Rome wasn't built in a day

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"Rome wasn't built in a day" is an adage attesting to the need for time to create great things. Join us on a journey through some of the most important architecture Rome has to offer to understand why.
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The popes were among the very first royalty to open their vast art collections to public viewing. Pope Julius II 1443 - 1513 began collecting sculpture during the Renaissance and, ever since, most popes have taken an active interest in art and in commissioning the best artists of their time. Today you can view the Vatican's incredible collection while touring the so-called 'Vatican Museums', a huge complex of galleries and museums showcasing painting, sculpture, frescoes, tapestries and classical antiquities including Roman, Greek and Egyptian. There are, of course, also collections of religious art, papal portraits and, less obviously, carriages and automobiles. Any visit to the Vatican should also include the famous Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms. Leave plenty of time for winding your way through the museums and the narrow connecting corridors and staircases.
Vatican City was created in 1929 and run by the Pope who is the supreme monarch. The official population is a little over 800 and it covers an area of 110 acres 44 hectares. Within the walls of the city are St Peter's Basilica, St Peter's Square, the Vatican Museums, the residence of the Pope and offices of the Catholic Church. Being a separate state, the Vatican has its own postage stamps, and the official language is Latin as well as Italian. It has its own bank and the world's only ATM with instructions in Latin Although it uses the euro, the Vatican does issue its own coins. The economy revolves around tourism, printing, mosaics and manufacturing uniforms who knew. There are two forces for law and order one is the Gendarmerie, who keep order, the other is the Swiss Guard notable for their crazy yellow, blue and red uniforms the Pope's personal bodyguard since 1506. All 134 members are indeed from Switzerland.
Part of its fame is directly related to the papacy The Sistine Chapel is where cardinals gather to elect a new pope known as the Papal Conclave. The primary reason for its fame is pure art the ceiling fresco painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. The huge fresco depicts the creation of the world and - despite the often shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in the Sistine Chapel - packs a powerful artistic punch heightened by a recent renovation here that brought back the true color and depth of the original work. Michelangelo returned to the Sistine Chapel between 1537 1541 to paint the magnificent 'Last Judgment' fresco on the altar wall. Few people leave a Sistine Chapel tour without feeling moved by Michelangelo's work. The chapel itself is named after Pope Sixtus IV, who renovated an old chapel and commissioned the first artworks here. The chapel contains important works byRenaissance heavyweights such as Raphael, Bernini, and Botticelli.
St Peter's Basilica was built between 1506 and 1590, when the dome was finally completed. It is on the site of the tomb of St. Peter his relics were finally found and authenticated in the middle of the 20th century. Before the current grand basilica, a 4th-century church built by Emperor Constantine stood here. This is a church like no other. It is huge and full of significant artworks and tombs, including that of Pope John Paul II. One of the most beautiful pieces is the marble Pieta by Michelangelo just inside the door on the right. It is now behind bullet proof glass after being attacked by an art-hating lunatic in 1972. If you can time your visit with a Mass, you will see the most important hierarchy of the Catholic Church come to worship in their red robes and hats. Climbing to the top of the dome gives a wonderful view over the piazza and Bernini's enclosing colonnade below, and across Rome.
In Ancient Rome, the Forum was the centre of the Roman Empire. Until the 4th century AD, a thousand years of decisions affecting the future of Europe were made here. When Roman soldiers were out conquering the world in the name of the Emperors, temples, courts, markets, and government buildings were thriving in the Forum. Located between two of Rome's famous hills, the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, it is now a collection of ruins having spent centuries as a quarry for marble and a cow paddock. The Forum became a very dense collection of buildings in its time but mostly all that remains today is columns, arches, and some scattered marbles so it can be difficult to make sense of it all. Ongoing archaeological work continues, and getting a map or a guide can really bring the bustle of the ancient site to life. You can get a great view over the Forum from the overlooking hills in the Farnese Gardens and from Michelangelo's Piazza del Campidoglio.
The world's famous Colosseum was built in 80 AD for the Roman emperors to stage fight to-the-death gladiator battles and hunt and kill wild animals, whilst members of the general public watched the violent spectaculars.Entry was free, although you were seated according to your social rank and wealth. Gladiatorial games were banned in 438 AD the wild beast hunting continued until 523. The Colosseum is amazing for its complex and advanced architecture and building technique. Despite being used as a quarry for building materials at various points in history, it is still largely intact. You can see the tiered seating, corridors and the underground rooms where the animals and gladiators awaited their fate. Today the Colosseum has set the model for all modern-day stadiums, the only difference being today's teams survive their games.
Rome is famously built on seven hills, but it's the Palatine Hill that is the most legendary - it is said that it was on the Palatine Hill that Romulus originally founded the city. Because of this, many of Rome's most famous archaeological sites are on or right around the Palatine Hill.Some of the structures you can still see in some form on the Palatine Hill include the Flavian Palace, a palace thought to be the residence of Emperor Augustus' wife, and the Hippodrome of Domitian. Archaeologists are still hard at work excavating on the Palatine, and in recent years they've found a palace believed to be the birthplace of Augustus, Rome's first emperor, as well as a cave beneath the hill that they believe was the site of the legendary Lupercalia celebrations. These supposedly took place in the cave where the she-wolf nursed Rome's founder Romulus and his twin brother Remus, so it's an incredibly significant discovery.
Raphael's Rooms Stanze di Raffaello are four interconnected rooms in the Vatican which have frescoes painted by the renowned Renaissance artist Raphael 1483 - 1520. These late Renaissance frescoes are the second-most famous in the Vatican's collection, only behind the fresco adorning the roof of the Sistine Chapel. Raphael's themes for his frescoes were religion and politics he often swapped portraits of the incumbent pope for the faces of important figures. Originally commissioned by Pope Julius II in the early 1500s, the frescoes were patronized by Pope Leo X after Julius died in 1513. When Raphael also died in 1520, artists from his studio finished the paintings. The 'Segnatura' room was the first to be decorated and contains Raphael's most famous painting, The School of Athens. The other rooms are known as 'Constantine', 'Heliodorus' and 'Fire in the Borgo'.
The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous and most beloved sights in Rome. A huge Baroque flurry 85 by 65 feet or 25 by 20 meters where water spills from rocks under the feet of Neptune, Triton and sea-horses into a large pool, it's always surrounded by coin-tossing tourists. Superstition has it that if you toss a coin into the fountain you will one day return to Rome. It shows how much people love this city that up to 3,500 a day is thrown in The money is collected at night by the city and distributed to charity.The Trevi Fountain began as a humble water outlet, the end of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct built in 19 BC to bring water to Roman Baths. The name comes from its location at the junction of three roads 'tre vie'. Around 1735 Pope Clement XII commissioned Niccolo Salvi to design the fountain we still love today.
St. Peter's Square Piazza San Pietro is the grand colonnaded area in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. A visually imposing entry to this great church, the semi-circular colonnades on either side designed by the Roman Baroque sculptor Bernini, seem to reach out and enfold you in their arms. Within the colonnade lies the security-check for entry to St. Peter's and, on the other side, the Vatican post office, because the Vatican is its own municipality with its own stamps. During times such as the death of a pope or election of a new one, and at Easter and Christmas, the piazza is jammed with pilgrims from all over the world.

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