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Galleria Borghese
Borghese Gallery
#About the Gallery

You have arrived at the Borghese Gallery (Galleria Borghese), a small but highly regarded gallery in Rome. The gallery is located in Villa Borghese, where one can encounter works of art and sculptures by the best Italian artists of Rome: Bernini, Canova, Raphael and more.

The entire palace is impressive and elegant, with a spectacular ceiling in the ballroom. The gallery is not particularly large and has a total of 20 rooms spread over two floors. The top floor has paintings to marvel at while the ground floor has sculptures. Note the the ancient mosaics of the gladiators.

Once every two hours, there is a rotation of visitors. However, your visit does not have to end here. If you go out for a stroll in the villa's charming gardens, you'll see the English-style gardens of Villa Borghese. In these pretty gardens you will enjoy an amazing combination of nature and greenery with art at its best, with a variety of amazing sculptures and monuments outside. It's a great place to have a picnic, relax a little or enjoy a spectacular view of all of Rome.

#About the Gallery's Structure and its Founders

The villa in which the gallery is located was designed by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, based on sketches and plans of Scipione Borghese, who planned to use the villa as a mansion for social events. A few years after it was founded, it was transferred to the Italian government, which turned it into a public gallery.

It is important to understand that the Italian art of the Renaissance was created mainly for the perusal of rich nobles, who provided financial resources and sponsored the artists. Thanks to the nobleman Cardinal Scipione Borghese, Giovanni Bernini, the sponsored artist, became the last of the leading artists in Rome and responsible for some of the city's masterpieces. Borghese, incidentally, provided his support for several other equally important artists, such as Caravaggio, and he also had a fine collection of works comprised of pieces transferred to him from the artist.


Be sure to buy tickets online in advance - the gallery is a popular tourist destination, especially during high tourist season, and there is no way to just walk in spontaneously without online ticket.

A Closer Look:

The Roman Forum
Roman Forum
#The Roman Forum

This place is the heart of an amazing archaeological site - the Roman Forum (Foro Romano). The Forum is a central public area in Roman cities, designed in the shape of a square, or several connected squares. Almost every Roman city was built with its own forum, but the meaning of the "big forum" refers to this very place.

During the Roman Empire, the Forum was a central area in which most of the city's life took place. This was the center of the political, economic, social and religious life in the empire. There was a crowded market square with courts, temples, gates and pillars of victory, the House of Representatives, and more.

Many public issues on the Roman agenda were dealt with here. Victory parades marched through this square, eulogies and speeches by leaders and clerics, other social and political events that took place here.

The Forum is located between Capitoline Hill, the seat of the Roman emperors and nobility, and Palatino Hill, the home of the wealthy and Roman rulers.

#The History of the Forum

Dating back to the Stone Age, the Roman Forum, nourished by the waters of the Tiber, was inhabited by human beings. This was despite the fact that it was outside the parameters of the inhabited areas.

During the Iron Age, when man's technological ability to produce iron tools was made, there were cemeteries of the local inhabitants where the city now stands.

During the Roman Empire, when the area was drained of swamps and contamination was cleared, the area became the center of the city's commerce and creative minds. The city was open to people from all over the empire.

However just like a tide rises, so does it fall; With the establishment of the religious and governmental center in the Palatine Center, the status of this Forum began to decline. The need for temples, the strengthening of Christianity and a general abandonment of the Roman lifestyle led to severe neglect of this physical place. The area and the buildings collapsed and were covered the sand, left to the decay over time. During this time the Forum had an unflattering name: "The Field of Meat" – due to animal carcasses disposed of there.

Excavations and reconstructions began in the 19th century, whose outcomes you see today. The most significant momentum took place during the reign of fascist dictator Mussolini in the 20th century.

#Interesting Sites in the Area

There are some interesting sites scattered throughout the Forum that are not to be missed:

All the buildings that were found throughout the Forum were a symbol of the victory of the Roman Empire from the various battles: they praised the conquering ruler and the fighters who won the battle and were meant to serve as a token of gratitude to the gods, who helped and supported the empire during times of war.

The selection of ancient buildings here includes:

Arch of Titus - erected after the death of Emperor Titus to mark the victory of the Romans over the Jews and the downfall of Jerusalem.

The home of Emperor Augustus - the residence of the emperor, whose restoration and reconstruction lasted no less than 40 years.

Temple of Julius Caesar

Curia (the restored Senate House)

Vesta Temple and the Vicariate

The Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius

Septimus Severus' Bow

Tro Jan's Market

The Colosseum


If you arrive at the Roman Forum in the after 6:00 pm, there will be far fewer tourists in the area.

