Rome – one of the most beautiful, romantic and historic cities in the world. Once the centre of an empire, it remains a cultural jewel in the Mediterranean crown. As with many destinations, it can seem that there are simply too many things to see. So here are the Big 6:
The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps were built in 1725 to link the Bourbon Spanish Embassy and the Trinità dei Monti church. The stairway of 135 steps forms an iconic location used in a number of films. The steps were constructed following a competition in 1717. Although Alessandro Specchi was thought to have won the competition, the steps were designed by the little-known Francesco de Sanctis. At the base of the steps, to the right, lies the house in which English Poet John Keats lived and died.
The Pantheon is a colossal circular Roman temple with a portico of sixteen granite columns at the entrance. Its roof constitutes the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. It has been used as both a Pagan temple and a Christian church. The famous Renaissance painter, Raphael, is buried at the Pantheon with his fiancée. At midday on 21st April light from the central hole in the domed roof shines out through the entrance and into the courtyard outside. This date was celebrated as the day the city was built.
The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain was built to mark the end of the Aqua Virgo – a channel which bought a fresh water supply to Roman bathhouses. The fountain is located in the Piazza di Trevi and plays host to an array of ornate statues which tell the story of a virgin shepherdess who led soldiers seeking water to water the spring. Water flows from the mouth of Neptune – God of Water – who stands on a shell-shaped chariot, drawn by two gods and two horses. According to legend, throwing a coin into the fountain from your right hand over your left shoulder guarantees another trip to Rome. An estimated €3000 is thrown into the fountain every day. This money is collected daily and given to charity.
St Peter’s Basilica
St Peter’s Basilica, the largest church ever built, is thought to be the actual resting place of St Peter. The sculpted baroque canopy over the high altar is almost 100 feet tall. None of the paintings inside St Peter’s Basilica are actually paintings – they are all in fact painstakingly intricate mosaics. A space shuttle or the Statue of Liberty could both fit inside the Basilica. There are 491 steps from the ground to the top of the dome and it is tradition to kiss or rub the bronze foot of the statue of St Peter.
The Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is home to the most famous ceiling ever made. Built in 1481, the Sistine Chapel is located in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in the Vatican City. In 1508, artist Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simon famously set about painting the ceiling. Lying on his back, on a scaffold supported by brackets attached to the wall, Michelangelo created a masterpiece which was to change the course of art in the Western World. Bright colours were used so that the paintings could easily be seen from the floor and the beautiful images themselves depict biblical scenes such as The Creation of Adam and The Great Flood. Working virtually unaided, Michelangelo painted the ceiling between 1508 and 1512.
The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre in the world. It was built around 2000 years ago in 80 AD. The building could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators who would pack the stands to see gladiatorial contests, executions and even plays. Much of the Colosseum lies in ruins due to earthquakes and stone robberies. The Colosseum is elliptical in shape – measuring 189 metres long and 156 metres wide. It has a 24,000 square-metre footprint and is almost 50 metres tall. It has 80 entrances and, until mediaeval times, was covered in marble.
The Retrome Colosseum Garden hotel is just steps away from the majestic Colosseum and provides a comfortable stay and unique vintage experience in the heart of the city. Book using our website to always get our best rates, and check out our special offers too - only available when you book directly with us.