Sights in Rome

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The fake "dome" of Sant'Ignazio

The fake "dome" of Sant'Ignazio

Don Edgar

There are so many things to do in Rome and so many Rome activities, that you'll lose count. Even the lengthiest Rome travel guides can't cover all of the historic landmarks, monuments, and museums of Rome. Like most major travel destinations, Rome does have some top attractions -- but even the list of top attractions and Rome activities can reach into the hundreds. So, what you have time to see, of course, depends on how long you have to stay. Best bet -- sit down in your Rome hotel room and write out each day's must-sees using a one or two Rome travel guides, advice, the listings below, and your personal interests as your guide. If you plan to stay for 5-7 days, you will definitely have time to cover a good number of top Rome restaurants and many of the best sights, attractions, and side trips Rome has to offer. Continue reading through the listings below to read about some of Rome's top sights.

Contributors
May 22, 2008 change by mcburton
March 24, 2006 change by giorgio

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Area Sacra dell' Argentina

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It was here in Torre Argentina, the year 44 BC, that one of the most illustrious dictators was stabbed by his rival Brutus. Almost 20 centuries have passed since then, but Caesar's spirit surely lives on in some of the aristocratic cats who rule over their temples with vengeance and pride. 1929 was the year the sacred area of Torre Argentina was excavated. This was also the year the history of the cats began. Stray and abandoned felines took refuge in the protected area below street level. From 1929 until 1993, the cats were more or less regularly fed by a succession of cat more..

type:Hotspots
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email:torreargentina@tiscali.it
address:Largo di Torre Argentina
openinghours: Catsanctuary, every day from 11 am to 7 pm ( roman time)
tel:( +39) 06-687-2133

Il Gesù

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Il Gesù, or the church of the Santissimo nome di Gesù, is the mother church of the Jesuit order . Build between 1568 and 1575 this baroque church was the principal example for almost all Jesuit churches around the world. In the nave the flock had to be assembled and educated. The most important weapons in the counterreformation were education and a whole new army of Saints. This education is evident in the frescos that ornate the nave and depict the triumph of the Name of Christ. The fresco inside the cupola is also by Bacicca, who shows here he’s a master of more..

type:Churches
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St. Peter

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St. Peter's Square
St. Peter's Square
photo by: Kim Rowland

Though neither a cathedral, nor the mother church, this enormous church is in fact the center of the Catholic World, a role once performed by the St John Lateran. From here the pope, the successor of St Peter, tends his flock. The church was built over the grave of St Peter. Because of the location of this tomb on the hill, the St Peter is one of few churches that are not orientated towards the east, but just the other way around. Some people read in this orientation a reference to the crucifixion of St Peter, who was crucified up side down.

The present day building is a more..

type:Palaces
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url:www.newadvent.org
openingHours:sey

Piazza del Popolo

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photo
photo by: Kim Rowland

The Porta del Popolo on the north side of the Piazza marks one end, while the East is dominated by the passeggiata del Pincio. This piazza served as an exposition hall, a stadium, and a theater for popular plays. The face of the piazza changed a great deal from the 1400's to the 1800's, with the reconstruction of the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, the placement of the Flaminian obelisk at the center of the piazza, and the addition of neo-classical elements by Giuseppe Valadier.

type:Hotspots
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Vatican Museums

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 Made up of a collection of some of the world’s most fascinating museums, the Vatican Museums is actually a complex of museums which house hundreds of thousands of artworks – considered the finest collection of art on the planet. The complex includes the one of the most popular attractions in Rome – the Sistine Chapel, as well as Gregorian Egyptian Museum (founded in 1839), the Vatican Pinacoteca (opened in 1932), the Ethnological Missionary Museum (founded in 1926) and the Vatican Historical Museum, to name a few.

type:Hotspots
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address:Vatican City, Viale Vaticano - 00165
openinghours:10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
tel:Fax Reservations: +39 06 69885100 (groups), +39 06 69884019 (individuals)
openingHours:10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
url:www.vatican.va
email:visiteguidate.musei@scv.va

Vatican City

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Swiss Guard of the Pope
Swiss Guard of the Pope
photo by: Kim Rowland

The Vatican is since about six centuries the residence of the pope and since 1921 it's presenting an independent state called Vatican_City. The biggest square of the Vatican and the whole Rome is the Peter's Square, on it there is the biggest temple of the Christendom, the Vatican Basilica. In 1546 Michelangelo started with the construction of a dome, which was finished after he died in 1589. You can climb up this dome today and enjoy a unforgettable view over the Eternal City from its top.

