Rome, Italy’s Capital
Today we would like to take you on a tourist tour of our eternal city.
There are so many different things to do and see in Rome, there never seems to be enough time in this city. We start our tour from Piazza Venezia: here, from a balcony of Palazzo Venezia (to be found on the right hand-side when facing the big white Altare della Patria monument), Benito Mussolini used to deliver his most important political speeches during his government.
From the centre of the square we can see the Vittoriano, the majestic national monument in white marble, built in honour of King Vittorio Emanuele II and, after World War I, containing the remains of the milite ignoto (a soldier who was killed during the war and whose name and surname were impossible to trace). This monument is also known as Altare della patria, or Altar of the Fatherland.
Continuing our walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali, we find ourselves in front of the Colonna Traiana, with its finely inlayed spiral, and the Mercati di Traiano, a series of buildings which host the Fori Imperiali museum.
We visit the Foro Traiano, the Foro di Augusto and the Foro di Cesare, then the temple dedicated to Venere Genitrice, and finally, taking a shortcut at the back of the Vittoriano, we head towards the Campidoglio, the city hall of Rome, where we admire its famous square, designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti, the Marco Aurelio statue and the beautiful steps decorated with the Dioscuri statues.
If we wish to visit the Colosseum, we really should buy our tickets online in advance. Its majestic presence is hard to put into words: it is the biggest amphitheatre in the world. Here history really comes to life and with a little bit of imagination we can just hear the screaming crowds and see the gladiators, the emperors and the aristocrats who attended the shows inside this amazing structure. Just beside the Colosseum, we can’t miss the two arches of the emperors Constantine and Titus and a further section of the Foro Romano with rests of buildings and monuments of the ancient city of Rome. We are on the colle Palatino, one of the Sette colli (seven hills) of Rome.
Moving along, we reach Città del Vaticano (Vatican City) where of course we stop to admire the Basilica di San Pietro. After passing the security check-points we enter the temple of Christianity, whose walls contain such priceless artistic treasures as the baldacchino (baldachin) and St Peter’s cattedra (throne) by Bernini, the Pietà statue by Michelangelo, the wonderful Cupola (Dome) and the many statues and chapels along the walls of the Basilica.
The square will leave you breathless. Bernini’s colonnato is an architectural masterpiece. Formed by 284 columns and 88 pillars, it can be admired in all its beauty from the centre of the square. Getting closer to the central obelisco we will see only the first row of columns: the second row disappears from view and reappears as we keep walking, creating amazing and fluid perspectives of columns and empty spaces.
Walking along the Passetto we move to Castel Sant’Angelo. The Passetto is a fortified wall that connects the Vatican to the Castle crossing the area of Borgo Pio, another unmissable spot where you can stop for a break immersing yourself in the authentic old atmosphere of the 18th and 19th century.
And now we come to the palazzi della politica, the government centres in Rome. On the colle Quirinale we find the palazzo del Quirinale, once the official residence of the King, but now, since, 1946, home to the President of the Republic. From here we walk towards Fontana di Trevi and continue on to Palazzo Chigi (seat of the Italian government), and Palazzo Montecitorio (Parliament), situated in the square with the same name, where we also find an Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by Augustus in 10 a.D.By the way, Rome has 13 obelisks!
As tourists, we should also visit Bocca della Verità, Circo Massimo, Terme di Caracalla and the Ara Pacis museum. If you can’t resist shopping, piazza Navona and the narrow vie around it, as well as viaCondotti, via del Corso, via Nazionale and via Ottaviano are the places to be. Make sure you have an extra suitcase to bring everything home