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Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
The Flavian Palace, normally known as the Domus Flavia, is part of the vast residential complex of the Palace of Domitian on the Palatine Hill in Rome. It was completed in 92 AD by ... moreEmperor Titus Flavius Domitianus, and attributed to his master architect, Rabirius.

The term Domus Flavia is a modern designation used to describe the northwestern section of the Palace where the bulk of the large public rooms for entertaining and ceremony are concentrated. It is interconnected with the domestic wing to the southeast, the Domus Augustana, which descends from the summit of the Palatine down to wings specially constructed within the hill to the south and southwest.

The imposing ruins which flank the southeastern side of the Palace above the Circus Maximus are a later addition built by Septimius Severus; they are the supporting piers for a large extension which completely covered the eastern slope.

The Domus Flavia contains several exceptionally large rooms; the main public reception rooms are the Basilica, the Aula Regia, the Lararium, and the Triclinium.

The Basilica is the first part visible from the Clivus Palatinus, the road that connects the Roman Forum to the Palatine Hill. A long portico runs alongside the domus on the west and north sides at the end of which is the main entrance which seems to serve both the public and the private part of the palace. Once inside the visitor enters the Lararium housing a detachment of the Praetorian guard. It is the smallest and most poorly preserved room in the palace. Behind it was once a staircase providing access to the Domus Augustana. Below this room parts of the earlier House of the Griffins have been excavated and from which exquisite decorations have been removed to the Antiquarium.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
The Via Sacra (Latin: Via Sacra) (Sacred Road) was the main street of ancient Rome, leading from the top of the Capitoline Hill, through some of the most important religious sites ... moreof the Forum (where it is the widest street), to the Colosseum.

The road was part of the traditional route of the Roman Triumph that began on the outskirts of the city and proceeded through the Roman Forum. In the 5th century BC, the road was supported by a super-structure to protect it from the rain.[citation needed] Later it was paved and during the reign of Nero it was lined with colonnades.

The road provided the setting for many deeds and misdeeds of Rome's history, the solemn religious festivals, the magnificent triumphs of victorious generals, and the daily throng assembling in the Basilicas to chat, throw dice, engage in business, or secure justice. Many prostitutes lined the street as well, looking for potential customers.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
 (1)
The Vatican and Rome are holy cities to the Roman Catholic Christian faith. Rome is the seat of the Papacy since the 1st century AD and later home to the Vatican, where the Pope resided ... moresince the 14thcentury. Traditionally, the See of Rome was founded by Saint Peter who first held the position of the Pope or Bishop of Rome. According to UNESCO St. Peter's basilica in the Vatican is the largest religious building in the world. Today Rome has a Cathedral and more than 900 Churches and some of the most prominent Catholic churches can be found there as well as many important Catholic institutes. For Catholic believers, Rome is more than a tourist attraction but also a center for pilgrimage and Prayer.

The Vatican is situated in a walled enclave inside Rome. The Pope's residence is also known as the Apostolic Palace and it is located North-East of the St. Peter's basilica.. Since 1984 all of Vatican State is acknowledged as a UNESCO world heritage site. The main tourist attractions in the Vatican are: St. Peter's basilica, Vatican gardens, St. Peter's Square, and the Vatican Museums with their impressive collections of art, maps and statues. The entrance to the Basilica and Square are free of charge. Note that visitors are asked to dress appropriately when entering the church.

Since February 1929 Vatican City State is a sovereign state of the Holy See. This was established by the signing of the Lateran Treaties. The Vatican's status as a sovereign State is recognized universally.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
 (2)
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.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
 (1)
"On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven." ... more

(Matt 16:18-19)

These are the words that Jesus said to Peter the fishermen, the first Pope. St Peter was martyred in Rome and buried in the necropolis beneath the Basilica.

