Det verdensberømte Colosseum blev bygget i år 80 e. Kr. for de romerske kejsere til dødbringende gladiatorkampe og vildtjagt, hvor publikum så de voldsomme og spektakulære forestillinger. Adgangen var gratis, men publikum blev placeret i henhold til deres sociale rang og rigdom. Gladiatorkampe blev forbudt i år 438 e. Kr., men vildtjagten fortsatte indtil 523 e. Kr.
Colosseum er fantastisk på grund af sin komplekse og avancerede arkitektur og byggemetode. Selv om det blev brugt som kilde til byggematerialer på forskellige tidspunkter i historien, er det stadig stort set intakt. Du kan se de lagdelte siddepladser, korridorer og de underjordiske rum, hvor dyr og gladiatorer afventede deres skæbne. I dag sætter Colosseum standarden for alle moderne stadions. Den eneste forskel er, at nutidens hold overlever kampene.
In Ancient Rome, the Forum was the centre of the Roman Empire. Until the 4th century AD, a thousand years of decisions affecting the future of Europe were made here. When Roman soldiers were out conquering the world in the name of the Emperors, temples, courts, markets, and government buildings were thriving in the Forum.
Located between two of Rome's famous hills, the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, it is now a collection of ruins having spent centuries as a quarry for marble and a cow paddock. The Forum became a very dense collection of buildings in its time but mostly all that remains today is columns, arches, and some scattered marbles so it can be difficult to make sense of it all. Ongoing archaeological work continues, and getting a map or a guide can really bring the bustle of the ancient site to life. You can get a great view over the Forum from the overlooking hills in the Farnese Gardens and from Michelangelo's Piazza del Campidoglio.
En stor del af berømmelsen er direkte relateret til, at det også er pavesædet: Det Sixtinske Kapel er, hvor samles for at vælge en ny pave (kendt som den pavelige konklave).
Michelangelos betagende loftsfresker skabt mellem1508 og 1512 er den primære årsag til, at det Sixtinske Kapel er så berømt. Det store maleri skildrer skabelsen af verden, og til trods for, at det Sixtinske Kapel er én af Roms største turistattraktioner, er der alligevel plads til at nyde det kunstneriske indtryk fuldt ud. Oplevelsen forstærkes af, at en renovering foretaget for nylig har bragt både dybden i kunstværket og ikke mindst de ægte farver frem.
Michelangelo vendte tilbage til det Sixtinske Kapel mellem 1537 og 1541 for at male den storslåede "Dommedag" på altervæggen. Meget få mennesker forlader det Sixtinske Kapel uden at føle sig bevæget af Michelangelos arbejde.
St Peter's Basilica was built between 1506 and 1590, when the dome was finally completed. It is on the site of the tomb of St. Peter; his relics were finally found and authenticated in the middle of the 20th century. Before the current grand basilica, a 4th-century church built by Emperor Constantine stood here.
This is a church like no other. It is huge and full of significant artworks and tombs, including that of Pope John Paul II. One of the most beautiful pieces is the marble Pieta by Michelangelo just inside the door on the right. It is now behind bullet proof glass after being attacked by an art-hating lunatic in 1972.
If you can time your visit with a Mass, you will see the most important hierarchy of the Catholic Church come to worship in their red robes and hats. Climbing to the top of the dome gives a wonderful view over the piazza and Bernini's enclosing colonnade below, and across Rome.
Paverne var blandt de allerførste adelige, der åbnede deres store kunstsamlinger for offentligheden. Pave Julius II (1443-1513) begyndte at indsamle skulpturer i renæssancen, og lige siden har de fleste paver deltaget aktivt i kunstverdenen og købt kunst fra de bedste kunstnere på deres tid.
I dag kan du se Vatikanets utrolige samling på din rundvisning i det såkaldte Vatikanmuseum, som er et enormt kompleks af gallerier og museer, der udstiller malerier, skulpturer, kalkmalerier, vægtæpper og klassiske antikviteter (bl.a. romerske, græske og egyptiske). Der er naturligvis også samlinger af religiøs art, pavelige portrætter og overraskende nok også hestevogne og biler.
Ethvert besøg i Vatikanet bør også omfatte det berømte Sixtinske Kapel og Raphael-rummene. Sørg for, at du har god tid til at vandre ad museernes snoede gange, smalle korridorer og trapper.
The Pantheon in Rome is a remarkable building architecturally. Basically a cylinder with the floating dome on top of columns, it is the largest masonry vault ever built. In the center of this dome is a hole bringing in a shaft of light to show the beauty of this building and its relatively simple, open interior. Being inside the Pantheon feels very special.
Originally built in 27 BC and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 120 AD, the temple has been damaged and plundered over time. In 609 AD it became a Christian church dedicated to the Madonna. In the 17th century some of its bronze ceiling was taken and melted down for use in St Peter's Basilica. Important figures such as King Victor Emmanuel II and the artist Raphael are buried in the Pantheon.
The famous Spanish Steps lead from the Piazza di Spagna up to the Trinita Church. The staircase was constructed between 1723 and 1725 in the Roman Baroque style and is the longest and widest in Europe. The design is an elegant series of ramps with 138 steps in a fan or butterfly wing shape. In May, they are particularly beautiful when the ramps of the staircase are covered in spring flowers.
Architecture aside, what makes the Spanish Steps a favorite spot to hang out is the people watching. It's a place for tourists and locals to sit and enjoy the spectacle of Rome life.
