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Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
Easter is one of the most important holidays in Catholicism . Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ on the third day after he was crucified.... more
Easter is a great celebration in the Vatican and all of Italy. The end of the Easter celebrations in the Vatican is marked by an elaborate firework display on the Tiber. In this photo you can see the colorful fireworks on the skyline of St. Peter's square. You may notice the famous Obelisk. The obelisk was brought to Rome from Alexandria by Emperor Caligula in 37 AD and it is more than 4000 years old.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
Saint Peter's Basilica Dome - From the inside This beautiful dome is situated above the altar. The dome is held by four structural piers and decorated with elaborate stucco ornaments ... moreand mosaic.The four Evangelists: Mark, Luke, John and Matthew are depicted on the four spaces between the arches that link the square piers and the circular part on the top of the dome.
Type:
Cultural, Historic, Town
The City of Rome is the modern capital of Italy. The historical city of Rome was founded more than 2500 years ago. Rome is filled with monuments and important works of art dating back ... morefrom ancient times to modern days.
Rome is also one of the holiest cities to the Catholic faith and the seat of the Papacy.Thanks to all of these features Rome attracts 7 to 10 million tourists every year.

Ten Quick facts about Rome

1. Rome, or Roma, was said to have been founded in the year 735 BC by the twins Romulusand Remus. According to the ancient Myth the twins, Rome's founders, were abandoned in a basket on the Tiber River and were rescued by a she-wolf. Romulusand Remus suckling from the wolf as babes has become one of the symbols of Rome. Most researchers think that the name Rome is derived from the name of Romulus. Others claim that Rome was founded earlier in history by the Trojan hero Aneas.

2. Rome and its urban and metropolitan area have a population of between 3.2 to 2.8 million people. This makes it the 5th most populated city in the EU.

3. The Tiber River is one of the most prominent features of the city. In ancient Rome it was common practice to throw executed criminals into the Tiber

4. The Vatican is situated within a walled enclave inside Rome. However VAtican City is a separate sovereign independent State. The Vatican's status as an independent state is anchored in the Lateran treaties signed in 1929 between Italy and the Holy See. Italy even has an embassy to the Holy See.

5. Rome has more than 900 churches. Not all of the churches in Rome are Roman Catholic. Amongst the more notable churches are Rome's four basilicas: St. Peter's Basilica, San Giovanni in Laterano, St Paul outside the wall and Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

6. Rome inspired many film makersand many classic movies take place in Rome. The most famous of these are Fellini's" La Dolce Vita" and "A Roman Holiday" starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Also some modern movies are inspired by the city the most recent of which is Woody Allen's "To Rome with Love."

7. In Largo Argentina In the historical center of Rome there is a shelter for cats. More than 250 cats find shelter in the ruins of one of the oldest temples in Rome.The Torre Argentina cat shelter is run by volunteers from different countries.The shelter is open to visitors and if you want to you can "adopt" a cat from afar by contributing funds to the shelter neededfor its up-keep and the feeding of the cats.

8. Rome has two Airports: Fiumicino- Leonardo Da Vinci and Ciampino Airport. Fiumacino is the main international Airport.

9. Most of ancient Rome was destroyed in a fire in 64 AD believed to have been started by Emperor Nero so that he build his new Palace in the center of Rome.

10. Many Roman families traditionally eat Pecorino with Fava beans on the first of May.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Park
The Vatican Gardens The Vatican Gardens are urban gardens and parks that cover more than half the area of the Vatican territory in the northeast and south. The gardens cover approximately ... more23 hectares of land, most of which is known as the Vatican Hill. The Vatican Gardens were established during the era of Renaissance and Baroque, and are decorated with sculptures and fountains.

The Vatican Gardens were created in 1279, when Pope Nicholas III moved the Papal residence from the Lateran Palace to the Vatican. The Pope then planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a garden (viridurium). The gardens were surrounded by high walls, which were meant to protect the gardens. These gardens are said to be the place where the Pope meditates privately as he enjoys the nature surrounding him.

During the papacy of Julius II at the beginning of the 16th century, the Vatican gardens were given a re-landscaping. This led to splitting the gardens into three courtyards. The current Vatican Gardens contain a variety of buildings, medieval fortifications and monuments dating back to the 9th century. There are also flower beds, green lawns and a 3-hectare patch of forest. In addition, there are also a number of fountains that cool the gardens. Due to this, the Vatican Gardens have a cool and refreshing atmosphere, making them one of the most popular stops on a visit to the Vatican.

The Vatican Radio is also situated in one of the towers within the Vatican Gardens’ buildings. With the combination of the architectural buildings, green plants, flowers and cooling fountains, the Vatican Gardens are indeed a serene place to tour. If you want to tour the gardens, you must enroll in a Vatican tour. There are guided tours which take visitors through the Vatican Gardens, in addition to other places in Vatican City like the Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, and more. The Vatican tour through the Vatican Gardens is conducted by an official Vatican Tour Guide, who will explain all the details concerning the gardens. You will be taken through the most important religious and cultural sites of the gardens. The Vatican Garden Tour takes approximately 2 hours.

