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Type:
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Historic
Museum
 (1)
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
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 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
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
Cultural
Historic
Museum
 (1)
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
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, 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, 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, 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
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
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:
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 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, 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
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
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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
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, 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, Historic, Museum
Castel Sant Angelo Castel Sant Angelo was originally built as a mausoleum for theEmperor Hadrian but was later transformed into a big castle where popes couldseek refuge at turbulent ... moretimes. The Castel Sant Angelo is located on the rightside of the Tiber and its construction startedin 130 AD and was completed in 139 AD, during the reign of Emperor AntoniusPius who was Hadrian’s successor. At the time which the Castel Sant Angelo was constructedit was the tallest building in Rome, Italy.

The Castel Sant Angelo has undergone several changes basedon the different purposes that it served throughout history. First it was usedas a mausoleum and then it became part of the city wall. Later on it was turnedinto a fortress before being used a papal residence. Afterwards it was used asa barracks and prison and currently it is a national museum. The museum is richin history and it contains the remains of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and thoseof his successors up to the emperor Caracalla.

Castel Sant Angelo is comprised of a square 89 m wide base on acylindrical colonnaded drum with a diameter of 64 m. The mausoleum wasconnected to the Vatican Cityby a bridge (Pons Aelius). Today the passageway that connects Castel SantAngelo and the Vaticanstill exists. This bridge is presently known as the Ponte Sant Angelo.

The Castel Sant Angelo is a spectacular structure. Thebuilding is divided into five floors. Floor I is made of the famous windingramp which is approximately 400 feet long (this is a common Roman construction). FloorII, which is also known as the floor of the prisons contained horrible prisoncells as well as stores for oil and wheat. Floor III, also known as themilitary floor, has two large courtyards. Floor IV which is known as the papalfloor contains the loggia of Julius II, by Bramante, and a papal apartmentconsisting of superbly decorated rooms. Floor V, the top floor, has a bigterrace with apanoramic view and a statue of the Archangel Michael made of bronze.

The incredible statue depicting the Archangel Michael placed at the topof the fortress was sculpted by the Flemishsculptor and architect Pieter Verschaffelt. This statue replaced an older one with the same theme. The previous statue was made ofmarble but after being damaged it was replaced by the current bronze statue. This statue depicts the Archangel Michael who is said to haveappeared on top of the fortress in the year 590 and miraculously ended thesevere plague that had infected the city of Rome.

Castel Sant Angelo is visited by millions of tourists fromall over the world every year and it has become one of the favorite tourists’destinations. Being a home to the National Museum of Castel Sant Angelo, thesite has remained a source of valuable historical resources and manyresearchers visit it every day. There is a lot of art and architecture in andaround Castel Sant Angelo from which you can learn much regarding Rome’s history, religionand architecture.
Attractions, things to see and places of interest .