A Closer Look:

#The Largest Amphitheater in the World

This huge amphitheater was built nearly two centuries ago by three Roman emperors. It included an arena providing amusement to the people, or in other words, the gladiators’ arena. There were performances financed by private individuals, mainly in order to demonstrate their wealth and amuse the people.

Take a good look at the exterior wall of this amazing amphitheater. It is part of the same grand structure that has existed here since the time of the Roman Empire.

This complex was chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

#The Colosseum's Functions

The primary purpose of the Colosseum was to serve as a place for gladiator battles. These were the “reality shows” of that time - they were intended to create sympathy among the viewers towards the ruler and provide them entertainment during their leisurely hours. Prisoners who were sentenced to death and crucified or burnt at the stake could be seen here. Sometimes there was a story plot added for the benefit of the masses- which made the act of execution part of a journey of the protagonist - whose tragic end was known in advance. The hero would count the seconds back when a wild beast of prey would chase him in the ring and devour him in front of everyone. The gladiators who were forced to participate in these battles were slaves or prisoners of war.

Another particularly popular show were the hunting games. This was where exotic animals from all over the empire tried to survive the hunters who would hunt them for entertainment. In case there was any concern for the viewers in the front row, it was stationed two meters above the arena to ensure their safety. Thousands of gladiators and more than a million animals have been killed here.

The first hundred days of inauguration were filled with such entertainment.

In the year 404 AD the last gladiator battle took place, since the Romans no longer viewed these acts of murder as amusement. In the fifth and sixth centuries, at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, the inhabitants of Rome didn’t remember the original purpose of this m onumental structure. Some thought it was an imperial palace and some thought it was a temple to the sun god.

#The Architecture of the Colosseum

The Colosseum is built in an elliptical shape, with a length of 189 meters, a width of 156 meters and a height of almost 50 meters.

It is said that the Colosseum was the first structure built with concrete, a new invention in those days. Of course it was not really the first, but perhaps the first of those which survived the test of time and still stands today.

It is no small feat for an anonymous architect who planned the building to enable a crowd of 50,000 people to enter and leave the compound without long queues. He found an excellent practical solution - to the Colosseum, 80 entrances were built that led to a special systems of corridors that surrounded the amphitheater. Each floor had openings that led directly to the chairs and the stands.

One can’t overlook the quality of construction and planning during the Roman Empire, since this enormous structure still stands here after 2,000 years of earthquakes and man-made damage.

#The History of the Colosseum

This huge amphitheater was built almost 2,000 years ago in the city of Rome. It was built by three Roman emperors of the Flavian dynasty. Its original name was "The Flavian Amphitheater," named after the same line of emperors, though the name was later changed in the Middle Ages.

In 72 AD the construction of the amphitheater began. Emperor Vespasian, the initiator of the idea, didn’t live to see the building finished as he died before its completion. His son Titus completed the mission. It is surprising that although the construction of the Colosseum took less than ten years, Titus was unable to complete it and the person who inaugurated the amphitheater in 80 AD was Titus' brother, Emperor Domitian.

It was built on top of remains from Nero’s palace, a brutal and loathsome ruler in Rome. From the moment the ruler came to power in 54 AD, many nobles and merchants quarreled with him because he was constantly trying to take over new lands and build more palaces for himself. When a huge fire broke out in Rome in 64 AD, which destroyed entire parts of the city, quite a few thought that the ruler was responsible for the terrible arson. Not only that, they claimed that he had relished the moment by playing the violin on the roof of his palace while the fire was spreading all over Rome.

Although it is possible that Nero wasn’t directly responsible for the Great Fire, he made no efforts to mitigate the damage. However it aided him it gaining control of the city where he built his magnificent palace - the Golden Palace. In case you were curious as to his fate, citizens of the city revolted against him four years later and he was forced to flee for his life.

The emperor who replaced Nero was Vespasian. He wanted to strengthen the people's trust in the government and decided to return expansive lands to the citizens. On the ruins of the palace he established what would be the largest amphitheater in the world, the Colosseum.

Right beside the nostalgic palace, stands an impressive statue of Nero, whose name was Colossus. This is where the building gets its name - the Colosseum.

#The Colosseum Crowd

Upon entering the compound, the viewer would receive a special entrance ticket: a piece of pottery with the number of the gallery and the row in which he was to sit. The places were reserved in advance and reflected the hierarchical structure of Roman society.

The lowest seats around the arena were reserved for distinguished people of high status - senators, dignitaries, the emperor and his entourage. Above them sat the rich soldiers and merchants. As the rows rose, the status of the population diminished- all the way to ordinary citizens. There were spots in the Colosseum where it was impossible to sit and there was only standing room. This is where the women and the slaves stood, who were the two lowest classes of Roman society. The gravediggers and theater actors weren’t allowed in at all. This reflects the status and classes in society, which played a central role in Ancient Rome.

