only a fraction of what Rome has to offer…

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    Colosseum

    The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, is a Roman amphitheater located in the archaeological center of Rome. One of the most visited attractions of the Eternal City, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the 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 Amphitheater. The amphitheater 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 amphitheater for five years, and the games were moved to the Circus Maximus. The last gladiatorial fights held in the Colosseum are mentioned around the year 435, and in 523 the structure hosted the last spectacle. Afterwards, the amphitheater went through a period of neglect. Starting with the 6th century, the amphitheater was used as a burial area. In the 13th century, the Frangipani family fortified it, using it as a castle. The name Colosseum appeared for the first time in the 8th century, and it probably derived from Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano

    The Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano is the Cathedral of Rome, and the mother church of all the Catholic churches in the entire world. The basilica is located on the Caelian Hill, in the homonymous square. The church is the highest ranking of the four papal major basilicas, receiving the unique title of archbasilica. Its official name is Papal Archbasilica Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in the Lateran (Arcibasilica Papale del Santissimo Salvatore e dei Santi Giovanni Battista ed Evangelista in Laterano).   SHORT HISTORY The Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano was built in the 4th century in an area owned by the Plauzi Laterani family, which was confiscated by the Roman Empire during the time of Nero. At the beginning of the 4th century, Constantine the Great gave the ancient land and the Lateran residence, now the Lateran Palace, to the bishop of Rome. The church was completed in the first decades of the 4th century, and consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester I, who dedicated it to the Most Holy Saviour. In 410, Rome was devastated by the Visigoths of Alaric, and in 455 by Read more [...]

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    Castel Sant’Angelo

    Castel Sant’Angelo, also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian or Mole Adrianorum, is an imposing castle in Rome, located on the right bank of the River Tiber, not far from the Vatican.   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. The works were completed by Antonino Pio in 139 AD. To link it to the Campus Martius area, Hadrian built also a bridge, Pons Aelius, the current Ponte Sant’Angelo. In 401, the mausoleum was included in the Aurelian Walls, and became a fortress, losing its original function as a sepulcher. As a castle, it defended the city in 410 against the Visigoths of Alaric, and in 455 against the Vandals of Genseric. In the first half of the 10th century, the castle became the stronghold of Senator Theophylact, who also used it as a prison. In the second half of the 10th century, the castle passed into the hands of the Crescenzi family. Later, the castle was owned by the Pierleoni family and subsequently by the Orsini family. Beginning with the 14th century, the papacy connected the castle to the Saint Read more [...]

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    Pantheon

    The Pantheon is a former Roman temple in Rome, located in Piazza della Rotonda, not far from the Trevi Fountain. With a history of nearly 2000 years, the Pantheon is the best preserved Roman structure in the world. Once a Roman temple, the Pantheon is now a Catholic church, and one of the main attractions of Rome.   SHORT HISTORY Although the inscription on the frontispiece shows that it was built by Marcus Agrippa, the Roman consul, Agrippa’s temple was erected in fact during the reign of Augustus, between 27 and 25 BC, and it was destroyed in a fire in 80 AD. The facade was the only part to be saved, that was later used to rebuild the new temple. The Pantheon was rebuilt by the emperor Domitian, but it was damaged again by a fire in 110. According to tradition, the current structure was built between the years 118 and 125 AD, during the reign of Hadrian. In 609, Pope Boniface IV converted the Pantheon into a Christian church and dedicated it to Saint Mary and the Martyrs. Around that time, the church was known as Santa Maria della Rotonda or Santa Maria ad Martyres. Two kings of Read more [...]