In order to participate in a guided Vatican Tour of the Vatican Gardens, you must obtain a ticket in advance. Tickets can be booked online, where your reservations will be made on the minibus tour. The visit to the Vatican Gardens is available on every day, except Sundays and Vatican holidays. The tours are also provided in different languages: English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, etc. Make arrangements for a Vatican Tour and enjoy the views of Torre leonine, Vist di San Pietro, Fontana, Panorama, Roseto, Madonna della Guardia, Fontana dell’aquilone and Particolare, among others.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
The entire Vatican State is acknowledged as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1984. The main tourist attractions in the Vatican are: St. Peter's basilica, St. Peter's Square, The ... moreVatican Museums and the Vatican gardens. The entrance to the Basilica and Square are free of charge. Please note that visitors are asked to dress appropriately when entering the church.

There are five entrances to Vatican City; Many Visitors start their Vatican tour at St Peter's square. The best way to get to the Vatican from Rome's historical center is through Ponte St. Angelo. The entrance to the Vatican Museums is on Viale Vaticano.

According to Catholic tradition, St. Peter was martyred in Rome in the first century AD. In The Statue depicting St. Peter him in St Peter's square you can notice that he is holding a set of keys- the keys to the kingdom of heaven. The keys to the kingdom of heaven have become the emblem of the Holy See (the Vatican). In the Roman Catholic Church it is believed that salvation and heaven are only possible through the one true Church- the Roman Catholic Church. With a billion members all over the world, the Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination.
Type:
Cultural, Historic, Museum
The Vatican Museums exhibit artworks from the Roman Catholic Church's Impressive collections. The works were collected by the church throughout the centuries and the collections include ... moresome of the most famous Renaissance masterpieces and sculptures from ancient Rome and Greece.

The Popes were great patrons of art and among the first sovereigns who opened their private art collections to the public. Several sculptures collected by Pope Julius the second were the first items in what was to become the Vatican Museums collection.

The Vatican Museums, as seen today are comprised of several pontifical galleries and museums that were assembled by various popes.Several masterpieces by Caravaggio, Raphael, Fra Angelico, Giotto, Nicolas Poussin the renown Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo, the Rephael rooms, and the impressive collection of maps are all part of the vast collection. They are the main attractions of the Vatican Museums and are considered treasures of immense value. There are also galleries displaying modern Christian religious art.
Type:
Attraction
Cultural
Historic
Museum
On February 11th 1929, Vatican CityState was established by the signing of the Lateran Treaties between the stateof Italy and the Holy See. Its status as a sovereign State isuniversally ... morerecognized and is anchored in international law. Due to the smallsize of Vatican City, some of its Departments and offices are located in severalbuildings in Rome. These buildings enjoy the same status as embassies andforeign diplomatic missions according to the Lateran Treaty.

Vatican City lies beyond the right bank of the Tiber River, its on part of the ancient Montes Vaticani (the Vatican Mount) and where the Vatican Fields used to be .The Name "Vatican" originated from the name of this hill. The Vatican was protected from being secluded from the rest of the city by being included within the walls of Pope Leo IV (847–55), and later on fortified further by Popes Paul III , Pius IV and Urban VIII. There are five entrances to Vatican City; Many Visitors start their Vatican tour at St Peter's square.

The best way to get to the Vatican from Rome's historical center is through Ponte St. Angelo. The entrance to the Vatican Museums is on Viale Vaticano.on Viale Vaticano.

Perhaps the most recognizable building of Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica is the main Church of the Vatican built and named under the words of Jesus to St. Peter:

"And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in Heaven.And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

Matthew 16:17-19
Type:
Attraction, Historic
The Circus Maximus Since ancient times the Roman culture promoted entertainment and sports. Chariot racing was one of the Ancient Roman’s most popular forms of entertainment and it ... moreled to the establishment of the Circus Maximus. The Circus Maximus was one of the largest stadiums of Rome that was used to host chariot races among other entertainment events. The stadium is located within the valley between the Palatine and Aventine hills, in Rome, Italy. The original size of the stadium was 621 m long and 118 m wide, and it could accommodate 150,000 people.

The Circus Maximus was developed in the 6th Century BC, during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus who was the fifth king of Rome. The original Circus Maximus was built out of wood and it was designed specifically to race chariots. The very first gates of the Circus Maximus were built in 329 BC. In 174 BC, these gates were rebuilt and seven wooden eggs were placed on top of the spina, which was the central wall in the stadium. These eggs were used to count the number of laps during racing. One egg was removed after each lap. In 33 BC, seven bronze dolphins were added to the spina to serve the same purpose.