Peter had a brother named Andrew.They were both fishermen. It was Andrew who first introduced him to Jesus Christ. Peter was born in Bethsaida, which is close to Lake Tiberias. Together with his brother he fish on Lake Genesareth. Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus. Christ then called Peter to become his disciple. In Luke there is a story about Peter. Peter caught an amount of fish so large that he fell down before the feet of Jesus and then was told by the Lord, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men”. Jesus also gave Simon a new name: Cephas, or the rock. Becoming a disciple of Jesus, Peter acknowledged him as "... the Messiah, the son of the living God”. Once the brothers retired from fishing and became disciples of Jesus, they were referred to as “fishers of men”.The name Peter means “rock”, and his story is extensively described in the New Testament.

The current statue of St. Peter was commissioned by Pope Pius the IX and was erected in 1847.Pius IX (1846-1878) replaced the old statues of Sts. Peter and Paul, with the current ones on Easter 1847. The new statues are larger than the older ones. The current Statue is 5.5 meters high.
Type:
Historic
 (4)
The Vatican's post office The Vatican's post office was established on the 11th February 1929 and it has continued to offer its own postal services ever since then. The first equipment ... morethe post office used was donated by the Italian government. First, the Vatican's post office services were only provided within the Vatican City. But the services expanded and it became possible to start sending mail throughout Rome after the Vatican City had became a member of the Universal Postal Union on the 1st of June 1929 and signed a postal agreement with Italy on the 29th of July of the same year. The official stamps of Vatican City are produced under the authority of the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State

Do you still use "snail mail?" even if you don't, a postcard with a Vatican stamp is a lovely gesture to your family and/or friends. The Vatican’s Post Office is open to everyone who wishes to send mail both within and outside Vatican City. The office is open during most part of the days and also depending on the season. During winter season, the opening hours of the Vatican Post Office are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.; Monday to Friday and from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Saturday. During summer season, the opening hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Monday to Saturday. The office remains closed on Sundays. The Vatican's post office also has its branches in St. Peters Square and in the Vatican Museums.

Apart from the usual postage stamps sold by the Vatican's post office, you can also find some special stamps at the Vatican post office. These stamps encompass features related to specific occasions. For example, during the resignation period of Pope Benedict XVI in February 2013, the Vatican's post office issued special cancellation stamps to mark the end of the Pope’s papacy. This special postmark showed Pope Benedict XVI in the foreground with his arms raised in a greeting. In the background of this special stamp was dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and it was encrypted with the words: “Pope Benedict XVI Renounces the Petrine Ministry. Vatican post, 28.2.2013,” written in Latin.

The Vatican also sells some special types of stamps and envelopes that are made only when there is no Pope (Sede Vacanta). These stamps are considered by the Vatican's post office as “special stamps” because they are issued only when the Pope is not in his place. In most cases, these stamps are very high in value and purchased in bulk by stamp collectors not just for economic value but also because they are more valuable since they symbolize a very crucial period for the Roman Catholic Church. 

Funnily enough, in Italy many Romans travel to the Vatican City Post Office to post their critical letters as a result of their distrust for the Italian postal systems. The Vatican's post office sends millions of letters every year and its services are more reliable. In fact the Vatican City’s postal system was to be “one the best postal systems in the world”, by the Universal Postal Union. The Vatican's postal code is 00120.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural
The Sphere within a Sphere is a statue also known as "Sfera con Sfera". The Sphere within a sphere is located in the Vatican Museums. It is part of a series of bronze sculptures on ... morethis theme that can be found in prime locations all over the world such as: the Headquarters of the UN in New York; The Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, USA; Trinity College in Dublin; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C; the de Young Museum in San Francisco, USA ;The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art; the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus and the Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Arnaldo Pomodoro is an Italian sculptor. He was born in the 23rd of June 1926 in Morciano, Romagna, Italy. Currently he lives and works in Milan. His brother, Giò Pomodoro was also an Artist.

The "Sphere within a Sphere" Statue depicts a huge fractured orb. Inside the cracked orb you can see another one. Each tremendous sphere is broken, showing yet another cracking sphere. The design of the internal layers seems to imitate the gears or cogwheels of a complex machine such as a clock. It symbolizes the fragility and complexity of the world.This fascinating statue is located in the courtyard of the Pine cone outside the Vatican Museum. Pomodoro started to create these orbs in the early 1960s. 

