Things To Do In Rome
Of course it was not built in a day, and Rome can't be explored in a day, either. The entire city feels like the show corridors of a museum hall with its imposing arrangement of piazzas, outdoor markets, ancient historical structures, and noteworthy monuments. Flip a coin into the Trevi Fountain, be in awe of the Colosseum and the Pantheon, and delight your senses with a great cappuccino before an evening of shopping at the Campo de'Fiori or Via Veneto. Delve into a plate of freshly-made pasta with some healthy broiled artichokes, or try a hearty oxtail stew for one of the best dinners of your life while enjoying a view of the Tiber River. That's the river flowing right through the heart of Italy’s capital city. Rome is a busy modern city, where the latest sleek Italian cars swirl around some of the world’s most famous old buildings.
When To Go:
Great months to visit are May and October. In May, the temperatures are warm yet comfortable, open air dining is a joy, and for those individuals who delight in visiting a sunny shore, Fregene and Ostia are terrific options. Temperatures range from the 70s to 80s and it is moderately dry. In October, temperatures are still warm, for the most part in the 70s, and the sun sparkles brilliantly as the day advances into night. At the same time you can get sudden and overwhelming storms, and night can bring a swift change in temperatures. In March, Rome will frequently reward you with warm, sunny days and nights that will require a light sweater or coat. July and August could be extremely hot. A visit in August is not advised, despite the offer of low-priced accommodations by most hotels. Prices are low because most of the Romans are not there and some shops in the city are closed. The rainy season begins in November -- be ready for heavy storms. This continues virtually through February, however the climate might be eccentric. During Holy Week (which can fall at any time between mid-March to late April), the holiday is celebrated as a delightful and holy festival; it is mostly crowded and one of the busiest times to be in Rome.
These are the interesting things to do when in the city of Rome...
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Abbazia di San Paolo Fuori Le Mura (Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls)
Often churches in Rome appear outwardly to be quite small, but when you cross the threshold you find yourself as if by magic in a huge room. The Abbazia di San Paolo Fuori Le Mura is one of these. It is not in the center of Rome, but it certainly is a revered attraction for those who are interested in architecture, art and simply admiring a spiritual place. This is one of the four main original basilicas of Rome, but also the one to which tourists rarely venture. With fewer tourists, you can truly experience the atmosphere; you can find here the remains of the apostle and experience a feeling of divine grace.
The building itself is rather peculiar, with different architecture from other religious structures around the city of Rome. There is an excellent fresco of Jesus and the apostles. This is the most beautiful one because of its many statues. The church is very attractive, huge, and the atmosphere there is compelling. There is a gift shop inside where you can buy lots of religious souvenirs.
Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
The Basilica di San Giovanni is recognized as the first church in Rome and now regarded as one of the oldest Christian churches. It was founded in the era of Emperor Constantine, and has kept in its possession the relic called the "Holy Stairs" - a ladder brought by St. Helen of Jerusalem from the palace of Pilate. According to church tradition, Jesus Christ used this ladder when he ascended to the tribunal prior to his crucifixion.
Other important relics of the Basilica include a sponge with traces of blood, and a bowl from which -- according to legend -- Jesus Christ drank vinegar at the crucifixion. There are also containers with the heads of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and the rough wooden board that served as St. Peter's table for the rite of worship in the catacombs. The Basilica is of staggering size, and is full of sculptures and gorgeously painted ceilings and frescoes.
Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini
Commit yourself to a half-hour underground tour that features archaeology and history mixed with modern computer animation. It is an excursion that must not be missed, a real trip back in time. It will allow you to see what's hiding under the ancient stones of the 16th-century building. A tour of Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini includes relatively new excavations conducted during the last six years, and the presentation of the material is completely up-to-the-minute. It is really a very unusual museum.
The first thing that impresses every visitor is the glass floor above the ruins. It initially feels as if you could fall directly through it onto the stones, but then you get used to the feeling the more you walk around. Eager tourist groups come in every 30 minutes, the narration is in English (voice-over recording), and in general it is all easy to understand. The multimedia presentation bringing the past back to life through computer graphics is also just superb. There is a one-hour tour that prepares you for the movie at the end, be sure not to miss it.
Church of Sant'Ignazio di Loyola
The History of the Jesuit Order has always been an interesting topic for every Catholic, and a visit to this church is always a very special event. Aside from being the "birthplace" of the Jesuits, the church is very well known for the trompe-l’oeil and other famous artwork inside.
The best way to appreciate this remarkable effect is to stand in the center of the church -- a marble circle set into the floor of the nave marks the exact spot -- to experience the illusion of a magnificent dome directly above you. In reality the dome was never built (apparently for lack of funds) and instead Father Andrea Pozzo, one of the Jesuits in residence, created 55-foot-wide masterpiece of perspective on the ceiling. The cupola even appears to be open to the sky with the sun shining in. If you walk a few steps deeper into the church and look up, the "illusion" will be revealed. In addition, the Church of Sant'Ignazio di Loyola has other very luxurious Baroque paintings, statues, and bas-reliefs. Like other major Catholic churches around the world, the church is laid out as a massive Latin cross with side chapels. The interior is completely surrounded by imposing Corinthian pilasters, and there are many richly ornamented altars as well as a lot of stucco figural relief work.
