Rome

Rome: Top 10

(continuer en français) – Published: January 8, 2022

Rome is the double capital of Italy and also contains the Vatican. During Antiquity, the Roman Empire structured a large part of Europe, laying the foundations of Western civilisation. Despite the sackings and lootings, the city retains a profusion of monuments, from Ancient Rome to Baroque Rome, the selection is tough and could easily extend beyond.

01. Colosseum

Nothing is more emblematic of unchanging Rome than the Colosseum, which has withstood so many changes. Completed in the year 80, its solid construction was later reused as a home and citadel. It is estimated that it could accommodate 50,000 spectators, today it receives over 7 million visitors each year. A visit is a must.

02. Roman Forum

It is a vast field of ruins from which a few columns emerge, and it is difficult to make sense of it without the explanatory panels. Rome was first built on the hills, the plain was a necropolis before becoming the civic centre. Built and destroyed many times, heightened on occasion, the Forum is a tangle that reflects its tumultuous history.

03. Pantheon

This temple is another remarkable building that has survived in an identical state. Built in 125 under the Emperor Hadrian, it has not changed since. A dome covers the vast circular hall, opening at the top to the sky. Consecrated as a church, its visit is free, after sometimes a long queue, a decent dress is required, for the delight of the scarf merchants (more).

04. Monument to Victor-Emmanuel II

With many nicknames, such as “the typewriter”, the monument pays tribute to the first king of a unified Italy in 1861. The royal tomb is in the Pantheon, but the patriotic monument has the tomb of the Unknown Soldier with a guard of honour. The interior contains large solemn rooms suitable for pompous ceremonies.

05. Piazza Navona

The ancient stadium was converted into a baroque square in the mid-17th century, retaining its original shape. It is decorated with three spectacular fountains. Crowded with tourists, restaurant tables, vendors and painters, it is difficult to enjoy the harmonious lines of the softly coloured facades, the most seductive baroque place (more).

06. Trevi Fountain

Completed in 1762, the fountain offers a grandiose baroque setting that is a show in itself. Add to this the sound of the water pouring into the basin, mingled with the sounds of the crowd gathered in rows like in a theatre. There is the parade of selfies and the oldest tradition of throwing coins over the shoulder, now practised all over the world.

07. Piazza di Spagna

Another fountain, set slightly lower to facilitate its supply. From the square, a staircase was built in 1725 by the French to reach the church of the Trinity belonging to them. This staircase, by the effect of perspective created, constitutes a major attraction. In spring azaleas are placed on the steps, adding to the attraction of the place.

08. Piazza del Popolo

It was not until the 19th century that the present layout took shape. Symmetrical palaces and churches form an elegant setting, in the centre the obelisk from Egypt, surrounded by four fountains. The traffic has been diverted, leaving room for pedestrians. From here it is possible to reach the gardens overlooking the square, which lead to the Villa Borghese.

09. Castel Sant’Angelo

Originally, it was the mausoleum designed for the Emperor Hadrian in 125. Its massive structure soon made it a military work, incorporated into the defensive system of the Holy See. Several popes took refuge in it, and a high corridor linked it to the Vatican. When necessary, it was also used as a jail and a palace for the popes. The castle has belonged to Italy since 1871.

10. St. Peter’s Basilica

Geographically, the basilica is located in the independent state of the Vatican, but its dome dominates Rome and its history. Its size and rich decoration make it the first church in Christendom. It took over a century to build, finishing in 1626, and the remarkable dome is the work of Michelangelo. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List (more).

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8 comments

    • It’s already good to have made a first visit. Rome is a city with an astonishing density of beautiful things to see, beyond the great monuments, there is an infinity of personal discoveries at random in the streets. It takes a little time.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ah! Now you’re talking. I’ve enjoyed your pictures from Paris but Rome beats the French city any day in my book! I’m very prejudiced, I know, but I feel so happy and at home in Rome whereas in Paris I always feel a stranger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree with you. Beyond the great monuments, in the museums and ordinary districts, there are also many beautiful things to see. Once you have visited the main sites, it is a great pleasure to find a church, an old palace or an ancient column left behind in the streets.

      Liked by 1 person

    • During my last stay in Rome last fall I didn’t manage to return to all the places I had visited on my previous trips, not to mention the restrictive rules of buying tickets in advance. I hope to return and explore further.

      Liked by 1 person

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