Classical Sites Walking Tour

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1 Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 1 - Classical Sites Walking Tour Rome's glory didn't end with the fall of the Roman empire, it continued as a melting point of culture and creativity for centuries. Today, the city is a fabulous architectural patchwork, a living masterpiece, and a true tribute to its history. This tour is the perfect introduction to Rome's famous classical sites. Guide Location: Italy» Rome # of Attractions: 6 Tour Duration: 2 hour(s) Travel Distance: 4.4 km Please note: This walk is also featured in the ios app "Rome Map and Walks" on itunes App Store and the Android app "Rome Map and Walks" on Google Play. The apps provide GPS navigation to guide you from one tour stop to the next, so you will never be lost. The apps offer additional walking tours in Rome. Check them out! GPSmyCity offers self-guided walking tours in over 1,000 city around the world. Please visit gpsmycity.com for more walking tour offers. List of attractions included in this self-guided walking tour: A) Republic Square B) Trevi Fountain C) Piazza Colonna D) Montecitorio Palace E) Castel Sant'Angelo F) St. Peter's Basilica Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 1 -

2 Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 2 - Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 2 -

3 Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 3 - A) Republic Square Viminal Hill is the smallest of Rome s Seven Hills, and on its summit you will find the charming Republic Square. This semi-circular piazza was built over the exedra of the Baths of Diocletian; the porticos around the square were built between 1887 and 1898 by Gaetano Koch, in memory of the ancient buildings that once stood on this site. In the center of the square you can admire the Fountain of the Naiads. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Pius IX in The original statues of four lions by Alessandro Guerrieri were replaced in 1901 by Mario Rutelli s sculptures of the Naiads: the Nymph of the Lakes holding a swan; the Nymph of the Rivers riding a river monster; the Nymph of the Oceans riding a horse that represents waves; the Nymph of the Underground Waters riding a dragon. The centerpiece depicting the Greek sea god, Glaucus, fighting with a large fish was placed in It represents man s domination over Nature. Of particular note is the church Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martin. Inside this small Basilica you will find a Meridian Line, commissioned by Pope Clement XI in 1702, built by Francesco Bianchini. Its main use was for checking the accuracy of the Gregorian Calendar and as a tool to predict the exact dates of Easter for the next several centuries. (Easter falls on the Sunday after the first full moon of the Spring Equinox). Address: Piazza della Repubblica, Rome 00185, Italy Image Courtesy of Flickr and Climens. Sight description based on wikipedia B) Trevi Fountain (must see) No visit to Rome is complete without seeing the Trevi Fountain, so don t forget to take some loose change with you to toss into the basin of the most famous fountain in the world. You must remember to have your back to the fountain and toss the coins over your shoulder for luck. To understand the importance of Rome s fountains, you must understand the importance of the aqueducts that brought fresh water to the city. The River Tiber was filthy and unfit for drinking as it was used as a sewer. It was a Roman custom to build an imposing fountain at the end of an aqueduct. A lot of the aqueducts were destroyed in 536 by the Goths; the Aqua Virgo was repaired in 1453 and a fountain was erected shortly afterwards. Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 3 -

4 Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 4 - In 1629 Pope Urban VIII commissioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini to build a bigger, better fountain, but before work got underway the pope died and Bernini s plans were shelved. In 1730 Nicola Salvi won the competition set by Pope Clement XII to build the new fountain and it was completed in 1762 by Giuseppe Pannini, who took over the construction when Salvi died. The Palazzo Poli serves as a backdrop to this truly wonderful fountain, the Triumphal arch is superimposed onto its facade and rocks and sculptured vegetation run along its foundations and around the borders of the basin. The main sculpture is a magnificent statue of Oceanus riding in an oyster-shell chariot, pulled by sea horses and guided by two tritons. On one side of Oceanus is a statue of Abundance holding an urn, on his other side it Salubrity holding a cup for a snake to drink from. Over the statues is a bas relief depicting the legend of how a young virgin led Roman technicians to the source of the spring at feeds the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct. A small fortune is thrown into the fountain everyday; it is not unusual to find over 2000 Euros in the basin. The area is policed to stop thieves pinching the money, which is used to fund a supermarket for the poor. Address: Piazza di Trevi, Rome, 00187, Italy Image Courtesy of Flickr and ZeroOne. Sight description based on wikipedia C) Piazza Colonna (must see) Don t miss a visit to Piazza Colonna with its fine buildings in the very heart of Rome. In the center of the square you will find the Column of Marcus Aurelius. The square is surrounded by impressive and imposing buildings, put up between the 16th and 20th centuries; on the north side stands the Palazzo Chigi, built in 1562 for a noble family, which is now the official residence of the Italian Prime Minister. On the east side of the square is the popular 19th century shopping gallery the Galleria Alberto Sordi. Initially, when it was built, the gallery was called the Galleria Colonna, but then it was renamed after the famous Italian actor/director who died in On the south side of the piazza you will find the Palazzo Ferraioli, built in the 16th century by Giacomo della Porta. Today, several rooms can be hired for fashion shows, congresses, wedding receptions, parties and exhibitions. Next to the palazzo is the Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 4 -

