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Type:
Attraction
Cultural
Historic
Museum
The Raphael rooms (Vatican museums) The Raphael rooms (Stanze di Raphael) are four rooms which were used as the residence of the popes between 1507 and 1585. The first pope to use ... morethe Raphael rooms as his residence was Pope Julius II. Pope Gregory XIII was the last Pope to use these rooms as his residence. Today, the Raphael rooms are part of the Vatican museum.

The Raphael rooms form part of the apartment located on the second floor of the Pontifical Palace that was first chosen by Pope Julius II della Rovere as his own residence and was later used by his successors for the same purpose. The decoration of the rooms was done by Raphael and his pupils between 1508 and 1524. Although Raphael died in 1520, his pupils continued with the project until its completion in 1524.

The Raphael rooms are: Room of Constantine, Room of Heliodorus, Room of the Segnatura and Room of the Fire in the Borgo.

Room of Constantine: this is the largest room of the four Raphael rooms. It is the room which is dedicated to the victory of Christianity over paganism. The frescoes contained in this room represent the struggles from the life of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Some of the features in the Room of Constantine include: the Vision of the Cross, the Baptism of Constantine, the Battle of Milvian Bridge and the Donation of Constantine.

Room of Heliodorus: this is the private chamber that symbolizes the heavenly protection provided by Christ to the Church. The room contains four paintings, namely: the Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, the Mass at Bolsena, the Meeting of Pope Leo I and Attila, and the Deliverance of Saint Peter from Prison.

Room of the Segnatura: it was the study room of Pope Julius II. The room symbolizes bringing into harmony the spirits of Antiquity and Christianity. Here is where most of the papal documents were signed and sealed among these were: The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, the School of Athens, the Parnassus, the Cardinal Virtues, among others.

Room of the Fire in the Borgo: it shows Pope Leo IV making the sign of the cross to put out a raging fire in the Borgo. During the reign of Pope Leo X, this room was used as a music room. Most of the frescos in the room portray events that took place from the lives of Pope Leo III and Pope Leo IV. Some of the paintings in this room include: the Oath of Leo III, the Coronation of Charlemagne, Fire in the Borgo and the Battle of Ostia.

The Raphael rooms are decorated with paintings that make them look magnificent. The rooms are located a few steps away from the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Cathedral. The next time you visit Rome, pay a visit to these rooms and you will be astonished by the paintings within them. The Raphael rooms are one of the most visited parts of the Vatican museums and they have a grand history which is significant for the Roman Catholic Church.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
The Palatine Hill is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on ... moreone side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other. From the time of Augustus Imperial palaces were built here.

Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Excavations show that people have lived in the area since the 10th century BC. Excavations performed on the hill in 1907 and again in 1948 unearthed a collection of huts believed to have been used for funerary purposes between the 9th and 7th century BC approximating the time period when the city of Rome was founded.

The hill has a strong link to Roman mythology. It is believed that on Palatine Hill, the twins Romulus and Remus were found in the Lupercal Cave by their four-legged shepherd mother, who raised them. Ultimately, this is where Romulus decided to build the city. Palatine Hill, Rome
The Palatine Hill today. Therefore, it was on this hill that the Roman Empire began.

From the start of the Empire (27 BC) Augustus built his palace there and the hill gradually became the exclusive domain of emperors; the ruins of the palaces of at least Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), Tiberius (14 – 37 AD) and Domitian (81 – 96 AD) can still be seen.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
Roman Forum Here we have a great valley, the political heart of ancient Rome, where the daily life of the ancient Romans unfolded. The Republic revolved around the Senate, where giant, ... morerichly decorated spaces still resound with the voices of the great senators that unleashed war and brokered peace in the Mediterranean. While the House of the Vestals introduces us to the only female religious order in Rome, the via Sacra, still marked by the wheels of carts that traversed it for centuries, helps us understand the Romans’ amazing engineering capabilities. In front of the Temple of Julius Caesar we will be catapulted into the story of one of the greatest political murders of all time. Nearby, the temple of Antoninus and Faustina tells us of the extent of the Roman empire, with its rare marbles and its inscriptions. The images carved into the Arch of Titus tell of the conquest of Jerusalem and the transfer of its ancient treasures to Rome, fascinating histories that your expert guide will explain.

