The world’s biggest church is located in the smallest independent state on earth, the Vatican, the heart of the Roman Catholic faith. The majestic basilica was founded in 1506, above the tomb of St. Peter. The gigantic piazza with its imposing colonnades of Doric columns, crowned with statues, is the work of Bernini. The imposing dome was designed by Michelangelo, whose marble Pietà can be admired in the church’s interior.
Address: Piazza San Pietro, 0039 06 6988 3731, www.vatican.va/
The greatest of all the masterpieces in the Vatican Museums. This is the chapel where the conclave of cardinals meets to select a new Pope, where you can marvel at Michelangelo’s Creation on the ceiling, the fruit of four years’ work by the artist, who painted it on scaffolding, lying on his back.
Address: 00120, Vatican, 0039 06 69884947, www.museivaticani.va/
The most immediately recognizable monument in Rome, symbol of the Eternal City. This impressive oval construction, with its three rows of arches, was built in the 1st century AD to provide the people of Rome with bread and circuses. It was the largest amphitheatre anywhere in the Roman Empire. Imagine the gladiators fighting to the death with wild beasts in the arena, begging for the clemency of the Emperor and the 85,000 spectators in the stands.
Address: Piazza del Colosseo, 0039 06 3996 7700
Walk through the ruins of the Roman Forum and travel back in your mind to the time of Julius Caesar and the senators. The archaeological site, with the Via Sacra, the arches and temples, reflects the majesty of ancient Rome.
Address: Via della Salaria Vecchia 5/6, 0039 06 0608
This perfectly circular edifice, with its symmetrical proportions, was built in the reign of Augustus and rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian as a pagan temple dedicated to all the gods of Rome. It was later converted into a church. Admire the Madonna of the Rock above the tomb of the painter Raphael.
Address: Piazza della Rotonda, 0039 06 6830 0230
Castel Sant’ Angelo:
This circular building on the west bank of the Tiber was constructed in the 2nd century as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian. It has played a prominent part in some of the most turbulent episodes in the city’s history. It has served as a fortress, a prison and a refuge for the Popes at times of crisis and war. Its museum is home to works of Renaissance ceramics, Roman sculptures and a collection of 19th century weapons.
Address: Lungotevere Castello 50, 0039 06 6819111, www.castelsantangelo.com/
Take a walk up the most celebrated of Rome’s seven hills, to admire the view of the city below and return to the very origins of Roman history. It was on the slopes of this hill, according to legend, that a shepherd found the twins, Romulus and Remus, who went on to found the city, suckling at the teats of a she-wolf. Enjoy a stroll through the greenery, among the ruins of the imperial palaces.
Address: Via di San Gregorio, 0039 06 0608
An idyllic park right in the centre of Rome, home to the Borghese Gallery with its masterpieces by Bernini, Caravaggio, Titian, Veronese and Raphael, and also to the Bioparco, a zoo designed to resemble the natural habitats of its animals.
Address: Galleria Borghese, Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5, 0039 06 32810, www.galleriaborghese.it/ Bioparco, Viale del Giardino Zoologico, 0039 06 3608211, www.bioparco.it/
The National Museum of the 21st century Arts, housed in the futuristic building by Zaha Hadid in the Flaminio district, keeps abreast of all avant-garde trends in art and architecture. There are pioneering exhibitions on Italy’s relationship with haute couture and the cinema, art workshops and events.
Address: Via Guido Reni, 4A, 0039 06 320 1954, www.fondazionemaxxi.it/
Housed in the premises of a former brewery, in the Salario quarter, and in a former slaughterhouse, in the newly fashionable Testaccio quarter, the Rome Museum of Contemporary Art thrills visitors with its art installations and alternative happenings.
Address: Via Nizza 138, 0039 06 671070400, www.museomacro.org/
Imperial, fateful, unpredictable, ever-moving – the Eternal City does not rest on the laurels of its history or its enduring symbols, such as the Coliseum or the Trevi Fountain, so memorably featured in the film La Dolce Vita. Let e-ticketshop.com fly you to the Italian capital and experience its renaissance in the hip neighbourhoods on the west bank of the Tiber, the futuristic museums rising against the skyline next door to the treasures of the Capitol and the Vatican, the Baroque squares, the cafes and ‘temples’ of Italian style – all proudly asserting that ‘la vita è bella’, life is beautiful.
The centre of a vast empire, the nucleus of a profound faith universal in scope, Rome is a jigsaw of ancient culture, where in the historic centre of the city, at walking distance from one another, the traces of Caesar and Nero exist alongside masterpieces from the hand of Michelangelo and Raphael.
Bathed in the unique light that comes from the patina of time, Rome enchants its visitors in the huge St. Peter’s Square, in the remains of the Forum, in the bohemian market of Campo de’ Fiori or the imposingly illuminated arena which once hosted tigers, rhinoceroses and gladiators.
Enjoy a romantic passeggiata along the Tiber, do homage to the God of pasta in the many trattorias, spend nights worthy of Fellini in the trendy bars of the city, beloved of the cinematographer’s lens. Book a flight to Rome with e-tickeshop.com , for the simple reason that all roads lead to Rome.