Exploring the Italian City of Rome
If you love to travel then you must have listed Rome on your bucket list. If not, then why? Rome not only features one of the most picturesque cityscapes in the world, but also has a lasting influence on European culture, history, and demography as a whole. There are parts of Rome that showcase the rich history and culture of Rome, dating back to the Cesarean era, while on the other hand, the city also keeps up with the changing modern trends of architecture, fashion, and cuisine. Remember that expression, "the Italians did it right!" Well, they really have! Let us take a closer look at some points, why the city of Rome is considered as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
With a history spanning more than two millenniums, Rome has significantly evolved, from being a small Latin-speaking village to the center of a majestic Roman empire. Initially, Rome was a small village, perched atop the Palatine Hill, probably in the 8th century BC or earlier. Given the fact that the village was positioned at a ford on the River Tiber, it quickly transformed into a crossroads of trade and traffic. As centuries passed, the earlier settlement first evolved into the capital of kingdom led by the Etruscan dynasty. Subsequently, the city became the seat of the mighty Roman Republic in the year 509 BC, before finally becoming the capital city of the Roman Empire from 27BC to 285AD. Historians believe that Rome was the largest and wealthiest city in the Western world for more than a thousand years, dominating almost the entire European landmass and the Mediterranean Sea. After the Western Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, the Bishop of Rome (eventually known as the Pope) gained considerable importance, both religiously and financially; thus Rome was established as the high-seat of the Catholic Church. Even when the city was attacked by the barbarians in 410 AD and then again in 455 AD; or was under-siege by the Ostrogoths in 537 AD and Saracens in 846 AD, Rome bounced back every time to become the cultural and religious powerhouse we know today.
Located at the center of the city, we have the Roman Forum or Forum Romanum (in Latin), a rectangularly-shaped plaza that is surrounded by the ruins of various influential buildings of the ancient times. For centuries, the Roman Forum functioned as the nucleus for day-to-day life in Rome - hosting elections, acting as the site for victory processions, public speeches, gladiatorial matches, and criminal trials. The Forum lies in a small valley, encompassed by the Capitoline and Palatine Hills, and was once regarded as the most influential meeting place in the entire world. Now in ruins and an important tourist attraction in Italy, the Forum was once home to the earliest temples and shrines in the Roman kingdom, including the royal residence known as the Regia (in 8th century BC), Vestal Virgins, the Temple of Vesta (in 7th century BC).
Saint Peter's Basilica
Designed by the illustrious team of Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, Donato Bramante, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the Saint Peter’s Basilica or the Papal Basilica of St. Peter is the most prominent architects of the Renaissance period. Despite being considered as one of the holiest Catholic shrines in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica is neither the cathedral of the Roman diocese nor the mother church of Catholic belief. Moreover, the present basilica is not the original St.Peter’s Basilica from the 14th century, but a replica completed in 1626 AD.
If Rome ranks among the best places for vacation in Europe, then the Trevi Fountain is the main tourist attraction in Rome. Designed by reputable Italian architects Nicola Salvi and Pietro Bracci, this fountain is an astounding piece of art. Given its size, 161.3 ft wide and 86 ft high, the fountain is one of the largest Baroque fountains in the world. That said, it has also garnered an immense fan following, after featuring in various Hollywood blockbusters including Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and Three Coins in the Fountain.
The ancient gladiatorial arena of Colosseum, or the Flavian Amphitheatre, is definitely the showstopper when you look for prominent tourist attractions in the City of Rome. The largest amphitheater ever built by mankind, the Colosseum still stands proudly on the eastern side of the Roman Forum. The construction began during the Flavian dynasty rule, under emperor Vespasian in 72 AD, using travertine, brick-faced concrete, and tuff. According to historians, the Colosseum could seat 80.000 spectators approximately, who enjoyed gladiatorial bouts, re-enacted battle scenes, animal hunts, and executions.