A Closer Look:


A visit:

The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps
#About the Staircase

The Spanish Steps of Rome connect Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità dei Monti. Try to count how many steps you take during climbing, as there are more than 100 steps here. Many more. How many did you manage to count?

This staircase was built between 1723 and 1727 by the architect Francesco de Sanctis, financed by the French diplomat Stefano Gufierre. Ironically, French-sponsored stairs are called the Spanish Steps!

As you can imagine, at the time this construction cost a lot of money. The stairs connected the Spanish embassy to the church and the Vatican, so they were immediately called the Spanish Steps.

The Spanish square was once a residential center and a gathering spot of many European artists and writers. The well-known poet John Keats lived in a house near the square where he also died in 1821. His house became a museum in his memory.

Since we are mentioning the arts, perhaps you came across this staircase in the famous scene from the film "Holiday in Rome" (1953). The two heroes passed these steps in one of the scenes in the film. You must not miss this place!

At the bottom of the stairs you can see the "boat fountain" or the barcaccia - the old boat. This was built by the father of the famous artist Bernini. The theme of ​​the fountain came after the Tiber River flooded the entire area and the boat drifted up to this spot. Beautiful statues of biblical figures such as King David and Moses were placed around it.

A closer look:


A visit:




Prohibition of sitting:


Must See in Rome

Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano
Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano
#About the Impressive Roman Basilica

Welcome to the most ancient church in Rome. Of the four patriarchal basilicas in the city, this is the most dated one. It is also the central church of the Catholic Church.

Emperor Constantine built the church, and here it has been for over 1,500 years. This church survived extreme disasters: fires, looting and earthquakes. It was destroyed twice and then restored. Today it is the second largest church in Rome, after the Church of San Pietro.

Today a magnificent church stands here, however it was not always so. Once, two important buildings stood here during the Roman Empire. One was the new fortress of the Praetorian Guard, an elite unit of the Imperial Roman army whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Roman emperors. The fortress was destroyed in 312 and its remains are located just below the basilica, the central space of the church.

The second building was the first Laterano palace, which belonged to a family called "Lateranus." This palace was also destroyed and the basilica became the cathedral of Rome. Popes lived here for almost 1,000 years.

Though the structure looks simple and modest, the truth is that the interior of the church is magnificent and prestigious and is an example of magnificent Roman construction. Notice the decorations made of pure gold, cartography, delicate handicraft and sparkling gems.

The church also has an original obelisk from Egypt. There are many statues of the Christian saints in front of the church, and two bell towers flank the impressive building.

A Closer Look:

Basilica of San Pietro
Basilica of San Pietro
#The Basilica of San Pietro or St. Pete

Hold tight. You stand at the doorstep of the largest church in the world and are about to see its magnificent treasures!

The Vatican Church, also known as the Basilica of San Pietro, is considered the most sacred church to the Catholics. It is so large that it can accommodate up to 60,000 worshipers at any given moment. It is located in Vatican City, the seat of the Pope. The Vatican, as we know, is a small country in itself.

The entrance is through the large and beautiful square, Piazza San Pietro. On both sides of the entrance are 288 huge columns designed by Bernini.

The church was built in the late Renaissance and Baroque styles and its large dome is one of the familiar symbols on the horizon of Rome. Beneath the dome is St. Peter, one of the apostles of Jesus, who spread Christianity in Rome and became the first Pope. Peter was executed and later buried here.

On the ceiling of the chapel you can see the "creation of man," Michelangelo's famous painting. Throughout the church you can see other amazing works - the works of young Raphael, the sculptures and the design of Bernini and other works that express the richness of the Vatican.

Do not miss the little balcony in the dome of the basilica. It is 120 meters high and in order to reach it it is necessary to combine an elevator and another 330 stairs.

#Construction of the Basilica

The truth is that the construction of this church began in the fourth century, but it was rebuilt in the 16th century. In 1506, Pope Julius appointed Donato Bramante to rebuild the building that stood in front of the present basilica, the Basilica of Constantine. The new basilica was designed as a cross with four arms.

All the popes who came after him invested a great deal of resources in the emerging basilica. They spent large sums of money and brought artists like Raphael, Baldassare Peruzzi, Antonio de Sangallo, Bernini and Michelangelo (who designed the dome) to help complete its magnificent construction. Inside the dome is Michelangelo's famous Pieta statue.

A Closer Look:

Museums of the Vatican
Vatican Museum
#About the Museum

For centuries, the Popes living in the Vatican compound collected works of art and ancient and expensive objects. Due to their amazing Catholic collections, the world's most important museums - the Vatican Museums - were established in the 16th century. In these museums, one can find a variety of works from ancient Egypt, the Etruscan period, the period of ancient Rome and the Renaissance.