In 31 BC, the Circus Maximus was destroyed by a fire. The wooden structure was burnt but was later rebuilt by Emperor Augustus who also added an imperial box on the Palatine Hill. It was then that a large obelisk was added to the spina as a form of decoration. The obelisk can still be found in Rome today, at the center of the Piazza del Popolo. The second fire to burn Circus Maximus occurred in AD 64 during the reign of Emperor Nero. The Circus Maximus was again rebuilt by Trajan in AD 103. The stadium was now built by stones and it was three stories high. The sitting area of the stadium was built in marble. The stadium became bigger and more impressive. The Circus Maximus continued being popular and was used for several events. However chariot races were still the most popular events. The stadium could accommodate up to 250,000 and entry was free. Actually anybody, including the Rome’s poor, could attend the races in the stadium.

The last race to be held at the Circus Maximus was in AD 549. Thereafter, the stadium started becoming a forfeited area. Some of its marble and stones were stolen and used to construct new premises in the area. The decentralization of the area led to the collapse of the Circus Maximus.

Today, the Circus Maximus is just a public park within the centre of the city. The stadium is still used to host some concerts and meetings in Rome, though it is not as popular as it was during the ancient days.
Type:
Attraction
Historic
Neighborhood
Town
The Seven Hills of Rome The ancient city of Rome was originally built on the topographical layout of seven separate hills. These seven hills were joined together by the ancient walls ... moreof Rome- the Servian walls. The Seven Hills of Rome lie in the east to the Tiber River. Later many more areas were annexed to the city. The city walls were extended to include them also and the city is now much bigger than its original territory. The Vatican and Vatican hill are included in the Areas that were added to the city much later in history.

The seven hills are, namely:

The Quirinal Hill

The Aventine Hill

The Caelian Hill

The Viminal Hill

The Capitoline Hill

The Esquiline Hill

The Palatine Hill 

The biggest of all the seven is the Esquiline hill. It is famous because the Roman emperor constructed the domus aurea on it. Before the time of the Roman Empire the east side of the Esquiline was used for refuse and the poor buried their dead there. Execution of criminals was held by the Esquiline gate and the bodies were left to rot there. Burial was not allowed within the borders of the city but the burial area at the Esquiline was not within the walls of the city.

In addition on the Esquiline were The Temple of Claudius, The Colossus, and the Baths of Trajan.

The Palatine hill is also very important. According to the legend about the foundation of Rome the city to was first founded on the Palatine Hill by Romulus.

Rome had a very humble beginning. According to the legend the seven hills were originally occupied by tiny groups of separate tribes and were not affiliated to any city. Rome did not yet exist. Eventually the residents of the seven hills started to cooperate in order to participate in a series of religious games. These games were the adhesive that bonded the different settlers. As these separate settlements came together and became friendly, they formed together the newborn city of Rome. They started to work together to drain the marshes between the different hills and turn them into markets. The safety of any city used to depend on the height, sturdiness and breadth of its walls. The seven hills were protected by the walls called the Servian Walls. These were built in the early 4th century BC.

Whereas five out of the seven hills of Rome; The Caelian, The Esquiline, The Aventine, The Viminal and The Quirinal) include monuments, buildings, and parks m the poher two are not populated currently. The Capitoline hill is now Rome's city hall, and the Palatine Hill is part of an archaeological site.

Because of the seven hills Rome is known as the city of seven hills among other names given to it. The legend of the seven hills is so famous that here are other cities in the world that claim to have been built on seven hills. One of these cities is Athens, Greece.

The Pincian Hill located north of the tiber, The Vatican Hill which is located north-west to the river Tiber , and the Janiculum Hill lying to the west, are not part of the Seven Hills.
Type:
Historic, Neighborhood
Trastevere, Rome Trastevere is rione (region) XIII of Rome. It is a medieval area in Rome which is separated from the central city by the Tiber river. Despite its narrow lanes, many ... moretourists are attracted by its liveliness and the beautiful sceneries surrounding it. Trastever means literaly beyond the Tiber. It is the only place in Rome that survived the medieval period. Trastevere has a diverse nightlife and houses several archeological gems, as well as an international body of artists, students and expatriates who love the area’s special picturesque atmosphere and many secrets alleyways.

Trastevere has several historical attractions among them are the following:

Church of Santa Cecilia: this is a historical landmark decorated with beautiful frescoes and mosaics. It also has a fountain that contains a water vessel that lights up during the night. Behind this church, there is a sculpture dedicated to the martyr Santa Cecilia.

Gianicolo: it is also known as Janiculum Hill. If you climb this hill you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Rome. This is the hill became famous in the ancient days because it is where pagan priests used to go to in order to read the omens provided by the flight of birds; from these they would divine the outcome of different events which occurred in the city. The Janiculum Hill was also known as the site of a battle between troops that were under Giuseppe Garibaldi’s command and fought against the French.

Nightclubs: Trastevere is an awesome place to spend some time during the night. There are many lively nightclubs in the area that plays all types of music and keeps people entertained for the whole night. If you want to have some good time out in Rome, then Trastevere is the place to go. Some of the popular clubs in the area are Big Mama and Freni e Frizioni.

