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Rome ‘The Eternal City’

Sitting on the banks of the River Tiber is one of the world’s most beautiful, and most photographed, capital cities, Rome, Capital city of Italy, and known as the Eternal City. Rome is in the Lazio region in the centre of Italy. Rome is also known as the city of the Seven Hills: Aventine Hill, Caelian Hill, Capitoline Hill, Esquiline Hill, Palatine Hill, Quirinal Hill, and the Viminal Hill. The history of Rome spans over two and a half thousand years which goes some way to explain why there is so much to see in the way of architecture, monuments, castles, churches, museums, fountains, parks and gardens, statues, aquaducts, bridges and catacombes. There are over 900 churches in Rome alone.
The city of Rome was the centre of the world’s greatest ever civilisations which exerted so much influence over the world and has left its mark in many of Europe’s cities. The historic centre of Rome is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Rome has been the seat of the Papacy since the 1 st century AD and after the Middle Ages was ruled by Popes such as Alexander VI and Leo X who transformed the city into one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, along with Florence. It was then that the current-day St Peter’s Basilica was built, the first version having been constructed in 313 AD, and Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. Monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are amongst the world’s 50 most visited tourist destinations (the Colosseum receiving 4 million tourists every year). Rome is the national capital of Italy and is the seat of the Italian Government. The official residences of the President of the Italian Republic and the Italian Prime Minister, the seats of both houses of the Italian Parliament and that of the Italian Constitutional Court are located in the historic centre.

Short summary of the history of Rome

Legend has it that the city of Rome was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus, who were thrown into the river to die but were saved by a she-wolf who saved them and suckled them before they were taken in by a shepherd and his wife who raised them to manhood. Romulus and Remus were natural leaders and after discovering their heritage went off to establish a new city. They argued as to where they would build their new city, Romulus wanted to build it on the Palatine Hill and Remus on the Aventine Hill. Remus was killed and Romulus built his new city which bears his name. One can see the statues of the infant twins and the she-wolf in many parts of the city. This new city developed into the Capital of the Roman Kingdom which was led by a series of Etruscan Kings. Rome became the centre of the Roman Empire from 27 BC and was the largest, richest and the most powerful city in the western world.

Rome ruled most of Europe and the Mediterranean region. In the 5 th century there was the fall of the Roman Empire, but Rome still stood strong and maintained her wealth and importance. When Constantine I, Bishop of Rome, came to power, he brought political as well as religious power to Rome. The city was established as the centre of the Catholic Church. In the Middle Ages Rome became a major pilgrimage site and it had gained importance due to the newly formed Papal States. During the Italian Renaissance, in the 15 th Century, Rome underwent huge changes. The new St Peters Basilica and Sistine Chapel were built, wonderfully extravagant churches, bridges and parks appeared so that the city of Rome would equal the grandeur of other Italian cities. In the 19th century, Rome again became the focus of a power struggle with the rise of the Kingdom of Italy, which wished to see a reunification of Italy. The Papal States remained in control of Rome under French protection, but with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, French troops were forced to abandon Rome, leaving it clear for the Kingdom of Italy to capture. Rome became the capital of Italy, and has remained such ever since. Modern-day Rome is a wonderful and vibrant city in which the present day sits in harmony with the past. Buildings from the ancient world, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the present day make up this unique capital city and draw visitors from all the corners of the world.

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Vatican City

The Vatican City (Citta del Vaticano), is the world’s smallest state and is situated inside the City of Rome, Italy. Also known as the Vatican City State, it is the centre of the Roman Catholic Church and the temporal seat of the Pope, head of the worldwide Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion Catholics. St.Peter’s basilica is built over the tomb of St.Peter.

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When in Rome, what to see

Rome, much like the rest of Italy, is predominantly Roman Catholic, and has been an important centre of religion and pilgrimage for centuries. Pilgrims and visitors alike flock to see St.Peter’s Basilica, St.Peter’s Square, the Sistine Chapel all of which are located within the Vatican City, home of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. This area is always filled with visitors all year round and there are numerous religious and souvenir shops lining the Via della Conciliazione, Via di Porta Angelica and the surrounding streets. Rome is not just for sightseeing, the night-life is is fast growing and popular, as are the many shops which make it a shopping paradise, and is regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world. Be aware that for two weeks in August many of the shops and businesses close and the owners go off on their own holiday. This is the hottest time of the year in Rome, be prepared to see the sign “Chiuso per ferie” on the doors, meaning “closed for holiday”. The main shopping areas are situated around the Via del Corso, Via Condotti and the surrounding streets. There are some very good quality leather goods, such as shoes and handbags, to look out for. If you want to shelter from the heat outside take a trip to the Euroma2 shopping mall. It has over 200 shops, restaurants, toilets and air conditioning. Take Metro B line from Termini to EUR Palasport station, cross the road and take the frequent free bus (ride takes 5-15 minutes) to the mall.  Read More….

