All roads lead to Rome (part A)

Rome. The Eternal City. One of the few places where you can see two different eras with so many monuments : the Roman and the Renaissance. Their creations have made Rome an "open air museum". Favorite destination for tourists not only from Europe, but from all over the world.

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Panoramic view of the city centre

This beautiful city of Italy is located in the west central part of the country and its existence dates back to 753 BC. Founders of Rome and first kings according to mythology were the brothers Romulus and Remus. The Tiber River runs through the city, which is built on seven hills. Its population is about 3 million, making it the seventh most populous in our continent. It is also the only city in the world that has an independent state within it : the Vatican.

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Rome as it is believed to have been in ancient times

As soon as you start walking on the streets, in a few minutes you will feel the grace that is pervasive throughout Rome. The historic center is so marvelous and the only reason that could stop you from exploring it, is getting tired. And that's because it's almost impossible to get bored or have seen everything. Magnificent buildings, great plazas, mysterious cobbled streets lure the visitor to a "maze" of images. All these combined with the presence of local people, who are probably the most ebullient in Europe, will make your visit so pleasant. Besides, they are the most elegant and you will see that they are trying to do everything, even the simpliest thing, with style.

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Piazza Navona, one of the most famous sights in Rome

In ancient times and the first centuries AD, Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire, one of the largest ever existed in Europe. Those years many monuments were built that were intended to show its grandeur. Although many of them were damaged or destroyed by enemy incursions over the times, fortunately there are some that have survived until today to remind us of the glorious years of the Eternal City. The most important is the Coliseum , in the historic center. An amphitheater almost 2000 years old, which could hold up to 50,000 spectators, an amazing number for those times. But the bad thing about it is that it was used mainly for bloody purposes : duels between wild animals and slaves or torture of Christians, "shows" that were entertaining for the emperors and Romans. In 2007 it was included among the new 7 wonders of the world.

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Inside the Coliseum

Apart from the Coliseum, another one beautiful building is the Pantheon . Built in the 1st century BC, it was originally a temple dedicated to the deities of ancient Rome and in 7th century it was converted into a christian, in honor of the Virgin Mary. It is admirable that is perfectly preserved and still operates today. Moreover, another attraction with great history are the famous catacombs of Rome . Around the city there are more than 40. They were mainly used by Christians when their religion was being persecuted, in order to bury their dead people. So in the catacombs are entombed many saints. Of course don't miss the change to visit the Roman Forum, one of the most vivid parts of ancient Rome. Besides those sites, everywhere you go you will find something special to see. For example arches, ancient walls, aqueducts, Roman churches, bridges and much more. Not all of them are in perfect condition, but they will make you feel what a great city Rome used to be in ancient times.

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Pantheon and the fountain in front of it, at Piazza della Rotonda

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Rome and Athens are the only big cities in Europe that have kept so alive a part of their ancient history. This is the reason why many people are attracted to Rome : they can "jump" from one century to another in just a few steps.

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The Spanish steps, at Piazza di Spagna

 

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