Holiday Information for Rome, Italy
Beautiful Roma! What more can I say. Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it really does take your breath away. From walking in the footsteps of the gladiators in the Colosseum, sipping lattes in the Piazza Navona, and viewing the extravagant Vatican City, Rome will never bore you.
Rome is believed to have been founded on 21st April 753 BC, and recent archaeological investigations support this. According to ancient Roman myth, the city was founded by Romulus, (son of Mars, the god of war, and Rhea Silvia, a princess) who was raised by wolves along with his brother, whom he killed to be the first ruler of Rome.
Until 510 BC successive kings ruled the city, but the monarch was overthrown and a republic was established. Rome began to grow more powerful, and expand its kingdom, but internally it was struggling. Events came to a head when Julius Caesar was murdered in the senate, and spelt an end to the republic. Augustus took control in 27 BC and was the first Emperor of Rome.
The city flourished for the next few centuries, the population grew to between 1 and 2 million people, and the city was filled with buildings, monuments and theatres. The height of the Roman Empire is said to have been underTrajan (98 - 177 AD) when Rome was the centre of an Empire, which stretched into Western Asia, Northern Africa and the Middle East.
The decline of the Empire began in the 3rd Century, and when Constantine came into power he brought with him his Christian beliefs. The collapse of the Western Rome Empire is dated at 476 AD when Odoacer deposed Emperor Romulus Augustulus and after this the Byzantine and Germanic Empires fought for control of Rome.
Church and State were unified in the late 8th Century, and the Christian hold grew into the 12th Centuries and beyond. The 14th and 15th Centuries saw the injection of money into the cities infrastructure and combined with the artists of the era - Raphael, Bernini and others; Rome was transformed into a Renaissance city.
The city was occupied by Napoleon in 1798, which was seen as the decline in the political force of the papacy, and was only restored in 1815.
Italy was unified in 1870 and Rome was declared the capital. Mussolini controlled Rome from 1922, bringing his fascist views with him. Mussolini formed an alliance with Germany during WWII and the country fought back against the dictatorship by became a republic in 1946.
Things to See:
Construction started on the Colosseum in 72 AD by Emperor Vespasian and completed by his son Titus in 80 AD. The Colosseum was used as an Arena, seating up to 50,000, and entertaining people with 'games' - namely gladiator fights.
The amphitheatre was in use until the 4th Century when Christianity was introduced. After the fall of the Roman Empire the Colosseum was abandoned and became overgrown with exotic plants.
It was used in the Middle Ages as a fortress, and later as almost a quarry, the site being pillaged for marble, steel and sandstone. It fell into ruin until it was recognised as an historical building and reconstruction was begun.
The Roman Forum is next to the Colosseum and was the centre of government, politics, religion and society for 900 years. Its significance declined along with the fall of the Roman Empire and for centuries it was used as grazing land, then like to Colosseum, it was plundered for its materials. The Forum was rejuvenated in the Renaissance when artists used the area as inspiration, and excavation begun in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
The Vatican City
The Vatican City is an independent nation state also known as Holy See, and is home to the famous Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica. St Peter's Basilica, in the true Catholic ostentatious style, is spectacular, the inside decorated with amazing artworks, sculptures and guilded with gold.
Constantine first built the Basilica in the 4th Century, but it fell into disrepair and it was not until the 15th and 16th Centuries that it was renovated. The domes were designed and decorated by Michelangelo, and if you climb to the top the view of both the inside of the dome and the view over Rome are well worth the effort.
Mueseums and Chapels
There is also a lift which is only a few extra Euro. The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are a popular destination for tourists so it is recommended you get there early, especially on the last Sunday of every month when entry is free.
The Vatican Museums house a spectacularly large collection of art, from Egyptian Mummies to Tapestries, and ancient Roman sculptures to Renaissance masterpieces. The Sistine Chapel comes at the end of the circuit, and despite the strict guards and having to jostle for space, it is a breathtaking site.
The Trevi Fountain is Rome's largest fountain, and is always heaving with tourists. Toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain to guarantee your return to Rome, and toss a second to make a wish.
The Spanish Steps have always been a place to meet and people watch. In the Renaissance period models used to sit on the steps hoping to be chosen by artists, and nowadays it is still full of beautiful people.
Villa Borghese is a lovely park in the north of Rome overlooking the city. The Museo e Galleria Borghese is an art gallery with an amazing collection, including work by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Bernini, Rubens and Raphael.
The Pantheon, Castel Sant Angelo and Basilican San Giovanni are all impressive historical buildings worth a visit.
Piazza Navona is one of Rome's famous piazzas, come at night for a tasty meal and to experience the local artists and street performers. Don't forget gelati for dessert!
Rome has a mild climate which means that it is fairly hospitable most of the year. Spring and autumn are the best time to visit Rome as the sun shines and temperatures are warm. Winters can be cool but the skies normally remain clear, and the summers are usually quite hot, with many Romans escaping to cooler destinations.
There are multiple direct flights from most European cities, and also flights from Asia and the Americas. If you are travelling within Europe budget airlines have decent priced flights. You can also travel overland using Europeís rail system from many destinations in Italy and Europe. There is also a good bus service.
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