Restaurants: Trastevere area is also full of world class restaurants where you can enjoy Roman food at affordable prices. The restaurants offer classic dishes that are not easy to find in any other place. Some of the renowned restaurants in the area include Checco er Carettiere, Osteria Zi Mberto, The Mirror, Ai Marmi, among others. The restaurants offer both in-door and out-door services. The atmosphere at the restaurants is relaxing and soothing.

Trastevere also has an excellent museum as the Museum of Rome in Trastevere, located in Piazza Sant'Egidio, which hosts the permanent exhibition dedicated to folklore and Roman dialect poets, but also many temporary exhibitions. But that is not the only museum in the district: the House of Memory and History presents exhibitions and events to keep alive the memory of anti-fascism, Resistance and Liberation war; the Corsini Gallery which is full of historic pictures, the Botanic Garden located in the park of Villa Corsini, etc. The Trastevere area also has many Roman Catholic churches such as San Crisogono, Santa Maria in Trastevere.

On Saturday mornings Trastevere hosts a huge flee market called the Porta Portese. If you like flee markets this is most definitely the place for you as you can find there anything from clothes to antiques and old records.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
Piazza Venezia Piazza Venezia is a square located in the heart of Rome, Italy, at the end of the Via del Corso. The square is surrounded by magnificent sites such as the Pantheon, ... morethe Roman Forum, Trajan’s Forum, the Capitoline Hill, Palazzetto Venezia, the outstanding monument of Victor Emanuel II, Palazzo Bonaparte (home of Napoleon’s mother), Palazzo delle Aste, and San marco Church among others.The square is normally characterized by the heavy traffic as it forms an intersection of various road sections and therefore you may not find a quiet place to stand in at the square itself but its surrounding areas are full of incredible sites.

One of the outstanding landmarks at the Piazza Venezia is the II Vittoriano. The monument was dedicated to King Victor Emmanuel II, who was the first king of Italy. This monument was built in the 20th century and it completely changed the appearance of the square. During the construction of the II Vittoriano, many structures were demolished and others moved to other sites, among them was the Palazzetto Venezia.

Another structure near the Piazza Venezia is the Palazzo Venezia. This is the building that gave Piazza Venezia its name. It was built between 1455 and 1464 by cardinal Pietro Barbo who later became Pope Paul II. Piazza Venezia is among the most magnificent structures in Rome. This building was first used as a papal residence until when it was handed over to Venice by Pope Pius IV to be used as the Venetian embassy. The Italian government acquired Palazzo Venezia in 1916. It was from this building’s balcony that Benito Mussolini used to address people. Currently, Palazzo Venezia houses Museo del Palazzo Venezia museum which has a collection of historic decorative art including ceramics, sculptures, paintings and tapestries.

Adjacent to Piazza Venezia you can find the Palazzo Generali which was built between 1906 and 1911. This building replaced two palazzos which were demolished in 1900 to give space for the expansion of Piazza Venezia square.

Another incredible structure near Piazza Venezia is Palazzo Bonaparte. The palace was named after Letizia Bonaparte (the mother of Emperor Napoleon I).

During the excavations of the Rome C Metro Line in 2009, ancient remains which were said to be to be the relics of Emperor Hadrian were excavated from the middle of this square.

The whole area of Piazza Venezia is amazing. The place is full of spectacular buildings that can be seen from the square. You can climb the many steps at the Piazza Venezia square and have an overview of the neighborhood. The square is very beautiful and always full of people from all walks of life. When you climb to the top of the stairs, you can see the view of the whole of Rome. You will have an amazing view of beautiful buildings, sites and parks. Transportation to and from the square is very efficient as there are many buses leaving from the square to other parts of Rome.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
Piazza Navona Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful baroque sites in Rome. It was built at the exact place where the Domiziano Stadium was situated. This magnificent square has ... moremore than three magnificent fountains. The Piazza Navona is located in the historic center of Rome, west to the Pantheon. The square is one of the liveliest and most visited squares of Rome, with many outdoor cafes, restaurants and nightclubs in the surrounding areas.

There are several structures that can be found at Piazza Navona namely:

Domitian’s Stadium: this is the stadium that occupied this site before Piazza Navona was built. The stadium was built by Emperor Domitian in 86 AD and although you cannot see it today the Piazza Navona took its oval shape from this structure.

Fountain of the Four Rivers: Its fountains are among the major attractions of Piazza Navona. The central fountain, called Fontana dei Quattro Fium (Fountain of the Four Rivers), is the largest and most attractive. The fountain features four figures, each representing a river from a different continent – rivers Rio de la Plata, Ganges, Nile and Danube. The statues are at the base of a rock supporting an obelisk, originally located at the Massenzio Circus, near the Appian Way.

The Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone: the church was commissioned in 1652 by Pope Innocent X. The facade of the church was designed by Borromini and it was completed in 1670.