The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum (Italian: Foro Romano), is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.

For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million or more sightseers yearly.
Type:
Attraction, Historic, Museum
The Gallery of Maps is called the Galleria delle carte geografiche in Italian.  Situated in the Vatican on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard, the gallery contains a series of ... morepainted topographical maps of Italy. These maps were based on drawings by Ignazio Danti a Dominican Italian friar, mathematician, astronomer, cosmographer and geographer which was born as Pellegrino Rainaldi Danti in Perugia in 1536.

The galley was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII in 1580 . Pope Gregory XIII ordered it made as well as many other works of art. The Pope commissioned these works of art in order to decorate the Vatican. The completion of the work on the gallery took Danti three years (1580–1583). Today the gallery consists of 40 panels which go along the 120 m gallery. 

The panels map the entirety of the Italian peninsula including Sardinia and Corsica. The maps are in fact frescoes. Each fresco features a different region. Special detail was given to the region's most prominent city. With the Apennines serving as the dividing line, one side features the area surrounded by the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas and the other shows the area near the Adriatic Sea.

The maps are both beautiful and informative as they reveal the way that the renaissance Italians saw themselves and their surroundings in pre- national Italy. Italy was not one nation in the time of the renaissance when the maps were made. The maps also provide insight to the art of cartography ( making of maps) of these times.The gallery is a fascinating place to visit whether you take a special interest in maps or not.

In the gallery of maps the vaulted ceiling is also decorated. These decorations were done by a group of Mannerist artists including Girolamo Muziano and Cesare Nebbia.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
The Colosseum is one of Rome's most famous land marks. The structure is an elliptical amphitheatre located in the center of Rome. The colosseum was built from concrete and stone .It ... moreis considered to be the largest amphitheatre in the world. The construction of the Colosseum started in 72 AD by the Roman Emperor Vespasian. The building was completed in 80 AD, a year after the death of Emperor Vespasian.

The colloseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public shows and games such as animal hunts, mock sea battles, gladiator battles and executions. It seated 50,000 people. The Roman emperors used the Colosseum for the entertainment of the public with free games. The games symbolized power and they were used by the ruling emperor in order to increase his popularity. These games were held for an entire day or several days continuously. The shows usually started with comical acts and displays of exotic animals such as lions and bears and concluded with fights to the death between the animals and gladiators. The fighters were prisoners of war, slaves, or convicted criminals. The gladiatorial games continued until Christianity gradually put an end to the gory and deadly games.

The Colosseum was built on the area of an artificial lake. At the late 6th century a small church was built into the structure of the amphitheatre. In 1934, the Colosseum was damaged by an earthquake which resulted in the collapse of the outer south. The stones from the Colleseum were then reused to build palaces, churches,hospitals and other structures in Rome. Some of the famous structures which were built using the stones are Palazzo Farnese and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Church officials in Rome sought a productive use for the Colosseum during the 16thand 17th century. Pope Sixtus V had planned to turn The Colosseum into a wool factory in order to offer employment opportunities to prostitutes in Rome but the plans did not come to fruition due to his premature death. In 1671, Cardinal Altieri authorized the Colosseum to be used for bullfights but the public opposed this idea.

The Colosseum continued to be subject to different uses and renovations as nearly every leader of Rome had his own ideas concerning the use of the compound. The Roman emperors used the Colosseum to entertain the public with free games. The games symbolized prestige and power and they were used by the ruling emperor as a way of increasing his popularity. These games were held for a whole day or even several days continuously. In most cases, the shows started with comical acts and displays of exotic animals which ended with fights to death between the animals and gladiators. The fighters were normally slaves, prisoners of war or condemned criminals. The gladiatorial games continued until Christianity gradually put an end to the parts of the games which led to the death of people.

