My first association, the emerging of which occupied the art of Ancient Rome. And it so happened that the Eternal City is not conceivable for me without the Colosseum, the Forum, the Pantheon and its other ancient monuments. Let us have a look at the best places to visit in Rome.
Rome – a city built on seven hills, has a centuries-old history, the secrets of which are kept by the silent stormy Tiber, dividing the city into two parts. Monuments of antiquity constitute a rather large layer in the legacy of Rome and now almost all of them are concentrated on the left bank of the Tiber, in the historical center of Rome. Surprisingly, they were built almost two thousand years ago, although they were not intact, in certain preservation, have survived to our time. Ancient stones standing under the southern sun allow you to literally touch a story. This is probably why the tourist flow to Rome does not stop.
Best Places to Visit in Rome: Bull Forum
One of the very first antique buildings of Rome were the temples at the Bull Forum. The forum was located between three hills – Palatine, Aventin and the Capitol, and was named so because of the livestock trade that was taking place here. The temples of Hercules and Portune have been preserved, but I’m more accustomed to calling them simply – round and square temples at the Bull Forum. The temples are not accessible for visiting, but without that, combined with the typically Roman landscape, they are quite impressive.
In addition to the Bull Forum, the Romanum Forum or the Roman Forum, which emerged in the republican period, received great popularity in Rome. Over time, it became a key cultural, political, and religious center. For me, it, being an integral part of the city, was perhaps the first on my list of attractions. The forum first appeared as a regular market and only a little later the first significant buildings began to appear here – the Temple of Vesta, the temple of Castor and Pollux, Tabulius.
During the imperial period, the rulers, wishing to perpetuate the memory of them, tried to erect magnificent, monumental structures, so the largest ever-existing building on the Forum arose – the Basilica of Maxentius. Of course, today from these once majestic works of ancient art only ruins have survived, but they also give the impression of something significant and great.
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The forum is located near the Coliseum, opposite the Colesseum metro station of the same name in the historic city center. I recommend combining a walk around the Forum with a visit to the Palatine, which is a little higher. It used to house the magnificent palaces of the emperors, but now, in addition to the ancient ruins, there is an observation deck overlooking the city and the museum of archaeological antiquities. In addition, the Forum, Palatine and the Coliseum have a single ticket for 12 EUR.
Imperial forums: Forums of Trajan
In general, it seems to me that the Forum is one of the key values for the ancient Roman urban planning. They were erected quite often, especially during the imperial period, when each subsequent ruler wanted to create a forum better than the previous emperor did. – Forum of Augustus, Nerves, Vespasian, but the most famous and well-preserved among them is the Forum of Trajan, located on the right side of the Roman Forum. This was one of the last architectural structures of this type in ancient Rome, even the name of the architect is known – he was the then-popular architect Apollodorus of Damascus.
Trajan built himself a unique, different forum. Firstly, unlike other forums, here the basis was covered colonnades. Secondly, the forum had semi-circular exed niches on the sides, which, on the one hand, made it possible to accommodate a larger number of people, and on the other, made a better overview of all the architectural structures. In the very center of the forum on the square stood the so-called Trajan’s column, entwined with reliefs on the theme of the emperor’s military campaigns. Incidentally, this column adorns the square today.
Best Places to Visit in Rome: Arc de Triomphe
Another important, in my opinion, the achievement of Roman antique architecture was the Arc de Triomphe. There were three of them in the city – the arch of Titus, the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Arch of Constantine.
Through the first two, located at the Roman Forum, passes the sacred Appian Way – the main road of Ancient Rome. The Arch of Constantine is located a little off – behind the Coliseum. At first glance, all arches are similar to each other – monumental with decorative ornaments, they are dedicated to one or another merit of the conceited emperors. Meanwhile, if you look closely, you can also find differences – the Titus arch – single-span, with rich, but strict bas-relief images, the arch of Constantine, on the contrary, is elegant and decorative.
Best Places to Visit in Rome: Coliseum
One of the best places to visit in Rome is the Colosseum. It is probably the most famous monument not only of antiquity but of the whole history of the art of Rome is the Colosseum. Even people far from history and art have heard of him, at least from the famous song of a Russian rock band. The Coliseum was built during the 1st-century imperial dynasty of Flavius.
It was the most ambitious amphitheater of antiquity, accommodating up to fifty thousand spectators and the most spectacular place in ancient Rome – gladiatorial fights, theater performances, and persecution of animals were held here. As at any time, people in ancient Rome needed emotions, entertainment. Adrenaline The amphitheater got its name from the word colossal, probably, that was exactly what it was at that time. The Colosseum seemed to me not so grandiose as I imagined it, but knowledgeable people say that you just need to come to it from the “right” side. As I already wrote a single ticket to the Coliseum with the Forum and the Palatine, and at the box office it can be purchased for 12 euros.