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    Fontana di Trevi

    Fontana di Trevi is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions of Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The monumental fountain is located in Piazza di Trevi, not far from Palazzo del Quirinale and the homonymous square. The monument was featured in many films, including Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, Roman Holiday and Three Coins in the Fountain.   INTERESTING FACT: Over time, a custom related to the fountain appeared – almost every tourist throws a coin in the fountain, using the right hand over the left shoulder, hoping, according to tradition, to return to Rome. An estimated 3,000€ are thrown into the fountain every day, meaning that the fountain swallows over 1 million € each year. SHORT HISTORY The Trevi Fountain is closely linked to Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct which dates back to the times of emperor Augustus. Although damaged by the siege of the Goths in 537, the aqueduct remained in use throughout the Middle Ages. The terminal point of the aqueduct was located on the eastern side of the Quirinal Hill, near a crossroad called Treio. At its center, a fountain was built in the 15th century. In 1640, after a series Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Pietro

    The Basilica of San Pietro, known officially as the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican (Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), is a Renaissance church in the Vatican City, located in Piazza San Pietro. Although the basilica is technically not in Italy, you can easily visit it during your trip to Rome, and that is why we included it among the tourist attractions of the Eternal City. The Saint Peter’s Basilica is the largest of the four papal basilicas of Rome, and is considered the largest church in the world both for its size and for its importance as the center of Catholicism. However, it is not the cathedral church of the Roman diocese, since this title belongs to the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, which is also the mother of all the Catholic churches in the world.   SHORT HISTORY On this site, there was another church built during the 4th century by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, where, according to tradition, the first apostle of Jesus, Saint Peter, was buried after he was crucified by the emperor Nero. In the 15th century, under Pope Nicholas V, the Constantinian basilica underwent a radical transformation. Read more [...]

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    Ponte Sant’Angelo

    Ponte Sant’Angelo, also known as Pons Aelius (Aelian Bridge), Pons Hadriani (Hadrian’s Bridge) or Ponte di Castello (Castle Bridge), is an ancient bridge in Rome, which connects Piazza di Ponte Sant’Angelo to the Lungotevere Castello, in front of the Sant’Angelo Castle.   SHORT HISTORY The bridge was built in the year 134 by the emperor Hadrian, based on a project by a certain Demetrianus, to connect his mausoleum, now Castel Sant’Angelo, to the left bank of the Tiber River. Ponte Sant’Angelo was covered with travertine and had three arches, which could be accessed by ramps. The ramps were supported by three minor arches on the left bank of the river and two on the right bank, but were destroyed in 1893 for the construction of the river banks. In July 472, the bridge was used by the Gothic troops of Ricimer to attack the eastern part of the city, defended by the Roman emperor Anthemius. In the Middle Ages, Ponte Sant’Angelo was used by pilgrims on their way to the Saint Peter’s Basilica, and was also known as the Bridge of Saint Peter (Pons Sancti Petri). In 1535, Pope Clement VII had the statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Quirinale

    Palazzo del Quirinale is a historic palace in Rome, located on the homonymous hill, overlooking the homonymous square. The palace was the official residence of the King of Italy since 1870, and is the residence of the President of the Italian Republic since 1946.   SHORT HISTORY Before the construction of the Quirinal Palace, on this site was a building known as Villa di Monte Cavallo, one of the Roman residences of Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este. In 1583, Pope Gregory XIII began an expansion of the villa, to make it a real summer residence. The project was entrusted to the architect Ottaviano Mascherino and the works were completed in 1585. The successor of Gregory XIII, Pope Sixtus V, decided in 1587 to buy the villa with the intention of making it the summer residence of the pontiff. With the help of the architect Domenico Fontana, he expanded the palace and remodeled the entire area. Pope Paul V was the pontiff who commissioned the completion of the works on the main building of the Quirinale. He entrusted the extension work to Flaminio Ponzio, who built the wing facing the garden, Sala del Concistoro and Cappella dell’Annunziata (Chapel of the Annunciation). After Read more [...]

