Rome is the capital of Italy and of the Lazio region. With 2.9 million residents it is also the country's largest and most populated city. Rome's history spans more than two and a half thousand years. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at only around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Europe. Rome became one of the first major centers of the Italian Renaissance, and then the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters, sculptors and architects made Rome the center of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city. Rome has the status of a global city and was ranked the 14th-most-visited city in the world in 2014. Its historic center is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are among the world's most visited tourist destinations with both locations receiving millions of tourists a year. Listed below are Rome Capital Tourism’s must visit attractions!
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican is a Late Renaissance church located within Vatican City. It is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and is one of the largest churches in the world. Tradition and strong historical evidence hold that St. Peter's tomb is directly below the high altar of the Basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period. Because of its location in the Vatican, the Pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Basilica or its adjoining St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's has many strong historical associations, with the Early Christian Church, the Papacy, the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-reformation, and with numerous artists, most significantly Michelangelo.
Capitoline Hill is located between the Forum and the Campus Martius and is one of the seven hills of Rome. It was the citadel of the earliest Romans. The name capitol seems to have meant "dominant height", although ancient tradition places its origin in caput. The Capitoline contains few ancient ground-level ruins, as they are almost entirely covered up by Medieval and Renaissance palaces.
Characterized by an elegant Baroque style, Piazza Navona is one of the loveliest and most popular squares in Rome. It sits in the area once occupied by the Stadium of Domitian. It could hold over 30,000 spectators, and provided a space for Roman citizens to enjoy Greek athletic competitions. Today the square is flanked by many restaurants and terraces.
The Vatican Museums are the museums of the Vatican City and are located within the city's boundaries. They display works from the immense collection built up by the Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The Sistine Chapel with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze della Segnatura decorated by Raphael are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. In 2013, they were visited by 5.5 million people, which combined makes it the 5th most visited art museum in the world. There are 54 galleries in total, with the Sistine Chapel being the very last gallery within the Museum.
The Pantheon was built on the site of an earlier building commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a church dedicated to St. Mary and the Martyrs.
The Roman Colosseum is the most famous monument to have survived from the classical world. It was built nearly two thousand years ago for the purpose of hosting violent gladiator games and thousands of men and animals fought for their lives in the sandy arena. The powerful associations and images evoked by the Roman Colosseum express both the majesty and might of the Roman empire. It dominates the space it occupies, towering above the surrounding Roman streets and buildings. It is a symbol of the imperial might and architectural ingenuity of the Roman empire that dominated the ancient Mediterranean world for centuries.
Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and regarded by many as the most beautiful in the world. A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return visit to Rome.
In the fourteenth century, the Savelli Family built its castle on Aventino Hill, thereby making its fortress impregnable. Today, the thick medieval walls today encircle Savello Park (also referred to as the Garden of Oranges), a small rectangular garden which is highly popular as it affords a breathtaking view stretching from the winding flow of the Tiber to the St. Peter’s Basilica.