Rome… or how I prefer to call it ROMA [ˈroːma], the capital city of Rome and the historic capital of the World. Ranked as the 3rd most visited city in European Union and 14th most visited in the world.
Today, we are going to explore what are the attractions that one has to visit.
Like prehistoric beasts preserved in amber, the town of Pompeii lies frozen in time. This coastal town, just 2.5 hours’ drive from Rome, was showered in ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 – and its people, buildings and streets can be found just as they were when the disaster occurred. It’s as eerie as it is enlightening.
Open every day 08:30-17:00. Changes seasonally. Check the website for details: pompeiisites.org
Not many museums can boast a tonne of Caravaggios, Titians and Rubens yet still say that painting’s not its strongest suit. This collection of museums is best known for its stunning sculptures. They include an iconic 5th-century BC bronze she-wolf that depicts Rome’s origins, the exceptionally well preserved “Dying Gaul”, and a host of intriguing, disembodied pieces from various sculptures.
How would you dress for a meeting with the pope? Book well in advance for an audience with the Pontiff himself, or just explore this spectacular church. The interior is a celestial wonder filled with religious artworks, including Michelangelo’s Pietà. This towering Renaissance-Baroque cathedral can be seen from miles around and holds up to 60,000 people during mass.
Picture this: you’re witnessing a bloody battle to the death, along with 80,000 screaming Romans. Mercifully, gladiatorial fights are a thing of the past, but you’ll be mentally transported to historical times with a visit to the Colosseum. The stone, brick and concrete structure has been standing since 80AD, constructed by order of the Roman Emperor Vespasian.
Much to the annoyance of his fellow gods who chose to materialise simply, Oceanus preferred to travel by cumbersome shell-shaped chariot. Constructed in 1762 at the height of the baroque, the Trevi Fountain is one of the world’s most elaborate – and romantic – fountains. The God Oceanus is the fountain’s centrepiece. Swimmers take heed: beware of the vigilant fountain police!
The Pantheon has been a model of perfection for almost 18 centuries. Known for its perfect symmetry (the dome’s diameter is equal to the building’s height), it’s one of the most well-preserved buildings of Ancient Rome – and an enduring symbol of architectural perfection. It’s also the resting place of King Vittorio Emanuele II, Umberto I and the artist Rafael.
Pope Innocent X was the king of 17th-century renovation, turning a disused stadium into a bustling square. Here you’ll find the extravagant Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini, whose arch-rival Borromini created The Church of St Agnes in Agone on the western side of the square. 17th-century drama aside, today Piazza Navona is home to many restaurants and cafés.
Rome’s world dominance may be a thing of the ancient past, but its ruins are an eternal reminder of what once was. The Roman Forum was initially used as a marketplace in the ancient world but also saw frequent processions, the occasional trial – and even gladiatorial battles. You’ll still spot remarkable details and craftsmanship in the buildings, shrines and temples.
Villa Borghese has something for everyone. Culture vultures will lap up the Galleria Borghese, an art museum stuffed with pieces that include paintings by Titian and sculptures by Bernini. Outdoor types and nippers can forego the subtleties of marble and paintwork in favour of a wander around the spacious landscaped garden.
This spectacular – but controversial – monument was built to honour Victor Emmanuel II, the first King of a unified Italy. The building hosts the admission-free Museo Centrale del Risorgimento and a rooftop bar. The monument holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, built after World War I, and also hosts exhibitions of some of the most significant 20th-century artists.
Contrary to popular belief, these stairs don’t speak a word of Spanish – but Piazza di Spagna has a romantic language all of its own. It’s a great place to people-watch or take notes from the fashionable folks exiting Via dei Condotti. Explore the Church of Trinità dei Monti or the Keats-Shelley House (dedicated to the English romantic poets who were obsessed with Rome).
You’d typically visit this square to wander around the colourful street market – but once upon a time, the square was the site of gruesome executions. The centrepiece is The Statue of Giordano Bruno, which overlooks the restaurants and bars. There is plenty of imbibing here in the evening, as the square transforms into a popular nightspot.
Nippers have zipped around this zoo since 1911. Nowadays, little ones are kept amused with a play area, the Bioparco Express train, feeding time and big names like Komodo dragons and giraffes.
Hadrian was a vain emperor, building monuments to himself willy-nilly all over Italy. Hadrian’s mausoleum was constructed initially around 135AD and, over time, evolved into a fortress, castle … even a prison. Today it’s a museum containing sculptures, hidden causeways and ancient ruins. Ponte Sant’Angelo bridge has statues of angels sculpted by Bernini and his pupils.
This scenic spot in central Rome offers plenty of space for little legs to stretch with cycling, skating and a play area. Meanwhile, adults can relax under the shade of treetops.
Film buffs can visit the site of Rome’s version of Hollywood. Explore this park’s movie-themed attractions, discover the secrets of a movie set or jump aboard family-friendly rides.
This museum has been designed to get young minds interested in science, communication, society and the environment with themed activities and workshops.
Escape the city and splash around Hydromania, 30 minutes drive from central Rome. Italy’s tallest water slide, a wave machine, and treasure hunt ensure tireless tots are entertained all day long.
Squeeze in a jam-packed day of water slides and marine-life spotting in this varied park, which offers all that any active animal aficionado could want.
Climbing and rope courses at this adventure park will keep your young ones’ heads in the clouds. When the dizzy heights get too much, hit the archery range, volleyball or table tennis.
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