Massimo Circus and Marcellus Theater
Spectacles were loved in ancient Rome, so the construction of theaters was quite common. From antiquity, the Marcellus Theater and the huge Massimo Circus were also preserved. The latter was used as a hippodrome, where chariot races took place. They say that at first, it was just a hillside, and people sat right on the grass to watch the races. But over time, stone stands began to appear here, and in the center, an oval arena formed. Now there is a large recreation area, a favorite place of the Romans, and the ruins around even on vacation allow you not to forget about the glorious past of the city.
The Marcellus Theater is one of the stone theaters in Rome, it can be considered the forerunner of the Colosseum, as there is much in common in their architectural appearance. This is the only theater erected before our era and well preserved to this day. It was built under the emperors Caesar and Augustus with the money of Uncle Octavian Augustus – Marc Claudius Marcellus, in whose honor the theater itself was named. The theater is small in size, located between the Bull and the Roman Forum almost on the banks of the Tiber. I heard that now in the first tier of the theater concerts and holidays are often held.
The Pantheon or the temple of all gods is the best-preserved temple of antiquity, built in the 1st century by the same architect Apolodor of Damascus. The Pantheon always seemed to be a rather unusual monument for that time. The temple of impressive dimensions for antiquity, now involved in the surrounding buildings, looks more modest from the outside, but no less grand inside.
I was always fascinated by the unique architectural design of the temple. It seems that the Pantheon is blocked by a dome. But in fact, the Romans used a very interesting trick for this – the temple is blocked by spherical rings closing to the top. In the center of the ceiling, there is a round hole – the only light source. And the “dome” itself is cut from the inside by caissons – square indentations. All this gives the Pantheon some kind of unreal, bewitching appearance.
The Pantheon, although located in the center, is somewhat away from the main ancient monuments. Its “neighbors” are the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. By the way, until May 2018, the entrance to the temple, as well as to all the churches of Rome, was free, but I heard that from the summer the Roman authorities decided to charge an entrance fee.
The Baths of Caracalla
Another popular type of structure in ancient Rome was thermae. Only the “lazy” emperor did not build them – the terms of Trajan, the terms of Diocletian, the terms of Caracalla cannot be remembered all at once. Of course, this was due to the development of the standard of living of the ancient Romans – first, there was a water supply system, then fountains, and now, finally, baths. Of course, the terms were intended exclusively for rich people, because such saunas not only fulfilled their main “cleansing” function but also were the place of important audiences, meetings.
Today, like most ancient monuments, thermae have been preserved in a ruined condition. But this is the special charm and charm of Rome. Perhaps the most impressive of all was the terms of Caracalla. It was a grandiose complex, all the buildings of which were faced with marble and richly decorated with bright picturesque mosaics. In these terms, it affects, first of all, the quality and strength of the masonry, the scale, and scope of the construction, it would seem, for such a trivial institution in our understanding. Today, the stage of the city opera is located here. And once before, therms, along with the Egyptian pyramids, were considered one of the wonders of the world.
Terme Caracalla is easy to find in Rome, they are located between Aventin and Tsiliy, not far from the Appian Way. In general, it turns out funny – almost all the attractions are located somewhere between the hills. Therefore, for me, Rome appeared as a city of hills with ruins lost between them.
At all times, an important role was played by trade routes, roads connecting different settlements. In Rome, this role was assigned to the Appian or Sacred Road, built in the VI century BC and still functioning! Needless to say, then they definitely knew how to build. The construction was started by the order of the censor Appia Tseky and it is not surprising that in the end, it was named after him. The Appian Way is the main one in the entire Roman Empire, had the most important commercial, political, and cultural significance. The road connected Rome with Ancient Greece, along with it the Emperors and generals went on military campaigns, important trade routes with the East began here. Later, along the road began to be located the tombs of prominent figures of Rome – for example, the tombs of Cicilia Metella.
In modern Rome, part of the Appian Way was flooded with asphalt, a large stream of various vehicles moves on it every day, and on the outskirts, the ancient sacred “real” Appian Way has survived, which, combined with the typical southern Italian “pines” growing on its sides, give this place an incredible atmosphere.
Mausoleum of Hadrian (Castle of the Holy Angel)
For me, the castle of the holy angel, standing on the right bank of the Tiber, was always one of the visiting, recognizable cards of Rome. This monumental impregnable cylindrical structure was conceived by the emperor Andrian as the mausoleum of his family, later the castle became a tomb for other rulers of Rome, and the last buried emperor in here was Caracalla.
The castle, crowned by a sculptural group with a quadriga, was considered the tallest building in ancient Rome. Later, due to its impregnability, it began to be used as a defensive structure. Now, this is a special place in Rome, inside the castle, there is one of the many museums in the city, and a relaxed holiday atmosphere reigns around: tourists are leisurely strolling, ice-cream sellers are standing aside, street musicians play their simple melodies.
Rome is a special city with its indescribable energy and atmosphere. And, of course, the main tone is set by his witnesses to the glorious past – monuments of ancient heritage.