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Lazio

Lazio, a region full of charm, mystery and outstanding cultural gems, is dotted with ruins from the Roman Empire and historical artifacts,. Beauties of the natural landscape includes volcanic lakes, mountains, beautiful rolling hillsides, vineyards and olive groves between the Apennines and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Due to its strategic position by the sea, its cuisine is mainly based on seafood. Apart from the metropolitan cities of Rome, Tivoli , Ostia Antica,  there are some laid-back and secluded villages like Civita di Bagnoregio, Viterbo and Bolsena are worth exploring before the crowds do.

 

There are few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Lazio namely:  

  • The Historic Centre of Rome

  • Vatican City (Holy See)  and Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Wall (San Paolo Fuori le Mura)

  • The Etruscan necropolis  in  the antique Etruscan town of Cerveteri and Tarquinia 

  • Villa Adriana and Villa d’Este in Tivoli

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By LoggaWiggler -  Pixabay 
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All roads lead to Rome

Rome, the Eternal City, is one of a kind. It is a modern city that lives amongst the ancient ruins of one of theworld’s biggest Empires. Admire the mighty ancient amphitheatre, the Colosseum, walking down the glorious past in the Roman Forum, an ancient ruins site that were once the centre of Roman public and political life, tossing a coin in the Trevi Fountain, climbing up the Spanish Steps, see the finest baroque fountains at the Piazza Navona, gazing at the Pantheon, one of  the great architectural marvels, visit the most recognizable and celebrated religious buildings in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vartican City, experience the nightlife in Testaccio or simply zip around the city on a Vespa. The variety of attractions in Rome is so great that it is consistently ranked as one of the top tourist destinations in Europe.  

Colosseum

Known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum is the world’s most iconic landmarks. Constructed between AD 70-80, it is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built in the Roman World and can accommodate up to more than 50,000 spectators. It is a hub of entertainment for the whole of Rome, offering a variety of events.  One of the most popular event is the gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights.

Arch of Constantine

The Arch of Constantine located between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill, erected in the year 315 AD, is dedicated to the great Emperor Constantine to celebrate his victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. It is one of the best preserved monuments from ancient Rome.

Statue of Augustus

Augustus, also known as Octavian, was the first emperor of ancient Rome. Augustus came to power after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC.

Roman Forum

The Roman forum was the centre of Roman public and political life and you can see ruins of ancient markets, administrative and religious buildings.

Palatine Hill

Palatine Hill, one of the 7 hills of Rome, is considered to be the birthplace of the Italian capital and is believed to have been inhabited since the year 1000 B.C. According to mythology, the cave where the she-wolf founded the two twins, Romulus and Remus, is located in Palatine Hill.  When the brothers grew up they decided to form a city on the banks of the river, but when they could not come to an agreement in some points of the decision, Romulus killed Remus and founded the city of Rome. Several structures still stand today including the Flavian Palace, the House of Augustus and the Temple of Cybele.

Circus Maximus

Nestled between the Aventine and Palatine Hills, Circus Maximus, Circus Maximus is an ancient Roman chariot racetrack and mass entertainment venue built around the 6th century BC.  It was the largest stadium in the entire Roman Empire and was used as a model for the construction of other stadiums across the Roman Empire. The site is now a public park.

 

Piazza Venezia - Altar to the Fatherland 

Another iconic landmark located in the heart of Rome, the Altar to the Fatherland in Piazza Venezia.  The monument holds the shrine of the Italian Unknown Soldiers, in memory of all the fallen soldiers that never received a proper burial, as well as a monument dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II who was the first king of unified Italy in 1860.

Trevi Fountain

One of the most elaborate and impressive baroque fountains in the world constructed in 1762. Tradition says you should toss 2 coins over your shoulder, one to make a wish and the other one to be sure to return to Rome.

Pantheon

Originally dedicated to all mythology Roman Gods, but became a Christian church in the 7th century. The soaring concrete dome is the largest unreinforced dome in the world. The oculus, the opening in the dome, allows light to penetrate through, giving the place a unique lighting. The Pantheon is the final resting place for Raphael, the famous artist and Victor Emmanuel II, 1st king of Italy.

Mouth of Truth (La Bocca della Verità)

A worldwide-famous enormous marble mask said to bite the hand of those who lied. This legend originates from Roman times.

Temple of Hercules

A Roman Temple dating from around the 2nd Century BC, built of white marble in the Greek style, is the oldest surviving marble building in the city.

Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)

Dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top, it is one of the most famous squares in Rome, owes its name to the Palazzo di Spagna, seat of the Embassy of Spain.  It is where tourists can mingle with locals.

Adding to the charm of the square, is the famous Fountain of the Boat (Fontana della Barcaccia). It was sculpted by Bernini and his father. The square will take you straight to the famous high-end shopping street, Via Condotti, where the well-heeled locals come to splash their cash at the sophisticated shops.

 

Piazza Navona

One of the most charming squares in Rome with its three amazing fountains and a church. The fountain of the moor, the Fountain of Neptune and the eye catcher in the middle is the Fountain of the four rivers, Bernini’s masterpiece of work. The fountain consists of four figures, each representing one of the major rivers in the world known by those times; Nile (Africa), Ganges (China), Danube (Europe) and Rio della Plata (America).

 

Located right in the middle of Piazza Navona is the impressive 17th-century Baroque Church of St Agnese in Agone, dedicated to the young Christian virgin Agnese, who was executed at the site of the church, because of her beliefs.

 

The delightful square is flanked by many bars and gelateria, it's a great place  to take a short break, enjoy an espresso or tucking into a gelato.