 

type:Hotspots
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S. Giovanni in Laterano

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This church is the Cathedral of Rome. It was the first Christian Basilica build by Constantine. The church was probably build between 314 and 318 AD, and was the key example to almost all churches in the Romanesque era. The present day church is a recreation by Borromini from the 1646-'49, the last chapter in a long history of building, destruction and rebuilding.

type:Hotspots
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address:Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano 4
tel:+39 06 6988 6452

The Forum Romanum

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Fora Romano
Fora Romano
photo by: Kim Rowland

With the name Forum Romanum are called all the monuments which remaining parts are standing between the Capitol, the Colosseum, the Imperial Fora and the Palatine. Here you can find the Arch of Triumph of Titus, the big Basilica of Maxentius, the Temple of Antonino and Faustina and the Temple of Saturn, just to mention some of these antique monuments.

The forum, which was the heart of the city, started out as a open marketplace, but gradually it got more and more adorned with portico's basilica’s and temples. This was the area in which public life manifested itself. If more..

type:Roman Era
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Scala Sancta

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Climbing the Holy Stairs
Climbing the Holy Stairs
photo by: K. Kersker

Legend dictates that this was the staircase Christ once climbed to meet Pilatus, the governor of Jerusalem that sentenced him to be crucified. Helena, mother of Constantine, recovered it in Jerusalem, just like she found the true cross and the grave in which Christ lay till the third day. The stairs are actually a remnant of the old Lateran palace, leading to the Popes private chapel. The marble plates are protected by wood and just cleared in the midway to allow the faithful to ascend on their knees. At the top of the stairs there’s the Sancta Sanctorum, the inner sanctum, more..

type:Churches
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Piazza Venezia

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The "Wedding Cake" at night
The "Wedding Cake" at night
photo by: Ewan McDowall

Orient yourself facing the large marble monument (Vittoriano/'Wedding Cake') to the south. Take a brief look to your right at the balcony of Palazzo Venezia from which Mussolini used to orate.

Dominating the square, the Vittoriano is the monument to King Victor Emanuele, the unifier of Italy. (The 1870 Resorgimento - Italy is a young country, despite its ancient heritage.) Gaudy to some, the Italians derisively call it the Wedding Cake or the Typewriter. The flame in the center and the military guards mark Italy's tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Cross the square more..

type:Hotspots
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Villa and Galleria Borghese

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At the northern edge of the city, at the top of the Spanish Steps is the Church of Trinita dei Monti (look at the facade-the interior isn't really worth the time) and the Villa Borghese, a large park that contains gardens and museums. The vast area with its woods, lakes and grass are a tranquil spot in Rome. It also includes the Museo Borghese, the renovated former country residence of the Borghese family. It now houses an astonishing collection of sculptures collected by Cardinal Scipione Borghese. This colection includes works by Raffaello, Antonio Canova, Pietro e Gian Lorenzo more..

type:Museums
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openings:tue - sat 9am - 2pm, sun 9am - 1pm, closed mon
tel:8548577

San Pietro In Vincoli

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St. Peter in Chains was first built around 442 AD, and has been modified many times since. A shrine before the altar contains the chains that held St. Peter when he was imprisoned. To the right of the altar is a grand statue, the centerpiece of which is Moses. The statue of Moses was created by Michelangelo, while the surrounding works were done by his students. This church is a little tucked away but is fairly close to the Colliseum.

type:Churches and Cathedrals
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zipcode: 00184 Roma
address:4/a Piazza San Pietro in Vincoli
url:roma.katolsk.no
openings:open daily 07.00-12.30 and 15.30-18.00
tel: Tel. 06 48 82 865

Museo Nazionale Romano

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The National Museum of Rome, which possesses one of the world's most important archaeological collections, is housed in three different facilities: the Baths of Diocletian, which include the Octagonal Hall and the two Palazzis Massimo and Altemps. The complex restructuring and renovation effort is partially completed, but work is still under way. For this reason, only a portion of the Museum's exhibitions can currently be visited. The historic headquarters of the Museum is the Baths complex built by Diocletian more..