Neptune Fountain and Moor Fountain: these are two other outstanding fountains in the Piazza Navona. The first is the Fontana del Nettuno (Neptune Fountain) on the northern side of the piazza and Fontana del Moro (Moor Fountain) on the southern side. The Neptune Fountain was built in 1576 by Giacomo della Porta. During the 19th century, the statues of Neptune surrounded by sea nymphs were added. The Moor Fountain was also built by Giacomo della Porta; and it has a central statue of a Moor holding a dolphin designed by Bernini which was added in the 17thcentury. The Fontana del Moro was vandalized on the 3rd of September 2011. The man who damaged the fountain was captured on the security cameras.

The Piazza Navona has hosted several events and festivals. Between 1650 and late 19th century, The Piazza Navona could be flooded during the summer season and was used for aquatic games and staged marine battles. Piazza Navona is a cool place to hang around and this is true for Rome's local residents as well as tourists. It also features beautiful sculptural and architectural creations. There are many artists who gather in the square to paint and there are also several entertainers and vendors who sell souvenirs. The nightlife at the Piazza Navona is also lively as there are many nightclubs in the surrounding areas of the square. In Christmas the Piazza hosts a charming Christmas market. The Piazza Navona is a square full of life and worth a visit. There are lots of people, artists sharing their talents and lots of places to enjoy meals and have fun.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
The Pantheon The Pantheon is a spectacular building located in Rome, Italy. The Pantheon is located at Regione IX Circus Flaminius. Originally its construction was commissioned by ... moreMarcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus as a temple to all the gods of ancient Rome. The Pantheon was built in 27-25 BC by the magistrate Marcus Agrippa in order to commemorate the victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra in the battle of Actium. Later this original temple was burned down in 80 AD. It was then completely reconstructed by the Emperor Hadrian in 125 AD.

The Pantheon is a circular structure with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns under a pediment. There is a rectangular vestibule which links the porch to the rotunda, which is underneath a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Until today, this dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The diameter of the interior circle and the height to the oculus are the same, 43.4 meters. The oculus was the only source of light to the building at the time when it was constructed.

The Pantheon was later turned into a church. Today the Pantheon contains tombs of several famous artists and various Italian kings. The tombs in the Pantheon include among others those of the painters Raphael Sanzio da Urbino, Carracci Annibale, the architect Baldassare Peruzzi, and Arcangelo Corelli. In Adittion to the kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I as well as Umberto's Queen, Margherita.

The Pantheon is renowned for its exclusive architectural structures and the use of space. The special designs of the portico, the bronze doors ,the dome, tall walls, oculus, decorations and monumental tombs all contribute to the beauty of the building and turn it into a great tourist's attraction. There is also a lovely fountain nearby topped by an ancient Egyptian obelisk which was erected by Pope Clement XI.

The Pantheon also borders with the Piazza della Rotonda, which is a rectangular square situated in the historic center of Rome. With its long history and the many reconstructions made to it, the Pantheon it is one of the most visited buildings in Rome. The square bordering the Pantheon is always crowded with tourists taking pictures or moving in and out of the building. The Pantheon is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m on Sunday and on holidays 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. There is no admission fee needed in order to enter the building; it is open to the public free of charge.

There is no doubt that the Pantheon is a spectacular building that is worth a visit. Both the interior and the exterior of the building are amazing and breathtaking.The large dome, the oculus, the huge columns, and the inscriptions are exemplary. The Pantheon is said to be the Roman monument with the largest number of records and it is the most imitated of all ancient structures.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
Trevi Fountain in Rome Trevi Fountain is the biggest Baroque fountain in Rome, Italy. It is also among the most beautiful fountains in the whole world. The fountain was constructed ... morebetween 1732 and 1762. The fountain is located at the end of the Aqua Virgo, which brings water from the Salone Springs which are located approximately 20 km from Rome. Trevi fountain symbolizes Rome’s rich history and architecture.

The first design of Trevi Fountain was made by the artist Bernini in 1640 but his plan was not implemented. During the mid 18th century, Nicola Salvi won the papal competition to adapt Bernini’s previous design of the fountain.Unfortunately, Nicola died before the completion of the construction. Eleven years later the project was taken over by Giuseppe Panini who then completed it.

The Trevi Fountain is 85 feet high and 65 feet wide, making it the largest fountain in Rome. There is a large structure depicting Neptune (god of the sea) at the centre of the fountain. The god is riding a chariot which is being pulled buy two seahorses. One of the horses is obedient and calm while the other one is edgy. The two horses symbolize the changing moods of the sea. The fountain contains some more statues including one on the left hand side of Neptune which represents Abundance and another on the right representing Salubrity.

Trevi fountain is an iconic monument and no tourist who visits Rome goes back home without visiting it. The fountain has a great history and the water at the bottom of it is said to represent the sea. According to the famous legend if you throw a coin into the water then you will then return again to Rome one day. The coin is tossed over thy shoulder with the back to the fountain. This is a great experience and nearly all the tourists who visit the fountain try it and throw a coin into it. Incredibly enough it is estimated that an average of 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain everyday! This money is used to fund a city food bank.