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    Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali

    Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali is a Neo-Renaissance palace in Rome, located on the eastern side of Piazza Venezia, opposite the much older Palazzo Venezia.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built between 1906 and 1911 on the site of the ancient Palazzo Bolognetti-Torlonia and Palazzo Nepoti. The previous buildings were demolished at the beginning of the 20th century, to allow the expansion of Piazza Venezia, designed by Giuseppe Sacconi, to adapt it to the presence of the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Vittoriano). Sacconi outlined the general appearance of the new building, designed in detail by the architect Guido Cirilli, assisted by Arturo Pazzi and Alberto Manassei.   ARCHITECTURE Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali takes up the fundamental characteristics of Palazzo Venezia, including its square tower. The facade of the palace is characterized on the ground floor by a portico surmounted by a string course, and by a long series of Romanesque mullioned windows on the second floor, surmounted by small windows. Between these small windows, above the main portal, there is a 16th century bas-relief depicting the Lion of Saint Mark. The bas-relief was taken from the Portello Novo Tower, in Padua, and it was the symbol of the Read more [...]

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    Via dei Fori Imperiali

    Via dei Fori Imperiali is one of the most scenic streets in Rome, which connects Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum. Walking along it, you can admire on both sides of the street the Forums of Caesar, Trajan, Augustus and Nerva.   SHORT HISTORY After Rome became the capital of Italy in 1870, large connecting roads began to open, such as Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Via Nazionale. In the regulatory plans of the city from 1873, 1883 and 1909, a street between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum was planned. The idea of the road reappeared in the Fascist period. At first, during its construction, the street was named Via dei Monti, then, when it was inaugurated, was called Via dell’Impero. The architect Antonio Muñoz was responsible for the general project, while Raffaele De Vico was in charge with the arrangement of the green areas, and Corrado Ricci with the excavation and arrangement of the archaeological areas. Via dei Fori Imperiali was built between 1924 and 1932, and was inaugurated by Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1932, as part of the celebrations for the tenth anniversary of the March on Rome. In 1945, after the end of the Second World War, Read more [...]

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    Via della Conciliazione

    Via della Conciliazione is a street in Rome, which connects Piazza Pia to Piazza Papa Pio XII, in front of Piazza San Pietro.   SHORT HISTORY Following the official reconciliation between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See on February 11, 1929, the fascist government decided to built a wide road to link the capital of Italy to the Vatican State. Via della Conciliazione was designed by the architects Marcello Piacentini and Attilio Spaccarelli, and built starting in 1936 with the demolition of the so-called Spina di Borgo – the backbone of the historical Borgo district. The street was completed on the occasion of the 1950 Jubilee, with the installation of two rows of obelisk-shaped lamp holders. The intervention caused the loss of a large part of the urban fabric of the Borgo district, with the demolition of important buildings like Palazzo dei Convertendi, Palazzo Jacopo da Brescia, Palazzo del Governatore, Palazzo Alicorni, Palazzo Rusticucci-Accoramboni and the Church of San Giacomo in Scossacavalli. The palaces of the Convertendi, Jacopo da Brescia, Alicorni and Rusticucci were rebuilt, using in the reconstruction elements of the demolished buildings. The ancient Church of San Lorenzo in Piscibus underwent radical transformations and was incorporated Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Latmiral

    Palazzo Latmiral is a palace in Rome, located in Via della Conciliazione, between Palazzo Torlonia and the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina. The palace currently houses the Embassy of Brazil to the Holy See.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Latmiral was built in 1887 for Giuseppe Latmiral, on a project by the architect Agide Spinedi. At the time of its construction, the palace incorporated into its eastern facade overlooking Vicolo del Campanile a 15th-century house with three floors known as Casa del Boia. The house has semicircular windows and a frescoed facade by the painter Giulio Romano. In the first decades of the 20th century, the palace was renovated by the architects Marcello Piacentini and Attilio Spaccarelli.   HOW TO GET THERE The closest Metro station is Ottaviano, located about 1 kilometer away, on the Metro Line A. The closest bus stop is Traspontina/Conciliazione, located about 120 meters away, on the bus Lines 23, 40 and 982.

