Palatine Hill, Rome, Italy

The city of Rome is situated on seven hills along the Tiber River. The Palatine Hill is in the heart of the city and ascends above the Roman ruins of the Circus Maximus and the Forum Romanum. Tourist looking for accommodation in Rome apartments and hotels will find Palatine Hill very convenient.

Palatine Hill in Rome, ItalyThe Palatine Hill plays a role in Roman mythology and history. According to Roman myth, a wolf protected the brothers, Romulus and Remus. Romulus is credited with the founding of Rome. Newer archaeological excavation revealed that people inhabited the area since 1000 BC. Many wealthy Romans lived on the Palatine during the Republican era, as did several emperors during the Empire. The remains of the palaces of the Flavian rule are on view as well as the temple to Apollo built by Augustus.

Other buildings are in the area, and some are available for viewing. One is the home of Livia, who was the wife of Augustus, though it is under restoration at this point. Close to the house is the Temple of Cybele, still undergoing excavation and not yet opens to the public. The house of Tiberius is at the back of this structure. The Hippodrome of Domitian is next to the palace of Severus. Its construction was in the design of a Roman circus, but its appearance is more like a Greek Stadium. While its purpose is not entirely known, at one time it was a center for sporting events but was probably also a garden. The Hippodrome is the source for most of the statutes at the Palatine Museum.

Both the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum below it are a vast open-air museum. Visitors can use the same ticket for this museum as well as the Colosseum. The entrance to the Palatine Hill is on Via di San Gregorio that is the street past the Arch of Constantine, away from the Colosseum and very convenient to accommodations in Rome apartments.

The museum is open every day, and the entrance fee includes the Palatine Museum, Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum. It is adjacent to the Circus Maximus and Roman Forum. The primary entrance is on Via di San Gregorio on the street past the Arch of Constantine. The Metro stop is labeled Colosseo. It is easier to purchase tickets at the entry at the Palatine Hill at times when the Coliseum line is lengthy. Tours are available in both audio guides and English guided tours.


Appian Way, Rome, Italy

The Appian Way is an ancient Roman road that connected Rome to Apulia and Brindisi in southeast Italy. Today, the old Appian Way is close to Rome apartments and hotels and is a popular tourist attraction. The first three miles from Rome are used by cars and public transportation, but after that, there is not much traffic and pedestrians can explore the many fascinating ruins on foot.

Appian Way, Rome ItalyThe section of the road that is closest to Rome has three catacombs of Roman and early Christian origin. These subterranean passageways were made by men as underground tombs. It is said the bodies of the apostles Peter and Paul were buried there. Over the centuries the catacombs have been used for religious practices, smugglers’ hideouts, for war refugees and as a meeting place for cults.

Along the second mile of the road is the Church of Domine Quo Vadis. This is the place where, according to legend, Saint Peter met Jesus when Peter was fleeing persecution in Rome. There has been a church on this spot since the middle of the ninth century.

It is possible to follow the Appian Way on foot for ten miles from the beginning which is near the Baths of Caracalla. The Baths were built between 212 AD and 216 AD and were open to the public and free. The magnificent design for the baths inspired St. George’s Hall in Liverpool and Pennsylvania Station in New York City.

There are many monuments to see along the way including the Porta San Sebastiano which is the modern name for the gate in the wall of Rome built from AD 271 and 275. The ruin of the Circus of Maxentius, which was built from AD 306 to 312 AD, is between the second and third mile. It is second only to the Circus Maximus in Rome. The tomb of Caecilia Metella, built around BC 69, is nearby on a hill, and at 11 meters high, it dominates the surrounding area. The Capo di Bove is an archeological site of huge thermal baths built in the second century AD.

After the fifth mile on the Appian Way is the Mausoleum of the Orazi and Curiazi. There is also the Villa of the Quintili which was built by wealthy brothers in 151 CE. It was so big, it was said to rival Rome. The Nymphaeum can still be seen. They were natural grottoes which were considered the habitat of nymphs.

There are many other monuments beyond the six mile mark and several ancient bridges along the way. Travelers staying in hotels and apartments in Rome will find that this makes a great day trip to explore Rome history as well as spending time on the outskirts of Rome.