The Trevi Fountain has also been featured as an iconic part of Rome's imagery in several movies including the 1954 Hollywood movie “Three Coins in a Fountain”. The fountain’s presence can be noticed from the nearby streets. You will start hearing the sound of gushing waters growing more intense as you come closer.The gushing sound makes the visiting tourists eager to see this spectacular monument that is full of history, art, architecture and tradition. This is why the fountain attracts millions of tourists every year.

The Trevi Fountain is truly extraordinary: it combines an internal cool environment with a vibrant sound of gushing water from the fountain and wonderfully detailed life like statues.There are plans to restore the fountain which will involve a complete overhaul including an overall cleaning of the statues, replacing the gilded Latin inscriptions and also re-waterproofing the main basin. During the process, the fountain will not be closed to tourists and it is expected to becompleted by 2015.
Type:
Geological Feature
The Tiber River in Rome The Tiber is famous for being the main river that runs through the city of Rome. Rome is situated on the Tiber's eastern banks. The Tiber (called the Tevere ... morein Italian) is one of the longest watercourses in Italy. Its depth is between 7 and 20 feet. The Tiber rises from the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flows for 406 Kilometers. Its course runs through Umbria and Lazio and ends at the Sea. The source of the Tiber is in two springs 10 33 feet apart from each other situated on Mount Fumaiolo in central Italy.

The river rises from these two springs in Mount Fumaiolo and flows in a southern direction passing Perugia and then Rome. The Tiber eventually arrives at the sea at Ostia, now a Suburb of Rome. the Tiber has advanced since the ancient Roman era, which is why the ancient port of Ostia Antica is now almost 6 km inland. The Tiber has an island in the center of Rome called Isola Tiberina which is situated between the ancient center and the neighborhood of Trastevere. Coming from the direction of the center of Rome the Vatican is situated across the Tiber.

Scholars think that name Tiber dates to ancient times, It originated in another language before the Latin " Tiberis". Most probably it is a very ancient name. According to an ancient Roman myth the king Tiberinus Silvius of Alba Longa urinated into a river named the Albula River, which was then renamed in his honor. Jupiter then made him a guardian spirit of the river and a god. The Tiber is also called flavus ("the blond") because of the yellowish hue of its water.

The Tiber used to be famous for its floods as it used flood regularly. In order to prevent floods the river is now confined by stone embankments. The building of these high embankments started in 1876. Inside the city today, the edges of the Tiber are lined with streets called lungoteveri, which means along the Tiber in Italian.

The Tiber has become very much identified with the City of Rome. The famous legend about the founding of Rome takes place on the banks of the Tiber. The Legend says that, the twins Romulus and Remus, Rome's founders, were abandoned to its waters. This is where they were saved by a she-wolf.

The Tiber played an important strategic defensive and economic part for Rome during ancient Roman times. The Tiber was crucial for trade and commerce. The Tiber had many other uses in ancient Rome . For example: the Tiber a used to be connected to the ancient Roman sewage system. Also, In ancient Rome, criminals who were executed were thrown into the Tiber afterwards.An interesting fact is that due to the identification of Rome with the Tiber "Swimming the Tiber" has come to be the Protestant euphemism for converting to Roman Catholicism
Type:
Attraction, Historic
Cortile del Belvedere The construction of Cortile del Belvedere was the initiative of Pope Julius II and Bramante who wanted to connect an ancient pontifical palace on the right side ... moreof St. Peter’s, and the palace which was built for Innocent VIII by Pollaiolo on the little hill known as del Belvedere. Pope Julius was a great collector of statues when he was still a cardinal. After he was elected as pope he carried all his collection to the Vatican. The Belvedere was one of the places that contained the pope’s several sculpture collections and started making the place more attractive and popular.

As a result of the demand to connect the two palaces, Bramante designed two long corridors which created a big courtyard. Pope Julius II was a great fan of architectural works and wanted to build something impressive which would enhance the grandeur of both palaces. Just as expected, Bramante designed a spectacular court yard which connected the Vatican Palace and the Villa Belvedere. He designed a series of terraces which were connected by stairs and had narrow wings on its sides.

Bramante was very innovative when designing the Cortile del Belvedere. The courtyard contained six narrow terraces which were crisscrossed by a central staircase that led to the wide middle terrace. The long wings on the sides of the terraces of Cortile del Belvedere are what now house the Vatican Museums and the Vatican Library.

The Cortile del Belvedere provided an easy and comfortable means of passing from a garden terrace to the palace court. Bramante originally designed the uppermost terrace as a garden ground but as a result of the small size of the house, he came up with another idea. He made another decorative erection of a garden structure within the colossal semicircular niche, with a loggia on top of it. This provided a spectacular view over the landscape and the entire city.

The Cortile del Belvedere courtyard was used for several occasions due to its spectacular design and atmosphere. In 1565, Pope Pius IV held here a festival event in honour of the wedding of his nephew.

