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Rome is the capital city of Italy. It is located on the Tiber river, in the central part of the country near the Mediterranean Sea. The Vatican City, located in an enclave within Rome, is the seat of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Inhabited for over 3000 years - the city was the seat of the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.

Magical Journeys to Rome

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» Seven Hills of Rome

Seven Hills of Rome, Rome

Before the Roman Empire rose to power, before a city called Rome even existed, the area had already been occupied for many years. The marshy valleys and steep hills offered natural protection, and while it is thought that individual communities developed on the different hills in the area, they eventually grew together as population increased. In the 4th century B.C., what are known as the seven hills were joined together by the Servian walls - the ancient walls of Rome - and while modern Rome has far outgrown its original limits …

» Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel , Rome

Part of its fame is directly related to the papacy: The Sistine Chapel is where cardinals gather to elect a new pope (known as the Papal Conclave). The primary reason for its fame is pure art: the ceiling fresco painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. The huge fresco depicts the creation of the world and - despite the often shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in the Sistine Chapel - packs a powerful artistic punch (heightened by a recent renovation here that brought back the true color and depth of the original work) …

» Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps, Rome

The famous Spanish Steps lead from the Piazza di Spagna up to the Trinita Church. The staircase was constructed between 1723 and 1725 in the Roman Baroque style and is the longest and widest in Europe. The design is an elegant series of ramps with 138 steps in a fan or butterfly wing shape. In May, they are particularly beautiful when the ramps of the staircase are covered in spring flowers. Architecture aside, what makes the Spanish Steps a favorite spot to hang out is the people watching …

» Stadio Olimpico

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Home to two of Rome's world-famous soccer (calcio) clubs, Stadio Olimpico is located in the Foro Italico to the north of the city center. The teams that play here are AS Roma and SS Lazio, renowned for their intense rivalry as they both play in the Serie A top division of Italian football. Internationally capped players and household names currently playing for these teams include defender Ashley Cole for Roma and midfielder Lucas Biglia for Lazio. Football is a national obsession in Italy and home matches between these two teams …

» St John Lateran's Basilica

St John Lateran's Basilica, Rome

Contrary to popular belief, St Peter's Basilica isn't the cathedral of Rome. This honor goes to 'the Cathedral Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist at the Lateran.' Quite the mouthful, but the church is more commonly known as the St John Lateran's Basilica or Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano. The basilica is the most important of the four major basilicas in Rome, and on top of that, it's the seat of the Bishop of Rome - the Pope himself - and considered one of the most important Catholic church in the world …

» St Peter's Baldachin

St Peter's Baldachin, Rome

In the early years of his pontificate, Pope Urban VIII commissioned what is now called St Peter's Baldachin (Baldacchino di San Pietro) over the saint's grave. The project was designed by Bernini and turned out to be so enormous that the Pantheon's beams had to be melted down to provide the massive amount of bronze needed. The Romans weren't too happy with the damage done to their beloved Pantheon, and the project was thus on the receiving end of all sorts of mockery. A popular pun was an allusion to the Pope's family name …

» St Peter's Basilica

St Peter's Basilica, Rome

St Peter's Basilica was built between 1506 and 1590, when the dome was finally completed. It is on the site of the tomb of St. Peter; his relics were finally found and authenticated in the middle of the 20th century. Before the current grand basilica, a 4th-century church built by Emperor Constantine stood here. This is a church like no other. It is huge and full of significant artworks and tombs, including that of Pope John Paul II. One of the most beautiful pieces is the marble Pieta by Michelangelo just inside the door on the right …

» St Peter's Dome

St Peter's Dome, Rome

What may be the most recognizable feature of Italy doesn't technically stand on Italian soil. Rather, St Peter's Dome belongs to the Bramante-designed St Peter's Basilica in the city-state of the Vatican. Dubbed as the highest dome building in the world as well as the grandest building in Christendom, the basilica's dome is not only an iconic piece of architecture, but also a symbol for Catholics around the world. With that said, the construction of the dome, like Rome itself, wasn't built overnight …

» St Peter's Square

St Peter's Square, Rome

St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro) is the grand colonnaded area in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. A visually imposing entry to this great church, the semi-circular colonnades on either side designed by the Roman Baroque sculptor Bernini, seem to reach out and enfold you in their arms. Within the colonnade lies the security-check for entry to St. Peter's and, on the other side, the Vatican post office, because the Vatican is its own municipality with its own stamps …

» Testaccio

Testaccio, Rome

The Testaccio neighborhood is one of the old districts of Rome. It sits along the eastern bank of the Tiber River to the south of the city center, and in Ancient Roman times it was the equivalent of the city's shipyards. Many goods were brought into the city via the river, and were unloaded in Testaccio. The broken shipping containers, primarily clay pots of varying sizes, were discarded in a pile that eventually became the Testaccio Hill. As you can imagine, archaeologists have found all kinds of interesting things in and around Testaccio Hill …

» Tiber Island

Tiber Island, Rome

The Tiber River runs through Rome, and Tiber Island is its only plot of land, located toward the southern end of the river. At 885 feet long and 220 feet across at its widest point, the island has two bridges that have connected it to each side of the river since antiquity. Ponte Fabricio connects the island to the left bank of the river near the Theater of Marcellus, and Ponte Cestio connects to the Trastevere neighborhood on the right bank. The original bridges have been rebuilt several times …