Castel Sant’ Angelo, Rome, Italy

One of the coolest looking monuments in Rome, Italy is Castel Sant’ Angelo, located close to the Vatican in the heart of Rome. This ancient monument was actually a tomb for the Roman emperor Hadrian but since 1925 it has been a museum which is open to the public.


Originally built as a tomb for the emperor in the second century Castel Sant’ Angelo has also been used during the Middle Ages as a fortress and a prison, complete with a torture chamber. In the 14th century it became a papal refuge and residence and even today an underground passageway connects Castel Sant’ Angelo to the Vatican.

Castel Sant’ Angelo, Rome, ItalyThere are a total of five floors in Castel Sant’ Angelo and on the top of the building is a statue of Michael the Archangel. Panorama views of the city are awesome from the terrace. The name of the monument supposedly comes from a story in which the archangel made an appearance on the building coinciding with the end of the plague in the sixth century. Today Castel Sant’ Angelo is a museum and one of the most visited places in Rome.


Easily seen from a distance along the Tiber River, Castel Sant ‘Angelo is directly across the Ponte Sant’ Angelo bridge, which is the one decorated with statues of Saints peter and Paul as well as ten angels. During the recent beatification of Pope John Paul II large TV screens were set up just outside Castel Sant ‘Angelo to handle the overflow crowds from St Peter’s Square.

Hours and Fees

Open every day except Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Mondays, The National Museum of Castel Sant ‘Angelo charges an entrance fee of €8.50 to tour the museum. Daytime hours are 9am to 7:30pm.

Not publicized or well known, the museum also has special nighttime tours on request. The Summer Nights program runs from July to September and features programs starting at 8:30pm till past midnight. These special programs can include tours to areas not usually accessible during the day. It also includes on various nights musical performances, readings, theater performances and tours to the top of the museum where panorama nighttime views are spectacular. A bar and restaurant are also available for refreshments at this level.

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Trastevere, Rome, Italy

Trastevere, one of Rome’s districts, is named after the Latin phrase meaning beyond the Tiber River. It is one of the Roman centers of nightlife and home to clubs, restaurants and pubs. It is also the locale for expatriates and college students from America as it is the site of two American universities.

Trastevere is easily accessible by trains, trams and bus. The trains that are designated regioinale make a stop at the Trastevere railroad station. From there, travelers should get on Tram N 8. Passengers can take the same tram from Piazza Argentina that is a short trip from the Pantheon to Trastevere. Bus N H also reaches this area.

Ponte Prinicipe Amedeo Savoia Aosta, RomeVisitors to Trastevere will find a charming combination of Rome’s history, shopping and nightlife. Many of its attractions are historic homes and churches. Trastevere has become a favorite place for travelers to Rome, with easy acces form local hotels and vaction rentals.

Casa della Fornarina is the home of Rafael’s mistress. Margherita was thought to be a model for Rafael’s painting, La Donna Belaa, Her father’s bakeshop was close to Villa Farnesina where Raffael was painting. After Raffael is supposed to have renounced her to be forgiven for his sins, Margherita joined a convent Santa Appollinia in Trastevere.

Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of Rome’s oldest churches. The church is a mixture of items from other sites in Rome. Columns from a variety of ancient Roman buildings edge the nave. The 13th century gold mosaics cover the apse. The front wall has mosaics of Virgin Mary and other figures most likely the work of Petro Cavallini. Lights illuminate the façade of Santa Mari at night.Facade of the Saint Maria in Trastevere, Rome

San Francesco a Rippa was named for St. Francis of Assisi who lodged close by. The statue of the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni, a Bernini work of art, is inside the Paluzzi-Albertoni Chapel. The pillar in front of the church is from the ruins at Veii.

Isola Tiberina, an island in the center of the Tiber River, separates Trastevere from central Rome. It is home to both one of Rome’s main hospitals and a small synagogue secretly used during World War II. The Roman side has a café and gelateria or ice cream shop. It provides an alternative route to reach Trastevere. The Ponte Garibaldi is an ideal spot for taking pictures of the beautiful island.
Rome by night, Santa Maria in Trastevere
The Villa Farnesina, a charming Renaissance house, was built by a Sienna banker and later purchased by the Farnese family in the 16th century. The house is open to tours to view the rooms adorned with frescoes, including those by Raphael.