Pomodoro is also known for designing a controversial fiberglass crucifix for the Cathedral of St. John in Copenhagen. In addition he sculpted pieces for the Amaliehaven park which was displayed on the waterfront in front of Amalienborg Palace in 1983. His piece "Forme del Mito" was displayed at Brisbane's World Expo '88 and was later bought by Brisbane City.

In 1999 he founded Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro in Milan as a centre to whose aim is to document and archive Pomodoro's work . The foundation opened an exhibition space in 2005, and it now displays exhibitions of renowned artists such as Jannis Kounellis, Lucio Fontana and Robert Rauschenberg. Flaminio Gualdoni is the current director of Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro. The Court of the Pigna constitutes the northern end of the great renaissance Belvedere Courtyard that extended from the Papal Palaces to Innocent VII's "palazzetto" and was subsequently divided into three parts with the construction of Sixtus V's Library and the Braccio Nuovo of Pius VII. The present courtyard which takes its name form the enormous bronze pine cone set into the "nicchone", is bounded on the south side by the Braccio Nuovo, on the east by the Chiaromonti Gallery, on the north by Innocent VIII's Palazzetto and on the west by the galleries of the Apostolic Library.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
At the center of Saint Peter's Square stands a 25.5 meter tall ancient Egyptian obelisk, 41 meters high including its added base. This obelisk is over 4000 years old and was brought ... moreto Rome from Alexandria by Emperor Caligula in 37 AD.

The obelisk was removed from the “Circus of Nero” in Rome and placed at the center of the square under the order of Pope Sixtus V in 1586. The re-erection of the obelisk required a work force of some 900 men and almost 100 horses and took over a year to complete.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
Encompassing Saint Peter’s Square are two colonnades which were designed by Bernini to symbolize the embracing maternal arms of the Catholic Church. The colonnades are comprised of ... morefour rows of columns, each column with 1.5 meters in diameter and 20 meters high.

Adorning the rooftop of the colonnades are 140 statues of various saints consisting of former popes, martyrs, evangelists and other Christian figures. The statues were created by Bernini and his students over a span of some 40 years. 

On the ground, between the obelisk and each fountain, are marble discs marking the geometric “foci” of the elliptical shaped square of St. Peter’s. When standing on these discs, the columns of the colonnades appear perfectly aligned so that only the closest row of columns can be seen – indicating once again the architectural brilliance of Bernini.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
St. Peter's square is situated in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Several special Masses are celebrated in St. Peter's square during various occasions and celebrations. ... moreSt. Peter’s Square is where the newly elected pope appears to the world for the first time. Special Masses celebrated at St. Peter’s Square include: Easter and Christmas Masses. 

As you approach St. Peter’s Square you will hear the heartening sounds of trickling water. These are the fountains of St. Peter's square. St. Peter’s Square is known for its beauty. The two fountains on both sides of the Obelisk contribute to its atmosphere and beauty. These fountains were constructed during the renaissance and they are considered exemplary works. These fountains give St. Peter’s Square a relaxing atmosphere. The fountains are a great tourist attraction and they are considered among the most beautiful fountains in Rome. The fountains have been renovated and are well preserved. They are worth visiting if you are visiting the Vatican.

The following are two of the fountains located in St. Peter’s Square:

The Bernini Fountain: This fountain was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini between the years 1667 to 1677. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Clement X. The construction of the fountain took Bernini ten years and no detail was forgotten. Bernini's design was influenced by his earlier designs.

The fountain is located on the south side of St. Peter’s Square.

Maderno Fountain: The fountain on the left, when facing St. Peter’s Basilica, was designed by Carlo Moderno. In 1612 Pope Paul the V rebuilt the ancient Roman aqueduct and it was renamed the Acqua Paola. The newer aqueduct provided the fountain with a larger source of water.

this fountain was redesigned by architect Carlo Maderno after being commissioned by Pope Paul V.The architect Carlo Maderno was the nephew of the architect Domenico Fontana. He built a base for the fountain on top of which a large basin was placed. The basin is decorated with steps and small columns. Maderno left the large lower stone vasque of the old fountain. He then decorated the pedestal on top of it with four scrolls of stone. The new design has a large lower stone vasque, which the old fountain also had. He removed the small upper vasque, and replaced it with a mushroom like cap with stone scales. When the water flows from the top it pours down over the upper vasque and the light shines through it.

