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.
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.
Some of the world's foremost examples of Renaissance art grace the ceiling of the spectacular Sistine Chapel. Originally built in 1479 under the direction of Pope Sixtus IV, the chapel forms a part of the Vatican City's Apostolic Palace. It is here that the College of Cardinals gather to elect a new Pope and has been the host of such gatherings and other Papal functions since it was first conceived of. At the time of its construction, while the walls of the chapel were painted with frescoes by artists like Sandro Botticelli, Pinturicchio and Cosimo Roselli, the ceiling was rendered a simple, solid blue with stars. It was not until 1508 that Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Many considered this an odd choice as Michelangelo, at that time, was not known as a skilled painter. This led to speculations that Michelangelo's lofty commission was a ploy devised by rival artists Raphael and Bramante to ensure his fall from grace. Not to be deterred, Michelangelo envisioned and achieved a series of frescoes that depict scenes from the Old Testament, beginning with Creation and ending at Noah's voyage aboard his ark. Each a masterpiece in its own right, together they form a vision of unmatched artistry that draws millions of visitors to the Pope's residence each year.
This collection is housed in a building constructed in 1613 for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, one of Bernini's greatest patrons. In fact, this great sculptor has exhibited some of his most famous sculptures here; amongst them is the renowned Apollo and Daphne. When one thinks of the Museo Borghese, the sculpture that immediately springs to mind is Canova's Pauline Borghese, in which she poses as Venus, wearing just a drape around her midriff. There are six major pieces by Caravaggio in the Galleria, including The Boy with a Basket of Fruit and the Madonna Della Serpe. Titian is also represented with Sacred and Profane Love, Raphael with The Deposition, and there are important works by Correggio. The gallery can only hold 300 visitors at a time, so it is advisable to book in advance.
The Parco della Musica-Cavea Auditorium hosts a series of concerts, festivals, events and other shows every year. It brings in some famous performers like Diana Ross, Joe Jackson and Jim Hall. 'Flamenco', 'Luglio Suona Bene' and 'PianoSolo' are three of the musical festivals held at the Auditorium each year. The Auditorium brings in a cross cultural mix of musical tastes from ballet to opera to jazz. For the best performances in Rome, visit the Auditorium while tickets are still available.
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.
The Scuderie del Quirinale is an marvelous form of imposing structure in the heart of Rome. The venue is a beehive of exhibitions and events at any given time. Encompassing over 3000 square meters of area, the wide open spaces are apt for exhibitions and events held on a large scale. The exhibitions are generally based on fine or contemporary art and cater to a niche audience. The building also houses a bookshop for the art enthusiasts and a restaurant where you can grab a bite or sip on some steaming coffee after attending an exhibition. In all an experience to cherish and remember.
Palazzo Santa Chiara is a spectacular location that is sure to be an ideal venue for any event. Situated in a historic setting, Palazzo Santa Chiara has an impressive theater which can easily accommodate about 150 guests. The theater is equipped with state-of-the-art amenities and events can be complemented with food and beverages. In addition, Palazzo Santa Chiara has an ornate chapel on site which is most popular for weddings. Couples prefer to tie the knot at the chapel and throw their wedding reception at any of the two halls which speak of a capacity of 90 and 200 guests respectively.
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.
Piazza di Pasquino is one of the many squares that has become a feature of the great Roman empire. But it has become more famous because of the statue of Pasquino—a tailor who enjoyed speaking ill about the nobles. Even today people paste messages and claims under the statue continuing the Roman tradition of lampooning. Palaces and historic buildings still stand side by side with the modern brick buildings. Although many old buildings have been pulled down to be replaced by newer ones, the love of tourists for this Piazza has not declined even a bit. One of the reasons for this is the many shops and restaurants that abound here and the proximity to Piazza Novona, which is another shopping district.
Conceptualized as a performance theater in 1882, the Teatro Sala Umberto was born. It was used to host comedy, operas, and live concerts. With time and change of ownership, Sala Umberto was then used as a cinema hall and then revamped to transform back its original state of being a performing arts theater. Teatro Sala Umberto now showcases an array of drama and comedy shows.