Sights in Rome

Sights in Rome

Rome, one of history’s oldest and most influential civilizations, began as a small settlement on the Palatine Hill at around 10th century BC. Eventually its boundaries encompassed the seven hills, and its powerful armies, wealth and culture made it a center of power in the Western World.

By the third century, Rome had shifted from being the capital of the Roman Empire to being the capital of the Catholic World. Some temples and pagan sanctuaries were razed to the ground; others (like the Castel Sant'Angelo, once the mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian) were converted into Catholic monuments. The Church also commissioned many buildings and art works, encouraging the creative genius of Michelangelo Buonarroti (who made the Piazza di Campidoglio) and Gian Lorenzo Bernini (who made the colonnade in Piazza San Pietro and the Spanish Steps).

Rome became the capital of Italy in 1870, and from there it quickly grew past the original boundaries of the Aurelian Walls. Some historical treasures like the renaissance quarter was destroyed; othrs (like the Palazzo Venezia) were relocated. New infrastructure, like the Palazzo di Giustizia, Olympic Stadium and the Vittoriano, and roads like the Via Teatro Marcello are also part of the new, “urban” Rome.

Today, Rome is a popular tourist attraction. It is best to avoid the hot summer and visit the city in September. It is easy to get around; public transportation include underground trains, buses and tramways. Traffic is a problem, however.

Rome is considered a fashion capital and many of the designer stores can be found in the Piazza di Spagna. Bargain hunters can find last season designs at 50% off at small stores along Via Condotti are small no-name shops that sell designer labels with 50% discount. Other stores can be found along the Via del Corso.

Must-sees include the dome of St. Peter and the Vatican museums (allot several days to see this), the Forum Romanum and the Colosseum. Partygoers will enjoy the nightlife at the Piazza Navona, which is lined with taverns, restaurants and bars.

It is impossible to see all Rome has to offer in just two or three days. No wonder tourists thorng around the iconic Fontana di Trivi, throwing coins (as superstition demands) to guarantee a return visit to the city.

Sights in Rome