Taking a river trip to the center of Rome will take approximately 1 hour, but it brings you to the main square or Piazza Venezia. When visiting Rome you will need to spend at least 2-5days as this exciting historical city has so much to see and do.
From April through until August there are a number of different festivals which draws large numbers of visitors here. In April there is the famous Good Friday torch lit procession. During the first week of May there is the rock music festival, then in June there is the film festival as well as the Latin music and culture festival. Do not forget that on August 15th it is a holiday to mark the feast of Assumption, when Mary Magdalene was taken to heaven. It is called Ferragosto, and most of the businesses and shops are closed. From October 15-23 the big International star studded Rome Film festival takes place and there are over 600 screen viewings. The top films with celebrities from around the world attend this event.
So where do you start with so much history around the city. One of the most impressive sights has to be the Colisseum, where the gladiator and wild animal fights used to take place. It dates back to 72 AD when Emperor Vespasian had it constructed to hold enough seating for 50, 000 spectators.
The burial site of the twelfth apostle of Jesus, St Peter, is where you can marvel at the largest Christian church which is the St Peter's Basilica located within the Vatican City. The old St Peter's Basilica dates back to the start of Christianity when the Emperor Constantine had it built. It fell into disrepair for many centuries until in 1447 Pope Nicolas V started renovations with Rossellino and Alberti as the designers. Over the next 120 years a number of Popes continued to expand on these designs with architectural designers like Raphael, Sangallo, Bramante and Michelangelo expanding on each others ideas and previous plans. The impressive dome is the largest in the world and is mainly the work of Michelangelo.
The treasures within the Basilica are breathtaking, like for example the bronze altar referred to as The baldacchino which was the creation of Gianlorenzo Bernini, as well as the throne which is also known as the Cathedra Petri.The numerous mosaic paintings above the alter pieces are spectacular in design and detail and are mainly the works of Pier Paolo Cristofari. The catacombs are the underground tombs of over 100 past Popes and poets. These can be seen at various places, the most popular being at St. Callixtus which is the largest and the oldest are at the Catacombs of St. Domitilla. The largest baroque fountain in the city is the Trevi Fountain, where people come to marvel at its splendour and throw coins into its water. This tradition is supposed to bring good fortune and will bring the person back to Rome again.
The Vatican museums are the greatest in the world as they are made up of the works of art over the centuries from the Roman Catholic Church. The places to visit are the Sistine and Niccoline Chapel, the Raphael rooms, the gallery of maps which illustrates the whole of Italy, the Pinacoteca Art Gallery which has works by Da Vinci , Raphael and Caravaggio and the sculpture museums.
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