The modern Colosseum has been renovated, redecorated and painted. The Colosseum is used to host large events although the space inside is limited. During events with great attendance, the audience sits outside the Colosseum. The Colosseum is also a major tourist attraction in Rome with thousands of tourists visiting it every year to view the interior of the arena. Entrance for citizens of the European Union is partially subsidized, and the entrance is free for European Union citizens below the age of 18 or over 65. The upper floor of the outer wall of The Colosseum has a museum that is dedicated to Eros. Part of the arena floor had been re-floored and looks fabulous.

The Colosseum is also the site of Roman Catholic ceremonies in the 20th and 21stcenturies. For instance, Pope Benedict XVI led the Stations of the Cross ceremony called the Scriptural Way of the Cross at The Colosseum on Good Fridays. There was an agreement between the local official and Diego Della Valle, in 2011, to sponsor €25 million restoration of The Colosseum. 

Today it is one of the most popular tourist sites in Rome. Be sure to come and visit the Colleseum!
Type:
Attraction
Cultural
Historic
Museum
Named after Pope Sixtus IV, the Sistine Chapel is perhaps the most famous chapel in the world. It is renowned both for its function as the Papal Conclave and for its incredible artwork.... more

The ceiling and western wall of the Sistine Chapel are adorned with some of the most astonishing paintings in the world created by the famous artist – Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508 and he completed his work in 1512. The middle section depicts nine stories from the Book of Genesis, including the renowned ‘Creation of Adam’ where the hand of God is seen reaching to Adam to instill him with life.

In 1535 Michelangelo was commissioned once again to paint the western wall over the altar. He completed this spectacular painting of the‘Last Judgment’ in 1541. The painting depicts the end-of-days and second coming of Christ when according to Christian faith all souls will be judged by Jesus,the Saints and God and sent to heaven or hell.

Despite being one of the most celebrated works of art in history, Michelangelo was originally hesitant to paint the ceiling of the chapel for he considered himself as more of a sculptor than a painter.

The original ‘Last Judgment’ painting included fully nude human figures, but these were later covered by another artist due to the demands of some Papal members who claimed that the nudity was obscene and improper.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was painted by Michelangelo who depicted nine stories from the book of Genesis including the famous 'Creation of Adam'.

The first three stories are:
1. The Separation of Light from Darkness: Genesis 1:1-5;
2. The Creation of the sun, moon and planets: Genesis 1:11-19;
3. The Separation of Land from Sea: Genesis 1,9-10)

Following these paintings of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican are the mid-section patintings:
1. The Creation of Adam & Eve (Genesis 1:26- 2:25), with the figures of man and woman in their nakedness.
2. The Banishment from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24).

The last three frescoes of Michelangelo include:
1. The Sacrifice of Noah: (Genesis 8:15-20)
2. The Flood (Genesis 6:5-8,20)
3. The Drunkenness of Noah (Genesis 9:20-27)
* All these show the fall and rebirth of humanity

The ceiling and western wall of the Sistine Chapel are adorned with some of the most celebrated paintings in the world created by the famous artist – Michelangelo Buonarroti. Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the ceiling in 1508 and he completed his work in 1512.

Despite being one of the most adored works of art in history, Michelangelo was originally hesitant to paint the ceiling of the chapel for he saw himself as more of a sculptor than a painter. The original ‘Last Judgment’ painting included fully nude human figures, but these were later covered by another artist due to the demands of some Papal members who claimed that the nudity was obscene and improper.

The middle section of the ceiling depicts 9 stories fromthe Book of Genesis, including the iconic ‘Creation of Adam’ where the hand ofGod is seen reaching to Adam to give him life. In 1535 Michelangelo was commissioned once again to paint thewestern wall over the altar.

