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Rome Italy

Rome, the "Eternal City", is the capital of Italy and of the Lazio (Latium) region. It's the famed city of the Seven Hills, La Dolce Vita, Vatican City and Three Coins in the Fountain. Its Historic Center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

 

 

Rome is traditionally thought to have been founded by the mythical twins Romulus and Remus, who were abandoned as infants in the Tiber River and raised by a mother wolf before being found by a shepherd who raised them as his own sons.

Situated on the River Tiber, between the Apennine Mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea, the "Eternal City" was once the administrative center of the mighty Roman Empire, governing a vast region that stretched all the way from Britain to Mesopotamia. Today it remains the seat of the Italian government and home to numerous ministerial offices.

The abbreviation "S.P.Q.R" is ubiquitous in Rome, short for the old democratic motto "The Senate and Populus who are Rome" (English translation).

The metropolitan area is home to around 3.3 million people.

For two weeks in August, many of Rome's inhabitants shut up shop (literally) and go on their own vacations; many stores and other amenities will be closed during this time. The temperature in the city centre at this time of year is not particularly pleasant. If you do travel to Rome at this time, be prepared to see Chiuso per ferie (Closed for holidays) signs on many establishments. Anyhow even in these weeks the city is very beautiful and if you look for a less overcrowded vacation in Rome this is not a bad time.

Districts

Central Rome

  • Rome/Modern Center — Where the hotels are, as well as shopping and dining galore along the Via Veneto; home to the Quirinale, Trevi, Castro Pretorio, and Reppublica neighborhoods
  • Rome/Old Rome — the center of the Roman medieval and Renaissance periods, with beautiful plazas, cathedrals, the Pantheon, and plenty of laid back dining; includes the Navona, Campo de' Fiori, and the Jewish Ghetto neighborhoods
  • The Vatican — Vatican City and the surrounding area
  • Colosseo — the heart of ancient Rome, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Forum of Augustus, the Forum and Markets of Trajan, the Capitoline and its museums
  • Campo Marzio — situated in the north part of Rome, home to the Villa Borghese, the Spanish Steps, and the elegant neighborhood of Parioli
  • Trastevere — the land to the south of the Vatican, across the Tiber River, full of lonely plazas that served as the inspiration for artists such as Giorgio de Chirico, now arguably the center of Rome's artistic life
  • Aventino-Testaccio — off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods of Rome with plenty of surprises waiting for interested travelers, as well as some truly great food
  • Esquilino-San Giovanni — south of Termini, with an indoor market, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, and the Cathedral of Rome Saint John in Lateran
  • Nomentano — Municipio III, the neighborhoods "behind" the train station
See

Italians are very fond of their landmarks; in order to make them accessible to everyone one week a year there is no charge for admittance to all publicly owned landmarks and historical sites. This week, known as "La settimana dei beni culturali", typically occurs in mid-May and for those 7 to 10 days every landmark, archaeological site and museum belonging to government (including the Quirinale presidential palace and gardens, the Colosseum and all of the ancient Forum) are accessible and free of charge. For more information and for specific dates see or.

Roman Empire structures

The Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine Hill are all in very close proximity to each other.

  • The Colosseum - Entry €11 (€9 if you're under 25). Expect a long queue and an even longer wait. You can skip the queue if you decide to take a tour, but if you don't want a tour, you can STILL skip the queue. If you walk across the street to the Roman Forum, you can buy a day-long pass for €10,or a standard Colosseum + Palatine ticket at €11, better still, a 7-day pass for €22. This pass gets you in to the Colosseum (Colosseo), Palatine Hill (Palatino Hill), the Baths of Caracalla (Terme di Caracalla), and the catacombs as well as the Terme di Diocleziano, Palazza Massimo alle Terme, Crypta Balbi, Palazzo Altemps, Villa dei Quintili, Tomba di Cecilia Metella. If you don't want to cram it all into one day, get the pass. Plus, it is nice to buy a slice of pizza and eat in the gardens of Palatine Hill. There are lots of people offering tours in English just outside the entrance to the Colosseum. Inside you can take a tour (English, Spanish, or German) every 30 minutes or so for an additional fee of €4.5 per person. The tours are given by knowledgeable archeologists, but they don't take you to any areas you couldn't visit on your own.
  • Coffers and Oculus of the PantheonThe Pantheon - A marvel of ancient architecture, this ancient temple to all the gods is celebrated for its large dome, copied during Greek and Roman revival periods by such designers as Thomas Jefferson, who modeled his Monticello and the Rotunda at the University of Virginia on it. Built during the reign of the emperor Hadrian (AD 125-128), the Pantheon carries a dedication to Marcus Agrippa, who built the original structure on this spot in 27 BC. As it is still a functioning church, silence is requested during your visit. From inside the Pantheon, you'll see traces of the former bronze ceiling, melted down during the reign of Pope Urban VIII to make bombards to for the fortification of the Castel Sant' Angelo. The hole in the center of the ceiling, though, is an original feature designed for architectural reasons (the dome would collapse without it.) Guides will tell you the spectacular doors are original, but the original bronze doors were also melted down by Pope Urban and might have been used to create Borromini and Bernini's Baldacchino in Saint Peter's.
The site surrounding the Pantheon offers a lesson in archaeologial stratigraphy. The building now appears to be built in a recess at the edge of a hill, but this is not the original appearance. The street level at the sides and rear has risen about 10 meters since the original construction due to the accumulation of debris from 2,000 years of settlement. This has necessitated the maintenance of the deep trench that keeps the building from being buried.

Tip: if you come to Rome and it happens to be raining you should definitely come to the Pantheon. Since there is a hole on the ceiling you will be able to see the rain pouring inside the building, and that's a rather unique view. When starts raining the center of the Pantheon is separated by a rope but you can come around and the the drops falling in the middle of the building. There are holes in the ground that drains all the water.

  • Roman ForumRoman Forum - If stones could talk: these hallowed ruins were the most powerful seat of government in the world. The Forum is much less crowded than the Colosseum and, from a historical perspective, much more interesting. Free admission, except for an audio guide, which is highly recommended. To stand in the political, legal and religious centre of the whole Roman Empire brings shivers down one's spine. It is the best way of imagining the splendour and glory of ancient Rome.
  • Tabularium - The remains of the ancient Roman archives, where Cicero and Seneca did research. Visible from the Forum and accessible through the Capitoline Museum.
  • Circus Maximus - The contours of the ancient stadium are still visible in a city park across the Palatine from the Forum. It was in one of the tunnels here that Caligula met his end.
  • Palatine Hill - Right next to the Roman Forum, contains the ruins of several large villas that belonged to wealthy Roman families. You can buy a combined ticket for the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum here, avoiding the long lines at the Colosseum.
  • Fori Imperiali - Entry €7 (cheaper for EU nationals, free for EU history students). The inside of the fort is very similar to a museum, with a lot of rooms containing items in glass cases. It is a bit of a maze and takes time to orient yourself, but it is worth climbing to very top for a view of the city and the Vatican. As of late June 2007, it is closed for restoration, but you can still see a lot of it from the road.
  • The Catacombs - The catacombs at San Callisto, situated on the Appian Way, are quite tourist friendly and are accessible from central Rome. Not the easiest place to find, you can get there from Termini station. Catch the 714 bus from outside the station, and change at the 6th bus stop (St Giovanni) to the 218 bus, which will take you all the way to the Catacombs. Entry is €6 and includes a guided tour in several languages.
  • Caracalla Terme - Ancient terms. Impressive and well-preserved.
All List of Rome Hotels

 


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