Churches of Rome

Rome, much like the rest of Italy, is predominantly Roman Catholic, and has been an important centre of religion and pilgrimage for centuries. Pilgrims and visitors alike flock to see St.Peter’s Basilica, St.Peter’s Square, the Sistine Chapel all of which are located within the Vatican City, home of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. The history of Rome spans over two and a half thousand years which goes some way to explain why there is so much to see and there are over 900 churches in Rome alone.

Churches

When in Rome, Stay Safe

Rome is generally a safe city to visit, however do be sensible and take precautions, don’t look like a tourist and don’t display what you have on you, keep items of value out of sight and keep your wallet out of the reach of pick-pockets. If you are robbed don’t hesitate to call out “Aiuto, al ladro!” (Help Thief) people will normally come to your assistance. Be careful on the buses as everyone surges forward it is very easy for the pickpocket to slip your wallet out of your pocket and disappear (I speak from experience on this!). Around the tourist ares of the city you will encounter people trying to sell roses and bracelets, they will give you the rose as a ‘gift’ or try to take your hand to tie on the bracelet, be firm and tell them to go away otherwise they will pester you for money. Being firm and walking away works they move on to someone else. Do not be worried about visiting Rome, these problems are in many cities throughout the world, just be aware, don’t carry too much money on your person, keep valuables out of sight and enjoy the beauty that Rome has to offer in abundance.

In an emergency, call 112 (Carabinieri), 113 (Police), 118 (medical first aid) or 115 (firemen).

Carry the address of your embassy or consulate.

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Catholic Rome

For most people when thinking of churches in Rome, their first thought is of the Vatican and St.Peter’s. Situated in the heart of Rome with easy access from there to other places of interest around the city, it is where most visitors head for. There is also the draw of the wonderful Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum, but St.Peter’s is not the cathedral of Rome, that is the Basilica of St. John Lateran located to the south-east of the city centre. There are actually more than 900 churches in Rome, some huge, some small, some you fall across in a small side street, but on entering they surprise you with their opulence. Beautiful frescos, statues, paintings adorn the interiors. The largest church in Rome is the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, there are 25 other churches dedicated to Mary but the size of this distinguishes it from the others.

Eating out in Rome

Rome is full of restaurants, so no problem trying to find something to eat. If you are looking for somewhere special it is best to ask for recommendations from locals, maybe at your hotel or campsite office they are generally quite helpful. For lunchtimes there is so much competition that the best way is to compare, don’t plump for the first place you come to. Walk past and see what everyone else is eating, check out what is included with the daily offer, some even include a drink with the price. Coming away from the main tourist route into residential areas will bring you to where the Romans eat, here you will find good food and good value. Coming off the tourist track and exploring the side streets can produce some great places to eat, they may not be luxurious but the food is generally very good and the people friendly. You can meet some interesting people this way who will chat away while they freshly prepare your meal or snack. If you want to have a picnic lunch then go to one of the supermarkets, they have a good selection of local foods and is a good way of keeping costs down.

Museums of Rome

The City of Rome is in itself a vast open-air Museum filled with incomparable treasures, the Piazzas are filled with fountains and statues designed by the masters and the Palaces, temples and ancient buildings are a joy to behold for all art lovers. Rome has more than sixty museums housing vast quantities of priceless arts, sculptures and treasures. Here we explore a selection of them

Museums

Piazzas of Rome

There are many beautiful Piazzas in Rome where one can take an evening stroll, enjoy a coffee at and people watch, browse through the varied shops, learn about the history of the Eternal City and enjoy the many wonderful sights that are all around the city. Here we take a look at some of the favourites.

Piazzas

Attractions in Rome

The history of Rome spans over two and a half thousand years which goes some way to explain why there is so much to see in the way of Architecture, Monuments, Castles, Churches, Museums, Fountains, Parks and Gardens, Statues, Aquaducts, Bridges and Catacombes.  The historic centre of Rome is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are amongst the world’s 50 most visited tourist destinations. Here we offer you a varied selection of must-see sights when visiting Rome.

Attractions