Rome’s rich archeological, artistic and cultural heritage are so outstanding that the city’s historic center has been designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO. If you have already been to Rome you have probably visited the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Vatican Museums. When in Rome what to see the Second time in the Eternal City of Rome? If you’re eager to discover more Rome’s treasures at your own pace follow ItalyTravelista suggestions for off the beaten path Rome itineraries and explore holy churches and Rome’s outstanding museums enjoying Rome as the Romans do! Travel to Italy at Your Own Pace!
Ara Pacis Museum, home to the Altar of Augustan Peace, is a Rome must-see if you are interested in imperial Rome. Just reopened after years of restoration, the museum is the first modern architectural work built in the historic center of Rome. The enclosure was designed in 2006 by the great American archistar Richard Meier.
Borghese Gallery Museum is housed in the casino or summerhouse of the Villa Borghese. The villa, built between 1613 and 1616, was the home of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the favorite nephew of Pope Paul V. There are an incredible number of masterpieces packed into this comparatively small space – works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini including his “David”, Caravaggio, Canova’s reclining “Paolina Borghese”, Domenichino, Guido Reni and Rubens’ “Pietà” number among the most spectacular.
The National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia (close to Villa Borghese) has housed the national collection of Etruscan art since 1889. Particularly notable are the finds from Etruscan cemeteries including reconstruction of a tomb from Cerveteri, the famous sarcophagus from Cerveteri (c. 530 B.C.) with the reclining figures of a husband and wife, and the outstanding Euphronios krater, a terra-cotta bowl made and painted in Athens about 515 B.C., and until January 2008 a prized part of the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, dedicated to Peter the apostle, was first built in the middle of the 5th century to house the relic of the chains that bound Saint Peter while imprisoned in Jerusalem. His relic is kept in a golden urn beneath the high altar, close to the marble statue of Michelangelo’s Moses. Michelangelo’s masterpiece, which dates from 1515, is the most notable piece of artwork in the basilica. Originally intended as part of a 40-statue funeral monument for Pope Julius II, Moses became the Pope’s funeral monument and tomb in his family’s church.
Basilica of San Clemente is a fascinating 12th century Basilica built on top of a 4th century church and on top of a late 2nd century temple. Located a short walk from the Coliseum, is definitely worth a visit for the chance to see three different eras of Rome on one site. This ancient church was transformed over the centuries from a private home that was the site of clandestine Christian worship in the first century to a grand public basilica by the 6th century, reflecting the emerging Catholic Church’s growing legitimacy and power.
The Church of St. Louis of the French, located a short walk away from Piazza Navona is a Rome must see for Caravaggio Fans! In the fifth chapel on the left of the basilica are located the “St. Matthew and the angel”, the “Vocation of St. Matthew” and the “Martyr of St. Matthew” painted by Caravaggio between 1597 and 1602.
Basilica of St Mary in Trastevere was the first roman church to be dedicated in the 4th century to the cult of the Blessed Virgin, St. Mary. According to the legend, on the day Christ was born a stream of pure oil flowed from the earth on the site of the church, signifying the coming of the grace of God. A column next to the altar marks the spot. The Basilica, decorated with amazing medieval mosaics and architectural elements recycled from ancient Roman temples, is located in one of Rome’s most picturesque neighborhoods with plenty of restaurants and bars where to relax and enjoy people watching.
Basilica of St. Andrea delle Fratte, located nearby the Spanish Steps, is a 17th century Basilica devoted to St. Andrew. The sides of the presbytery are breathtaking Angels (1668-9) sculpted by Bernini for the St. Angel Bridge, but then moved here by and replaced on the bridge with copies.
Via Giulia is a charming and wide cobble stone street just behind Palazzo Farnese next to the Tiber River. Do not miss the Farnese archway which was designed by Michelangelo to link the Palazzo Farnese with their gardens. Commissioned by Pope Julius II (for whom the street is named), Via Giulia was built in the early 16th century, part of a plan to build a square of roads near the Vatican. The project was never completed. But to this day, Via Giulia is lined with an array of extraordinary churches and cultural buildings, as well as some of the fanciest homes in Rome.
Roman Houses under the Celio offer an unusual journey through underground Rome to relive the atmosphere of the ancient city among alleys, ninfeus, spas and the splendid fresco environment of the Roman Houses adorned with extraordinary frescoes from the 3rd and 4th century AD., perfectly conserved and, the imposing temple of Divo Claudio, transformed by Nero into the ninfeus of the Domus Aurea.
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Ciao from Rome:-)
© Copyright 2009, Nancy Aiello Tours
Since 1997 Nancy Aiello Tours, based in Rome, specializes in Tailor-Made Private Guided Vatican, Rome & Italy Tours for Leisure & Business Travelers.
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