Rome's history spans over two and half thousand years, starting as a small Italian village to the centre of a vast empire to the capital of today's Italy. Rome was founded as a small village sometime in the 8th century BC surrounding Palatine Hill. The small settlement developed into the capital of the Roman Kingdom before becoming the seat of the Roman Republic at around 500 BC, and then the centre of the Roman Empire from 27 BC. For almost 1,000 years, Rome was the largest, wealthiest and most powerful city in the Western World with dominance over most of Europe.
Today, Rome reflects the many periods of its long history - Ancient times, Middle Ages and the Renaissance. There are so many sights to see in Rome that it is difficult to know where to start, however there are a few attractions that should not be missed, some of which are listed below.
The gigantic oval of the Colosseum is a must see - 186m long, 153m wide and some 50m high. Emperor Vespasian began construction in AD72 and work was completed eight years later. It was the scene for gladiator fights that one can hardly
La Bocca della Verità
The sculpture is thought to be part of a 1st century ancient Roman fountain. Starting from the Middle Ages, it was believed that if one told a lie with one's hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off.
comprehend today. These fights were finally outlawed in the fifth century. The stadium has been pillaged over the centuries and rocked by earthquakes. Today, only its skeletal framework remains, with the winding passages used to force animals up to the battlefield of the arena - formerly underground - now exposed.
You can skip the usually long queue if you buy a Rome Pass
. This allows you to go past the queue at the security check to a separate entrance.
If stones could talk: these hallowed ruins were the most powerful seat of government in the world. The Roman Forum is now a heap of marble fragments, columns and floor layouts. Fire, barbarians and pillaging builders contributed to the Forum's present state of disrepair. A bit of imagination is required to recreate the former marketplace that was the political, legal and social heart of ancient Rome and the symbolic centre of the Roman Empire.
The best-preserved of Rome’s ancient monuments, the Pantheon has become an emblem of the city. Built by Hadrian between AD119 and AD128, as a temple to the gods, the Pantheon was converted to a Christian church in AD608 - the key
to its miraculous survival. The Pantheon carries a dedication to Marcus Agrippa, who built the original structure on this spot in 27 BC.
The radius of the dome is exactly equivalent to the height and a nine-metre hole, known as the oculus, in the dome’s centre allows light (and rain) into the building. One of the focal points of interest inside the Pantheon is the tomb of Raphael.
This beautiful altar to Peace was commissioned by the Roman Senate in 13 BC to honour the triumphal return from Gaul of the emperor Augustus. The altar is universally recognized as a masterpiece and the most famous surviving example of Augustan sculpture. Notably, the life-sized figures in the procession are not idealized types but rather portraits of individuals, some of them recognizable still today.
More information can be found on the Ara Pacis
Robert Browning (1812-1889), British poet
Everyone soon or late comes round by Rome.
One cannot visit Rome without going to visit the Vatican
. Here you will find St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum which is home to some of the world's most impressive artwork.
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