The Colosseum
"As long as the Colosseum, there will Rome when the Colosseum falls, Rome will also fall, but when Rome falls, the world will fall"

The 5 best places in Rome, besides the Colosseum and the Vatican
The Pantheon"The most beautiful remains of Roman antiquity". This is how the writer Stendhal considered it when he saw the Pantheon for the first time.
The Pantheon (Temple of all the gods) was built as a temple dedicated to all deities by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, son-in-law of Augustus, in 27 BC. and then rebuilt by Hadrian, between 118 and 128 AD, after the fires of 80 and 110 AD. which had damaged the previous construction.
It was converted into a Christian basilica at the beginning of the 7th century, with the name of Santa Maria ad Martyres, which allowed it to survive almost intact the plundering carried out on the buildings of classical Rome.
Located in the central Campus Martius, the Pantheon is a masterpiece of engineering, inscribed in an exact sphere being 43.44 meters high x the 43.44 meters diameter of the dome which is today the largest dome in the world, surpassing both the dome of San Peter (42.52 m) and the dome of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (41.47 m).
The floor is slightly convex towards the sides and concave in the center to ensure that the rain that falls inside the temple through the oculus located on the top of the dome, flows towards the 22 drainage holes located in the center.
On the facade the frieze bears Agrippa's inscription in bronze letters: M AGRIPPA L F COS TERTIUM FECIT, which means "Marco Agrippa, son of Lucius, consul for the third time built".
The Pantheon hosts numerous tombs of illustrious artists, from Raffaello Sanzio to Annibale Caracci, from Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola to the musician Arcangelo Corelli, as well as the first kings of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II and his son Umberto I of Savoy.


Legends and curiosities

  • The dome of the Pantheon is entirely made of concrete (the largest that has ever been built) and has no frame to stand on. To support the skeleton, Hadrian had the Pantheon filled with earth, it is said, mixed with gold coins and, once the work was finished, he invited the Roman citizens to take away the earth and keep the coins. In this way a real crowd developed and the Pantheon was emptied in the blink of an eye.
  • Every year, on the day of Pentecost, a shower of red petals falls from the oculus, to remember the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Madonna and the apostles.
  • Every April 21st, at midday, a ray of sunlight enters the monument from the oculus (the only window on the ceiling) and perfectly frames the entrance door. Hadrian designed the Pantheon in this way (2000 years ago!!) to pay homage to Rome, born on April 21, 753 BC.
    Entry times: the Pantheon is open every day from 9.00 to 19.00 (last entry 18.30)


    Ticket entrance
     
    Entrance ticket + audio guide
     
    Guided tour


    Piazza NavonaThe most beautiful baroque square in Rome which occupies exactly the arena of the ancient Stadium of Domitian, of which it has perfectly preserved its elongated rectangular shape, with one of the shorter sides curved.
    The Stadium was built by Domitian around 85 AD. to serve in the Greek athletic games which included running, boxing, discus and javelin throwing. And the name of the square originates from the Latin “in agonis” (in Agone/in Nagone) which in Latin means “games”.
    The stadium was 265 meters long and 106 meters wide (the arena measured approximately 240 x 65 metres), the auditorium was made up of two orders of arches on travertine pillars and could hold up to 30,000 spectators. Two of the three main entrances opened in the center of the two long sides, with the third opening onto the curved side which, in today's square, is closed by a modern building, beneath which the corresponding travertine arch is visible at the third entrance to the old stadium.
    In the Middle Ages, houses were built on the terraces which were then transformed into palaces starting from 1400 while the square was used for centuries as a market and, periodically, used for games and public celebrations.
    The obelisk which is now in the center of the square (16.38 m high and, with the fountain, over 30 metres) was built by the emperor Domitian, in 311 Maxentius had it moved to the circus of his villa on Via Appia Antica. It was only in 1651 that Pope Innocent
    The Fountain of the Four Rivers is one of the most beautiful and famous monuments of Baroque Rome and represents the four great rivers known at the time, the Ganges, the Nile, the Danube and the Rio della Plata, with as many giant statues . The Nile has a veiled head because its sources were unknown at the time, even if for the people, however, it expressed Bernini's contempt for the nearby church of S.Agnese in Agone, designed by his rival Borromini, while the arm raised, to head protection, in the figure of the Rio de la Plata, expressed the artist's ironic fear that the church might collapse.
    Piazza Navona, however, remains famous in the memory of the Romans for the festivals and water games that were held there until 1870 when, with Rome the capital of Italy, the square was paved with "cobblestones". For almost two centuries, every weekend in August, the drains of the three fountains were closed, allowing the water to overflow and the square, which at the time was concave, was flooded, transforming it into the "Lake of Piazza Navona" and everyone, nobles and poor people, they enjoyed themselves by crossing the square on horseback or in a carriage, the former, or splashing around in it or pushing their handcarts into the water, the latter.
    After 1870, with the construction of the central humpback sidewalk, the square became connected making the creation of the "lake" impossible but the animation of the square is reborn during the Christmas period with the feast of the Epiphany when Piazza Navona fills up of stalls, toys, "Hags" and "Santa Clauses", as if not wanting to abandon the play and joy that have accompanied it for centuries.