Michelangelo completed this spectacular painting of the‘Last Judgment’ in 1541. The painting depicts the end-of-days and second comingof Christ when according to Christian faith all souls will be judged by Jesus,the Saints and God and sent to heaven or hell.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
The Arch of Titus (Italian: Arco di Tito; Latin: Arcus Titi) is a 1st-century AD honorific arch, located on the Via Sacra, Rome, just to the south-east of the Roman Forum. It was constructed ... morein c. AD 82 by the Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus's victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70). The arch has provided the general model for many triumphal arches erected since the 16th century, perhaps most famously it is the inspiration for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

Walk along the cobbled street of the Via Sacra and you’ll see this imposing triumphal arch, built in the first century AD to commemorate Titus’s military victories. Built on the orders of Domitian after the death of Titus, the arch depicts winged victories and a triumphant Titus being crowned with a laurel wreath. The arch is one of the earliest examples of humans and divinities being portrayed together, rather than in separate scenes. Even the laurel wreath is fictional, as in reality, Titus apparently refused to be crowned, saying that it was not really his victory – he had only been an instrument of God’s wrath.

The south panel of the arch shows spoils from the Siege of Jerusalem, including a menorah and trumpet. A contemporary historian, Josephus, claimed that a million Jews had been killed in Jerusalem. While this estimate is now considered to be greatly exaggerated, there’s no doubt that the Roman armies devastated the city. It was a major victory for Rome, and the Arch of Titus not only celebrated the emperor, but also served as a demonstration of the power of Rome. Illiterate Romans would have looked up at this magnificent monument – once brightly coloured – and read the story of the Roman victory through the sculptures, rather like reading a comic book.
Type:
Attraction, Historic, Museum
The Notorious Roman Emperor Caligula(37-41AD) built a circus at the area of the current Vatican. St Peter the apostle was buried in anecropolis to the north of the circus. ... more

Traditionally it issaid that The See of Rome was founded by Saint Peter who firstheld the position of the Bishop of Rome (Pope).Between the years 324 and 326 AD, theEmperor Constantine built a basilica on top of St. Peter's grave. It was replacedby the present St. Peter's Basilica between the 16th and 17th centuries. And was designed and decorated by Renaissance andbaroque geniuses such as Raphael, Bramante, Bernini Michelangelo, and Maderna. St.Peter's basilica is the largest religious building in the world. 

St. Peter's Basilica, Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano or Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Italian, is a Church located in Vatican City that dates back to the Renaissance age. Michelangelo, Bernini and Bramante were the main architects of the magnificent basilica and it is one of the most famous architectural works of the Renaissance era. The building of the current church (replaced the old 4th century Church over St. Peter's tomb) began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

According to Roman Catholic tradition St. Peter's Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, one Christs' 12 apostles. Additionally in Roman Catholic tradition, St. Peter was also the first Bishop of Rome and thus was the first in the papal (pope) lineage.

Saint Peter's Basilica is located within the Vatican and thus it serves the Popes for ceremonies. Throughout the year a number of services are conducted by the pope and they attract audiences of 20,000 to over 90,000 people who come to the Vatican Basilica (St. Peter's) or St. Peter's Square. In addition to serving the papcy, St. Peter's is one of the four churches of Rome that hold the rank of Major Basilica.

Saint Peter's tomb is located directly below the altar of the St. Peter's Basilica and soem hitorical evidence supports this. Many Popes have been buried at St. Peter's for this reason and this is also why there has been a church at this location in Rome since the times of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (4th century)

The basilica has great architectural structures that tooks everal years to design and build. One of the major contributors to the amazing structure of St. Peter’s Basilica is the Master Michelangelo. The following are some ofthe spectacular architectural features of the basilica: the Bramante’s dome, Maderno’s façade, St Peter’s statues, narthex and portals, and Maderno’ nave. St. Peter also has a lovely Piazza, fountains, altars, towers. It also known for the statues in the piers of the dome ( among them are the statues of Saint Helena, St.Longinus, St. Andrew and St. Veronica).

