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Top Rated Attractions in Rome

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Trevi Fountain

Designed by Nicola Salvi for Pope Clemente XII, the Trevi Fountain was completed in the second half of the 18th Century. A towering likeness of Oceanus forms the centerpiece of the Baroque fountain, with Abundance and Salubrity on either side, while the rococo-style Poli Palace provides the perfect backdrop. Tritons guide the chariot of Oceanus, and all around the water flows, its gushing sound rising to a crescendo befitting the all-consuming power it represents. Tradition has it that throwing a coin over your left shoulder into the fountain guarantees a swift return to Rome. Anita Ekberg's dip in the Trevi Fountain 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. Featured in numerous movies since Trevi Fountain has long inspired the passions of the human race and continues to be revered the world over as one of Italy's most triumphant sculptural works.

Pantheon

Originally commissioned by Marcus Agrippa, and subsequently rebuilt by Hadrian, the Pantheon is a monumental homage to the architectural finesse and ingenuity of the Romans. Massive bronze doors guard the entrance to the central space, sheltered by the graceful arch of the Pantheon's dome. The temple was transformed into a church in the early 7th Century by Pope Boniface IV and has remained well-preserved as a result. The building's primary source of light is the oculus, a circular opening at the dome's apex, rimmed with the original Roman bronze used at the time of its construction. Many famous Italians are buried in the Pantheon, including the Renaissance painter, Raphael, and King Vittorio Emanuele I.

Vatican Museums

Established in 1506, Vatican Museums is a collection of different museums that house masterpieces from the bygone era. The museum houses 54 galleries and is home to the Sistine Chapel as well. The museums were founded by Pope Julius II. The museum attracts millions of visitors throughout the year and is touted to be one of the top five most visited museums in the world. Visitors are offered guided tours to the museum and can see fine works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, Ghirlandaio and Botticelli among a plethora of other artists. Major highlights of the museum includes the double spiral staircase dating back to 1932, The Gallery of Maps from the 16th Century, the Raphael Rooms and epitaph of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus.

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.

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.

Palatine Hill

Legendary birthplace of Romulus and Remus, Palatine Hill rises high above the ruins of the ancient city, an oft neglected remnant of the once prosperous Roman Empire. Just south of the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill was the site of the imperial and patrician residences of Rome, nestled alongside grand temples and teeming gardens. The ruins evoke visions of the lavish homes that once housed Ancient Rome's most affluent citizens, featuring sprawling courtyards, elegant columns, and stately arches bedecked in marble and captivating sculptures. The ruins rise from a bed of wildflowers and verdant lawns, and they offer a panoramic view of the ancient city around every corner. Believed to be where Rome first took root, Palatine Hill is an open-air museum wrapped in an aura of mystery. Of special interest are Emperor Domitian's Domus Flavia, the Farnese Gardens, and the Palatine Museum.

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