The source of water for the fountain was on a hill. This caused the water to shoot upwards by the power of gravity. In 1641, this fountain was said to be the most beautiful fountain in the whole of Europe.

If you are planning a visit to Rome don't forget St. Peters square and its fountains. This is a good place to take photos and enjoy the atmosphere.
Type:
Attraction, Historic, Museum
The Chair of Saint Peter is also known as the Cathedra Petri in Latin. Cathedra Petri is a relic that can be found in St. Peter's Basilica. The actual wooden chair is placed inside ... morea beautifully sculpted bronze casing. The casing was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and was built between the years 1647–53. Like in many medieval reliquaries the casing of the chair is in the form of the relic conserved inside it; meaning that it was designed by Bernini to resemble a chair. The Latin word cathedra is used for a chair or throne and denotes a chair or seat in the use of a bishop. The Chair of Peter symbolizes the office of the Pope as the Bishop of Rome.

Originally, the cathedra in St. Peter's Basilica was used by the popes. Inside the Chair is a wooden throne, which traditionally, was Saint Peter's throne. However, archeologist G.B. De Rossi, who was the last archeoligist to inspect this relic argued that only the acacia wood skeleton is in fact ancient while the other oak parts attached to the skeleton with strips of iron and ivory, are from Byzantine times. 

The pattern on the upholstery of the casing depicts Christ giving the keys of heaven to St Peter. Large angelic figures were placed on both sides of a panel beneath a bronze seat cushion. The cathedra lies on bars that are held by four gigantic bronze figures; these are the doctors of the Church. The doctors are St. Ambrose and St. Augustine of the Roman Church and St. Athanasius and St. John Chrysostom of the Greek Church. The symbolism of this is That Doctors of the Church are the ones holding up the papcy and the Church.

Above the chair there is a Latin inscription: "O Pastor Ecclesiae, tu omnes Christi pascis agnos et oves" (O pastor of the Church, you feed all Christ's lambs and sheep). The same inscription was written in Greek on the right side.

Two liturgical feasts were celebrated in Rome in honor of earlier chairs associated with Saint Peter. One of these chairs was placed in the baptismal chapel of Saint Peter's Basilica, the other at the catacomb of Priscilla. No surviving chair has been identified as these more ancient chairs. 

Berninis Cathedra Petri enclosing the wooden throne of St. Peter in the Vatican
Type:
Museum
The Spiral staircase is located in the Vatican Museums was designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932. If you go up this grand spiral ramp you will be moving from the street level up to the ... morefloor of the Vatican Museums. The Vatican Museums are among the most important museums in the world. In the Vatican Museums the vast collections collected by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries are displayed. As seen today, the Vatican Museums are comprised of several pontifical galleries and museums that were assembled by several Popes. The display includes the Raphael rooms and the famous painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as well as other masterpieces.

The staircase is shaped like a double helix: it is made of two intertwined spirals; one leads down the other goes upwards. The stairs are beautifully decorated. The ramp is truly breathtaking.

Giuseppe Momo was born in Vercell in 1875 and passed away in May 1940. Momo was a famous Italian architect and engineer. Giuseppe Momo was active during the early decades of the twentieth century. He built many important religious buildings all over Italy. Numerous building in Turin and in Piedmont are among his many projects, but he is especially known for his work in Rome which was commissioned by Pope Pius XI. In Rome Momo made a great contribution to the architectural transformation of the Vatican following the Lateran Pacts signed in 1929 between the Holy See and Italy .
Type:
Attraction, Historic
St. Peter’s Basilica is a church built in the Late Renaissance style located within the territory of the Vatican City. The St. Peter’s Basilica is among the world’s biggest churches ... moreand it is well known as one of the most famous pieces of Renaissance architecture. St. Peter's was designed by Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno Donato Bramante, and Gian Bernini Lorenzo. For people of the Catholic faith, St. Peter’s Basilica is considered to be among the holiest places in the world. It is said to have been built over the tomb containing the remains of St. Peter, the first Pope. The St. Peter Basilica is rich in history from the early Christian era.