    Entrance (with audio guide) Piazza Navona Underground
     
     
    Guided tour of the Piazza Navona Underground


    The Borghese GalleryThis museum is located within the park of Villa Borghese and houses a large part of the art collection started by Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese, son of Pope Paul V, who was also responsible for the construction of the villa itself. It houses a unique art collection in the world with works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Bronzino, Canova, Caravaggio, Raphael, Perugino, Lorenzo Lotto, Antonello da Messina, Annibale Carracci, Pieter Paul Rubens, Bellini and Titian.
    The origins date back to the end of the 16th century when the Borghese, a rich Sienese family, purchased land north of Rome, outside Porta Pinciana, and above all when in 1605 Camillo Borghese was elected pope (with the name Paul V) and the family began to build a villa in your own Pincio park.
    This is why in the museum that houses the largest number of works by Bernini and Caravaggio you can find:

  • The Rats of Proserpina, a sculptural group created by Bernini between 1621 and 1622 and depicting the kidnapping of Proserpina at the hands of Pluto, god of the Underworld. According to legend, in the Kidnapping of the Maiden, on the shores of Lake Pergusa, near Enna, Mother Ceres, goddess of disorder, full of pain, reduced all the aridity of the earth, forcing Jupiter to intercede with Pluto to allow the return of young man donated seven months of the year.
  • Apollo and Daphne, the wonderful sculpture created by Bernini between 1622 and 1625, represents the fable that Ovid tells in his story Metamorphoses: Apollo, cause of revenge of Eros, is hit by an arrow He is the invader of the nymph Daphne, followed by Diana. The fan, however, overcomes the pain that causes the opposite feeling, rejects love and prays to the Father, the river, to help it escape the divine aggressor. The work represents the culminating moment of Daphne's metamorphosis in the laurel tree, while Apollo, after the race, has reached her mother, who has already transformed his feet into roots and her hands into leaf-bearing arms .
  • The Sick Bacchino, created by Caravaggio between 1593 and 1594 during his convalescence at the Consolazione Hospital following a blow to the leg caused by the kick of a horse. The title of the painting is due to the color of the subject's skin, which according to some scholars would be a self-portrait of Caravaggio himself.
  • David with the head of Goliad, probably executed by Caravaggio in Naples, in 1609-1610, when Caravaggio fled to Rome and was found in exile. In the photo David does not display a proud attitude of triumph as he lies and observes Goliath's shaved head. His expression, however, is rather one of pity towards that "sinner". on whose face Caravaggio would have depicted his self-portrait.
    Among the other wonderful works present in the museum we remember the statue-portrait of Paolina Borghese Bonaparte in the guise of Venus victorious created by Antonio Canova between 1805 and 1808, The lady with the dogwood by Raphael (1505-1507), Sacred Love and Profane Love of 1514 by Titian or The Hunt of Diana by Domenico Zampieri known as Domenichino (1616-1617).


    Entrance times: The Borghese Gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9.00 to 19.00, with entrance times varying every hour. Last entry every 5.45pm. The ticket office is open from 8.30am until 1 hour before the museum closes.
    The Gallery is closed on December 25th and January 1st.


    Entrance ticket
    Guided tour


  • Besides the Colosseum


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