Roman Monuments and Landmarks
Il Colosseo – The most famous ancient monument in Rome and the largest amphitheater in the world, the Colosseum built in AD 72 actually derives its name from the colossal and bronze statue of Nero that was built nearby. UNESCO listed the Colosseum as a World Heritage Site in 1990 and in 2007 it was heralded as one ofthe new Seven Wonders of the World. Visit the Flavian Amphitheatre inside which can hold up to 70,000 people with an arena of 76 by 46 meters. This historically fascinating monument was first used for gladiator contests and executions, later reused for housing and religious quarters.
Il Pantheon – Built about 2000 years ago, the Pantheon is a witness to the Roman Empire that prompted Michelangelo to say it was built by angels and not humans. Originally consecrated as a temple to all gods since pantheon means ‚honour all Gods‘ in Greek, this monument is the only surviving one of its time. Visit the giant dome to see the eye of the Pantheon and the marble Fountain built by Giacomo Della Porta in 1575 right across.
Trevi Fountain – Completed by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762, the Trevi Fountain has water flowing from the ‘Aqua Virgine’, one of the oldest Roman aqueducts, and presents Triton controlling the chariot of Oceanus. Due to the tradition of tourists throwing a coin in the fountain for good luck and an eventual return to the Eternal City, it won’t be hard to miss a trove of coins in the water. The Trevi Fountain is most famous for appearing in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita where Anita Ekberg calls for Marcello Mastroianni as she wades in the water.
Roman Forum – Find the Roman Forum between the Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum, and walk through one of the most fascinating archaeological landmarks. The Roman Forum was a valley between Campidoglio and Quirinal three thousand years ago that transformed into the political center of the Roman Empire, later to be covered in marshland. The area surrounding the Roman Forum saw many markets and shops come and go. From the Campidoglio terraces, see the panoramic view of the landmark. Discover the piazza, the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of Antoninus, the Roman Senate, Palantine Hill and more.
Aventine Hill – The Aventine Hill is the most southern of the seven hills of Rome, offering a haven of serenity away from the business of the Eternal City. Here you will find churches, monasteries and the Knights of Malta keyhole in Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. There stands the Basilica of Santa Sabina, Santa Prisca, Santi Bonifacio ed Alessio, Sant’Anselmo all’Aventino and Santa Maria del Priorato. If you are looking for something to eat on the hill, best head down to Testaccio.
Villa Borghese – Leaving from the Pincio Gardens by Piazza del Popolo will bring you directly into the Villa Borghese park stretching 85 hectares long and previously owned by the Borghese Princes until the 19th century. The Galleria Borghese is nestled in the Villa Borghese and the Biopark inside offers families the chance to take their children to see birds, reptiles and other animals. Visit the Casa del Cinema offering film screenings, classes and conferences, and don’t forget to stop by the Globe Theatre — Roman style.
Baths of Caracalla – The Baths of Caracalla represent an ancient daily tradition of bathing for the Romans. The baths designed by Emperor Septimius Severus were the crux of a relaxed community alongside the palestrae for exercise, libraries, gardens and artworks. A haven for pleasure and leisure, this complex was officially completed under Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus, Caracalla, in 216 A.D and could host six to eight thousand people a day.
Piazza Venezia – Perhaps you have seen Piazza Venezia in the Italian film The Traffic Policeman by Luigi Zampa. The Altare della Patria overpowers the piazza, paying homage to the first king of Italy, Victor Emanuel II. Tourists come to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier built within the marble altar in remembrance of lost soldiers in World War One. The piazza is named after the Palazzo Venezia that previously served as the residential palace for Venetian Pope Paul II — Mussolini did not hesitate to make his speeches here too.
Spanish Steps – On a steep slope between Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità dei Monti lay the monumental Spanish Steps that featured in many films like Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn. Completed in 1725, these 135 steps were originally commissioned with the French diplomat Étienne Gueffier, which connected the Trinità dei Monti church and the Bourbon Spanish Embassy to the Holy See in Palazzo Monaldeschi. The architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi finished designing the stairway. Try finding the Bourbon flour-de-lys and Pope Innocent XIII’s crown and eagle while on the steps.
Piazza Navona – Regarded as the most elegant piazza in Rome, Piazza Navona was built by Emperor Domitian in 86 A.D. on what used to be the Stadium of Domitian and attracts crowds with its three dominating fountains: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), Fontana del Nettuno (Neptune Fountain) and Fontana del Moro (Moor Fountain). The Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone should be hard to miss once you step into the piazza, where legend has it that St. Agnes was stripped naked here but spared of shame when her hair miraculously grew to cover her nudity. Check out the outdoor cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs spread throughout the piazza’s neighbourhood.