The specifications of the St. Peter’s basilica are approximately: length: 730 feet (220 m); width: 500 feet (150 m); maximum height: 452 feet (138 m); outer dome diameter: 137.7 feet (42 m); inner dome diameter: 136.1 feet (41.5 m). These dimensions are indeed an indication of how huge the basilica is. With its spectacular furnishes, architecture, tombs and collections of art, St. Peter’s Basilica is and will always be one of the largest churches in the world and oneof the holiest Catholic sites.
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:
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, Historic
Imperial palace of the emperor Domitian (51-96 AD). It is still uncertain the precise function of this large building, also known as Domitian's stadium (Stadio di Domiziano) or "Circus ... moreAgonalis". The stadium was part of the imperial palace and was surrounded by a two-story portico. Maybe it was not just an hippodrome, but more in general, it was the “viridarium” (the garden), private place where the emperor he could walk on sunny days and watch the races.
This is the best conserved construction of all three pieces of the Palace of Domitian. It was also built according to a project of architect of Domitian, Ribarius. It served for the sport competitions, horse races and, probably, as a garden for the imperial family. The stadium is 146m long. The arena was surrounded by a two-storeyed portico with engaged columns covering a wide ambulatory or cloister. In the middle of the east wall is a wide exedra of two storeys, which served as an Imperial box.
Type:
Attraction
Cultural
Historic
Museum
Pinacoteca The new Vatican Pinacoteca (Art Gallery) was inaugurated on 27 October 1932 in the building especially constructed by the architect Luca Beltrami for Pius XI. It was built ... morein the nineteenth century Square Garden, isolated and completely surrounded by avenues, in a place considered suitable for assuring the best lighting conditions for both the correct preservation of the works and their optimum aesthetic enhancement. Thus the age-old question of the exhibition of the paintings, which were constantly moved around the Apostolic Palaces due to the lack of a setting that matched their importance, was solved. A first collection of only 118 precious paintings was created by Pope Pius VI around 1790. It was of short duration due to the fact that, following the Treaty of Tolentino (1797) some of the greatest masterpieces were transferred to Paris. The idea of an art gallery, understood in the modern sense as an exhibition open to the public, was only born in 1817 after the fall of Napoleon and the consequent return to the Church State of a large part of the works belonging to it, according to the directions of the Congress of Vienna. The collection continued to grow over the years through donations and purchases until it reached the current nucleus of 460 paintings, distributed among the eighteen rooms on the basis of chronology and school, from the so-called Primitives (12th - 13th century) to the 19th century. The collection contains some masterpieces of the greatest artists of the history of Italian painting, from Giotto to Beato Angelico, from Melozzo da Forlì to Perugino and to Raphael, from Leonardo to Tiziano, to Veronese, to Caravaggio and to Crespi.
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
Church
Historic
Museum
The Latin inscription above the entrance states: "Paul V Borghese, Roman, Pontiff, in the year 1612, the seventh of his pontificate, erected in honour of the Prince of Apostles".... more

The entrance to Saint Peter's Basilica has spitirual significance as it is written: 

“I am the gate. Whoever enters through me, will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture”. 

(John 10:9)

Above the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica is the central balcony where the election of the new pope is announced - the famous Latin saying: "Habemus Papum" which means "We have a Pope". It is also where the Pope gives the Urbi et Orbi blessing, and for this reason the balcony is also called the "Loggia of the Blessings",
Type:
Attraction, Historic
The Huge statue known as the Pigna (pine) or the Fontana Della Pigna depicts a giant Pine Cone. It is located in St. Peter's, in an area called the court of the Pigna.The Court of ... morethe Pigna is the northern part of the grand renaissance Belvedere Courtyard that stretches between the Papal Palaces to the "palazzetto" which belonged to Innocent VII's . The courtyard was segmented into three parts after the construction of Sixtus V's Library and the Braccio Nuovo of Pius VII. The present courtyard derived its name form the beautiful pine cone statue set into the "nicchone", borders on the south side with the Braccio Nuovo, and on the east it borders with the Chiaromonti Gallery. To its north you can find Innocent VIII's Palazzetto and on the west the galleries of the Apostolic Library are located.

The pine cone was cast out of bronze in the 1st or 2nd century by the sculptor Publius Cincius Salvius. He was identified as its creator because his name was written on the base of the huge pine. The Statue's height is almost 4 meters and on both sides of the pine cone there are bronze peacocks which are copies of the ones in Hadrian's tomb.