type:Museums
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address:Viale De Nicola 79, Via Romita, Piazza dei Cinquecento 68
openings:daily beside mon and sun afternoon
tel:4880530

Sant'Ignazio

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The fake "dome" of Sant'Ignazio
The fake "dome" of Sant'Ignazio
photo by: Don Edgar

The residents of the neighbourhood where Sant'Ignazio was built didn't want a rather large dome blocking their sun, so Andrea Pozzo painted a fake dome on the ceiling using trompe l'oeil techniques. When standing on a golden disc in the floor of the main nave, the ceiling looks quite natural. From anywhere else in the church the "dome" looks quite distorted. From the alter it looks so out of proportion you wonder how you could ever have thought it was real from the entrance.

Bus to Largo Argentina or Via del Corso.

type:Churches
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address:Piazza di Sant'Ignazio (near Pantheon)

The Palatine hill

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According to legend Remus founded Rome on this hill on the 21st of April, 753 B.C. There has been a settlement here from the beginning of the first century B.C. and on this site archeologist have found remains of the oldest city walls (730-720 B.C.). Augustus build his palace on this hill, near the location of the house of Remus, as a claim to the in heritage of the founder of the city. After him most emperors took this area as their residence, which lead to its sole usage for the imperial palaces that now lay in ruins all over this hill.

type:Roman Era
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The crypt of Santa Maria della Concezione

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Close to the Piazza Barberini you can find the The Santa Maria della Concezione. Down in the catacombs, this church houses one of the more bizarre sights in Rome; a series of chambers housing the skeletal remains of the Capuchin monks that served the church in past centuries. The bones are not just stored, but the chambers are literally decorated with them. They form intricate patterns on the walls and ceilings or are piled up against the walls. There are even a few skeletons dressed in the traditional brown habit. It´s a spooky, but also quite cool place.

type:Palaces
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address:27 Via Vittorio Veneto
openinghours:9.00-12.00h - 15.00-18.00 May to October

The National Museum of Pasta Foods

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At the foot of the Quirinale Palace, quite near the Trevi Fountain, you can find this Museum dedicated to the second most famous Italian food. Not just pasta in different shapes and odd forms, but also history, ways of production and ancient machinery form the collection on display. A must for the true addict of Italian cuisine.

type:Hotspots
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address:Piazza Scanderbeg 117
openinghours:+39 06 6991119

La Bocca della Verità, (the mouth of truth)

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The Mouth of Truth
The Mouth of Truth
photo by: Don Edgar

This strange river god used to be a drain cover, but since the middle ages this frightening image served as a lie detector. It was believed that if you told a lie with your hand in the mouth of this god, it would be bitten of. Of course it had to be helped sometimes by a servant with a blade. The “Bocca” was placed in the front yard of the Sta. Maria in Cosmedin church in the 17th century.

The sculpture is thought to be part of a roman fountain or perhaps a "manhole" cover.

Take bus 170 to Via del Teatro di Marcello (or any bus to more..

type:Hotspots
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address:Piazza Bocca della Verità
openings:9:30am - 6pm daily.

Castello Sant'Angelo

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Castello S. Angelo
Castello S. Angelo
photo by: SCramer

When you cross the Tiber River on the imposing Angel's Bridge which was built together with the Castle S. Angelo in 130 A.D. by the emperor Hadrian, who wanted to erect the most beautiful emperor grave. After Hadrian all the following emperors and princes have been burried in this mausoleum.

In 403 it has been strongly fortified and connected with the town wall, so that it became a real fortress. The transformation into a castle was in the 10th century and it has been connected with the Vatican by the Passetto in 1277. Since that time on it has always been in the hand of the more..

type:general
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Barracco Museum

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In 1902 Barone Giovanni Barracco donated his personal art collection to the city of Rome, together with the building which housed it at that time. In 1948 the collection was rehoused in its present building, "The Piccola Farnesina" or "Farnesina dei Baullari", attributed to Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. The museum exhibits beautiful sculptures, such as a head of Alexander the Great (II sec. A.D.). Take buses No. 64, 62, 110, 46, 186. Admission fee: £ 3.750

type:Museums
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address:Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 166
openings:tue to sun 9am - 1pm. tue and thur also 5 - 8pm. closed on monday
tel:68806848
show numbers 1-20   21-40   41-55  

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