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    Palazzo Torlonia

    Palazzo Torlonia, also known as Palazzo Castellesi or Palazzo del Corneto, is a Renaissance palace in Rome, located in Via della Conciliazione, near Palazzo dei Convertendi.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built between 1499 and 1517 for Cardinal Adriano Castellesi, an important dignitary of the papal court. The project of the building was attributed to Donato Bramante. The building was built in Piazza Scossacavalli, in the context of the redevelopment of the entire urban sector, after the opening of the new Via Alessandrina. In 1504, the Cardinal Castellesi handed the palace to Henry VII, King of England. Later, Henry VII gave the building to Lorenzo Campeggio, the last Cardinal Protector of England, who lived in the palace between 1519 and 1524. Between 1609 and 1635, the palace was owned by the Borghese family. In 1760, it was named Palazzo Giraud, when it became the property of a French family of bankers. In 1820, the palace was purchased by the Torlonia family. Palazzo Torlonia is the only historic palace in the area which remained untouched during the works for the construction of Via della Conciliazione, in the first decades of the 20th century.   ARCHITECTURE Palazzo Torlonia has a facade Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dei Convertendi

    Palazzo dei Convertendi, also known as Palazzo della Congregazione per le Chiese Orientali (Palace of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches), is a Renaissance palace in Rome, located in Via della Conciliazione, adjacent to Palazzo Rusticucci-Accoramboni.   SHORT HISTORY Around the middle of the 15th century, on the northwestern edge of Piazza Scossacavalli, there was a building known as della Stufa. In the 16th century, the building was sold to the noble Caprini family, who erected in its place a palace on a design by Donato Bramante. The palace was sold in 1517 to the painter Raphael, who died in the building in 1520. On his death, the building was sold to Cardinal Pietro Accolti. After the Cardinal’s death, the palace was inherited by his nephew Benedetto, Cardinal of Ravenna. Accused of corruption, Benedetto was incarcerated in Castel Sant’Angelo, and released after paying his debts. For this, the Cardinal borrowed the sum from the Florentine bankers Giulio and Lorenzo Strozzi, who later obtained the palace. Then, the Strozzi family sold the collapsing palace to Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Commendone. The Cardinal had the palace restored by Annibale Lippi, and sold the building in 1584 to Camilla Peretti, sister of Pope Sixtus Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Rusticucci-Accoramboni

    Palazzo Rusticucci-Accoramboni is a Late Renaissance palace in Rome, located in Via della Conciliazione, about 120 meters away from Piazza San Pietro.   SHORT HISTORY Girolamo Rusticucci, secretary of Pope Pius V and later cardinal, bought a building on March 31, 1572. Rusticucci also bought some nearby buildings, with the aim of expanding the original structure. In 1584, Rusticucci commissioned Domenico Fontana to design a larger palace. After the death of Pope Sixtus V, Fontana was transfered to Naples, and the works were completed by his nephew, Carlo Maderno. Around 1630, the Nazarene College, one of the oldest schools in Rome, was housed in the palace for a short time. Around the middle of the 17th century, the cardinal’s heirs sold the palace to the Accoramboni family. In 1667, the construction of the colonnade in Piazza San Pietro by Gian Lorenzo Bernini made it necessary to demolish the last block of houses located in front of the square. Its demolition created a new square, bordered on the north side by Palazzo Rusticucci, which gave it its name. In the 20th century, the palace became the seat of the Belgian Historical Institute, and then it was occupied by the Congregation of Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza

    The Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza is a Baroque church in Rome dedicated to Saint Ivo of Kermartin, located in Corso del Rinascimento, about 100 meters away from Piazza Navona.   SHORT HISTORY In 1632, Francesco Borromini became the main architect of Palazzo della Sapienza, the palace of the University of Rome. At that time, the layout of the courtyard of the palace was already defined by Giacomo della Porta, and a circular church with small chapels was planned. The work on the church began only in 1643, and continued for over twenty years. The first construction phase was from 1643 to 1655. After an interruption, the work resumed in 1659, with the completion of the church, the construction of the Alessandrina Library and the facades of the palace overlooking Piazza Sant’Eustachio and Via dei Canestrari. The church was consecrated in 1660, although the works continued for a few more years. The library was instead completed after the death of Francesco Borromini.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a large courtyard in front. Its facade is concave, with five blind arches on each of the first two floors. The central arch on the ground floor is occupied by 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, and replaced it with a new structure – four fountains in the form of lions, around the base of the obelisk. Valadier continued its work of renewal 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 Piazza del Popolo houses three churches. 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 Read more [...]

