The capital of Italy, Rome is an important tourist destination for history, art, architecture, religion and more. The Roman Empire controlled most of Western Europe for over 400 years and its influences over western culture, customs and traditions are still felt today. At one time Rome was not just the center of Italy, but most of Europe as well. Discover the influences of the Roman Empire with visits to the Coliseum and the Pantheon. While Rome did fall for a time, it was reborn in the Renaissance. Many significant masterpieces from this time lie within the city in the form of fountains, museums and the Sistine Chapel. There is a vast amount to see and do here, from the Roman Forum to Vatican City; let a Luxe Travel advisor design a package to suit your Roman holiday desires.
The Coliseum is many things to Rome: the largest stadium of its time, a symbol of barbaric traditions, and the grandeur of the Roman Empire. The most notable artifact remaining from the Roman Empire is just east of the Roman Forum and a staple in any tour of Rome. At one time, the Coliseum could seat more than 50,000 viewers. Imagine the dizzying and dramatic battles enhanced by trapdoors and elevators, as witnessed through the underground tunnels. Let a Luxe Travel advisor obtain for you exclusive access to the underground tunnels of the Coliseum. Explore the narrow spaces where gladiators spied the captive animals one last time before traversing the funnel, leading them out to the stands filled with thousands of cheering and jeering spectators. You may also choose to spend the afternoon learning the ways of the gladiator. Dressed as a gladiator, learn sword fighting and compete in a mock tournament.
Nearby, discover the Roman Forum, ancient columns and arches once at the center of the Roman Empire. The Arch of Constantine, with detailed carvings and the marble Arch of Titus are at either end of the Roman Forum and worth a view. Extending from the Roman Forum is Palatine Hill, perhaps the oldest part of the city. The imperial palace ruins atop this hill are as magnificent to behold, as is the view of the city below. Beyond in the valley, find Circus Maximus. While little is left of the ancient sporting venue, you can still see the starting gates that launched many a chariot race.
One of the best-preserved relics of the Roman Empire is the Pantheon. The spherical dome was erected as a temple to all gods. A hole in the dome, the eye of the gods, lights the granite Corinthian columns and seven Roman gods. Not much has changed the interior or face of the Pantheon since its completion in 2nd century and should be on your list of must see monuments.
Many of the Roman streets end in squares or piazzas. Take time to wander along the many piazzas and discover the numerous fountains located in the city. The Trevi Fountain, the largest in the city, is located near the Spanish Steps. The Trevi Fountain portrays Neptune at the center of a shell chariot led by winged horses, representing fertility and health. Piazza Navona is home to three remarkable fountains, including La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, or Fountain of Four Rivers. The Piazza Navona is not just a place to view fountains, but a social gathering of mimes, artists, musicians and the like. Stop to admire the fountains and maybe enjoy a cup of gelato at one of the nearby cafés.
A precursor to the modern day spa experience, many ancient Romans bathed in the Thermae, or public bathhouses. The Roman Baths were not just a place to clean, but to socialize, enjoy drinks and beauty treatments. The Baths of Caracalla and Diocletian included hot and cold baths as well as steam rooms. A visit to these ruins gives you a look into the extraordinary sophistication of ancient Rome.
One of the most significant religious centers of the world is the walled enclave of Vatican City. The epicenter of the Catholic faith, it offers more than just a blessing of the rosary. Vatican City is a separate city-state within the city limits of Rome. Here you will find the Sistine Chapel, Saint Peter’s Basilica, and the Vatican Museum. Perhaps the most famous church in the world, the Sistine Chapel is a masterpiece of Renaissance art and architecture. Michelangelo’s massive ceiling fresco depicts many scenes from the book of Genesis, including the Creation of Adam. Nothing compares to seeing for yourself the painstaking detail that went into each work of art. Let a Luxe Travel advisor arrange for a private tour to avoid the lines in the Vatican Museum. Your tour guide will take you through the Raphael Rooms, the private quarters of Julius II to the art galleries and the Gallery of the Candelabra. Next visit Saint Peter’s Basilica, the largest Catholic Church in the world. Also designed by Michelangelo, the basilica is resplendent with marble, bronze and mosaics. This noteworthy church, supposedly erected over the tomb of Saint Peter, includes 45 altars, including the Throne of Saint Peter. Climb the Duomo, the largest dome in the world, for a spectacular view of Rome.
Italy is renowned for the most delicious cuisine in the world and Rome is no exception. Rome’s moderate temperatures allow for a number of sidewalk cafés scattered in the piazzas, as well as fine dining establishments. Enjoy meals in comfortable establishments that imagine a traditional Italian home. Be sure to try spaghetti alla carbonara while in Rome, as the dish originated here. Other popular Roman meals include bruschetta, fettuccine alfredo and saltimbocca.
When in the Eternal City, consider staying at the InterContinental de la Ville Roma, located at the top of the Spanish Steps. Dine in the courtyard of this former 16th century convent or on the roof under the stars. The former palace offers splendid panoramic views of the city and is central to many attractions. To schedule your stay here, or elsewhere in Rome, contact the Luxe Travel team at 1-866-365-8747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.