St. Angel Castle

Built by Emperor Hadrian in 129 AD as a mausoleum, later served as a place of refuge for the popes during invasions! There’s even a secret tunnel that connects the fortress directly to the Vatican.

Today the castle houses wonderful exhibitions about the history of the structure, medieval weapons, tombs and the ancient Popes apartments.  It is also possible to climb to the top of the castle ramparts for fantastic views across to St. Peter’s square and the city of Rome.

St. Angelo Bridge

Anciently, the bridge was  called Ponte Aelius, name after Emperor Aelius Hadrian. It was built it in 136 AD over the Tiber River to provide access to the entrance to the mausoleum. The bridge has suffered several transformations. The bridge that is currently called Sant'Angelo is due to the statues of the Angel that dominates the castle. Decorated with 12 impressive ornate Angels statues, each is carrying a different object of significance. The Angels were designed by the legendary sculpture Bernini. 

Stadium of the Marbles (Stadio dei Marmi)

The complex was built during the Fascist regime. Originally it was named Foro Mussolini; after the Second World War the name was changed to Stadio dei Marmi, which can accommodate 20,000 spectators.

The 60 Carrara marble athletic sculptures that ring around the stadium, each has a height of 4 meters, were produced by 24 artists and sculptors. Now, it is the seat of CONI, Italian Olympic Committee.

Vatican City (The Holy See)

Area: 0.44 sq km

Population: 800


Vatican City is the world’s smallest independent state in both size and population, It has its own flag, anthem, and license plates and makes its own stamps and coins, although it uses the euro as currency .
 

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Vatican City

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Whether you are religious or not, a visit to the Vatican City is often a highlight of a trip to Rome. It is an awe-inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. The spiritual,administrative center and important pilgrimage site of the Roman Catholic , the Pope’s official residence and the home of some of the world’s most famous works of art, it is a lot to take in. Since 1984 all of Vatican State is acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

St. Peter's Basilica

No visit to the Vatican would be complete without seeing the majesty St. Peter’s Basilica, an impressive Renaissance Church, one of the largest churches ever built. The basilica is said to be built upon the burial sight of Saint Peter.

St. Peter's Square

St Peter’s Square is probably one of the world’s most famous squares and one of the most beautiful. Designed by Bernini during the 17th century, it could accommodate more than 300,000 people.

The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

The Vatican museums and Sistine chapel are a special treat for art lovers, with their impressive collections of art, maps, statues, range from Egyptian mummies and Etruscan bronzes to ancient busts, and of course, Michelangelo’s frescoed Sistine Chapel, depicting The Last Judgement, and his ceiling design best known for the Creation of Adam. It is the final room in the museum and its most impressive attraction.

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (San Paolo Fuori le Mura)

The Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura) is one of the four major basilicas of Rome, erected during the fourth century AD,  by Emperor Constantine on the site of St Paul's tomb. It is located in Via Ostiense, about 2 km outside the Aurelian Walls , which how the basilica is named.  The basilica was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1823 and then immediately rebuilt. The interior is breathtakingly grand, contains fine statues, tabernacles, arcs, and mosaic art.

 

In 1990, the historic center of Rome , the Holy See (including the Vatican and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls) make up one of the 55  Italian sites listed in UNESCO World Heritage List.

Tivoli

Tivoli is a picturesque village shrouded in native bush, cascading waterfalls, exquisite gardens and historical sites. Sitting on the western slopes of the picturesque Monti Tiburtini, outlined by the Aniene River, Tivoli enjoys a cooler climate and has been a resort town for Rome’s elite for centuries.  Tivoli is a great location to be used as a base for exploring Lazio.

 

Villa d´Este, Tivoli

Villa d'Este is the symbol of Italian Renaissance architecture, an amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. These gardens are possibly the best known in Italy and represent the pinnacle of Italian landscape garden design. Within the gardens you can find several beautiful fountains including the monumental Fontana dell'Organo,Fontana del Bicchierone, Fontana del Ovato and Fontana della Civetta. Each fountain is adorned with sculptures and ornate decoration. In additional, there is a series of landscaped gardens full of plants, trees and greenery.

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 Villa d'Este 

By Waldo Miguez -Pixabay 
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 Villa d'Este 

By Go Travelling, Public Domain

Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa)

Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa) in Tivoli, built by Roman Emperor Hadrian at the foot of the Tiburtine Hills between 118 and 138 AD,  witness the grandeur of the Roman Empire. It is a huge Roman site filled with archaeological artifacts, one of the best kept and most visited archaeological sites in Italy. This is why it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. The site included palaces, baths, temples, barracks, theatres, gardens, fountains, libraries, staterooms, and quarters for servants. The most impressive and best preserved parts include a pool (canopus), Teatro Marittimo and a grotto (serapeum).

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 Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa) 

 Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa) 

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By Emphyrio -Pixabay 
By lapping - Pixabay 

Viterbo

Take a break from the city of Rome and soak yourself in a revitalising thermal bath in the middle of nowhere. Explore some of the world’s most significant ancient history. Travel through time to a medieval world – all without the crowds! 

If you’re looking for an unusual trip, framed by medieval picturesque architecture, good traditional food, and relaxing spas, Viterbo is for  you!

 

Viterbo is a town protected by medieval walls which date back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Its’s perfect for strolling around. Viterbo had nearly 100 fountains! Be sure to explore the winding medieval alleys and hidden corners of the city to see how many you can find! The town was once the papal seat back in the 13th century, and you can still visit the impressive Palazzo dei Papi in the historic center. Be sure to make time for one of Viterbo’s most relaxing attractions: its thermal baths, which have been enjoyed for centuries by locals and visitors alike.