Monday, January 25, 2021

What to do in Rome

For better or worse, we all know the history of Rome, or at least we have heard about it several times. Finally, the director Paolo Sorrentino took care of “The Great Beauty” to show the wonders of the capital of Italy to the whole world.Rome, the Eternal City, is so rich in history, art, culture, traditions, gastronomy that making a list of things to do inevitably makes it wrong.

Colosseum

First stop the Colosseum or, as it would be correct to call it, the Flavian Amphitheater (Amphitheatrum Flavium). It is the largest amphitheater in the world with an estimated capacity of between 50,000 and 75,000 spectators. Its construction began under Vespasian (Cesare Vespasiano Augusto) in 72 AD, although it was his son Titus who celebrated the end of the works in 80, eight years later, and one year after the death of his father. In ancient times it was used as an arena for gladiator shows and for the re-enactment of mythical events related to the founding of the city. After the sixth century, however, it was even used as a quarry, only to return to being one of the most visited monuments in the world. Second, it seems, only at the Great Wall of China.

Roman forum

The Roman Forum was the most important religious, commercial and judicial center of the city. It was the Emperor Augustus who transformed the Palatine into the official seat of power, giving way to the construction of those imperial palaces which were later enlarged and renovated by Nero, Domitian and the others who followed. Today it is possible to visit the remains of the ancient square of the Forum while on weekdays, in the morning, it is also possible to visit the interior of the Curia.

Basilica of Saint Peter

The heart of the Catholic Church, the seat of the pope, the most important of the 5 “Basilicae maiores” (the others are San Giovanni in Laterano, Santa Maria Maggiore, San Paolo and San Lorenzo). Clearly they should all be visited but, in the impossibility of doing so, St. Peter’s remains an indispensable stop regardless of religious denomination. The live view of Michelangelo’s dome and Bernini’s colonnade that delimits the square are experiences that leave an indelible mark.

The Trevi Fountain

The most beautiful fountain in the world and, thanks to the legendary scene of “La Dolce Vita” with Anita Ekberg, also the most famous. In truth, Totò also contributed a lot to the fame of the monument with his attempt to sell the fountain to an unsuspecting Italian-American tourist. The hilarious gag is part of the film “Totòtruffa 62”, shortly after, therefore, La Dolce Vita by Fellini. Examples that show the enormous potential of film tourism even if, better to specify, bathing is strictly forbidden in the Trevi fountain (with the exception of Anita Ekberg) nor, even less, is it for sale (unless Prince De Curtis tries it) . What you can do, and everyone does, is throw a dime. The ritual, clearly auspicious, also has a social purpose: every day, in fact, employees of the municipality collect coins which are then destined by the body for charitable activities. The fountain was built between 1730 and 1740 by the architect Nicola Salvi, winner of a competition specially organized by Pope Clement XII. A work of art to take your breath away, with so many details that it is difficult to grasp them all.

The Pantheon

With its dome and colonnaded pronaos, the Pantheon is one of the most famous Roman monuments. According to a legend, it stands at the point where Romulus, on his death, was seized and carried to heaven by an eagle. Temple dedicated to all the deities (Pan – all Theon – divinities), was built by the emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125 AD. to replace a previous temple of Marco Agrippa consecrated to Mars and Venus. In 609, the Roman temple was converted into a Christian basilica with the name of Santa Maria ad Martyres. In 1870 it became a shrine to the kings of Italy. Inside are the tombs of Vittorio Emanuele II, Umberto I and Margherita di Savoia, as well as that of the great Raphael. What characterizes the building more than anything else is the large hemispherical dome with a diameter of 43.3 m equal to the height from the floor, on the top of which there is the large – and only – opening (9 m.), The oculus (eye). The light comes from this hole, but when it rains the water also falls, which however flows rapidly thanks to the central and lateral holes on the floor that prevent the formation of puddles. Therefore, it is not true that rain does not enter the Pantheon.

 

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