The construction of Cortile del Belvedere led to several developments of outstanding structures in the Vatican City. As a matter of fact, the courtyard led to the establishment of the Vatican Library, Gallery of inscriptions, the Museum of Christian Art, the Gallery of Urban VIII, the Sistine Hall, the Pauline Rooms, and the Gallery of Maps, among others. These are some of the structures rich in the Roman Catholic Church history continue to attract many visitors from all over the world. Until today, Cortile del Belvedere still remains one of the greatest architectural works in the Vatican. The courtyard provides a spectacular view of the entire Vatican City and it houses numerous sculptures and collections.
Type:
Geological Feature, Historic
Vatican Hill The Vatican Hill is located right on the opposite side of the Seven Hills of Rome. The hill is situated just across from the Tiber. The Vatican Hill was in existence even ... morebefore Christianity took its strong ground in Rome. It is said that the Vatican Hill was the site of an Etruscan town known as Vaticum. According to Roman history, the Vatican Hill obtained its name from its location and the people who occupied its location at the time when it was first inhabited.

There is some mystery surrounding the name of the hill; On the one hand the Vatican Hill was the home of people called Vates before Rome became the land of Christianity. On the other hand, Vaticanus was an Etruscan god of prophecy and that his temple was built on the ancient site of the Vatican Hill. The history of the original site of the Vatican Hill is linked back to St. Peter’s as it is very close to the site of his burial and some tombs of renowned Romans who contributed to the foundation of Christianity in Rome. 

The Vatican Hill was included within the Vatican City walls during the reign of Pope Leo IV. This was part of this Pope’s attempt to protect the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. After being included in the Vatican City walls, the Vatican Hill became part of the Vatican and Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican Hill is one of the natural sites of Rome which are visited by millions of tourists every year. The hill itself is a spectacular site and the surrounding areas are also remarkable. The hill is one of the sites in Rome that can be easily identified from a distance. For instance, people who visit the Vatican easily recognize the Vatican Hill and end up climbing it to enjoy the fresh air and the views surrounding the area.

Getting to the Vatican Hill is stress-free as there are guided tours that will take you there if it is your first time in the Vatican. There are tour guides who help people to climb the hill and go round it to enjoy the natural sites and the surrounding environs. The transportation means to the Vatican Hill are also easily available making the access to the hill easier.

Additionally, there are many hotels, restaurants and other recreational facilities near the Vatican Hill if you are hungry or tired. If you want to go and visit the hill for one or two days and stay in a hotel or camp at the hill site for weeks, all provisions are available to meet these demands.

With the rich history of the incredible architectural structures, art and relics, Vatican Hill is one of the most visited sites in Rome. It has continued to receive visitors from all over the world and it is attached to the great history of Christianity in Rome, making it an important site in Rome.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
The Lateran Palace In ancient Roman times the Lateran Palace was a palace belonging to Roman noblemen but later it became the major papal residence. It was originally kwon as the Apostolic ... morePalace of the Lateran. The Lateran Palace is one of the major Lateran buildings in Rome. It was the primary Apostolic residence prior to the Avignon Exile.

Nowadays the Lateran Palace displays the history of the Papal States. The Lateran Palace is now occupied by the Museo Storico Vaticano. In addition, the Lateran Palace houses some residential apartments of the Cardinal Vicar and the offices of the Vicariate of Rome. During the ancient days, the Lateran Palace also housed some of the collections and relics of the Lateran Museum, which were later distributed in different museums of Vatican.

The Lateran Palace is next to the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, which is the cathedral church of Rome. The Lateran Palace obtained its name from the Laterani family whose family members served as administrators for numerous Roman emperors and donated land, property and funded several projects in Rome.

Despite the change of its use, the Lateran Palace has remained an incredibly well kept palace and it is now an important part of the Roman Catholic Church's history. The palace is surrounded by several gardens and structures that make it a tourist attraction. Different popes who have ruled Rome have also used the Lateran Palace to serve various purposes; mostly for holding important meetings. It is at the Lateran Palace that the Lateran Treaty was signed on 11th February 1929.

The Lateran Palace is open to the public and tourists are allowed to visit the palace especially in the morning hours. In case you are new to the place, you will be guided through the whole palace and shown important sites and their meanings. The Lateran Palace itself is an incredible place to visit. The inside of the palace is full of historical relics and artifacts created by the great artists of Rome. It is here that the popes used to reside and therefore it is given the attention and respect it deserves. There is tight security in the place and no incidences of crimes despite the high crime rate in Rome.

It is also important to note that the Lateran Palace was destroyed by fires in 1307 and 1361.Due to the damage the ancient building of the Lateran Palace was replaced with the same structure, which is the current Lateran Palace, during the papacy of Pope Sixtus V. The restructuring was designed and supervised by architect Fontana. 

