Rome Tour Guide
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Rome's story is an epic saga that stretches over 2,700 years. It begins with the mythical tale of Romulus and Remus, twin brothers raised by a she-wolf, who founded the city on the banks of the Tiber in 753 BC. This humble beginning grew into a formidable republic, and later, an empire.
Rome witnessed the rise and fall of emperors, from Julius Caesar to Augustus. Its golden age saw the construction of iconic structures like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon. The mighty aqueducts supplied the city with water, and the Appian Way became a symbol of Roman engineering prowess.
In 64 AD, a devastating fire swept through Rome, but the city was rebuilt in grand style by Emperor Nero. Christianity emerged in this era, leading to centuries of religious influence.
The fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, and Rome became the spiritual center of Christianity, with St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican City at its core. The Renaissance, with luminaries like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, saw a revival of art and culture.
In the 19th century, Rome became the capital of the newly unified Italy, and the iconic Altare della Patria was erected as a symbol of the nation's rebirth.
Today, Rome stands as an open-air museum, where ancient ruins, Renaissance masterpieces, and the Vatican City's spiritual presence converge.
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Top Historical Places
Located in the Vatican Palace, the Sistine Chapel is a large 15th-century chapel where the Pope lives, and in which popes are chosen and crowned. One of the main attractions of the Vatican City, it serves as the pope’s own chapel, used for important ceremonies and masses, but it’s perhaps most famous for its remarkable fresco paintings by Renaissance artist Michelangelo. The ceiling is one of Michelangelo’s most famous works, created between 1508 and 1512, with the painter working from a high platform with his arms stretched over his head, brush in hand.
When entering the chapel, you can almost see him working while he wipes sweat from his eyes, toiling year after year often in intense heat, breathing in the terrible smell from the wet plaster used to create the masterpiece he never really wanted to paint in the first place. The artist considered himself more of a sculptor, with no experience painting frescoes – in fact, it’s been said that when he painted, he essentially painted sculpture on his surfaces. As you gaze up at the chapel ceiling, it’s easy to see this was the case, with his monumental figures embodying both beauty and strength.
The Vatican is located in Rome, but it’s an independent state governed as an absolute monarch with the pope as the head of what is the world’s smallest country. Encircled with a two-mile border, it has its own militia to protect the pope, as well as 800 full-time citizens and temporary residents. Covering just over 100 acres, it’s only about one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York City. The name Vatican City was taken from Vatican Hill, first used in the Lateran Treaty which was signed in 1929 to establish the modern city-state.
Within the Vatican are a number of cultural and religious sites, including the stunning St. Peter’s Basilica that was built upon an earlier 4th-century church, completed in 1626 after 120 years of construction. It also hosts the Vatican Museums, a massive complex of museums and galleries showcasing elaborate frescoes, paintings, sculptures, classical antiquities and tapestries, as well as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The chapel is famous for its frescoes which include works by Botticelli, Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, along with the ceiling and Last Judgment by Michelangelo.
The Vatican is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, added in 1984. It remains the only one that is made up of an entire state. It prints its own stamps, mints its own euros, issues passports, and has its own anthem and flag. There is no taxation as souvenir sales, stamps and museum admission fees generate the Vatican’s revenue.