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.
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.
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) 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 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.
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.
This is an example of a "talking statue"; one that used to represent opinions that were counter to the dominant power. This one is unique because it is of a woman, Madama Lucrezia, who was well-known to Alfonso of Aragon, the king of Naples. She came to Rome after the death of the king as a guest of Cardinal Pietro Barbo. The people of Rome named the statue in honor of her beauty.
Popular among locals as Il Milite Ignoto 'The Unknown Soldier', Complesso del Vittoriano is a museum that houses the bodies of various soldiers who fought in the World War I. After efforts of more than 20 years put into constructing this monument, it was finally completed in 1911. The architecture and exterior of the museum is of equal importance. The front facade of the museum is embellished with statues representing the various regions of Italy. The fountains of the two seas, greets visitors who enter through the gates. Do pay close attention to the inscriptions on various artifacts.
The basement floors of Palazzo Senatorio contain relics of religions of ancient Italic populations, relating in particular to the cult of the god Veiovis. This god had a preference for unhealthy, marshy locations, and took the form of Jupiter of the underworld. However, in the version created for this temple he takes the form of a beautiful young man without any of the original unpleasant characteristics. The temple, according to an inscription, was erected in 78 BCE and was discovered almost intact in the 1940s. The architecture is reminiscent of the Greek style: this beautiful god is guarding the altar of his own temple.
The Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini) are archeological and art museums located in Piazza Campidoglio at the top of Capitoline Hill. Michelangelo redesigned the buildings making generous use of giant order columns, a novelty at the time. The museums are made up of the Palazzo Senatorio, Palazzo dei Conservatori, Palazzo Caffarelli-Clementino, and the Palazzo Nuovo, all linked by an underground gallery beneath the piazza. A massive collection of ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian sculptures and artifacts are housed at the museums, in addition to more modern pieces. The 1st Century BCE Greco-Roman sculpture Lo Spinario, in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, is one of the collection's most impressive works.
Experience Rome through the ages on this one of a kind, historical adventure. Part educational tour part thrill ride, in Time Elevator Roma guests are strapped into their seats and taken on journey through Rome's long and varied history. Spanning from the prehistoric to the present, see for yourself, the assassination of Julius Caesar, the glory days of the Colosseum, the painting of the Sistine Chapel, the splendor of the Renaissance, and much more! Choose from Dolby surround audio in six languages. Handicap accessible, and static seats are also available upon request at Time Elevator Experience.
The name is taken from the shape, which resembles a sheaf of wheat, but it is in fact a tomb. At the end of the 19th Century, a beautiful sarcophagus was discovered inside, at present in the Musei Capitolini; it contained a dark blue glass vase, now in the British Museum in London, called the Portland Vase. The long access tunnel and round central room are all that remain of the original sepulchre. When first discovered, it was wrongly believed to be the mausoleum of the last member of the Severus family. Admission: phone or fax to arrange a visit