It was the Romans who first united Italy, conquering the ancient free cities that dotted the Italian peninsular one by one, and forging them into an Empire that dazzled the world for over half a millennium.
From the soaring granduer of San Pietro (St Peter's Basilica) to the narrow streets of Trastevere; from Piazza Navona to the amazing Spanish Steps how does one choose places to visit in this amazing Eternal City! Well here are just a few of the major attractions in Rome that will surely delight you.
The Colosseum was built as a huge entertainment complex, a place where Romans could come and watch gladiatorial fights, beast hunts, mock battle re-enactments and other bloodthirsty sports, laid on for them by the State. One of the best known ancient monuments in the world, it has survived nearly 2,000 years of turbulent history, including earthquakes, fires and invasions.
Arch of Titus
Fifteen and a half metres wide and thirteen and a half metres high, the Arch of Titus was built of white marble, and shows scenes from the sack of Jerusalem on its side. These include a graphic image on its south panel showing legionaries carrying away the Temple treasures, including the seven-branched menorahcandelabra and silver trumpets. These are rare images which tell us how these famous treasures must have looked, making the arch a remarkable link with one of the most dramatic and famous events of ancient history.
The fountain marks the spot where 2,000 years ago the Aqua Virgo - (the Aqueduct of the Virgin) - one of Rome's ancient aqueducts, used to disgorge its pure water from a spring many miles outside the city. The aqueduct served Rome for 400 years, until the Goths cut off its supply. As a reminder of this ancient connection, Salvi's design included a young girl pointing at the spot where the aqueduct used to end.
St Peter's Square and Basilica
St Peter's Square in the Vatican is the open space in front of St Peter's Basilica - where crowds gather to see and be blessed by the Pope. Technically St Peter's sits at the heart of The Vatican State which is a completely separate state and is therefore the State within the City.
One hundred and fourteen metres wide and with a surface area of of 22,000 square metres, St Peters is large enough to hold 20,000 worshipers!
Within this massive cathedral are no less than forty five altars and eleven chapels, decorated by ten thousand square metres of mosaics, and countless artistic treasures. One of these, and perhaps among the most famous, is Michelangelo's Pieta, an evocative sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding a dead Christ in her arms.