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    Piazza Venezia

    Piazza Venezia is a beautiful square in Rome, located at the foot of the Capitoline Hill, between Piazza di San Marco, to the west, and Piazza della Madonna di Loreto, to the east. In the square, five of the most important streets of the city meet: Via dei Fori Imperiali, Via Cesare Battisti, Via del Corso, Via del Plebiscito, and Via del Teatro di Marcello.   SHORT HISTORY The current appearance of the square derives largely from the demolition and reconstruction interventions carried out between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, following the construction of the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Vittoriano). Originally, the square extended only in the western half of the current one, and Via del Corso started from its northeastern corner. The imposing Vittoriano required a wider space in front, and it was decided to enlarge Piazza Venezia and make it symmetrical to the axis of Via del Corso. The extension was designed in its general lines by Giuseppe Sacconi and then defined by Guido Cirilli. For this enlargement, the buildings present in the eastern part of the future square were demolished and Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali was built. Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Laterano

    Palazzo del Laterano is a Renaissance palace in Rome, located in Piazza di Porta San Giovanni, adjacent to the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. The palace was the official residence of the Roman pontiffs for many centuries. Today, it houses the Papal State Historical Museum (Museo Storico dello Stato Pontificio), the offices of the Vicariate of Rome and the apartment of the Cardinal Vicar of His Holiness for Rome.   SHORT HISTORY The area was named after the original owners, the Plauzi Laterani family, who owned a large palace on this site. After a member of this family, designated consul, was accused around the year 66 of conspiracy against Nero, the properties of the family, together with the adjoining palace, were confiscated. At the beginning of the 4th century, the monumental Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano was built, and consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester I. Around the middle of the 8th century, Pope Zacharias built a triclinium (formal dining room) in the ancient Lateran Palace, and decorated it with marble, glass and precious metals, mosaics and frescoes. A few decades later, Pope Leo III built another triclinium, and installed, in the center of the room paved with Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio

    The Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio is a church in Rome, located in the homonymous square, on the Caelian Hill, about 700 meters away from the Roman Forum and the Colosseum.   SHORT HISTORY The church was erected starting with 398 by the Roman senator Byzantis on the site of an ancient structure dating back to the first century AD. The church was used first as a domus ecclesiae (house church) by a Christian community, and then, according to tradition, became the burial ground of the Saints John and Paul, who were martyred during the reign of the emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus. In 410, the church was damaged by the Visigoths of Alaric I, during the sack of Rome, then by an earthquake in 442, and was finally destroyed by the Normans in 1084. In the 12th century, Pope Paschal II restored the church, and built the bell-tower and the portico. The structure was remodeled again in the following centuries. The church took on its current appearance in 1951, when Cardinal Francis Joseph Spellman had the facade restored.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church is characterized by a portico along its entire width. Above the portico, Read more [...]

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    Trajan’s Forum

    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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    Church of Santa Susanna alle Terme di Diocleziano

    The Church of Saint Susanna at the Baths of Diocletian (Chiesa di Santa Susanna alle Terme di Diocleziano) is a beautiful church in Rome, located about 250 meters from Piazza della Repubblica.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of Santa Susanna is one of the oldest churches in Rome. The original place of worship was built around the year 280 AD on the remains of three Roman villas, outside the wall of the Baths of Diocletian and the Servian Wall, the first wall built to defend the city. According to tradition, the church was built on the site of the House of Susanna, where the Saint was martyred in 294 AD. Excavations made in the 19th century, actually brought to light the remains of a Roman house from the 3rd century, now visible through the glass paving of the sacristy. Other excavations from 1990 brought to light a Roman sarcophagus with fragments of painted plaster inside. Pope Sergius I restored the church at the end of the 7th century, Pope Leo III rebuilt it from the ground in 796. In 1475, the church was rebuilt again by Pope Sixtus IV. The facade of the church was completed in Baroque style in Read more [...]

