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Rome is the ancient capital of the Roman Empire and capital of Italy, it's also the most important city in the country concerning the political, cultural and historical aspects. During the Roman Empire, Rome was the most powerful city in the world. Nowadays you'll still see many remains of the Roman Empire, such as the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and the Theatre of Marcellus. Rome has a wealth of important historical sites and museums, and therefore attracts tourists from all around the world.
The Colosseum is the most famous amphitheater in the Roman world, capable of holding some 50,000 spectators who could enter the building through no less than 80 entrances...
Tastes differ, of course. One person may find Rome an ancient mountain of stones and another sees the center of the Catholic Church and the residence of the Pope. That is why Rome is visited by many tourists whose main purpose is the Vatican City. The Vatican officially doesn't belong to Rome and Italy, it is an autonomous country within the city; indeed it's the smallest independent country in the world. Here is The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican...
The Basilica stands on the site where Peter, the apostle who is considered the first pope, was crucified and buried. Construction on the current building was completed in 1615. Many famous artists worked on the complex and its surroundings: Michelangelo designed the dome while Bernini designed the great St. Peter's Square.
The Vatican Museums include the Raphael Rooms and the exquisitely decorated Sistine Chapel. Under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512. Today the ceiling, and especially The Last Judgment, are widely believed to be Michelangelo's crowning achievements in painting...
The origins of the city of Rome began about 3,000 years ago. The 'City of Cities' is called la città eterna, the eternal city, and has had a great influence on our entire contemporary Western culture. This isn't very strange because Rome is without doubt one of the most remarkable cities in the world.
Rome is also the city that is often used as a decor by famous filmmakers, that's why it's also called the Hollywood of Italy. These great films include 'La Dolce Vita' (1960) and 'Rome' (1972) by director Federico Fellini, 'Novecento' (1976) by director Bernardo Bertolucci, 'Romanzo Criminale' (2006) by director Michele Placido, 'Gladiator' (2000) by director Ridley Scott and 'Gente di Roma' (2003) by director Ettore Scola, and many more. The atmosphere, the colors and the magic that you see in these movies, is what you can experience still today as you wander through Rome, since not much has changed.
Go and see the historic center with its squares, history, churches and tourist attractions, but especially also go to the lesser-known neighborhoods like Prati, Ripa and Testaccio. Here you'll will find the real Rome and meet the real Romans, without all the tourists. You can get cheap and good food and the small shops sell local products.
Tip: Look for the tourist information points Punti Informativi di Turismo, or in one of the museums, and buy the "Roma Pass." This pass is specially for those who want to see Rome in peace. It gives you free entry to two museums and discounts on other museums, monuments and events. In addition, you can use the card for unlimited use of public transport. The Roma Pass costs about €20 and is valid for 3 days.
Villa Borghese is probably the most beautiful museum of Rome and it has been carefully restored with tremendous attention to detail. Construction began in 1613 and it was intended to be both a beautiful location for summer parties and a home for the exuberant collection of paintings and sculptures of Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Some of the artwork from the original collection are now displayed in the Louvre in Paris. Over the years, the gaps in the collection are filled and there are paintings by Raphael, Bottecelli and admire Pinturicchio, just to name a few.
The inhabitants of Rome will tell you that they still encounter new archaeological treasures almost daily. This could be anywhere... an unexpected place in an unknown street or alley. Of course you can try to see everything in Rome, but better to go particularly to those little backstreets and taste their atmosphere. Start hiking without a plan, wander through the various neighborhoods of the city, until you experience for yourself the special nature of this city.
Do not miss the Trastevere area. Especially in the afternoon and evening, this originally Jewish quarter is very cozy, with a mix of tourists and locals who enjoy food and drink in the small narrow streets.
Rome is a great city trip destination, but watch out for the sometimes high temperatures in July and August.
The great thing about Rome, unlike, say, London, Barcelona or Paris, is that the the many historic and unique places are all within walking distance. Especially in the old town, you'll experience how much history there is in a few square kilometers. Fortunately, Rome also has an extensive public transport network. So for those who are not in to walking, this is for them.
The nightlife of Rome is often outdoors. In the summer months it's to warm inside so outside is much more pleasant. A well-known entertainment center is the area around the Trevi Fountain. Nice places to have a drink is Piazza Navona (below) with its three fountains, but also the Piazza Santa Maria is very popular. There is also Trastevere, the most authentic entertainment district of Rome. This is a vibrant and trendy neighborhood with restaurants, quaint squares and streets, with a nice mix of tourists and locals.
Rome is such a city that after your visit it will remain in your memory and maybe in your journal as an absolute highlight on the list of must visit cities.
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