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Rome

 

  Rome is, without doubt, one of the most captivating cities in the world, where ancient and modern blend perfectly. Principle sights and monuments include such St. Peter’s, the Colosseum, Circo Massimo, Victor Emmanuel memorial, the Vatican, Palatine Hill, River Tiber, the list is endless. Probably nowhere else on earth is there so much history in such a small area. It owes its grandeur obviously to the Roman Empire which held sway over much of the globe for nearly 500 years and then to the Papacy which for a large part of its existence, commanded as much political influence as religious. But it’s more than buildings and galleries, there are quiet areas, tiny little piazzas, lovely bars, cosy restaurants where the waiters will talk all day if you let them. All this combined gives the uniqueness which is Rome.  

 

The Vatican viewed over the Tiber from Ponte Umberto

The Supreme Court (Corte Suprema di Cassazione)

Market stalls on the banks of The Tiber

The Vatican

Castel Sant'Angelo

Un turista inglese

Castel Sant'Angelo

 Monumental complex in Torre Argentina (Rome), where Julius Caesar was stabbed.

 

Caesar, the head of the Roman Republic, was stabbed to death by a group of rival Roman senators on March 15, 44 B.C, the Ides of March. Archaeologists have unearthed a concrete structure nearly 10 feet wide and 6.5 feet tall (3 meters by 2 meters) that may have been erected by Caesar's successor to condemn the assassination. The structure is at the base of the Curia, or Theater, of Pompey, the spot where classical writers reported the stabbing took place.

Largo di Torre Argentina is a square in Rome, with four Roman Republican temples and the remains of Pompey's Theatre. It is in the ancient Campus Martius. The name of the square comes from the Torre Argentina, which takes its name from the city of Strasbourg whose Latin name was Argentoratum.

 

 

Steps leading to Piazza di Campidoglio, with the Musei Capitolini on the right

 

 

 

Part of Musei Capitolini

 

 

 

 

View over the Forum from Piazza di Campidoglio

 

Temple of Saturn

 

Built about 497 BC, the Temple of Saturn was one of the most important and venerated of the Republic. The first temple in the Forum, it was dedicated to the god that was probably of Etruscan origin but adopted by the Romans as the supreme god. It was destroyed by fire several times, the last in the fourth century AD, but was repeatedly rebuilt. Under the Republic, the state treasury was kept in this temple, and annual celebrations of the Saturnalia started from here. You can recognize the Temple of Saturn by its eight weathered Ionic columns.

Adjoining the temple is a fragment of the Miliarium Aureum, the Golden Milestone, which was the starting point of the Via Sacra and all the Roman consular roads. On the stone, in golden figures, were inscribed the distance from Rome to the various provinces of the Empire.

 

 

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

  From the Via Sacra, steps leads up to the Temple of Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina, built in AD 141 to honor the deified empress, and after his death, co-dedicated to him. Six columns with Corinthian capitals survive from the front, along with a number of columns along the side. In the 12th century, the temple was converted into the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda, but when the Emperor Charles V visited Rome in 1536, the columns were disengaged from the medieval masonry.  

 

How many Roman feet trod these cobbles?

Arch of Septimius Severus

 

The Roman Senate and populace traditionally constructed triumphal arches honoring victorious emperors and generals, and in AD 203, this 23-meter arch was erected opposite the church of Santi Martina e Luca, to Septimius Severus and his sons Caracalla and Geta after their victories over the Parthians. On the arch, four deep marble reliefs represent episodes from these wars. Goddesses of victory hold trophies, and a large inscription proclaims the glory of the emperor and his sons (though the name of Geta was later removed). The arch also features the base of a column commemorating the 10th anniversary of Diocletian's accession and the remains of the Rostra, the ancient orators' platform originally decorated with the prows of captured enemy ships. The arch was considered the spot of the Umbilicus Urbis, the navel or symbolic center of Rome.


 

 

 

 

 

The Arch of Titus

 

Standing at the end of the Forum farthest from the Capitol, the Arch of Titus is the oldest of the Roman triumphal arches, erected after the death of Titus by his successor Domitian. The reliefs on the arch show scenes from the victorious general's triumphal procession to the Capitol after Titus captured Jerusalem in the year 70 and thus put the final seal on the defeat of the Jewish people in Palestine. Titus, who became Emperor in 79 AD, is shown in his chariot accompanied by the goddess of Victory holding a laurel wreath and by the booty brought back from the war - the Menorah, the table with the shewbread, and trumpets from the treasury of the Temple.


 

 

 

The Colosseum

 

Arch of Constantine

The Trevi Fountain

 

Though it was one of 1,352 fountains in 4th century Rome, the Trevi Fountain has always stood out from the rest. After a prolonged closure while it was being refurbished by the fashion house, Fendi (who reportedly spent a cool $2.2 million)

The fountain dates back to ancient Roman times, since the construction of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct in 19 B.C. that provided water to the Roman baths and the fountains of central Rome. It’s said that the Aqua Virgo, or Virgin Waters, is named in honor of a young Roman girl who led thirsty soldiers to the source of the spring to drink.

The fountain was built at the end point of the aqueduct, at the junction of three roads. These three streets (tre vie) give the Trevi Fountain its name, the Three Street Fountain.

The fountain is mostly built from travertine stone, a name that means “from the Tiber” in Latin. A mineral made of calcium carbonate formed from spring waters, especially hot springs, the likely source was the city of Tivoli, about 22 miles from Rome.

When the fountain is open roughly €3,000 is thrown into it every day as people follow the tradition of throwing coins over their shoulders. The legend holds that a coin thrown into the fountain will ensure a return to Rome. This tradition also dates back to the ancient Romans who often threw coins in water to make the gods of water favor their journey or help them get back home safely. (Throw in a second coin if you’re seeking love – even a third for wedding bells!)

What many don’t know is that the coins are collected every night and given to an Italian charity called Caritas. Caritas, in turn, use the money for a supermarket program giving rechargeable cards to Rome’s needy to help them get groceries.

 

 

 

The Spanish Steps ( “Scalina Spagna”)

 

The Spanish steps were built in 1723-1725 by a design of the rather little known architect Francesco de Sanctis and were financed by French diplomat Étienne Gueffier’s bequeathed. It was built in order to link the the Trinità dei Monti church that was under the patronage of the king of France, with the Spanish square below. The long, triangular Spanish square is named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See. In the 17th century, the area around the embassy was even considered Spanish territory. The idea of connecting the church with the square below originates from the 17th century, when the French also planned a statue of King Louis XIV of France at the top of the staircase. This plan was never executed, due to the refusal of the Pope.

At the lower end of the stairs you can find an early baroque fountain called Fontana della Barcaccia, or “Fountain of the Old Boat”. It is credited Pietro Bernini; a member of the renowned artist family Bernini and father of famous Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The fountain has the form of a sinking ship and it is said to be based upon a folk legend. The legend tells that a fishing boat was carried all the way to this exact spot during a massive flood of the Tiber River in the 16th century. The design with the sinking boat also helped Bernini to overcome a technical problem, due to low water pressure.

 

 

 

Column of Marcus Aurelius. Piazza Colonna

 

Built between 176 and 192 in honour of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the column was placed in the square after his death to celebrate the victory of the Marcomannic Wars. The column has a relief spiral similar to Trajan’s Column. In 1589, a bronze statue of St Paul was placed at the top.