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    Flaminio Obelisk

    The Flaminio Obelisk is one of the thirteen ancient obelisks of Rome, located in the center of Piazza del Popolo.   SHORT HISTORY The obelisk was partially built in 1300 BC, at the time of Pharaoh Seti I, and completed by his son, Ramses II, in the 13th century BC. Then, the obelisk was placed in the Temple of the Sun from Heliopolis, in Egypt. In the year 10 BC, the obelisk was brought by ship to Rome, at the behest of Octavian Augustus, together with the Montecitorio Obelisk, and placed in the Circus Maximus. Augustus decided to keep the original dedication of the monument to the Sun, which for the Romans corresponded to Apollo, the tutelary deity of the emperor. He also added two identical dedications on the north and south sides of the base. Probably demolished during the barbarian invasions, it was found in 1587 together with the Lateran Obelisk, and erected again in 1589, by the will of Pope Sixtus V, in Piazza del Popolo. The works were supervised by Domenico Fontana. In 1823, at the behest of Pope Leo XII, the architect Giuseppe Valadier decorated it with a base with four circular basins and as many Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto

    The Basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto is a church in Rome, located in Piazza del Popolo, between Via del Corso and Via del Babuino. Although there are some differences, the edifice is popularly known as the twin church of the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, located nearby. The Basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto has an elliptical plan and a dodecagonal dome, while its twin has a circular plan and an octagonal dome.   SHORT HISTORY In the 17th century, the Basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto replaced a small church which belonged to the Carmelite friars of the province of Monte Santo, in Sicily, hence the name. The construction began in 1662 on the initiative of Pope Alexander VII after a design by Carlo Rainaldi. Following the death of the pope in 1667, the construction works were interrupted. The works were resumed in 1673, under the direction of Carlo Fontana and the supervision of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and the structure was completed in 1679. The bell-tower of the church, built on a design by Francesco Navone, was finished in 1761. In 1953, the church became the seat of the Mass of the artists, an initiative conceived by Read more [...]

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    Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

    The Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Chiesa di Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore), also known as the Church of San Giacomo degli Spagnoli, is a church in Rome, located between Corso del Rinascimento and Piazza Navona.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was erected on this site in the 13th century, and dedicated to Saint James the Great, the patron saint of Spain. In 1440, the church was completely rebuilt at the expense of Alfonso de Paradinas. The facade was the work of the architect Bernardo Rossellino. Pope Alexander VI Borgia ordered new expansion works on the church, widened the square in front of the entrance on Via della Sapienza, and moved to the annexed buildings the hospices for Spanish pilgrims. In 1506, the Church of San Giacomo became the national church of the Spanish community in Rome. In 1518, the church was again remodeled by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, who would later become the architect of all the papal buildings. In 1818, after a period of neglect, the church was abandoned by the Spanish community in favor of the Church of Santa Maria di Monserrato, where the furnishings and tombs were also transferred. In 1878, 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 originally built during 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 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, 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 January 9, 1878, there were 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. The construction of the equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel Read more [...]

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    Piazza Navona

    Piazza Navona is a monumental square in Rome, with the shape of an ancient stadium, located about 350 meters away from the Pantheon.   SHORT HISTORY In ancient Rome, the current site of the square was occupied by the Stadium of Domitian, built by the Emperor Domitian in 85 AD, and restored by Alexander Severus in the 3rd century. The stadium was 265 meters long, 106 meters wide, and could accommodate about 30,000 spectators. The square became again a public space used for recreational purposes in the second half of the 15th century, during the reign of Pope Paul II. However, the most important transformations in the square took place during the pontificate of Innocent X, around the middle of the 17th century, when Piazza Navona took on its current appearance. The square was supposed to celebrate the greatness of the Pamphili family, and Innocent X, born Giovanni Battista Pamphili, desired the palace of the same name to be erected in the square, together with other imposing structures.   ARCHITECTURE Piazza Navona is a symbol of Baroque Rome, with architectural and sculptural elements by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and Girolamo Rainaldi. In the center of the square, stands the Read more [...]

