Roaring and Ready Rome
Posted on September 17, 2011 by sguese
As Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck scootered around Rome in the film Roman Holiday, the two Hollywood stars couldn’t escape the outshining city in the backdrop. Located along the River Tiber between the Apennines and Tyrrhenian Sea, Rome overwhelms travellers with world-renowned images, architectural wonder, and its living masterpiece feel. A city so grand, the Pope himself calls Rome home. The multitude of history encased within Rome will certainly overwhelm, but it is Rome. The capital of the world has to live up to its name.
Spanning 186 meters long, 153 meters wide and 24 meters high, it is hard to imagine the Coliseum of Rome could have been any bigger. However, the massive structure only stands as half of what it used to be. The Coliseum remains one of the city’s most famous sites. Construction began in 72 A.D. The arena functioned as a venue for entertainment, a place where gladiators battled men, lions and wild beasts all to a cheering and leering crowd. More nearby ancient ruins sprawl out across the old Roman forum on Palatine Hill. On these ground, the greatness of Rome and its empire to follow were founded.
More preserved that the Coliseum, many visitors continue their Rome sightseeing to the Pantheon. Considered the best preserved of the city’s ancient monuments, the Pantheon was supposedly constructed by Hadrian between 119 A.D. and 128 A.D. Formally a Roman temple, the Pantheon was later converted into a church. Today, it holds the tombs of the Kings of Italy, Vittorio Emmanuele II and Umberto I.
While not technically in Rome, Vatican City boasts some of the city’s most famed attractions. Saint Peter’s Basilica dominates St. Peter’s Square. Appropriately named, the Basilica is said to mark the burial ground of Saint Peter himself. Topped with a dome Michelangelo created, St. Peter’s Basilica serves as the seat of the Catholic Church. Its expansive and overwhelming design was intended to show the power of the church.
Also in Vatican City, probably one of the most famous ceilings in the world looks down on thousands of tourists a day. The Sistine Chapel may be small, but the grandeur of its ceiling is what draws in many. Michelangelo’s famous frescoes depicting The Creation can be found here along with Renaissance works by Ghirlandaio and Boticelli.
Rome is riddled with piazza on top of piazza. Two tend to get most of the attention, Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna. Piazza Navona dramatizes with its cafes and restaurants set amidst four fountains representing the four rivers. The area was once an oval shaped stadium in 86 A.D. While Piazza Navona has plenty of seating for people watching, Piazza di Spagna has an entire staircase to perch oneself on for the afternoon. The sweeping Spanish Steps were created in 1723. After working those leg muscles, visitors meet a spectacular view of Rome.
If you enjoyed Rome and want to return, there is only place to go to insure that visit back will occur. The Fontana di Trevi radiates in the evening as lights illuminate the baroque fountain. Featured in a number of films, the Trevi Fountain may lend that trip back to Rome. As legend goes, those that throw a coin in the fountain will in fact return to Rome someday. The fountain could be the most hopefully and romantic money pit in the world.
Once considered the capital of the world, Rome just may as well be. The sheer amount of historical importance oozing out of the city calls for a visit and recognition. If all roads lead to Rome, then at some point, you will probably find yourself en route to Rome. Just remember upon entering, Rome wasnâ€™t built in a day so trying to see it in one won’t do the city justice.
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