The first public museum of the Vatican opened in the Capitolina building. A collection of personal sculptures of Pope Sixtus IV was presented. It was also Sixtus who founded the Vatican Library. His grandson Julius II donated his collection of ancient marble statues to be placed in the sculpture garden. This is where it all began.

Today these museums are full of exhibits. Due to the incredible variety and quantity of items here, you will need to plan the tour in advance and decide what you want to see.

#What Can Be Seen Here?

In the Vatican Museum one may observe the Pope's private chapel and the place where the cardinals would select his heir - the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina). Pay particular attention to the magnificent artwork on the ceiling of the chapel - a spectacular mural painted by Michelangelo depicting the creation of the world and the history of the human race. This is one of the masterpieces in art history.

The gallery has 17-rooms (Pinacoteca Vaticana). It features religious paintings from various periods, dating back to the Gothic and Baroque periods. There is a gallery of carpets which describes the fascinating life of Jesus, woven between the years 1523-1534. Make sure to visit the four rooms devoted to the amazing works of the artist Raffaello Sanzio.

Take note of the Museo Pio Clementino Museum, which has 12 rooms with spectacular and nostalgic collections from the time of Greece to ancient Rome.

A Close Look at the Vatican's Museums:

San Pietro in Vincoli
Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli
#The Basilica with the Statue of Moses

On the Esquiline Hill in Rome, not far from the Colosseum, in an area of ​​quiet alleys and antiques, lies the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli.

No one would have been interested in this insignificant basilica had it not been for the fact that one of the most famous sculptures in history, one that became an iconic symbol of Renaissance art is here. This is the sculpture "Moses" by Michelangelo.

It is evident from the long line of visitors that the basilica is of great importance. It was built at the beginning of the 5th century and Pope Sixtus III (440-432) declared it a temple for the preservation of the chain, which was used to subdue the apostle Peter in Jerusalem when he was arrested by the Romans.

Another chain was added over time, and it was alleged that it was the same one that bound Peter in Rome. Christian legend holds that these two chains miraculously connected to one in the 13th century. Today the chain is displayed under the main altar in the basilica.

#About the Statue of Moses in the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli

This basilica is home to one of the most famous artworks in the world. This is the statue "Moses" by Michelangelo. The sculpture depicts the image of Moses as seen by the artist. Michelangelo sculpted it at the beginning of the 16th century, during the Renaissance, shortly after he sculpted the magnificent "David." This impressive statue is made of marble and is 2.35 meters high.

Originally, the statue "Moses" was meant to be one of many items, in a magnificent tombstone commissioned by Pope Julius II, intended for his own tombstone. However, after the death of the Pope, a simpler tombstone was prepared and "Moses" became a statue in its own right which became the most important statue of all.

One of the interesting details in the statue are the horns that emerge from Moses's head. It is not entirely clear what the reason for these horns are. It is believed that the verse is derived from the book of Exodus in the Bible, which describes Moses in the words "And so it was, when Moses descended from Mount Sinai ... the skin of his face shone like a ray of light (ray also means horn in Hebrew)” (Exodus 34:29).

It seems that the artist confused the word ray of light for a ray (horn) from Moses’ head. Moses’ face shone like a ray of light, but ray also means “horn” in Hebrew and therefore the artist interpreted it as an organ of the body rather than as the ray of light. It isn’t conclusive that Michelangelo took this translation at face value; he was an educated individual and knowledgeable in languages. It’s hard to believe that he took this translation into account, however it seems the only reasonable explanation. It should be noted that the horns on Moses' head are a motif which appeared in several Renaissance sculptures and paintings.

A Closer Look:


A Visit:


Sculpture of Moses


#About the Temple of the Roman Gods

The Pantheon is one of the symbols of the Roman Empire, so popular, in fact, that it is always immediately associated with Rome. Pantheon means "all gods," since it was dedicated to the 12 Olympian gods.

The 16 Corinthian pillars were brought directly from Egypt and weigh no less than 60 tons each. They stand at the height of 12 meters and have a 1.5 meter diameter. These columns support the triangular roof of the structure, where an inscription explains how this building was built by Marcus Agrippa.

You will also see the graves of some Italian kings and that of the artist Raffaello Sanzio.

If you want to enhance the experience, come to Pantheon when it is raining. It is special to see the water entering through the holes in the ceiling before trickling down to the center of the building. In case you were wondering what happens to the water here, the floor is slanted in such a way that the water gathers quickly in the drainage holes. Another interesting point is that on April 21, when the sun rays hit the metal plate above the door, the entrance to the temple is quite a spectacular sight.

