Istituzione Universitaria dei Concerti has, over the years, become an excellent musical point of reference in Rome. It offers up-and-coming musicians the chance to give concerts and solo performances to a wide audience in order to win wider fame. Concerts by the likes of Richard Galliano, Roberto Cominati, Angela Hewitt and Daniil Trifonov have been held here.
Santa Maria in Trastevere is the first Roman church to be consecrated to the Madonna. Its foundations were laid in approximately AD 400, when Christianity was only just beginning to take root in Europe. The present edifice is dated 1300 and contains beautiful mosaics by Pietro Cavallini, especially those dedicated to the life of the Virgin Mary. There is a magnificent life-size icon, La Madonna della Clemenza, from as early as the 7th Century. The nave is formed from granite columns taken from ancient Roman edifices. The 12th-century mosaics of the façade, depicting the Madonna and child and ten women holding lamps, are not to be missed. The portico was renovated in the 18th Century by Carlo Fontana and the balustrade is decorated with statues of Popes, baroque additions which do not detract from the church's original medieval aspect.
The collection housed in this Neo-classical building includes works from the 19th and 20th Centuries. The 19th-century works are mostly those of the Macchiaioli (Florentine impressionist painters), a movement similar to puntinismo (pointillism), a style based on the use of spots of color to create paintings whose subjects were distinguishable only from a certain distance. Among the 20th-century artists represented here are De Chirico, Carrà, Sironi, Casorati, and Marini. The museum often organizes temporary exhibitions and has its own restaurant, Caffè delle Arti.
Vatican City is amongst the most important historical sites in the world. Being the seat of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, it is also the home of the Pope. As the smallest state in the world, the Vatican has figured in key events throughout history. Occupying about one half kilometer (0.31 miles) of Rome, the Vatican City is further significant because of its fabulous architecture, religious, and artistic treasures. It was Pope Julius II della Rovere in the 16th Century who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the history of creation on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Among countless other notable events in the history of this important city are the convening of the College of Cardinals, at the death of a reigning Pontiff, for the purposes of electing a new Pope. No visit to Rome is complete without an excursion to this magnificent location, a place so steeped in history and tradition that you will never forget it.
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.