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    Clivus Scauri

    Clivus Scauri is an ancient street in Rome, located along the depression between the Palatine Hill and the Caelian Hill, connecting Piazza di Santissimi Giovanni e Paolo to Piazza di San Gregorio.   SHORT HISTORY The name of the street is testified by an inscription from the imperial age and by medieval sources starting from the 8th century. Its origin is probably linked to the Aemilia Scauri family.   DESCRIPTION The street begins in Piazza di San Gregorio, near the Church of San Gregorio al Celio, and ends near the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio. The ancient appearance of the road was preserved, with some sectors flanked by houses built during Roman times, with large parts of the facades connected by medieval arches. The current Church of San Gregorio al Celio was built on the site of an ancient oratory between 1629 and 1633, on a design by the architect Giovanni Battista Soria. Near the Church of San Gregorio al Celio, we can see the remains of a cryptoporticus (covered corridor) belonging to a 3rd-century house. The Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio, located near the other end of the street, was erected starting with Read more [...]

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    Piazza San Pietro

    Although Piazza San Pietro is technically part of the Vatican, an independent state, informally it can be included among the attractions of Rome, as one of the most beautiful squares in the Eternal City. The Saint Peter’s Square, located in front of the Saint Peter’s Basilica dedicated to the homonymous saint, an apostle of Jesus and the first Catholic Pope, is 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 River. During the 15th century, Pope Alexander VI opened the first new straight road of Rome, the current Via della Conciliazione, between Ponte Sant’Angelo and the gate of the Vatican Palace. Around this axis, the Borgo, the 14th historic district of Rome, was 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 St. Peter’s Basilica. Throughout the 16th century, 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 Congregation of Bakers (Congregazione dei Fornai) obtained from Pope Alexander VI a small chapel, which 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 nearby National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The architecture of the church 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 Read more [...]

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    Isola Tiberina

    Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) is a small island in Rome, on the Tiber River, connected to the two banks of the river by Ponte Cestio and Ponte Fabricio.   SHORT HISTORY According to legend, the island was formed in 510 BC from the wheat and grain harvested in the nearby area of Campo Marzio (Field of Mars), a land owned by the hated tyrant Tarquinius Superbus. In the 3rd century BC, the island housed the temple of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. In the first half of the 1st century BC, Isola Tiberina was paved with travertine and the bridges Fabricio and Cestio were built. By then, the island resembled a ship, and an obelisk was erected in the middle, symbolizing the vessel’s mast. In time, the obelisk was destroyed and replaced with a column. After the column was removed in 1867, Pope Pius IX had an aedicula (small shrine) put in its place. In 998, Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, built the Basilica of San Bartolomeo all’Isola, on the ruins of the Asclepius temple. Due to the church, in the early 20th century, the Tiber Island was called Isola di San Bartolomeo (Saint Bartholomew Island) and the Cestius 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 del Quirinale

    Piazza del Quirinale is one of the many beautiful squares of Rome, located on the Quirinal Hill, near the palace of the same name.   ARCHITECTURE The square is located on top of the Quirinal Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome, called so because on this site once stood the temple of Quirino. The square is bordered to the northeast by the imposing Palazzo del Quirinale, the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, built between the years 1573 and 1585 by Martino Longhi and Ottaviano Mascherino as the summer residence of the Roman pontiffs. The east side of the square is bordered by Palazzo della Consulta. The building, which was completed in 1737 under the direction of the architect Ferdinando Fuga, was commissioned by Pope Clement XII to house the Papal State court. Between 1798 and 1814, the palace was the seat of the Prefecture of Rome, and from 1871 to 1874 was the residence of Prince Umberto I. In 1955, the palace became the seat of the Constitutional Court of Italy. Another building flanking the square, near Palazzo della Consulta, is the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi, commissioned in 1603 by the Borghese family. On the Read more [...]