Opposite the Pantheon stands the impressive Pantheon fountain, built by the architect Giacomo della Forte in 1575 and carved by Leonardo Sormani. Later on, pharaoh's obelisk from Egypt, dolphin carvings and a new base were added.

#The Ceiling of the Pantheon

One of the most interesting things about the Pantheon is its amazing ceiling, which is constructed as a dome on the roof of the building. Its diameter is 43 meters and at its center you will see a skylight called Okulos. Through this opening, light showers down into the building creating a beautiful atmosphere. This is the only light source in the structure and its diameter is 8 meters.

This dome of the ceiling is the largest in the world without support. Do not take it for granted, as it was a rather challenging architectural feat. Due to the massive weight of the dome, and in order to avoid its collapsing, the Roman engineers tried to make it weight as little as possible as they designed the ceiling to be higher. This was also the reason that the upper parts of the dome are made of lighter materials and have more internal spaces. Due to this interesting construction, the dome looks flatter from the outside than it really is.

#The Pantheon's History

The Pantheon was built in the year 27 AD following an order by Marcus Agrippa, commander of the Roman army and consul during the reign of Augustus. Following a fire that took place 60 years later, the building was completely burned down. It was rebuilt in 125 AD by Emperor Hadrian. The Pantheon was a temple, and in 609 it was converted to a church called Santa Maria Rotonda, though this was subsequently destroyed during the Middle Ages. It was the first time in history that a temple of idolatry became a Christian place of worship.

#What is the Pantheon? (Courtesy of Eureka.com)

The Pantheon in Rome is the most preserved building in the world, left over from the Roman period. It is the most ancient building in the world, still covered by its original ceiling and roof. This is one of the most impressive places in the city of Rome, a city with many fascinating archaeological sites.

Architecturally speaking, the Pantheon is a significant achievement in the ancient world, since the dome is made of concrete, from soil from Pozzolana. It is the largest domed structure in the ancient world and is so strong that it has survived to this day.

The word "Pantheon" means "rule of the gods" in Greek. In various ancient mythologies, such as Sumerian and Greek, this word described a temple. And indeed, the ancient Roman structure that remains intact to this day was originally used as a temple for all the gods - Pantheon.

However the Romans later changed its use to the court of the emperor, a law court, and after Christianity took over, it became a Christian church called Santa Maria Rotunda. It must be admitted that this is an interesting use of a structure originally intended for idol worship and contained a number of altars dedicated to the many gods of the ancient world.

The date of the inauguration of the Pantheon as a gift to the Pope, by Emperor Phocas, is celebrated to this day by the Christian world as "Halloween Night." Among those buried in the floor of the Pantheon is the painter Raphael and the kings of Italy.


There are guided tours of the Pantheon free of charge. There is no need to book a spot in advance.

The Pantheon is one of the most popular sites in Rome. Still, it is not very crowded here. If you want to see it in a pleasant way, it is best to arrive after 4:00 pm.

A Closer Look:


A Visit:

Trevi Fountain
#About the Trevi Fountain or Fontana di Trevi

The largest and most nostalgic of European fountains is undoubtedly the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi). No matter what time you arrive here, in the bright morning or in the middle of the night, there are many people milling about. During the evening and through the night there are spectacular lights illuminating the entire area, the fountain in particular. A beautiful sight worth seeing ...

In the fountain you'll see Neptune, the God of the sea, riding a chariot in the shape of a shell. His statue is located in the center of the fountain in an alcove. Beside this statue there are other statues depicting marine creatures that help him "tame the water." On both sides of Neptune you will see two other niches, one of which is a statue of the god of abundance and the other of health.

The fountain was built by the architect Nicola Salvi and was designed by several artists from the Bernini School. The title was given to it because of the adjacent neighborhood "Trevi" (the phrase Tre vie), indicating that this is the nexus between three main roads of the city. The tourists gave it the nickname "Fountain of Wishes."

There are quite a few strange customs associated with this fountain, the familiar among them is the tossing of coins by tourists, which will ensure the fulfillment of their wishes. It is rumored that these wishes will be fulfilled by drinking the water of the fountain, although we absolutely do not recommend it.

#History of the Fountain

This is the point where one of Rome's canals ended which brought water to the city from 20 kilometers away, built in 19 BC. This aqueduct
was called Virgin River, after the young Virgin Trevi, who showed the Roman soldiers to this stream of water.

By the way, the construction of fountains at the point where the aqueducts ended (aqueducts) was a well-known custom of the Romans. In 1453 the pool was added to the fountain by Pope Nicholas V.

