Should you have three days free we suggest this itinerary:
- San Pietro in Vaticano
- Castel Sant' Angelo
- Piazza Navona
- Piazza di Spagna
- Fori Imperiali
- Foro Romano
- Ostia Antica
- Galleria Borghese
SAN PIETRO IN VATICANO
You will be very impressed in front of the majesty of the Basilica di San Pietro, the hugest church in the world: the splendid colonnade created by Bernini, the baldacchino above the main altar, realized by Bernini with the bronze taken from the Pantheon, the impressive Pieta' by Michelangelo, the extraordinary mosaics by Giotto. Should you decide to go up to the dome do not forget there are 300 steps, but the splendid dome by Michelangelo and the astonishing view are a worth-while experience.
Do not neglect a visit to the Musei Vaticani, not only because of many masterpieces by famous artists but mostly because of the unforgettable visit to the Cappella Sistina.
Walking from San Pietro go towards Castel Sant'Angelo, a fortress hosting inside an interesting museum. It is still possible to visit it and admire frescoes, paintings, antique furniture and a very important collection of arms.
Castel Sant'Angelo is also famous for those who love opera and dramas: the protagonist of Tosca, by Giacomo Puccini, threw herself out of that terrace.
This wonderful square realized to be an arena, the Roman stadium of Domiziano, has kept the same particular shape. In its centre three beautiful fountains, the one of the Moro, the one dedicated to Nettuno, and the most important Fountain of the Rivers, representing the Nile, the Gange, the Danube and the Rio de la Plata, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
In the Christmas period there is held a nice market, good for adults and children.
In the Pantheon are kept most of the tombs of the Italian Kings and of famous artists, among them Raffaello.
This harmonious structure is realized like a sphere inside a cylinder, where the height size is the same of the floor size.
In front of it the beautiful Piazza della Rotonda, lively square with plenty of open air cafés with a fountain in the centre.
PIAZZA DI SPAGNA
Piazza di Spagna is probably the most famous square of Rome, meeting point for all who love walking and shopping downtown. The amazing flight of steps created by Francesco De Sanctis with the church of Trinita- dei Monti at its top, and the "Barcaccia" in the centre of the square are undoubtedly some of the symbols of Rome worldwide. From there you can get to the most important roads, trendy bars and fashion shops.
The Colosseo, symbol of Rome worldwide, was built by the Emperors of the Flavian dynasty between 72 and 80 A.D. to be the largest amphitheatre ever built in Rome. Over than 70000 spectators could assist to the fights between gladiators, or between men and wild animals or to the prisoner executions.
During the Middle Age it was transformed into a fortress, later on quarry for building materials and finally seat of hospitals. Only in the middle of the 18th century the Pope Benedetto XIV declared its holiness stopping sack and devastation.
FORO ROMANO AND FORI IMPERIALI
The Foro Romano, the main archeological area in Rome it goes from the Campidoglio to the Palatino. Since the 7th century B.D. it was the centre of political, commercial and religious life. The Foro Romano was the first one, and then later on there were added the Foro of Cesare, Augusto, Nerva, Vespasiano and the one of Traiano, the most important one of which it is still possible to admire the Column and the Markets.
The Michelangelo square is surrounded by three palaces: the Palazzo Senatorio, seat of the Municipality, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo, seats of the Musei Capitolini. The Painting Gallery displays splendid masterpieces dating from 14th to 18th centuries, realized by the most famous artist, such as Tiziano, Caravaggio, Pietro da Cortona, Rubens, Guercino and so on. The square is dominated by a copy of the bronze statue of Marco Aurelio, as the original can be admired inside the adjacent Museum.
The Vittoriano, monument realized to celebrate the first King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, was built at the beginning of the 20th century and opened in 1911 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Italy's unification. Since 192 the tomb of the Unknown Soldier as been placed here.
Today it is open to the public, free of charge, and from its terrace you can enjoy a breathtaking view .
Founded around the 4th century B.D. as a military base to protect the coast and the mouth of the river it later became an important commercial port: grain, oil, wine, marble, animals arrived here from all over the Mediterranean sea, often
transferred onto small boats getting to the port trough the river.
Its very well preserved ruins let us imagine an important commercial centre, working around a forum, a bath, a temple.
Ostia declined at the same time as Rome, and its situation was probably worse due to the numerous floods that completely changed the way of the Tiber.
Ostia Antica can be easily reached by train to Ostia Lido, leaving at Porta San Paolo (Stop Ostia Antica).
Located inside the splendid park of Villa Borghese, the Galleria Borghese displays a very important collection by Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Among all these masterpieces you will find many sculptures realized by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in his young age, such as the Ratto of Proserpina, Apollo and Dafne, the David, the Amor Sacro and Amor Profano by Tiziano, some works of art by Caravaggio and, last but not least, the famous Venere Vincitrice by Canova representing Princess Paolina Borghese, favourite sister of Napoleon.
Enjoy your time in this temple of art and nature, tasting a typical Roman atmosphere.