The adjacent Piazza di Spagna is surrounded by wonderful tea rooms and cafes as well as being adjacent to some of the best shopping streets in Rome.
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St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro) is the grand colonnaded area in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. A visually imposing entry to this great church, the semi-circular colonnades on either side designed by the Roman Baroque sculptor Bernini, seem to reach out and enfold you in their arms. Within the colonnade lies the security-check for entry to St. Peter's and, on the other side, the Vatican post office, because the Vatican is its own municipality with its own stamps.
During times such as the death of a pope or election of a new one, and at Easter and Christmas, the piazza is jammed with pilgrims from all over the world.
If your Mediterranean cruise stops off in Rome, Civitavecchia will be your port of call. Only 80km (50 miles) north-west of Rome, this busy cruise port is geared to ship travel and is your gateway to many historic sights of the Eternal City, where most shore visitors grab the opportunity to take a Rome excursion.
Getting to Rome from Civitavecchia requires about an hour's journey by train. The train station is a 10-minute walk from the port, or a short shuttle ride (alight at the Michelangelo Fort). Trains run half-hourly to Rome’s Termini station, taking around 75 minutes or under an hour if you catch an express. You could also organize a private transfer or shore excursion tour including return transport to Civitavecchia.
The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine mountains and ending at the sea at Ostia, once the port of Ancient Rome. It is 252 miles (406 km) long. The story goes that the infants Romulus and Remus were abandoned on the waters of the Tiber, were rescued by a she-wolf, and founded Rome 15 mi (25 km) from the sea in 753 BC.
The Tiber River has also been heavy with sediment and although Romans throughout history have dredged it, the river is now navigable only to Rome and not beyond. The port of Ostia was abandoned to mud as far back as 1 AD.
Raphael's Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello) are four interconnected rooms in the Vatican which have frescoes painted by the renowned Renaissance artist Raphael (1483 - 1520). These late Renaissance frescoes are the second-most famous in the Vatican's collection, only behind the fresco adorning the roof of the Sistine Chapel.
Raphael's themes for his frescoes were religion and politics; he often swapped portraits of the incumbent pope for the faces of important figures. Originally commissioned by Pope Julius II in the early 1500s, the frescoes were patronized by Pope Leo X after Julius died in 1513. When Raphael also died in 1520, artists from his studio finished the paintings.
The 'Segnatura' room was the first to be decorated and contains Raphael's most famous painting, The School of Athens. The other rooms are known as 'Constantine', 'Heliodorus' and 'Fire in the Borgo'.
Vatican City was created in 1929 and run by the Pope (who is the supreme monarch!). The official population is a little over 800 and it covers an area of 110 acres (44 hectares). Within the walls of the city are St Peter's Basilica, St Peter's Square, the Vatican Museums, the residence of the Pope and offices of the Catholic Church.
Being a separate state, the Vatican has its own postage stamps, and the official language is Latin (as well as Italian). It has its own bank and the world's only ATM with instructions in Latin! Although it uses the euro, the Vatican does issue its own coins.
The economy revolves around tourism, printing, mosaics and manufacturing uniforms (who knew!). There are two forces for law and order; one is the Gendarmerie, who keep order, the other is the Swiss Guard (notable for their crazy yellow, blue and red uniforms) the Pope's personal bodyguard since 1506. All 134 members are indeed from Switzerland.
The Borghese Gallery (Galleria Borghese) is in central Rome, located within the Villa Borghese. The Borgheses were a very powerful Italian family rising to prominence and wealth after one member became Pope Paul V in 1552 and gave power and titles to many family members.
One such was his nephew Scipione Borghese who bought a large vineyard in 1605, turning it into formally landscaped gardens and building the Villa Borghese to hold parties and house his art collection. He was a patron of the famous sculptor Bernini, so many of Bernini's pieces are held in the Borghese collection.
The Capitoline Hill is one of Rome’s famous seven hills, and in Italian it’s called the Campidoglio. The Piazza del Campidoglio is the trapezoidal space atop the hill, with buildings on three sides and a grand staircase on the fourth. The piazza and surrounding buildings were designed by Michelangelo in the mid-1500s.
Michelangelo employed several visual tricks to give the space a balanced feel, despite its lack of literal symmetry. He designed facades for the existing buildings, made the staircase more of a gradual ramp, and crafted a pattern to be inlaid in the piazza that deceives the eye into thinking it’s a perfect oval (it’s actually egg-shaped). The buildings once served as government buildings, but they now house the Capitoline Museums. At the center of the Piazza del Campidoglio is a replica of an Ancient Roman bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback. The original bronze is nearby in the Capitoline Museums.
Most visitors to Italy have Pompeii on their must-see list, and with good reason. But Pompeii isn’t the only important archaeological site in the area outside of Naples - and some consider the smaller excavation at Herculaneum to be more interesting and a better visitor experience. Luckily, you don’t have to choose - you can visit both easily in a day.
Herculaneum, like Pompeii, was buried by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Unlike Pompeii, however, Herculaneum was actually more preserved than destroyed by the blast. This means the buildings are better preserved, including many that still have a second storey you can see, giving visitors a more accurate feel for what the city looked like before the eruption. The hot ash that covered Herculaneum and killed the people who couldn’t escape was deep enough that it covered two-storey buildings, sealed frescoes and mosaics on their walls, and even encased food supplies in household kitchens.
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