Una caminata in Roma

Images and altars to Madonna can be found all over Rome. Romans know the Madonnelle (little Madonnas) and pay respect to them, regardless of whether they're religious or not. Currently, it's possible to count more than 500 of them in Rome! See how many you find during your time in the city. They are usually placed on the corners of buildings, the Madonnelle are made in individual ways, such as mosaic, wood, and marble; some even have vases for flowers and candles placed around them. In the past, the candles provided some protection by keeping the streets safe from the dangers of darkness.

Piazza del Campidoglio, from the founding of Rome until its fall almost one thousand years later, the Capitoline Hill symbolized the epicenter of Rome's might and many of the city's most important buildings stood on this hill. Pope Paul III Farnese asked Michelangelo to design a new square, which was the Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitoline Square). The project also included a redesign of the existing buildings surrounding the square.

A traveler must visit the worlds smallest country while in Rome- Vatican City of course! It really is the world's smallest country, Vatican City occupies 0.44 sq km (about .2 square miles) and is completely surrounded by the city of Rome. Vatican City serves as the spiritual center for millions of practicing Roman Catholics worldwide. St. Peter's Square is bordered on two sides by semi-circular colonnades which, according to Bernini, symbolize the stretched arms of the church embracing the world. Pretty well thought out, if you ask me! All which in the end was created by Bernini and his students. They depict popes, martyrs, evangelists and other religious figures. One of the most impressive halls within the Vatican is the Hall of Maps, with murals of old maps of the papal lands. This is one of my personal favorites at least, but really there are so many rooms to choose from! St. Peter’s Basilica was built on the site of a church covering Peter's tomb, it's one of the largest churches in the world. Entrance to the church is free but visitors must be properly dressed, with no bare knees or shoulders. Saint Peter's Basilica is open daily, 7AM - 7PM (until 6PM October - March). Masses, in Italian, are held all day on Sundays. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be there while a choir is performing!

The Colosseum is probably the most impressive building of the Roman Empire. Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater, it was the largest building of the era. The monumental structure has fallen into ruin, but even today it is an incredible sight. The Colosseum could accommodate some 55,000 spectator- that in itself is impressive! Emperors used the Colosseum to entertain the public with free games and to gain themselves popularity. For those of you that don’t just want to see this from the outside and really want to set up a great tour- go all the way, splurge a little and do something like this: Skip the Line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour Make sure to book any type of tours ahead of time- months or weeks before, so you can be assured that you will have a spot in a tour while you are in the city!

Built more than 1800 years ago (take that in for a second), the magnificent Pantheon still stands as a reminder of the great Roman Empire. The name Pantheon refers to the building's original function as a temple for all the gods.  With its thick brick walls and large marble columns, the Pantheon makes an immediate impression on visitors. But the most remarkable and memorable part of the structure, is the more than forty seven yard high dome. It was the largest dome in the world until 1436 when the Florence Cathedral was constructed. This site is free to the public and open from 9:00am to 7:30pm. 

Piazza Navona is a wonderful place to grab a gelato, find a bench or just simply wander the square and people watch. It's big enough to do some laps! The large and lively square features three striking fountains and the baroque church of Sant'Agnese in Agone. The central and largest fountain is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. It was constructed between 1647 and 1651 on request of Pope Innocent X.  The two other fountains around the piazza are the Fontana del Nettuno at the northern end and the Fontana del Moro at the southern end of the square. 

Palazzo Massimo alle Terme - a museum without the crowds! Located near Termini Station, the museum features impressive frescos and bronze statues, like 1st-century BC Boxer and Prince, as well as mosaics, jewelry, coins, and marble statues of gods and emperors. Admission to the museum also includes entrance to three other excellent museums—Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi, and Baths of Diocletian—which are all close by.

The Trevi Fountain is situated at the end of the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct constructed in 19 BC by Agrippa, the son-in-law of Emperor Augustus. The aqueduct brings water all the way from the Salone Springs (approx. 21km from Rome) and supplies the fountains in the historic center of Rome with water. The central figure of the fountain, standing in a large niche, is Neptune, god of the sea. He rides a shell-shaped chariot that is pulled by two sea horses. Each sea horse is guided by a Triton. One of the horses is calm and obedient, the other one restive. They symbolize the fluctuating moods of the sea. The statues were sculpted by Pietro Bracci.