Before it was moved to its current location, known as the Court of the Pigna, the statue of the Pine was situated in the Campus Martius. This area is still known today as "Pigna" after this statue. At its previous location it was used as a fountain with the water pouring from holes pierced in the scales of the cone. At the 8th century it was transferred to the entrance hall of the medieval basilica of St. Peter. It was placed decoratively in the middle of the fountain covered by ornate baldachin. We know this because the statue was identified in Renaissance drawings of the hall. Eventually, during the construction of the current basilica, in 1608, the giant pine cone fountain was moved and situated in its current location.

This statue is a beautiful and ancient one and it's definitely worth stopping by and admiring it as it has been part of Rome's landscape for almost 2000 years!
Type:
Attraction
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 Raphael 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. Watch our 3-D virtual tours on www.vatican.com to see with your own eyes some of the Vatican's most astounding treasures including the Sistine Chapel.

The Vatican museums also have changing exhibitions, special programs with lectures on Thursdays and many different kinds of guided tours, some specially suited for children. In the educational tours for children, the children get to have a close look at some artworks and even create small "masterpieces" of their own. In addition The Vatican Museums have tours for the deaf and the blind upon request and pre- booking. If you are in need of these tours you will also get two free tickets for entry.

In order to skip the long entrance queues if you're visiting the Vatican Museums without a guide, it's best to pre-book your Vatican Museum tickets online. When booking online you will need to choose the time of entry. If you haven't booked online it's best to try and come in the afternoon, after 12:00. Take into account that you'll need at least three hours just to see the main attractions. The Vatican museums are the biggest museum complex in the world. Upon entry take into account that you may need to wait about 20 minutes to get through the security check as all visitors need to pass through metal detectors at the security check point. The entrance to the Vatican Museums is on Viale Vaticano.

Opening hours for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel ticket offices are Monday to Saturday: 9 am to 4 pm. The Museums close at 6 pm. You must exit the rooms half an hour before closing time. The Vatican museums are closed on Sundays apart for the last Sunday of every month when there is free entrance to the museums from 9 am to 12.30 pm. On these Sundays the Vatican museums close at 2 pm.

Ticket Tarrifs: The price for a ticket to the Vatican Museums is 16 Euros and reduced price is 8 Euros. The added price for booking your Vatican museum tickets online is 4 Euros.
Public traansportaion to the Vatican Museums

By Metro: line A to Ottaviano-San Pietro Musei Vaticani station
by bus: number 49, stops right in front of the Museums Entrance.492, 990, Via Leone IV / Via degli Scipioni. 32, 81, 982, Piazza del Risorgimento, end of the line.
by tram: 19 to Piazza del Risorgimento.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
The Arch of Constantine (Italian: Arco di Costantino) is a triumphal arch in Rome, situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate ... moreConstantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, it is the largest Roman triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph.

Though dedicated to Constantine, much of the decorative material incorporated earlier work from the time of the emperors Trajan (98–117), Hadrian (117–138) and Marcus Aurelius (161–180), and is thus a collage. The last of the existing triumphal arches in Rome, it is also the only one to make extensive use of spolia, reusing several major reliefs from 2nd century imperial monuments, which give a striking and famous stylistic contrast to the sculpture newly created for the arch. This earned it the derisive nickname of Cornacchia di Esopo Aesop's Crow.

The arch is 21 m high, 25.9 m wide and 7.4 m deep. It has three archways, the central one being 11.5 m high and 6.5 m wide and the lateral archways 7.4 m by 3.4 m each. Above the archways is placed the attic, composed of brickwork reveted (faced) with marble. A staircase within the arch is entered from a door at some height from the ground, on the west side, facing the Palatine Hill. The general design with a main part structured by detached columns and an attic with the main inscription above is modelled after the example of the Arch of Septimius Severus on the Roman Forum.
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, 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
 (2)
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.
Attractions, things to see and places of interest .