The forerunner of the Pantheon "temple of all gods" was created 27 BC as Temple of Agrippa. The present building was started by Emperor Hadrian around 125 AD. Anyone who approaches the "Pantheon" from the Piazza della Rotonda will first see the porch "Pronaos" with 8 huge Corinthian columns each carved from one granite block. The unique dome, with a 9 m wide opening in the center, was made of "Opus caementitium", an early form of concrete. The cassettes on the inside of the dome become smaller towards the top, which makes the dome appear larger than it is. Statues of Roman gods used to stand in the niches, today there are the bones of famous artists and kings, such as Raphael and Vittorio Emanuele II.
The castle was built around 138 AD as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his successors. Around 271 the "Castel Sant'Angelo" was integrated into the Aurelian city wall as a fortress and was also used as prison. The name "Angels Castle" was created in 590, when the Archangel Michael appeared here to Pope Gregory I and announced the end of the plague epidemic. Later the castle was expanded to be the fortress of the Popes. Therefor the "Passetto" (escape aisle) from the Vatican to the castle was built. Above the castle stands the bronze figure of Archangel Michael.
The 50 m high Coliseum with 50,000-seat was opened in 80 AD by Emperor Titus. Brutal spectacles with gladiators, wild animals and prisoners of war took place in the giant arena. For naval battles the Theatre could be flooded with water. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Coliseum was used as a quarry.
The "Constantine Arch" recalls Constantine's victory over Maxentius at the Ponte Milvio in 312. This was a turning point in the history of Rome. The city was now governed by a Christian emperor. Triumphal arches were erected in many Roman cities. France resumed the tradition under Napoleon.
The temple was built in the year 145 AD under Emperor Hadrian. The structure is also called "Hadrianeum", it is built like a classical Greek temple, with 15 columns on the long side and 8 on the front. From this ancient temple 11 Corinthian columns and parts of the cella are preserved. In 1695 the building was turned into a papal customs house, since 1878 it is the seat of the Roman stock exchange.
The "Marcellus Theater" was founded in 17 BC. built by Emperor Augustus for his deceased nephew Marcellus. The theater once had 14,000 seats. The theater was used in the Middle Ages as a fortress of a noble family and was therefore preserved. Under Mussolini, the medieval annexes were removed. In front of the theater are 3 pillars of the Apollo Sosianus temple which was built in 32 BC.
The Column on Piazza Colonna was built in honor of Emperor Marc Aurel (AD 121-180). The relief shows scenes from the victorious campaigns of the Emperor against the Markomans (a Germanic tribe) and the Sarmatians (an Asian equestrian folk). The column is similar to Trajan's Column, which was erected around 100 AD. The philosopher Emperor Marcus Aurelius used to stand on the column, but since the 16th century there is a statue of St. Paul on top of the column.
At the point where Piazza Colonna meets the shopping street Via del Corso, the Galleria Colonna was built in 1922. The shopping arcade of architect Dario Carbone has two arcades that meet in a V-shape on the piazza. The passage was named after actor and director Alberto Sordi, who died in 2003. In the high, light-flooded halls you can enjoy a café and of course go shopping in a beautiful ambience.
The "Roman Forum" was the center of the Roman Empire from 600 BC. Much has not remained but the ruins convey an impression of the ancient splendor. Amongst others remains you can see the Arch of Titus, the remains of the Dioscuro Temple, the Temple of Antonius Pius, and the Apollo Temple.
The shape of the square goes back to the Domitian stadium, whose ranks were converted into residential houses in the Middle Ages. On the Piazza Navona there are three famous fountains, the "Fontana del Nettuno", the "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi" (Four Rivers Fountain) by Bernini and the "Fontana del Moro". The most impressive building at the square, is the baroque church "Sant'Agnese in Agone" built 1655 and several city palaces. The Piazza Navona is one of the most beatiful squares in Italy.
The Scalinata della Trinita dei Monti or just "Spanish Steps" were built in 1725 by Francesco de Sanctis. On the Piazza di Spagna, where the Spanish Embassy is located, stands the Fontanan della Baraccia of Pietro Bernini. The "Spanish Steps" is one of the main sights of Rome. On the steps sit tourists from all over the world.
The "Fontana di Trevi" was planned by Nicola Salvi andwas completed in 1762. Pope Urban VIII was the Initiator of the new fountain. The Palazzo Poli serves as background, whose façade is a reminiscent of a triumphal arch. Neptune, the god of freshwater and the sea, is situated in the center of the Fontana di Trevi.
Vittorio Emanuele II was the first king of the newly united Italy. When he died in 1878, the construction of the monument was decided. In 1927 the building was completed. On the monument, there is a viewing platform with the best view over the historic center of Rome.
The "Mouth of Truth" is located in the porch of the church Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The Mouth of Truth will bite of the hand of every liar, if he dares to puts it in the mouth. The Bocca della Verità became famous by the movie "Roman Holiday" with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.
The oldest church in Rome was built by Constantine and is the church of the Bishop of Rome. Since this is the Pope, the Lateran Basilica belongs to the Vatican. This makes San Giovanni after St. Peter's Basilica the most important church in Rome and is also the first five-aisled basilica in the world.
The "Circus Maximus" (Circo Massimo) was a 600 m long and 140 m wide racecourse, which could hold 250,000 spectators. The first races took place in the 6th century BC, the last 549 AD. The first stone tribunes were built by Caesar around 46 BC. In the south-eastern corner of the "Circus Maximus" the remains of the former tribune are still visible.
The "Caracalla Baths" (Thermae Antoninianae) were built around 206 AD. started by Emperor Severus and opened in 216 by Emperor Caracall. Public bathing establishments could be used free of charge and were built by the emperors to pacify the people. After the water pipe was destroyed in 537 by the Goths, the bath decayed and was used as a quarry.
The basilica San Paolo Fuori la Mura was built on the tomb of the Apostle Paul by Emperor Constantine. The church was destroyed by fire in 1823, reconstruction lasted until 1855. The interior is adorned with portraits of popes.
The "Esposizione Universale di Roma" short "EUR 42" is a district in the south of Rome, built in 1942 under Benito Mussolini. The monumental district was built as an exhibition ground in fascist style. The most famous building is the "Palazzo della Civilta Italiana" by Giovanni Guerrini and Ernesto Lapadula. The cubic reinforced concrete structure is covered with travertine and has 54 arches on each side.
Welcome to Rom
According to the legend of "Romulus and Remus", the "Eternal City" was founded in 753 BC. The two brothers were abandoned in a wicker basket on the Tiber because the "King of Alba Longa" feared them as heir to the throne. The brothers were then raised by a she-wolf and a woodpecker. Romulus later founded the city of Rome by digging a furrow through the land where his city walls would be built. His envious brother Remus jumped over the moat into town and mocked Romulus. Romulus slew his brother and said: "So it should happen to everyone who leaps over my walls."
With around 2.8 million inhabitants, Rome is the capital of Italy. Even if the "Roman Empire" fell a long time ago, the huge buildings of the past dominate the city center. Nevertheless, today's cityscape of Rome is determined more by the baroque than by the old "Romans". After the fall of Rome, around 450 AD, the population fell by more than 90%. The city is being abandoned and decaying. It was not until 1590 that the Popes expanded Rome into a major residential city.
In addition to the grandiose churches and sights, Rome offers many important art treasures through its long history. Among the most famous museums in the world are the Vatican Museums, the Galleria Borghese and the Museo Nazionale Romano.