Church of San Luigi dei Francesi
The presence of 3 major works of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio inside the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi makes this attraction truly unique. It contains more than 1076 square feet of artwork by Caravaggio that cannot be found in any museum. It is obligatory to stop here especially if it’s the first time you have been to Rome. The church is located at the historic center of Rome, between the Pantheon and Piazza, and as soon as you enter the chapel, you will realize that these three large paintings by Caravaggio alone are going to make the entire visit worthwhile.
Because Caravaggio is one of the undisputed geniuses of his era, the experience of being able to admire the paintings in their original location, rather than a museum, is truly special. If you are lucky enough not to go with a thousand other people, you can take your time to get close and enjoy the unique spectacle of the paintings inside the church. In a museum you are usually confronted with an anti-reflective glass that allows close observation, but you miss the unique flavor of the original setting planned by the artist.
Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum
If you go to Rome this is an area that you absolutely cannot miss! The grandeur of the Colosseum is something truly exceptional. It's worth seeing inside, despite the huge number of tourists, in order to feel the full extent of its history. The group of attractions should be visited twice - once in the afternoon with a guided tour and once in the evening - when photographs on a background of the glowing Colosseum are especially effective.
The place is impressive in size and historical significance -- quite simply, it is definitely one of the best attractions in the world. You can wander around for the whole day with the help of an audio guide (available in many languages.) It may be better to start with the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, and then move on to the Colosseum, because in the morning the lines are endless. One travel tip: secure your ticket in advance through the Internet to avoid some of the waiting.
The Pantheon is another required visit in Rome; you will certainly marvel at the grandeur of this monumental building. For one thing, it has the largest dome of antiquity. Read the provided guidebooks to learn the history of its construction and amazing early application of technology, it is very informative. This is a very interesting place and few people remain indifferent. Inside, you can spend a few hours admiring the beauty of a bygone era, and many people say they feel the connection to something miraculous in its greatness and power. If you try to somehow imagine how many years it has survived, it's just incredible.
Even if you do not have time to go inside, be sure to visit the Piazza Rotonda in front of the Pantheon. It is especially beautiful at night, when a small, but very nice fountain is highlighted in front of the Pantheon. It's quite magical. And if you walk down the street in the direction of the entrance to the Pantheon, you have the chance to taste some delicious Roman ice cream in the old ice cream shop called Palma.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
By day, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore looks bright and sunny inside. The light literally pours through the large number of windows. You can admire the amazing mosaics, showing the story of Christmas the life of Christ. These mosaics have been dated back to the 5th century. The coffered wooden ceiling in the cathedral is covered with gold, which according to legend was first brought from America on the ships of Christopher Columbus. It all shines, sparkles, and shimmers in the sunlight.
Be dazzled by the stunning beauty of the marble floor that consists of slabs of different colors forming bizarre patterns in a variety of geometric shapes. The Basilica is divided into three chapels; at the right is the Sistine Chapel, wherein there is rich decoration, followed by the Paolinskaya Chapel that is even more luxurious, and closer to the exit side of the Sforza Chapel. But the main treasure of Santa Maria Maggiore is the real manger of the Baby Jesus Christ, stored over the papal altar. Come to Santa Maria Maggiore, it is a good place to reflect on the spiritual, eternal beauty, art, and God.
Basilica Di Santa Prassede
Situated right across from the Santa Maria Maggiore, within a 3-minute walk away, tucked in a small side street is where you can find the 9th-century Basilica Di Santa Prassede. In this church everything is pristine. The Baroque style does not suppress its decorative splendor and the altar is simply decorated. It also houses a lot of wonderful and well-preserved Byzantine mosaics.
The most impressive mosaics are in the small Chapel of St. Zeno, off the right-hand aisle. This is the only chapel in Rome lined entirely with mosaics and it is a very special sight. The Basilica also houses a number of (disputed) relics: according to legend, the bodies of executed martyrs endured in the catacombs, and their blood spilled in the arenas where it was preserved in sponges, collected in a vessel and brought to the baptistery on the site which was later built in the temple. There is also a large section of a granite column said to be part of the Column of Flagellation; it is said to have spoken to both St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Frances of Assisi when they came there to pray.
The Borghese Gallery is a wonderful place where you can ride a bike, eat, enjoy the expanses of the park, go to the zoo and finally arrive at the gallery with exhibits collected in all genres. It has amazing sculptures, paintings, and mosaic that will surely leave you impressed.
Listening to the tour guides, you can find a guide for the language you want. But if you study some information in advance, then you can take your time and really enjoy what you see, and stay near your preferred masterpieces as long as you would like. To visit the exhibition, the best time is at 2:00 pm; tickets must be booked in advance and paid via the Internet.
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