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Housed in a Neo-Renaissance palace built at the end of 19th century, the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, you find one of the most important archeological collections in the world. All the sculptures, Roman coins and fragments of mosaics here at Museo Nazionale Romano are described in Italian and English. The four floors of the museum house spectacular statuary like Lancellotti Discobolus and the Maiden of Antium.
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj built in the 17th Century was once the home to Roman royalty. It now houses one of the most prestigious art collections in the city. This collection features some of the most iconic artworks from Renaissance era. Amongst the most celebrated masterpieces found here are - Titian's Salomé with Head of John the Baptist (1515), Raphael's Saletta del Cinquecento and Mary Magdalene by Caracci, to name a few. Other artists showcased here are Caravaggio, Guercino, Duquesnoy among others.
Capitoline Hill is located near the Foro Romano and Campus Martius. The hill is one of the seven hills that were located in the ancient city, and was the center of all the activities of the empire. The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, the most revered temple at that time stood here, and its ruins are still visible. Housed here are the Musei Capitolini and City Hall.
The Roman Forum was designed to be the center of social, political and economic life in the city. The innumerable remains include the well-conserved triumphal arch of Emperor Septimius Severus, with reliefs depicting his victories and the base of the Temple of Saturn with its eight columns and their splendid Ionic capitals. The Rostrum is the famous platform from which Mark Antony gave his oration in Shakespeare's play after Julius Caesar's assassination. The platform became the setting for many important events in Rome's history. It was named the rostrum after the bows of the ships that form the decorative motif. The Temple of Vesta was the home of the Vestal Virgins, charged with keeping the sacred flame alight. The circular foundations still remain, near to a garden in which traces of the House of the Vestal Virgins can still be seen. The Basilica of Constantine and Massentius was used as the court, and the three remaining barrel-vaulted naves give an idea of its gigantic structure. The Arch of Titus celebrates victories in Judea, and in the reliefs you can see the spoils of war, including an altar and a seven-armed chandelier. Admission is free; call the number listed for information about guided tours.
The ancient buildings that can be seen here were discovered during excavation work in the 1920s. The four temples from the Republican era were named A, B, C and D. Temple C is the oldest, Temple A is from the 3rd Century BCE, and some of the flooring and mosaics of Temple B are still visible. Though Temple C was built in 100 BCE, the mosaic decorations were added during a later period. Currently, this historic sight is a no-kill cat sanctuary that houses abandoned cats from the area. Stray cats are taken in, given shots, sprayed and given a home at the sanctuary where they now abound. Whether you are a history buff or a cat lover, this is one sight you have to see.
Rome is known as the city of seven hills, and what better than to gaze at its brilliance from atop a hill. The Piazza de Quirinale atop the Quirinale Hill offers tourists this chance. The piazza or square is surrounded by many historical structures such as the Palazzo Quirinale and the Obelisk and Fountain of Pollux. The Palazzo Quirinale is a stupendous palace housing the President of Italy. The Obelisk on the other hand used to be a part of the Mausoleum of Augustus. Enjoy the view of Saint Peter's Basilica and witness the sun rising over the city from this magnificent piazza.
Commissioned by Marcus Agrippa, restored by Domitian, and subsequently rebuilt by Hadrian (who added the dome), the Pantheon was turned into a church in the early 7th Century by Pope Boniface IV. The building's sole source of light is the opening at the dome's apex (the oculus); according to popular legend, this formed the base for the bronze pine cone that is now in the Vatican's Pigna courtyard, where it is used as a fountain. Many famous Italians are buried in the Pantheon, including Renaissance painter Raphael and King Vittorio Emanuele I.
Tradition has it that throwing a coin over your left shoulder into the fountain guarantees a swift return to the world's most beautiful city. Anita Ekberg's dip in it was immortalized in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, and Italian actor Toto even sold it to an American, passing himself off as its owner. Earlier, Fontana di Trevi was the setting for the award-winning Three Coins in the Fountain motion picture, ensuring its popularity worldwide. Designed by Nicola Salvi for Pope Clemente XII, it was completed in the second half of the 18th Century. The statues in the center represent Neptune supported by Tritons on either side while rococo-style Poli Palace provides the perfect backdrop.
Just south of the Roman Forum and offering a stunning view of the ancient city, this area includes imperial and patrician residences including those of the Emperor Domitian. Originally the Domus Flavia had walls completely lined with polished marble - Domitian feared assassination and in this way he could see the reflection of anyone coming towards him. The courtyard still has its fine pavement in colored marble. It was also the place where the first settlers built their huts under the guidance of Romulus. You can still find the hole made by the hut posts on a closer inspection.
Palazzo delle Esposizioni with its statues and Corinthian columns, designed by Piacentini, hosts temporary exhibitions of paintings, sculpture and graphics, which are changed every three months. There is also a small cinema that shows foreign-language films and the occasional theatrical performance at Palazzo delle Esposizioni. In addition, there is a well-stocked bookshop, a design shop, a bar and a restaurant on the terrace. Next to the complex is the Visual Arts Research and Documentation Center, an archive that contains data on contemporary Italian and international art.
Tradition says that Campo de' Fiori was named after the woman loved by Pompey, Flora, but it is more likely to have come from something a bit less romantic. In the 14th Century, Campo de' Fiori was a long-abandoned field filled with flowers. In the second half of the 19th Century the square became a place of daily market. You may be tempted to buy some of the best fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, tablecloths, utensils and toys. It was also the scene of many executions, most notably that of Giordano Bruno, the philosopher who was burned here in 1600. The statue dedicated to him replaced a fountain that was moved to the nearby Chiesa Nuova square, and a reproduction of it was moved to the side of the Campo de' Fiori.
During the Christmas season Piazza Navona is packed with stalls selling toys, sweets and decorations for the nativity scene or Christmas tree, making it a favorite spot for children. Its unusual shape recalls the time of Domitian, who built a stadium for equestrian displays here. The Fountain of the Rivers, with the obelisk, and the Fountain of the Moor, with the God of the Sea, at the center of the square, are both sculpted by Bernini.