Inside the basilica one can find several sculptures, paintings, and many beautiful embellishments. It contains several tombs of popes. Among the most famous sculptures in St. Peter’s Basilica is Michelangelo’s Pieta.

The central dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most renowned parts of the skyline of Rome. The Basilica is located west of the River Tiber and near the Janiculum Hill and Hadrian’s Mausoleum in Rome, Italy. The Tiber is the famous river that runs through Rome. It has played an important part in the development of the ancient city of Rome. It was a main route used for commerce and travel.

In this Photo you can see the Tiber and St. Peter's reflection in the water at dusk. The Tiber is one of the most familiar landmarks identified with Rome. It flows for 406 Kilometeres.

The Tiber is a famous part of Rome's landscape. Rome is situated on the Tiber's eastern banks. The Tiber is the well known river which runs through the city of Rome.The Tiber (or Tevere in Italian) is one of the longest rivers in Italy.

The River's depth is between 7 and 20 feet. The Tiber rises from the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flows for 406 Kilometers. The course of the Tiber runs through Umbria and Lazio and then arrives at the Sea. The Tiber's source is in two springs on Mount Fumaiolo in central Italy.The river rises from these springs in Mount and then flows south passing Perugia and then Rome. The Tiber eventually arrives at the sea at Ostia, now a Suburb of Rome. The ancient port of Ostia Antica is now almost 6 km inland since the Tiber has advanced since the ancient Roman era. 

406 Kilometers (252.2 miles) long the Tiber is the third longest river in Italy. The Tiber river is famous for it passes through the city of Rome and to the foot of Vatican City.The Tiber river in Rome is sometimes called "flavus" - which means blond because of the river's yellowish color.

The Tiber has an island in the center of Rome between the ancient center and the neighborhood of Trastevere. Many parts of the Tiber are lit at night. 

The Tiber River in History

According to legend, Rome was founded by Remus and Romulus in the year 753 BC after they were rescued by a wolf who pulled them out of the Tiber river.

Since Roman times, the Tiber served as a border between Italian city-states (such as the Latins in the south). As such, the Tiber river played a central role in trade, commerce and diplomatic relation between Rome and the other city-states. Rich Romans had gardens on the banks of the Tiber. As the Roman Emoire grew, the Tiber became more famous and central in Western folklore and the history of Rome.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, several popes invested in the widening and deepening of the the Tiber in order to increase trade to Rome.

in 1876 the walls which confine the Tiber river were built in order to decrease the risks of floods (which the river often did).

The Tiber river has been so central in Roman history and the Catholic faith, the the term "Swimming in the Tiber" became to describe the conversion of someone to Roman Catholicism.
The Pontifical Swiss guard is a group of Swiss Guards that guard the Vatican City State and the Pope. The Pontifical Swiss guard protects the Pope and its area of operation is in the ... moreVatican, which is the home to the Roman Catholic Pope.

The Pontifical Swiss guards are known for their helmets and striped uniforms and they have become one of the most outstanding traditions of the Vatican. These Uniforms originated in the Renaissance. The current Swiss Guard's three colored dress uniform is designed to look like the guard uniforms of that period. Every uniform is sewn individually for each guard. The Vatican was often attacked by outsiders before it became a state. Due to the fact that Vatican City is in the center of Rome and the Pope's household was situated there the Pope's life was constantly exposed to danger. This led to the establishment of the Pontifical Swiss guard.

Following an alliance with the Swiss confederation the first group of the Pontifical Swiss guards was welcomed into Vatican City on the 22nd of January, 1506 by Pope Julius II. The group contained 150 guards. Ever since, the Swiss guards have served as the Vatican military force known as the Pontifical Swiss guard.

Not anyone can qualify to be a Vatican Swiss guard. There are requirements which must be met for you to qualify as a Vatican guard. First, you must be a Catholic, you must have a Swiss citizenship, and you must be a single male aged between 19 to 30 years. You must have completed basic training with the Swiss military and you should be able to obtain a certificate of good conduct. Candidates must also have a high school diploma or a professional degree, should be at least 174 cm. If someone wants to be chosen as a Swiss guard he must go through a process of application. There were suggestions that female candidates be considered for recruitment as Swiss guards. This is not yet a possibility but that maybe it will be in the future. The guards are allowed to marry after serving for some years at the Vatican.