Nearly 200 years later, in 1629, Pope Urban VIII invited Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, the great Baroque architect, to plan a renovation of the fountain and the pool, wanting it to be more grandiose. Although these plans didn't come to fruition, it inspired future plans.

Indeed, about 100 years later, Pope Clemens initiated a massive renovation of the fountain by the architect Nicola Salvi. The works began in 1732 and ended in 1762, after the two died - both the Pope and the architect ...

#Tossing Coins into the Fountain

Legend has it that tossing a coin into the fountain will ensure the return of those who had thrown them back to Rome. It also ensures the fulfillment of the wishes of the coin tossers. You're probably asking yourself where this strange legend came from. Well, the source is probably a book written by John Hermes Scondari in 1952 called "Coins in the Fountain." The book tells of three figures who throw coins into the fountain and then find themselves in more or less positive romantic situations. This led, among other things, to the rumor that throwing three coins into a fountain would guarantee marriage - or divorce.

Every night, the fountain floor is estimated to be worth about three thousand euros. This is despite the fact that the value of each coin is not high, but their quantity reaches this value. These coins are collected by the City of Rome. The municipality itself uses them to finance a supermarket that provides free products to the needy.

Do not try to get coins from here. From time to time Rome's police stop private people trying to pluck coins from the floor of the pool.

#The Fountain in the Cinema
In Fellini's 1960 movie "La Dolce Vita," beautiful actress Anita Eckberg enters the fountain waters at night, bringing Marcello Maestroiani to bathe with her. It's a memorable, sensual and romantic scene.

A Closer Look:

Castel Sant'Angelo
#The Mausoleum

In the vicinity of the Vatican, on the banks of the Tiber River, stands a huge and majestic fortress - Castel Sant'Angelo, meaning "Castle of the Holy Angel." It was originally built as a mausoleum by the royal emperor Hadrian and his family in 123 AD. The mausoleum of Sant'Angelo was built over the walls of Rome and had quite a few underground passages leading directly to the Vatican. Hadrian later ordered the construction of a bridge leading from the city to the building.

Later, the burial structure was given the name Sant'Angelo along with the adjacent bridge. There are chilling stories regarding the terrible crowds on the bridge, when people fell off and into the water below, and were killed.

After his death, as Emperor Hadrian had requested, his ashes, his wife's, and his adopted son's are buried in the treasury, the main room in the building. He was followed by other emperors, the last of whom was Caracalla, who was buried there in 217 AD.

In 1277 the fortress became church property and a papal fortress. By connecting the fortress to the Vatican (to the Church of St. Peter) in a fortified passage, it was used as a closed escape and thus served as a stronghold castle that managed to protect Rome and the Vatican during their many wars.

In 1688 Bernini upgraded the Sant'Angelo Bridge - he decorated the parapets with 12 statues of kings symbolizing the Passion of Christ.

Today you can see the National Museum of Museo Nazinale di Castel Sant'Angelo. It features sculptures, paintings and pottery. The weapon collection from the 15th to 19th centuries is particularly interesting, which certainly fits the theme of the fortress. During the summer months, lovely concerts are held here.

#The Flight of Pope Clement VII

The period following the appointment of Pope Clement was characterized by political unrest and instability in Italy, which influenced the messianic undertones (even among the Jewish community).

In 1527, a revolt took place within the Vatican due to the political intrigue caused by Pope Clement. That year, Cardinal Pompeo Colonna's troops occupied Rome and besieged the Vatican. Rome was already under attack and the smell of smoke had spread to many parts in the city. Clement realized that he had to flee for his life and so he began to urge his entourage. Carl V, the Holy Roman Emperor, arrived with his army of mercenaries to the gates of the Vatican and tried to assassinate him. Clement and his men began to escape through the secret passage that led to Castel Sant'Angelo. It is the very place where you are standing now. This secret passage, also known as Passetto (Fausto), was built in 1277. It was the fortress outside the Vatican walls. Pope Clement had managed to reach the bridge, which had been rising in the last few seconds and had managed to shut himself up in the fortress.

#The Passetto's Uses

The secret passage from the Vatican into the fortress, the Passetto, was not only an escape route in moments of crisis and war. It was also a path where beautiful girls from Rome were snuck out to spend time with the Church's leaders when they were not working. The fourth floor was set up especially for these purposes. Today one can still see the erotic paintings on the walls and on the floors.

Another attraction in this fortress is the conclave ceiling which creates an acoustic wonder: people can talk to each other without other people eavesdropping. It was an anti-wiretapping mechanism that was critical for the pope's court, where quite a few conspiracies took form.