5 Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 5 - small, beautiful Santi Bartolomeo ed Alessandro dei Bergamaschi Church, built in the 18th century. On the west side stands the Palazzo Wedekind, which was built in 1659 on the site of the Temple of Marcus Aurelius. The beautiful columns on the ground floor of the palace were taken from Veii, an important Etruscan city, conquered by the Roman general Camillus in 396 BC. The fountain in the piazza was commissioned in 1577 by Pope Gregory XIII and designed by Giacomo della Porta. It was restored in 1830 and the sculptures of two pairs of dolphins and cockle shells were created by Achille Stocchi. Address: Piazza Colonna, Rome, Italy Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Lalupa. Sight description based on wikipedia D) Montecitorio Palace The Montecitorio Palace stands on the Piazza di Montecitorio. It takes its name from a small artificial hill made in pre-roman times by the people who lived in the area as a means of draining the marshland. The palace was commissioned in 1620 by Cardinal Ludovico, Pope Gregory XV s nephew. The building was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, but work was stopped in 1623 when the pope died. The building was eventually finished in 1692 by Carlo Fontana while Innocent XII was Pope. The pope was a fervent anti-nepotist and in 1691 he issued the Romanum decet Ponticem Charter, banning the curial office of Cardinal Nephew and prohibiting future popes from giving titles, money or land to members of their family. Because of this, the Montecitorio Palace was used for public and social functions. In 1696 the building became the home of the Curia apostolica, the papal courts of law. For a time it was the seat of the Governatorato di Roma and a police headquarters. With the Unification of Italy in 1861, the palace became the seat of the Chamber of Deputies. The internal courtyard was covered over and made into the Assembly Room. The interior of the building was entirely altered and renovated in Art Nouveau style by Ernesto Basile. Only the façade has kept its original look. On the piazza, in front of the palace, you can admire an ancient Egyptian obelisk, built in 589 BC, brought to Rome by Emperor Augustus in 10 BC. It was set up in the square in 1789 by Pope Pius VI, and is one of the most important obelisks in Rome. Address: Piazza di Montecitorio, Rome, Italy Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 5 -

6 Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 6 - Image Courtesy of Flickr and Simone Ramella. Sight description based on wikipedia E) Castel Sant'Angelo (must see) On the right bank of the River Tiber stands the imposing Castel Sant Angelo, connected to the city by the Sant Angelo Bridge. The cylindrical building was erected in 139 AD, commissioned by Emperor Hadrian as a family mausoleum. The emperor s ashes, as well as those of his wife and adopted son, reposed there. On top of the mausoleum was a garden and a golden quadrigo (a chariot drawn by four horses side by side). Other emperors ashes were also placed there, the last being those of Emperor Caracalla in 217 AD. In 401, the mausoleum was converted into a fortress and incorporated into the Aurelian Walls. In 410, Visigoth looters stole the urns and scattered the ashes. According to legend, in 590 an angel appeared on top of the building and miraculously stopped a plague that was decimating the people. The fortress was renamed Castel Sant Angelo in honor of this event. In the 14th century it was once again converted, this time into a castle and a prison. Pope Nicholas III had the castle connected to St Peter s Basilica by a fortified passageway. Pope Clement VII hid here during the Sack of Rome in Today the castle is the National Castel Sant Angelo Museum. The statue on the roof represents the angel from the legend. Address: 50 Lungotevere Castello, Rome, 00193, Italy Image Courtesy of Flickr and Ed Yourdon. Sight description based on wikipedia F) St. Peter's Basilica (must see) Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a beginner, you will probably never see a church as magnificent as the Basilica of St Peter in the Vatican City. This beautiful church is one of the biggest in the world and is considered one of the holiest places in Rome. The original church was built in 324, commissioned by Emperor Constantine and built over the shrine marking the burial place of the martyred St Peter. St Peter, who has one of the Apostles and considered as the 1st pope, was crucified head-down (at his request, as he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ). Many popes were buried in the basilica between the 4th and 15th centuries. During the years that the papal seat was located in Avignon, France, the Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 6 -

7 Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 7 - Old Basilica fell into disrepair. In 1505 Pope Julius II decided to have the church demolished and a new one built that would house his tomb, which was enormous. Over the next 120 years a lot of popes and architects worked on the plans and the basilica grew and grew. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains the largest church in the world. The famous dome is 42 meters in diameter and 120 meters high. Around the inside of the dome is an inscription which in English reads: you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.... I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the Catholic Roman Rite cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom". The interior of the church is a monument to Late Renaissance design. Vast and richly decorated, you can admire monuments and altars dedicated to numerous kings and popes. Here, you will find Michelangelo s La Pieta and over 39 statues of saints. In the nave is a circular slab of Imperial Porphyry where Holy Roman Emperors knelt during their coronation. In the crypt you can see the remains of the early churches that stood on this site. There are also the tombs of many popes, including that of Pope Jean Paul II. Address: Piazza San Pietro, Rome, Italy Image Courtesy of Flickr and Scott Denham. Sight description based on wikipedia Copyright by GPSmyCity.com - Page 7 -

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