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Top Rated Attractions in Rest of Italy

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National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo

The splendid fortress of Castel Sant'Angelo was originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian in 139 CE. In the 10th Century CE, it was transformed into a castle, then, 500 years later, into the elegant residence of Pope Alexander VI Borgia. Michelangelo designed the marvelous main court for Pope Leo X and many of the rooms inside are decorated with frescoes of great beauty. It is also been used to house prisoners, including the sculptor Benvenuto Cellini. The terrace offers a fine view of the river Tiber and opera lovers will know that this was where the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Tosca (1900) took place. The building is now a museum with a fine collection of suits of armor which is open to the public.

Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano

A visit to Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano is a fascinating journey through time. From the upper basilica, which dates from the beginning of the 12th Century and whose apse boasts the mosaic The Triumph of the Cross, one passes into the 4th-century lower basilica, and, via a stairway, down to the Roman constructions and the mitreo, a 3rd-century temple dedicated to the God Mithra. Of particular interest are the frescoes in the chapel of St Catherine, painted between 1428 and 1431 by Masolino da Panicale, possibly with the collaboration of Masaccio.

National Museum of Rome - Baths of Diocletian

Built at the behest of Emperor Diocletian between 298 CE and 306 CE, the Baths of Diocletian formed the largest public bath complex of the Roman Empire, with a capacity of 3000. The sprawling complex encompassed a gymnasium, library and public baths, with tepid, hot and cold water options. Decorated with sculptures and elaborate stucco work, the baths were once an awe-inspiring sight in both scale and grandeur. The siege of Rome in 537 CE brought with it the end of the Baths of Diocletian when the aqueducts were cut of by King Vitiges. In 1561, much of now ruinous bath complex was lost when Pope Pius IV commissioned Michelangelo to construct the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli at the site. Today, the ruins of Hall 10 of the Baths of Diocletian have been revived by the National Museum of Rome, showcasing a once treasured piece of the ancient city of Rome. Tombs, sarcophagi, mosaics and other relics from the baths have been preserved, alongside a reconstitution of the hall and its ruins. The site is surrounded by a 16th Century garden lavishly embellished with historic artwork, adding to the allure of this historic site.

National Museum of the XXI Century Arts (MAXXI)

National Museum of the XXI Century Arts (MAXXI) stands with an aim to promote all the forms of contemporary art. This magnificent structure takes pride in housing the first national museum in architecture, housing all the products and documents involved in architecture as an entity. The MAXXI showcases artistic productions through conferences, documentaries, presentations of cinema and video series, concerts and dance performances. All in all, a great place that educates and enlightens every visitor, right from an art connoisseur to a layman.

National Etruscan Museum

National Etruscan Museum was a splendid Renaissance villa, built for Pope Julius III and houses an important collection of Etruscan treasures found mainly in graves and tombs. The Tomb of the Newlyweds is one of the most famous pieces here, and was probably designed to contain the remains of a couple.There is a reconstruction of a temple in the garden, illustrating the Etruscans' love of detail. The water garden in front of the museum decorated with mosaics, fountains, and statues, and the frescoes inside the colonnaded loggia are worth noting. A recent piece is a 5th-century terracotta relief, which shows the Grecian influence on Etruscan art.

Capuchin Crypt

Creepy, bizarre and completely captivating, the crypt of the Capuchin Friars is worth the venture off the well-beaten tourist path in Rome. The crypt, or cemetery of sorts, lies under the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. Since 1764 the bones of over 4000 deceased Capuchin Franciscans were arranged in elaborate, decorative floor-to-ceiling designs spread throughout five rooms. Each room highlights certain bones, and the designs even extend onto the light fixtures. Skulls flanked by shoulder blades create angelic figures looming above on the ceiling and the final room contains the skeleton of a child grim reaper and the inscription "what you are, we once were too and what we are now, you will be". Morbid, but like nothing you have ever seen before or could even imagine.

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