This passage was neglected for years and no visitors were allowed. A little before the beginning of the 2000's renovations began and it was later opened to the general public. However, it is open only three weeks a year - from mid-August to early September, late in the evening.
An interesting detail about the transition: it is said that those who suffer from male impotence, should go through the passage 77 times in a row - 800 meters in each direction. Legend has it that whoever succeeds in finishing the entire course, over 61 kilometers, will regain his masculinity!
Turtle Fountain
#About the Turtle Fountain

Rome is full of various fountains. In almost every square you reach, you will find another impressive fountain. The fact that they were designed and built by the greatest architects and sculptors, turns wandering in Rome into an adventure.

The Turtle Fountain (Fontana Delle Tartarughe) in Little Mattei Square, a square built by the wealthy Mattei family, is located in the Jewish ghetto of Rome. In contrast to the statues which characterize Rome, which are often made of marble, this one is made of high-quality bronze.

Its construction was completed in 1588. Originally, the statue depicted four young men leaning on dolphins at the bottom of the fountain and sending their hands up to support other dolphins above.

Some 70 years after the completion of the construction of the fountain, the upper dolphins were replaced by small tortoises made by the sculptor and architect Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini. This remains the statue to this day, so the name of the fountain is Turtle Fountain.
Campo de' Fiori
#The Market Square that Perpetuates the Sacred of Science

Campo de' Fiori is a rectangular square in Rome, a cultural and business center in the city. Located in the Christian part of Rome, it dates back to the Middle Ages. Today it contains a vibrant food market. This region is colorful and rich, full of fruits, vegetables, colorful pastas, organic honey, spices, cheeses and more. There are plenty of different stands here. Around the square are shopping streets with great prices and cafes, which offer mostly free wireless internet.

In the square is the Giordano Bruno Monument, the scientist who preceded his time and the church which executed him for his ideas in relation to the location and importance of the Earth in the solar system. Note also the iron plaque next to the monument, which is intended to commemorate the books of the Talmud that were burned in this very square.

The name of the square means "field of flowers" ("Fiori" in Italian is a flower). It is assumed that in the past there was an open field with beautiful blossoms and hence the origin of the name. If you inquire on the subject, you will also learn about a rumor that perhaps the square is named after Flora, Pompey's lover - it is unclear whether she was an existing woman or literary fiction.

#Campo de' Fiori Square for Tourists

This is a spot for early risers in Rome. The square of Campo de' Fiori has stand owners who arrive early in the morning to settle into their permanent spots. This is one of the points you will not want to miss if you come to Rome, at least to visit once.

The first tourists arrive at 8:00 am. By 12:00 pm the place is bustling and full. The afternoon will be the most calm time of day. However, do not be mistaken - the day is not yet over and at 8:00 pm the square will wake up again, this time for its night tour and will provide entertainment venues, varied bars and even a nightclub.

#History of the Square

Though today the square is inviting, full of attractions and colors, it was not always so. During the Roman Empire, the river would occasionally flood this square, along with other parts of the city. The area is dried for good only at the beginning of the first century AD. This was when the construction began in the area. Nevertheless, it was still relatively abandoned and served as an insignificant "field of flowers".

The real interest in the area began in the 15th century, when the Popes wanted to use it to demonstrate their wealth and power. Pope Boniface arrived here to build the Church of Santa Brigida. Today, in its place, stands the French Embassy. Next came the third Pope, Calligraphy, who demanded that the square be paved. A few years later, Palazzo della Cancelleria and the Orsini family's palace were built.

In time the square became a local market. Horses and other products were sold and the crowds began to stroll through. However it was not used solely for trading. During the Inquisition, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the square was a central place for the execution of criminals and heretics. One of the most famous executions was of Giordano Bruno.

#Who was Giordano Bruno- A Man the Church Executed for his Astronomical Dreams

Many see him as the "martyr of science". The story of the Italian astronomer Giordano Bruno is a tragic story of a scientist who was ahead of his time and paid dearly for his theories and beliefs. It would only be later that generations would catch up with him.

Among the well-known, Bruno was considered "the first martyr of the world of science." In contrast to Copernicus, who said similar things and proved them mathematically, not many in the general public know Bruno's name, who preceded everyone in understanding the universe and our place in it - or simply - that the earth is not the center of the world and that the universe is infinite.

Bruno, from Naples, is the first cosmological theorist to sacrifice his life in the name of science. Bruno was executed for his "space dreams." It all began when he read a book by Lucretius, a Roman poet who wrote 1500 years ago that the universe is infinite. Bruno had dreamed of a universe where man and the earth took up very little space.