» Tiber River

Tiber River, Rome

The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine mountains and ending at the sea at Ostia, once the port of Ancient Rome. It is 252 miles (406 km) long. The story goes that the infants Romulus and Remus were abandoned on the waters of the Tiber, were rescued by a she-wolf, and founded Rome 15 mi (25 km) from the sea in 753 BC. The Tiber River has also been heavy with sediment and although Romans throughout history have dredged it, the river is now navigable only to Rome and not beyond …

» Tivoli - Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este

Tivoli - Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este, Rome

Villa d'Este, in the town of Tivoli east of Rome, is a beautiful garden and palace complex that's listed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The villa was built in 1560 and was the vision of Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este (who narrowly failed to become a pope). The villa is famous for its magnificent garden of grottoes, fountains, nymphs and water sculpture. Cardinal d'Este died in 1572. By then the work on the garden and the interior painting of the villa was mostly complete …

» Trajan's Column

Trajan's Column, Rome

The enormous Trajan's Column near the Quirinal Hill was built in the 2nd century AD to commemorate Emperor Trajan's victories in war. The column itself is 98 feet tall, but standing on its pedestal the entire structure is 125 feet tall. The column is decorated with the story of Trajan's war triumphs told in pictures, spiralling around the outside of the column, with the story starting at the bottom. Trajan's ashes were originally interred in the base of the column. Amazingly, the column itself is actually hollow and contains a spiral staircase …

» Trastevere

Trastevere, Rome

The Trastevere neighborhood of Rome is one of the city's oldest districts; walking through its cobbled streets during the day you're apt to forget the busy Roman streets and crowds outside the Colosseum. In the Trastevere, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd walked into an Italian village. Because, in a way, you have. The name 'Trastevere' means 'across the Tiber' (which is 'Tevere' in Italian), which should tell you it lies on the opposite side of the river from monuments like the Roman Forum and Colosseum …

» Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain, Rome

The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous and most beloved sights in Rome. A huge Baroque flurry (85 by 65 feet or 25 by 20 meters) where water spills from rocks under the feet of Neptune, Triton and sea-horses into a large pool, it's always surrounded by coin-tossing tourists. Superstition has it that if you toss a coin into the fountain you will one day return to Rome. It shows how much people love this city that up to $3,500 a day is thrown in! The money is collected at night by the city and distributed to charity …

» Vatican City

Vatican City, Rome

Vatican City was created in 1929 and run by the Pope (who is the supreme monarch!). The official population is a little over 800 and it covers an area of 110 acres (44 hectares). Within the walls of the city are St Peter's Basilica, St Peter's Square, the Vatican Museums, the residence of the Pope and offices of the Catholic Church. Being a separate state, the Vatican has its own postage stamps, and the official language is Latin (as well as Italian). It has its own bank and the world's only ATM with instructions in Latin! …

» Vatican Egyptian Obelisk

Vatican Egyptian Obelisk , Rome

The cityscape of Rome is characterized by numerous obelisks. They have a strong decorative effect, but the meaning behind these monuments dates back to the ecclesiastical influence of centuries past and is supposed to demonstrate the power of the church and the glory of the popes - a connection between our world and the world of the gods. It's said that the higher the obelisk, the closer it is to god. The Vatican Egyptian Obelisk, often simply called the Vatican Obelisk, is situated in the middle of St Peter's Square …

» Vatican Gardens

Vatican Gardens, Rome

Covering over half of the Vatican city-state, the Vatican Gardens expand over an impressive 23 hectares. They were essentially a rough expanse of orchards and vineyards early in the 13th century until 1279, when Pope Nicolas III decided to move his residence from the Lateran Palace to the back of the Vatican and had the gardens enclosed with a wall. In the 16th century, Pope Julius II had architect Donato Bramante, creator of the famous Bramante Staircase in the Vatican Museums, split the gardens into three sections …

» Vittorio Emmanuele II Monument

Vittorio Emmanuele II Monument, Rome

The Vittorio Emanuele Monument in Rome goes by many names - some official, and some not at all so. In addition to 'Vittorio Emmanuele Monument,' other official names include the 'Altare della Patria' (Altar of the Fatherland) and simply 'Il Vittoriano.' Less formal nicknames - given by Romans who don't exactly love the monument - include 'the wedding cake,' 'the typewriter,' and 'the fake teeth.' No matter what you call it, it's impossible to miss the imposing Vittorio Emmanuele Monument on the massive Piazza Venezia in central Rome …

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Visit the city of Rome and experience the amazing history it has to offer. Admire the architecture and soak up the culture as you explore the Eternal city. Or venture out of Rome to discover the magic of Rome, the spectacular island of Capri in the Bay of Naples, Pompeii and many more magical destinations …

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Rome, the Eternal City, is the capital of Italy and of the Lazio (Latium) region: it is the famed city of the Seven Hills, La Dolce Vita, the Vatican City and Three Coins in the Fountain. Situated on the River Tiber, between the Apennine Mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Eternal City was once the center of the mighty Roman Empire …

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