A story of an amazing day in Rome
When you travel abroad in a city you have never seen before but you have few days to visit it, you want to maximize your time and catch every scrap the city offers to you. Basically, in some places you have so many things to visit that it is impossible to see the whole city, for this reason you have to choose and appreciate at least the most important sites.
Without any doubt when in Rome you have to visit the two biggies of the city, that is to say the Colosseum and the Vatican State. Two monuments every people on heart knows something about, for sure the Vatican is the house of the Pope, a religious representative universally recognized not just in the Catholic world.
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The Amphitheatrum Flavium
Most of you, of course, have watched the Gladiator's movie, set in Rome, it helped you to figure the way people lived in ancient Rome and learn something about the empire and gladiator's fights in the Colosseum. But you have just seen it on a screen, you are not able to imagine the emotions you will feel when being at 300 metres distant from the Colosseum and the cradle of the western civilization. It's so majestic and awe-inspiring that you can feel so tiny, not only because of its size, but because it is the symbol of the living history. If you think that the Amphitheatrum Flavium, as the Colosseum was originally known, was built in 75 d.C. and it's still there, and every year it hosts until six millions of tourists, you can really feel the force of the empire, of the history and of the great historical figures.
The Colosseum was the place were gladiator's had they're fights and were the emperor, his court and also the Roman people gathered to watch the gladiators' shows and other public events like hunt performances, commemorations of famous battles and exhibitions based on the ancient myths.
When visiting the Colosseum if you are lucky you can set foot on the restricted areas usually closed to the general public, the arena stage and the dungeons. The dungeons are the underground part of the Colosseum where the goods lift allowed gladiators and animals, who were waiting for their fights, to get in the stage; on the contrary, the arena was exactly the place were the battles used to be set. This one was always covered with the arena in order to absorb the blood during the killings.
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Now, are you ready to visit the smallest country in the world?
The Vatican State is an independent State located within the city of Rome. Here you can find the Vatican Museums, one of the most important collections of art in the world displaying the wide variety of artworks collected by Popes during the centuries: the Sistine Chapel and papal apartments with Michelangelo's and Raffaello's frescoes are just a part of the works visitors can admire.
Touring the Vatican Museums you have the opportunity to visit one of the longest museums with over 6 miles of galleries, among these the beautiful Gallery of the Candelabra, the Gallery of the Tapestries and the Gallery of the Maps, where main collections are preserved. Furthermore the magnificent Raphael Rooms, commissioned by Pope Julius II and painted by the worldwide famous Raffaello and the Borgia Pope apartments just before heading the indescribable Sistine Chapel where the world knew Michelangelo's masterpiece, the "Last Judgement", will take your breath away! It took 4 years to paint this amazing ceiling and due to its importance, the Vatican has had to limit the number of people permitted to enter the chapel because dust, carbon dioxide, and body sweat all pose a significant threat to this historic and delicate masterpiece.
From the Sistine Chapel you can reach St Peter’s Basilica, the largest religious building in the world, house of the beautiful “Pieta” by Michelangelo sculpted by the master when he was only 21 years old and of the impressive Baldachin projected in the 17th century by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the one who created St. Peter's colonnade too.
If you want to go ahead with the baroque side of the city you have to visit Navona Square, one of the most important sites in Rome, where you can find architectural and sculptural elements from Bernini and Borromini, like the Fountain of the Four Rivers, which represents the Danube, the Gange, the Nile and the Rio de la Plata, symbolising the whole world. Near Navona Square, you can find the Church of St. Louis of the French and The Basilica of Sant'Agostino. The former is famous for the Contarelli Chapel which contains a cycle of Caravaggio's paintings about the life of St. Matthews: "St. Matthew and the Angel", "The Martyrdom" and "the Vocation". Built thanks to Caterina de' Medici during the reigns of Luis XV and XVI it is the National Church in Rome of France. The latter it's one of the first Roman churches built during the Renaissance and houses a very prominent work of Caravaggio's, the "Madonna di Loreto" and "The Isaia Prophet" one of Raffaello's frescoes.
Last but not least, the right end of this day in Rome is the Trevi Fountain, the famous fountain that marks the terminal point of the modern Aqua Virgo, one of the aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome, and represents Tritons guiding Oceanus' shell chariot, taming hippocamps.
The fountain is world known also because it appeared in several movies like "Roman holidays" and Federico Fellini's "La dolce vita", where Anita Ekberg dances in the fountain while inviting Marcello Mastroianni to join her in the water: "Marcello, come here! Hurry up!".
And it is exactly in this movie that Marcello appreciates Rome because even it's a big city with a lot of people, it's a kind of quite a jungle, where you can hide easily.
The first time I came to Rome I thought this city was different from any other city, it's like a museum, a place where you have to walk on tiptoe. I have been living here for five years, and I still feel it.
Rarely you get bored in this city, and if it happens you have just to resist because if you stay for a long time you will make up your mind to settle down. And that's what I did!
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