Bruno began to spread his ideas about the vast universe, where there are many more planets like ours. He came to the conclusion that the stars shining in the sky were actually suns very far away, which had their own stars around them.In the eyes of his contemporaries, who believed in the centrality of the earth in the universe, this was hallucination. All the different movements in the Church boycotted Bruno and his arguments and regarded him as a heretic. In England, where he traveled to lecture on his ideas, the scientists of the time scorned him. Not long after he returned to Italy, he was imprisoned because of his "foolish ideas." Giordano Bruno was tortured by the the Inquisition for eight years but refused to deny his ideas. It was to this end that Giordano Bruno was executed by the church.

Ten years after his death, Galileo will first create the telescope and join Bruno's ideas, which proved to be accurate. Gradually, the scientific world would come to similar conclusions and at a later stage, the church as well, that the earth is far from being the center of the universe and that Bruno was right. Today there are universities named after him as well as research institutes.


Visit the market as soon as possible. Beyond the brand new merchandise, the crowds are thin and the atmosphere is enormously pleasant. You can even start your day there and enjoy breakfast in the market.
Gianicolo Park
#The Park Overlooking Rome

Apart from being a wonderful park for a pleasant stroll and relaxation, Gianicolo Park (Parco del Gianicolo), situated on a hill west of the city, is known for its panoramic view of Rome at its special observation point.

If you hear gunshots while you are in the park, there is no need to be alarmed. This is part of the ceremony of cannon fire which takes place at noon every day in the plaza of the main building of the park. This daily ritual is part of the tradition since 1847.

The park also offers children activities, such as the marionette theater, horseback riding, bumper cars and more. It is especially worth watching marionette operators, skilled artists working puppets on a string, an experience the children will not forget.

If you are not tired of churches, go to the church of San Pietro in Montorio and observe the Baroque fountain called "Fontana dell'Acqua Paola."
Piazza Navona
#Rome's Special Square

Welcome to the most beautiful square in Rome! It is impressive and exciting and is located at the heart of the tourist area of ​​the Italian capital. The square was built by the architect Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini for the family of Pope Innocent X during the Renaissance. This square is considered to be one of the most well-known Baroque architectures in Rome. You will see lots of decorations and wealth that characterize baroque construction.

Originally, the square was supposed to be used for the city's athletic competitions. This is the reason for its elliptical shape. It was built on the ruins of the stadium of Domitianus from the first century. During ancient times it was used for horse races and is the only remnant of the nostalgic race track of the Romans.

Around the square there are beautiful Baroque palaces from the 17th century, the most famous of which is the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone.

Please note that the square is inviting and beautiful, but the prices of shops and restaurants are certainly high. Try to walk a little farther from the square and see how the prices gradually decrease.

Entrance to the square with vehicles is not permitted, unless you are traveling on a licensed vehicle. However, public transport will help you reach it and also travel to many places in the area, such as the Colosseum, the Forum and more.

#What Can be Seen in Piazza Navona Square?

This piazza is bustling with tourists, mostly because of its many shops, restaurants, cafés and its fine ice cream parlors. It has spectacular fountains, such as the fountain of the four rivers of Bernini. In the southern corner of the square you can see the fountain of Moro, whi ch was also built by architect Bernini, a very influential architect. The Neptune Fountain, designed in the 16th century, is located on the northern side of the square.

Take special notice of the tall obelisk, which came from Egypt at the command of one of the Popes, to symbolize the triumph of Christianity over the Muslim world. The symbol of the pigeon you see, was commissioned by the Pamphili family from Bernini.

On weekends and in the evening you can see many artists and painters in Piazza Navona. The early morning is the ideal time to enjoy the piazza, as it is less crowded than during the day.
Tivoli Gardens
#About the Wonderful Tivoli Gardens

For hundreds of years, the resort town of Tivoli has been the most popular tourist destination outside of Rome.

Dating all the way back to the ancient times and the Renaissance period, Tivoli, situated on the slopes of the mountain range east of Rome, was a resort town favored by the rich and famous of Rome and Italy.

Tivoli is situated 30 kilometers north of Rome. It is a green town with many water sources and a breathtaking view.

There is no doubt that the main attraction in Tivoli for tourists is Villa d'Este, a villa that in the Middle Ages was a monastery and later became the abode of the second governor of Tivoli, Ippolito d'Este. The villa is beautifully decorated with pretty frescoes.

However the villa is famous primarily for its gardens, which were named "Tivoli Gardens." They have been declared a World Heritage Site, and for good reason. They are carefully decorated and feature beautiful fountains. There are about 500 designed pools of water which include waterfalls and fountains. There are many statues and sculptures of gods, animals and dragons throughout the grounds, most of which were brought from around Rome.

Additional recommended spots:

On the terrace of 100 fountains you can see about 100 fountains located along the beautiful promenade.

Hadrian’s villa is an ancient and elegant building that was used in antiquity for the residence of Hadrian Caesar.

A Closer Look:


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