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    Teatro di Marcello

    Teatro di Marcello 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 desired 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 were 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 theater was officially inaugurated, and dedicated to Marcus Claudius Marcellus, the nephew of Augustus. A first restoration of the theater 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 Theater of Marcellus was transformed 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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    Piazza della Repubblica

    Piazza della Repubblica is a square in Rome, located on the Viminal Hill, the smallest of the seven hills of the city, 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 today 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 on this site.   ART AND 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 the man’s domination over the forces of nature. In the northern part of the square, we can find the Baths of Diocletian, public baths in ancient Rome, built between 298 and 306 AD. Inside the ruined frigidarium Read more [...]

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    Palazzo delle Scuderie del Quirinale

    Palazzo delle Scuderie del Quirinale (Palace of the Quirinal Stables) is a palace in Rome, located in the southern area of Piazza del Quirinale, on the opposite side of Palazzo del Quirinale.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo delle Scuderie del Quirinale was built between 1722 and 1732 on a piece of land owned by the Colonna family, close to another building owned by the same family, the beautiful Palazzo Colonna. The project of the current palace belongs to the architect Alessandro Specchi, who was commissioned by Pope Innocent XIII to design a building intended to replace the previous one built in the early 18th century by Carlo Fontana. When Innocent XIII died, in 1730, the new Pope Clement XII entrusted Ferdinando Fuga with the task of completing the work. The building maintained its original function as a stable until 1938, the year in which it was transformed into a garage. In the 1980s, the palace was transformed into a museum of carriages. Between 1997 and 1999, it was completely restored to a design by the Friulian architect Gae Aulenti, in time for the Jubilee of the year 2000. Designed as an important exhibition space of about 1,500 square meters, it was 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 architect Guglielmo Calderini from Perugia. The official inauguration of the works, with the laying of the first stone, took place on the afternoon of March 14, 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 King Vittorio Emanuele III, on January 11, 1911. At the end of the 1960s, 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 to save the palace. In the 1970s, the palace underwent a 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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    Palazzo della Consulta

    Palazzo della Consulta is a Baroque palace in Rome, located in Piazza del Quirinale, between Palazzo del Quirinale and Palazzo delle Scuderie del Quirinale. The palace houses the Constitutional Court of the Italian Republic since 1955.   SHORT HISTORY The palace rises on the remains of the Baths of Constantine, on the southern slope of the Quirinal Hill, replacing a previous building erected under Pope Sixtus V by Cardinal Ferrero da Vercelli to house the Sacred Congregation of the Consulta (Papal State Council) and then expanded by Pope Paul V in the early 17th century. The current palace, which was completed in 1737 under the direction of the architect Ferdinando Fuga, was commissioned by Pope Clement XII to house both the headquarters of the secretariat of the Sacred Congregation of the Consulta and Signatura dei Brevi, both the corps of Cavalrymen and that of the Noble Guard (Corazze). Between 1798 and 1814, the palace was the seat of the Prefecture of Rome, and starting with 1849, during the Roman Republic, it was the seat of the Government of the triumvirate of Giuseppe Mazzini, Carlo Armellini and Aurelio Saffi. After the annexation of Rome, between 1871 and 1874, the hereditary Prince 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 Capitoline Hill, in Rome, known for housing the relics of Saint Helena, mother of emperor Constantine the Great.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this site 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, Pope Innocent IV granted the ownership of the church to the Franciscan Order. The Franciscans restored the church, giving it its 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 small Temple of Saint Helena was rebuilt in 1833, and the new organ of the choir was inaugurated in 1848. With the Read more [...]