The Janiculum Hill, Il Gianicolo, not one of Rome’s seven original hills, is accessible by walking Via Garibaldi from Trastevere. It is the second highest hill and provides a spectacular view of Rome. The Dome of St. Peters can be seen from the other side of the Piazza.

Trastevere has other sites besides churches. Fontana dell’ Acaqua Paola is an immense Baroque fountain from the 17th century. The Tempietto, intended to celebrate the place of the martyrdom of St. Peter, is a prime example of Renaissance architecture. Villa Pamphili, an outstanding recreation park for Roman, is home to a group of swamp beavers that escaped from a fur farm. Manfredi Lighthouse, an odd addition to the top of a Roman hill, was an Argentinean gift to Rome from Italians living in Argentina.

Typical italian street in the Trastevere Area in RomeWhile Trastevere is rich with history, it also abounds in intriguing sites. Piazza S. Maria in Trastevere is the popular local square ideal for watching the bystanders and visitors. Cafes and bars enclose two sides of the square. Travelers can get off track in the maze of Trastevere streets. The cobbled paths narrowly wind throughout the district. The cobblestone streets or sampietrini are being paved over in much of Rome because driving causes the base of historical buildings and fountains to crack. However, the cobbled streets in Trastevere are being maintained. Big Mama is known as Rome’s House of Blues with shows of both international and Italian musicians presenting jazz and blues concerts.

Trastevere is an ideal spot for shopping. All along the Viale di Trastevere from the Trastevere Train Station to Ponte Garibaldi, vendors sell fruits and vegetables, plus clothes and accessories among other items. A large flea market is held at Porta Portese on Sunday mornings. Frengo’s Music is a CD shop run by a music aficionado.

Trastevere is one of the best parts of the city to find authentic Italian food at reasonable fare. The district has a multitude of restaurants. Many cafes in this area open earlier than other parts of Rome, mostly to accommodate the tourists. Most Romans do not dine out before 8 PM. Examples of Trastevere bistros are listed below. Ai Bozzi offers traditional Roman dishes. Fior di Luna serves tasty ice cream. Ivo a Trastevere is a popular pizzeria. Osteria der Belli is known for its seafood. Travelers might like Baccanale, which has a wide variety of drinks and cocktails and the Shelter, a small bar near the Ristorante Asinocotto.

Trastevere is an eclectic mix of history, religion, education and nightlife. Travelers to Rome will enjoy the mystery of its cobbled streets, the aura of its churches and the bright life of the piazza.


Pigneto-San Lorenzo, Rome, Italy

The area of Rome called Pigneto-San Lorenzo is a triangle defined by Porta Maggiore between Prenestina and Casilina and Via dell’Acqua Bullicante. The name comes from the pine trees that were planted in the eighteenth century along the Villa Serventi wall. It was a working-class suburb for many years, but is today a vibrant artistic and cultural quarter.

There is a pedestrian zone at the top of the Via del Pigneto which is the trendy spot for nightlife in Rome. The area is very accessible to Rome apartments and hotels. The fourth Sunday of every month, this area becomes a bustling market where anyone can bring things to sell. Some bring crafts and jewelry they have made and some bring articles from their homes.Retaurant in Rome Italy

San Lorenzo is not inside the usual tourist haunts and has a distinct flavor of the bohemian life. Not only at night, but the craftsmen, artists’ studios, restaurants and bars make this area lively all day too. It resembles a small, working class village community within the city where time slows down, and people enjoy visiting their neighbors in the squares and streets in the evenings. Alive with counterculture, it’s the hippest place around and is a popular place for students to live.

There are also some ancient sites in the area including the underground Basilica di Porta Maggiore. Discovered in 1917, it was built in the first century as a place where aristocratic Romans could practice the doctrines of Neo-Pythagoreanism. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Tower of Praqeneste is on the main street of Pigneto. It is a burial mound that dates from the first century BC. A fountain was added during the middle ages. There is also a Historical Museum of Educational Toys and Games of the XX Century.

The main attraction of San Lorenzo and Pigneto is the offbeat vibe as seen in the restaurants and bars. Many of the artisans in the area sell their wares worldwide and start trends. Some even have exhibitions in museums. This is why it is worth seeing the many workshops and galleries in the region. The shops are like museums where visitors can come and look. Many of them open only in the evening and stay open until late at night making it the perfect place to end a day of sightseeing before heading back to your hotel or apartments in Rome.