The Vatican Swiss guards have official uniforms of blue, red, orange and yellow colors. The uniforms are tailored inside the Pontifical Swiss Guard barracks. The guards also have some equipment: both traditional and modern arms including a sword, command baton, flamberge, partisan, cuirass with spaudlers, etc.

The Pontifical Swiss guards also perform ceremonial duties. Because of on their responsibilities at the Vatican City, the role of the Vatican police is very crucial to the operation of the Vatican. When you enter the gates of Vatican City, you will meet the Vatican Swiss guard who will check you and give you directions on where you want to go. The guards also work closely with the Pope. During the public masses, these guards are the ones responsible for the overall security of the Pope.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
Christmas is a very important holiday in the Roman Catholic Calendar. Christmas celebrated the birth of Christ. Christmas masses are celebrated in the Vatican with the Pope. These ... moremasses are celebrated in St. Peter’s Square or in St. Peter’s Basilica. The location of the mass depends on the type of celebration and the expected number of people who will be attending the mass. St Peter's Square can contain up to 80,000 people. Due to the large number of participants Christmas masses cannot be held at the St. Peter’s Basilica. Christmas Masses are very large as many tourists, clergymen and Roman Curia wish to attend; therefore they are celebrated in St. Peter’s Square.

If you wish to attend a Christmas mass in the Vatican you will require a ticket. The best way to get them is to make arrangements from your country. You should send a fax 2-6 months in advance directly to the Vatican. The tickets for mass at the Vatican are always free. In most cases, the Holy See issues different types of tickets. There are tickets for Cardinals, Governors and Diplomats, special guests and then for the public.

However, having a ticket is not a guarantee that you will be able to attend the mass. Sometimes there are too many people and you may be denied access to the mass even though you have got tickets. In order to avoid being denied access and attend the mass, it is advised to get there early. The earlier you arrive at the Vatican, the higher the chance that you may attend the mass at St. Peter’s Square. In order to get a good place you should make sure that you arrive at the Vatican at least 1-3 hours before the beginning of the mass.

There is a lot of security at the entrance to the Vatican during any mass and everyone will need to pass through security scanners which are conducted by the Swiss Guards. Attending a Christmas mass in the Vatican is an uplifting experience during which you will be able to see the Pope and celebrate with a huge crowd. If you can, get yourself a ticket. Remember that there is a dress code for the Vatican Mass. Shorts, miniskirts or bare shoulders are not allowed. If you don't dress by the dress code you will be turned away by the security guards.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
On the opposite sides of the obelisk in St. Peter's square there are two fountains. The fountain on the left, when facing St. Peter’s Basilica, was designed by Carlo Moderno. In 1612 ... morePope Paul the V rebuilt the ancient Roman aqueduct the Aqua and it was renamed the Acqua Paola. The restored aqueduct provided the fountain with a larger source of water. The architect Carlo Maderno, who was the nephew of the architect Domenico Fontana, was then commissioned to redesign the fountain. He built a base for the fountain on top of which a large basin was placed. The basin is decorated with steps and small columns. Maderno kept the large lower stone vasque of the old fountain, and decorated the pedestal on top of it with four stone scrolls. He removed the smaller upper vasque, and replaced it with a mushroom like shape with stone scales. When the water flows from the top it pours down over the upper vasque.

The fountain on St. Peter's Square had no pumps and operated by gravity, as all fountains built at the time. The source of water for the fountain was on a hill. This meant that the fountain could shoot water upwards into the air by depending solely the power of gravity.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
Designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini this elliptic shaped plaza was commissioned by Pope Alexander VII in 1656 . Berini was tasked with building a square that would enable huge crowds ... moreto see the Pope and receive his blessing. The square can contain more than 350,000 people during occasions such as Easter Mass and the Papal Conclave, when a new pope is elected. The square has a special allure at night when it is lit up and can be seen in all its glory.
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.
Attractions, things to see and places of interest .