Monthly Archives: September 2017

Visit Rome in 3 Days with Children. Where to Go, What to Do and What to See

If you plan to visit Rome in 3 days with some children you will have no problem to arrange a trip. The eternal city, actually, even if has the reputation of being a “destination for acculturated people”, has a lot to offer also to small visitors. Parks, museums, attractions, there are plenty of things to see and have fun with them.

Below we propose our itinerary to visit Rome in 3 days with children. This is a rough itinerary that you can adapt and modify according to the interests and the time that you want to devote to each attraction.

First Day

What Will you see:
Explora
Giardini di villa Borghese
Museo Carlo Billotti
Piazza di Siena

Our itinerary begins with a visit to an attraction that your kids will definitely adore: EXPLORA, a museum dedicated to children from 0 to 12 years old. It is set up as a child-sized miniature city, where everything can be experienced, touched, lived. The museum opens at 10am and the visit (unguided) takes about 45 minutes. It is advisable to book on weekdays and it is absolutely necessary to do it on weekends. The reserved tickets must be picked up at the ticket office 15 minutes before the check-in time, otherwise your reservation will be canceled.To get to the museum go down to the Flaminio Metro stop and take Via Flaminio. The property is at number 82. After the visit go back to the metro station.
The gardens of Villa Borghese are a great idea if you need to visit Rome in 3 days with children.

By going through Viale Whashington you will find yourself in the beautiful gardens of Villa Borghese. Walk in the park where children can run and play at their leisure and stop there to eat.

After lunch, dedicate a stage for you adults at the Carlo Bilotti Museum. It is small and has only 23 pieces, of which 18 works by Giorgio de Chirico, including the famous sculpture “Hector and Andromaca”, located at the entrance. The free view will not take long. It will be interesting for you, and your children, unless they are too small, will appreciate it.

Continue the itinerary following the same road until you arrive at Piazza di Siena, where currently horse racing and summer concerts are organized. Near the square there is the Casina di Raffaello, a playhouse located in a beautiful palace of the 500, which offers fun shows and workshops for children from 3 to 10 years. Finally, you will arrive at the last stop of the day on this trip to visit Rome in three days with children: the Bioparco, which hosts about 1100 animals of 200 different species, it is an attraction to which your little ones will not say No.

 

Second Day

The second day of our itinerary to visit Rome in 3 days with children begins with the Colosseum (accessible to the disabled), the attraction that most of all represents the capital. Opened in the 80 AD by the Emperor Tito, has always had a function of celebrating public events, performances, fights of gladiators, and so on. It was and still is a show by itself. It can be visited on two levels and most of the structure of the arena is still visible. Reserve about an hour for the visit. If you have the Roma Pass you can jump the queue.
Continue the itinerary along the Via dei Fori Imperiali, at the end of which you can admire the Trajan’s Market and the beautiful Trajan Column. Stop there and spend some time looking at the bas-reliefs that, like in a film, describe the emperor’s military campaigns against the Daci population. Via dei Fori Imperiali ends with the Vittoriano that may be a great destination if you are planning to visit Rome in 3 days with children.

Piazza Venezia. Go up the steps of the Vittoriano (remember that it is forbidden to sit down for respect of the tomb of the unknown soldier to whom the monument is dedicated and that the controls are strict), take the usual pictures, and if you want to enjoy a nice view of the city, go up the terrace with the elevator located to the side of the monument.

Stay in the area for lunch. After having lunch and taking some rest, reach Piazza Santi Apostoli. You can bring your children to visit the Wax Museum, the third largest in Europe for the number of characters that have been collected. It contains a collection of 250 wax figures including, in addition to popes, politicians and poets such as Barack Obama, Francesco Totti and, for the joy of the girls, Biancaneve.
Alternatively, for a “more cultural” visit, you can go to Time Elevator, a 3D cinema inaugurated in 2005, where it is worth seeing the show on three scenic screens of Time Elevator Roma, a virtual trip in a lifetime simulator 45 minutes long through almost 3000 years of Roman history. The show starts every hour.

Going out of the cinema you can reach the Trevi Fountain, another of the attractions of Rome absolutely not to be missed. Take a moment here and make some pictures in front of this symbol of the capital. Then take the Via del Corso (shopping street) where you can shop for the whole family.

Finally come to Piazza del Popolo, where you will find a 23.9 meters obelisk. It is the first obelisk that was transported to Rome at the time of Augustus, to celebrate the Emperor’s victory over Egypt. Initially it was positioned at the Circus Maximus.

Third Day

Our advice for the thitd day of your itinerary to visit Rome in 3 days with children is to go and visit the Vatican City. Take the subway and get off at Ottaviano-San Pietro stop. From there go through via Via Ottaviano and reach Piazza San Pietro, one of the largest public spaces in the world.
Visit Rome in 3 days with children: St. Peter’s Basilica

Take some photos and let yourself be impressed by the vastness and magnificence of the place. Then visit St. Peter’s Basilica (pay attention to the clothes you wear, because shorts, skirts and bare shoulders are not allowed) and allow yourself to be astonished by the enormity and richness of its interior. Stop to admire the moving Pietà of Michelangelo, which is protected behind a bulletproof glass. The artist sculpted it at the age of only 25 and it is the only work to bring his signature (you’ll find it engraved on the band that surrounds Maria’s chest).
When you leave the basilica, take Via della Conciliazione until you reach Castel Sant’Angelo and visit it inside. If you have the Roma Pass you can skip the queue by going to the special turnstiles for direct access to the site. We recommend that you do not leave without going through the Terrace of the Angel, from where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city.

When you finish your visit stop for lunch. Be aware that in the area around the Vatican there are many trattorias and pizzerias that have no problem with serving poor food at prices far from cheap.

