|Aerial view of the city centre of Rome - http://binged.it/SmSgDS|
HistoryThis is not the place to write about the history of this city, because too many books have been written by much more competent people and because this is a website about tourism, but a short summary is necessary.
The kingdom, VIII-VI BC. According to the legend the city was founded on the Palatine Hill in 753 BC by Romolus, who in the process killed his twin Remus while building the first ring of walls. In the following two hundred years the city was led by another six kings (more or less legendary) and expanded and consolidated his position among the neighbouring towns and tribes, securing what is now roughly the area of the city council of Rome. During the last period of the kingdom (6th Century BC) the city felt under the influence of the Etruscan (the inhabitants of roughly what is modern Tuscany) and the city was protected by a second ring of fortifications, the "Servian Wall" that can still be seen in several parts of the city.
|Arco di Dolabella, near Villa Celimontana|
|Porta Maggiore. The walls have integrated the acqueduct and the arcs have been used as gates to the city|
|The Appian Way. Roman roads were built with several layers of different materials, covered by large volcanic stones.|
|Forum Boarium. It was the meat market of ancient Rome, an area of trades with temples to gods protecting ventures and trades, such as Hercules (in its Roman interpretation)|
|Largo di Torre Argentina. In the very city centre of Rome, it is now home to one of the most photographed colonies of cats of the world|
|The Colosseum. Built in 80 AD was damaged seriusly by an hearthquake in the 7th century.|
|The Imperial Fora. The forum was a meeting place for trade and politics and the Roman Forum was the centre of the life during the Republic. Emperors have built other Fora next to mark their influence.|
|The Ara Pacis, "Temple of Peace" was built by Augustus to mark the end of the long period of civil and expansion wars which characterised the late republic.|
|The Baths of Diocletianus, restyled by Micelangelo in the church of St Mary of the Angels and Martyrs.|
|The Mausoleum of Hadrian, designed by the emperor itself, who was passionated of art and architecture, was lately transformed in a castle, also for its proximity with the Vatican, to what is connected through a secret passage.|
|The Pantheon, took its actual shape under Hadrian as a temple for all the gods. Its dome was the largest built in concrete until the XIX century and its architecture has inspired monuments everywhere in the classical, medieval and modern times.|
|The Catacombs have been used as cemeteries since the late empire.|
|Aurelian Walls. They have been built in the IV century when the instability in the Empire was growing and cities strted to protect themselves after a long period of peace.|
|S. Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, interior|
|San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, facade|
|Mausoleum of Caecilia Metella on the Appian Way, transformed in a castle as many other tombs and monuments in the city and its surroundings|
|The Stadium of Domitianum in a reconstruction|
|Piazza Navona, the steps of the stadium have been used for shelter and then to build houses and churches|
|Bernini's Extasis of St Theresa, in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria|
|Borromini's St Ivo alla Sapienza. La Sapienza is the first university of Rome, founded in 1303|
|Michelangelo's Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel|
|Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel|
|Raphael's The School of Athens, in the Vatican Palace|
|Caravaggio's The Inspiration of Saint Matthew in the church of St Luigi dei Francesi, with other works of the artist|
|E.U.R, aereial view of the area|
|The "Square Colosseum" (Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana) in the E.U.R.|
As one can imagine, the city is shaped by the geography as much as by the story. The current city centre is in the ancient Campus Martius and monuments are scattered everywhere in the areas delimited by the Aurelian Walls. From there, the new city continues along the path of the ancient Roman roads (Aurelia, Flaminia, Nomentana, Tiburtina, Appia...) which are now, in their initial parts, also the main streets of the city.
Borgo and Trastevere. On the right side of the river Tiber these two Rioni border the Vatican city. Borgo growth during the middle age and the renaissance next to the Vatican and the Basilica of St Peter. It is now a posh area where ancient families and functionaries of the Vatican live. Trastevere is a more ancient but also recently developed (recently in the perspective of Rome...) area. It is a popular area famous for its restaurants and nightlife, although now is becoming trendy and upmarket. Apart of the ancient characteristics roads, it is possible to see here the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Castel Sant'Angelo, the park of the Janicumum, and Via della Conciliazione on the way to the Vatican.
The "Tridente". The historical city centre is cut in four parts by a set of three streets, Via di Ripetta, Via del Corso and Via del Babbuino, starting from Piazza del Popolo. The central of the three streets is Via del Corso, the main avenue of the city, connecting Piazza del Popolo to Piazza Venezia. Via di Ripetta goes until the old river port of Ripetta and pass next to teh Mausoleum of Augustus, and Piazza Navona. Via del Babbuino, continues until the Quirinal Palace (now siege of the President of the Republic) and pass next to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. Between Via di Ripetta and Via del Corso there is the Pantheon and Piazza Colonna, with the Column of Marcus Aurelius.
Capitol, Forum and Palatine. The area from piazza Venezia to the south was the centre of ancient Rome. The Capitol is now partly occupied by the huge Altare della Patria, a monument to the king who unified Italy. Behind it, there is the church of St Maria in Aracoeli and the square designed by Michelangelo, with the bronze sculpture of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Walking few hundred meters, you can jump directly from the renaissance to the ruins of the empire, with a view on the Fora, the Colosseum, and the Palatine. In the Forum of Trajan, it is still possible to see the Trajan's Column, where it is represented the campaign of this emperor and the conquest Dacia, modern Romania.
Along the Tiber. Between the Capitol, Via del Corso and the Tiber there is the last part of the city centre covered in this page. From the south, the Forum Boarium boast three temples in perfect state and the church of St Maria in Cosmedin, with the "Bocca della Verita" of "Roman Holiday" fame. Behind the church it is possible to see the Circus Maximus, an ancient charriot racing stadium, there since the time of Romulus. Continuing to the north, there is the Getto, with the Sinagogue and the Porticus Octavie. The Jewish (Sephardic) comunity of Rome, is one of the most ancient of the diaspora and several dishes of the traditional Roman cuisine can be traced to a Jewish origin. In front of the Sinagogue, there is the Tiber Island, occupied almost entierly by an hospital since the time of the Roman Republic, when a temple of the god of medicine Aesculapion was built there. Finally, it is possible to see the magnificient Palazzo Farnese, now the embassy of France, which was used as a model for a number of urban residence in Europe. After the palace and the homonym square, there is Campo dei Fiori, a characteristic square with a popular market during the day and a good nightlife in the evening. The square has at the centre a statue of Giornano Bruno, a religious burned alive there as heretic in 1600.
|Via della Conciliazione from the dome of St Peter|
|St Maria in Trastevere, interior|
|Piazza del Popolo and the "Tridente", from left to right: Via del Babbuino, Via del Corso and Via di Ripetta|
|The Column of marcus Aurelius in Piazza della Colonna|
|The monument to King Vittorio Emanuele II in Piazza Venezia.|
|The Spanish Steps and the Church of St Trinita dei Monti|
|The Trevi Fountain|
|Piazza del Dampidoglio, designed by Michelangelo.|
|The Curia Iulia, the senate of the ancient Rome restored by Augustus.|
|the caracteristics streets of the Getto|
|Campo dei Fiori, it's market and the statue to Giornado Bruno|
|The Tiber island|
|The "Bocca della Verita" in the church of St Maria in Cosmedin, probably part of an ancient roman fountain|