There is a 180-year old art supply store that has served more than its share of famous artists over the centuries. Paints are still ground with the original ingredients including Salvador Dali’s lavender essence and special cochineal insects from Africa for the exact hue of carmine.


Colosseum, Rome

The Colosseum is a symbolic relic of Imperial Rome that is universally regarded as one of Rome’s must-see attractions. The Colosseum was the city’s premier entertainment venue when it was built between 70 and 80 A.D. Within its walls, Romans of all social ranks gathered to watch gladiator fights, mock naval battles, notorious hunting games and executions until the year 523 A.D.


The stadium was originally called the Flavius Amphitheater because construction began under Emperor Vespasian during the Flavian dynasty. The venue was later opened by his son Titus. Although the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater within the historic boundaries of the Roman Empire, the name comes from a famous 114-foot statue that stood near the stadium for many years. This colossal statue of Emperor Nero was destroyed completely. The pedestal and statue’s foundation are the only remaining pieces.

The Colosseum, Rome, ItalyThe iconic Colosseum stadium can be explored with a guide or on a self-guided tour. Allow at least two hours to experience the history, ambiance and culture that the Colosseum represents. During the summer months, ticket lines can be quite long. Prepare to spend some time purchasing tickets. Visitors can also travel to another ticketing office located on Palatine Hill to bypass long lines at the Colosseum.

Tickets to this historic site cost €12 for a one-day pass. That includes admission to eight important tourist attractions, including the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, historic baths, catacombs and several museums. Visitors also have the option of purchasing a multi-day Roma Pass that grants access to all public transportation systems within the city.

The Colosseum is located along the Piazza del Colosseo in an eponymous district within the heart of Rome. It can be reached by bus, by tram or on the subway. Local metro stations at the Colosseo put visitors conveniently close to the attraction’s main entrance. More than 4.5 million visitors tour this historic site every year. The iconic amphitheater opens daily at 9 a.m. During the summer, tours continue until 7 p.m. When tourist traffic is lower in the winter, the ticketing office closes at 4 p.m.

Discounted tickets are available to citizens of the European Union who are over 65, under 18 or work as teachers. Due to recent flooding, access to subterranean areas of the Colosseum has been restricted. However, visitors still have ample access to many levels of the iconic amphitheater.



Pantheon, Rome

The Pantheon, located in the old center of Rome, Italy, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. It is instantly recognizable to people around the world as the ruins from one of the greatest civilizations ever to exist – the Ancient Romans. It is a very important destination for many tourists traveling to Italy and interested in the ancient world.

The Pantheon was built with funding from Marcus Agrippa around 26 BC (rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 126 AD), and was supposed to be a temple to all of the gods and goddesses of Ancient Rome. In more recent times, since the 7th century, it has been used by Catholics for masses. The Pantheon is particularly incredible among ruins of the ancient world due to its integrity of construction. Having stood for 2000 years, this building is still largely intact. Visitors can go into the original structure and get a glimpse of what life was like twenty centuries ago in Ancient Italy. Since the Renaissance period, the Pantheon was used as a tomb for nobility and aristocrats. In fact, the famous artist Raphael is buried in the Pantheon, as is Annibale Carracci, another famous painter. The Pantheon is famous for its incredible architecture, which was so innovative for its time. The domed roof was an architectural marvel, and remains so to this day. It has withstood the tests and trials of time. There is a carved opening in the peak of the dome, which is called the oculus – this is the only source of light in the Pantheon.

The Pantheon in Rome ItalyVisiting the Pantheon can take several hours, and tourists can end the tour right around lunch time. There are many places to eat near the Pantheon. One excellent, highly recommended restaurants is the Armando al Pantheon – a trattoria serving classic Italian cuisine. This restaurant has been here for several decades, and family owned and operated. Especially recommended is the Spaghetti Carbonara, with the house white wine (made from the family's own grapes).

There are many other activities to take part in nearby the Pantheon. Old Rome is the center of Rome's medieval and Renaissance period, and a short walk reveals so much history from this by gone era. There are many piazzas spread throughout Old Rome. There are usually associated statues and fountains for each piazza, and you should see as many of these as possible.