The Roman Collesium
Rome is a city rich in art, monuments and exquisite views. It is a historic city, which has preserved its charm and independence throughout the centuries. Rome’s history can be read in every monument; in fact, each and every stone carries some sort of historical significance to the periods of splendor, wars, and numerous architectural styles. The city could be described as a gigantic open-air museum, visited each year by millions of tourists, scholars and pilgrims from all over the world.
It boggles the mind that Roman civilization began with a small settlement of shepherds and farmers near the Tevere river; tradition dictates that this is where Romulus founded the city and where Augustus, the first Emperor, built his house. The city extended over six other hills: Quirinale, Viminale, Esquilino, Celio, Aventino and Capitolino.
The Piazza Omonima: a gigantic statue to the gods, lies on one of the seven hill summits. The Piazza della Repubblica is one of the most beautiful piazzas in Rome, surrounded by arches. The restored Fontana delle Naiadi takes pride of place in the centre of the square and is a hot-spot for tourists. Rome is also the home of the great poets Virgilio and Orazio and also to the ruins of Domus Aurea. There are many beautiful buildings here, especially along the magnificent Appia Antica. Almost all are places of worship. The Santa Maria in Cosmedinbasilica, where the famous Bocca della Verità, or mouth of truth, is housed. Rome used to be the religious and political centre of the city during the Roman era. It is dominated by the Michelangelo styled Piazza del Campidoglio, perfectly proportioned, with a statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius on horseback in the centre. Located here, the Capitoline Museums, have some of the most precious art collections in the world. The seven hilltops offer a number of beautiful views; the most breathtaking of these are Pincio, the dome of San Pietro (St. Peter’s Basilica), Vatican, and the Gianicolo.
No visit to Rome is complete without having seen its magnificent Colosseum, a vast amphitheater with seating for 55,000 that was designed as a place for gladiatorial battles. Upon its completion, spectacular 100-day celebrations were organized as part of the opening ceremony in 72 AD. Admission usually costs about 9 Euros. The amazing art collection in the Musei Vaticani is exhibited in surroundings of the Vatican in unparalleled beauty. The magnificent Raphael Rooms are among the masterpieces of the collection, where each room is decorated with frescoes by great artists. The best known is The School of Athens, in which contemporary artists appear as classical characters (Leonardo da Vinci, for example, appears as Plato). The Sistine Chapel is the museum’s finest treasure, and features Michelangelo’s famous Last Judgement. The Parthenon was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa and rebuilt by Hadrian. The Pantheon was turned into a church in the early 7th century by Pope Boniface IV. The building’s sole source of light is the opening at the dome’s highest point, where a fountain used to lie. Many famous Italians are buried in the Pantheon, including Renaissance painter Raphael. Admission is free and masses are held Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Rome is a great place for any history buff or world traveller to visit.