The Lateran Palace houses the famous Scala Sancta and as it is among the holiest places in Rome, you will meet many people visiting the Lateran Palace especially in the morning hours.
Type:
Attraction, Historic, Church
Santa Maria Maggiore Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy. It is a papal basilica and often used by the pope. It is one of the four basilicas in ... moreRome holding the title major basilica. Santa Maria Maggiore is located on the summit of the Esquiline Hill, and it is the only patriarchal basilica of the four basilicas in Rome to have retained its paleo-Christian structures. The other three basilicas of Rome are: St. Peter’s Basilica, St. John’s Basilica and St. Paul’s Basilica. Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) is the largest church in Rome having been dedicated to the ‘Virgin Mary’. Its name ‘major’ shows that it is the most important of the 80 churches in Rome that are dedicated to Mary.

Santa Maria Maggiore dates back to the 5th century when the landowner (according to legend the patrician John) of Esquiline Hill had a dream on the 4th of August 352. In the dream, Virgin Mary appeared to him and told him to build a church at the site where snow would fall the following day. On that same night, Pope Liberius had the same dream.

The following day, snow fell on the Esquiline Hill. The pope and the patrician quickly ran towards the site of the miracle and they found that the snow had fallen in the shape of a floor plan for a church. Pope Liberius then decided to build a basilica at that very site as an honor of the Virgin Mary. However, archeological evidence shows that the church was first built in the early 400s and was completed under the reign of Pope Sixtus III between 432 and 440. This was the time when many churches were built and dedicated to Mary.

The Santa Maria Maggiore has had many names from the time it was built. First, it was called St. Mary of the Snow (Santa Maria della Neve), after the miraculous snowfall; then Santa Maria Liberiana after Pope Liberius. After the basilica had obtained a relic of the Holy Crib, it was called St. Mary of the Crib (Santa Maria Del Presepe). Then it finally obtained its current name St. Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore).

Full restoration and renovation of Santa Maria Maggiore took place during the 18th century, when the facade and its interior were greatly changed. Santa Maria Maggiore is a tourist’s attraction and it is said to be the second most beautiful church in Rome second only to St. Peter’s. Among the attractions that you can see at the Santa Maria Maggiore are several mosaics (apse mosaic depicting the Coronation of the Virgin, mosaics of the triumphal arch which depicts scenes from the early life of Christ), the nave, the medieval bell tower (the highest in Rome), Athenian marble columns, the Pauline chapel, an icon of Virgin Mary known as Salus Populi Romani (Health of the Roman People), a relic of the True Cross and a museum containing Roman remains. The basilica is decorated with lots of artworks that will make your visit interesting. The feast day of Santa Maria Maggiore is celebrated on August 15th.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
The Vatican Grottoes The Vatican Grottoes is the vast underground graveyard below St. Peter’s Basilica. A grotto is basically a cave of artificial or natural origin that is used by ... morepeople, usually for burial purposes. This is the place that houses the tombs of several popes and saints. In fact, the Vatican Grottoes is the burial place of 91 popes and some other church dignitaries such as cardinals dating back to the 10th century and onwards. In addition the grottoes also include some tombs of secular monarchs such as the tomb of Queen Charlotte of Cyprus, the tomb of the Stuarts, and the tomb of Queen Christina of Sweden. The grottoes are located above the necropolis where you can find the holy tomb of St Peter the fisherman, the first bishop of Rome (Pope). 

Some of the tombs, rooms, chapels, and structures encompassed in the Vatican Grottoes include: The Chapel of St Peter (the Clementine Chapel) various Peribolos, the tomb of John Paul the II. Archeological Rooms, Madonna Dolorosa and the Doctors of the Church, the Funerary Monument of Calixtus III, and a Marble Statue of St Peter Enthroned, among hundreds of others. There is a fresco in one of the chapels close to the apse painted by the painter Pietro Cavallini in the 14th century. It is called the “Madonna della Bocciata” ,the name refers to the Madonna's swollen face. According to an old story, a drunken soldier had thrown a bowl into the holy image after he lost a game of bowls and as a result her face started to bleed.

There are more than one hundred tombs within St. Peter’s Basilica and most of these tombs are within the Vatican Grottoes (beneath St. Peter’s Basilica). Therefore the Vatican Grottoes are one of the most visited places of the Vatican City. Millions of tourists visit the Vatican Grottoes every year just to have a look at the papal tombs and chapels dedicated to different popes and saints. Seeing some of the Popes sarcophaguses you can actually imagine what they looked like. Some of the tombs are very interesting as we can learn from them a lot about the person buried inside and what his contemporaries thought about him. If you can tour the grottoes with someone who reads Latin this can prove very handy because it is also very interesting to read the inscriptions on the tombs.

Weaving through the Vatican Grottoes can take you the whole day. You can enter the grottoes near the elevator kiosks for the dome. There is an entry fee and if you happen to be there during the time of a conclave please note that the grottoes are closed to the public at this time. You can also take a guided tour where the guide will take you through the monuments and tombs with great detail. The place is full of fascinating tombs and sarcophagus, tunnels, chambers and Italian art. The Vatican Grottoes is one of the highlights of any Vatican tour and it will leave you yearning for another visit to the place.