The fountain of the four rivers of Piazza Navona

After having some lunch and resumed some strenght reach Piazza Navona with its beautiful baroque palaces and the wonderful fountains (including the one of the four rivers by Bernini) .The square is characterized by a crowd of tourists, street artists and portrayers invading it every hour of the day and night.
From here keep going along Via del Governo Vecchio until you arrive in Campo dei Fiori with the famous statue of Giordano Bruno, a heretic monk condemned to the stake during the counterreformation period, in the shadow of which the famous market full of colorful stalls is held. The square is one of the main points of the Roman life, during the day with its market, in the evening as a place to drink something. If children are hungry, there is a bakery called the”Ancient Oven” in front of the Giordano Bruno’s statue, which offers white pizza and very good focaccia breads.

Our itinerary to visit Rome in 3 days with children ends up here. If you want you can end the day by dining nearby.

Opening times

Explora:
January to July, September to December
1st Round 10:00 – 11:45;
2nd Round 12:00 – 13:45;
3° Round 15:00 – 16:45;
4th Round 17:00 – 18:45.

August
1st Round 12:00 – 13:45;
2nd Round 15:00 – 16:45,
3rd Round 17:00 – 18:45. 24 and 31

December
1st Round 10:00 – 11:45;
2nd Round 12:00 – 13:45,
3rd Round 15:00 – 16:45.

12-36 MONTHS € 5,00
from 3 years € 8,00
adult 8,00
Thursday afternoon (excluding holidays) € 6,00.

Museo Carlo Bilotti:
October – May
from Tuesday to Friday 10.00 – 16.00 (entrance allowed until 15.30);
Saturday and Sunday 1 10.00 – 19.00 (entrance allowed until 18.30)
24 and 31 December 10.00-14.00.
Closed Monday, December 25, January 1, May 1. Free entry.

June – September
from Tuesday to Friday from 13.00 to 19.00 (entrance until 18.30),
Saturday and Sunday 10.00 – 19.00 (entrance allowed until 18.30).

Casina di Raffaello:
January
11 to February 29 from Tuesday to Friday 9.30-15.30
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.00-18.00;
from March 1st to June 30th from Tuesday to Friday 9.00-18.00,
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.00-19.00.
Monday closed. € 7,00 for ALL children, free of charge for disabled and accompanying, € 5.00 reduced

St. Peter’s Basilica:
1st October – 31st March every day 7.00-18.30
1 April – 30 September every day 7-19.00.
Free admission

Castel Sant’Angelo:
daily 9.00-19.30 (ticket office closes at 18.30).
Full € 10, reduced € 5.

Colosseum:
every day except December 25 and January 1 9-17.
Until 15 February 8.30 – 16.30;
February 16th to March 15th 8.3 – 17.00;
from 16 to the last Saturday of March 8.30 – 17.30;
from the last Sunday of March to 31 August 8.30 – 19.15;
from 1 to 30 September 08.30 – 19.00;
from the first to the last Saturday of October 8.30 – 18.30.
Last entry one hour before closing.
Full € 12, reduced € 7.50, free under 18 years.
Included in the Roma Pass.

The Rome Districts Where One Can Find A Good Hotel

Where would you be able to find a good hotel in Rome? Below we propose an overview of the different areas of Rome so that you can choose the one that is the most convenient to you according to your needs and your budget.

Ancient Rome

Here there are the remains of the glorious past of the capital, such as the Colosseum, the Palatine, the Imperial Forum and the Campidoglio. Crowded during the day by day-to-day tourists, after the closure of the monuments it becomes very quiet throughout the night. Here there are are high-end hotels and you will not be able to find many cheap options.

Old Town

With its cobbled alleys, lively squares, Renaissance palaces, cafes and trendy restaurants, this is the most fascinating area of Rome. Piazza Navona and the Pantheon are not far away, and there are many monuments, museums and churches full of art treasures. It is the capital’s most expensive neighborhood and therefore it will not be that simple to find cheap hotels. Please note also that it might be noisy.

Tridente, Trevi And The Quirinale

This area, crowded with tourists, is full of glamorous, trendy boutiques and refined hotels. It is an excellent solution if you are looking for mid-range hotels. The neighborhood has a good transport network.

Vatican City, Borgo And Prati

The neighborhood is close to the Basilica of Saint Peteir and the Vatican Museums. Here there are hundreds of souvenir shops and restaurants that are often too expensive for what they offer. In the wealthy area of Prati there is a good choice of hotels, shops and restaurants. It is well connected to the subway.

From San Giovanni to Testaccio

It is an area of many facets. Here you can find medieval churches and monumental basilicas such as San Giovanni in Laterano, imposing ruins such as the Baths of Caracalla or quiet villas such as Villa Celimontana. If you love nightlife, you can find the best in Testaccio, with its traditional taverns. Here you can find cheaper hotels than in the center. If you are looking for a quiet and romantic place, choose the Aventino.

South Rome (Roma Sud)

It is a large area that extends to the southern limits of the town. The most interesting areas are the ancient Appia road, Via Ostiense and the EUR. It offers many ways to have fun, with trendy places and trendy bars. Here there is also the Quartiere della Garbatella, very quiet and without noise, with low houses, vegetable gardens and gardens. It is the neighborhood where the successful fiction “I Cesaroni” has been set. The metro is quite close (line B stop Garbatella)

Villa Borghese and North Rome

It is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Rome. Here there is the most famous park in Rome (Villa Borgese) and the most exclusive residential area (Parioli). Those who love music can not go to the Auditorium park of music. Those who love art can choose between the MAXXI and the Borghese Museum and Gallery. Typically in the evening the area is quiet. There are not many cheap hotels.

Monti, Esquilino and San Lorenzo

This is the area that gravitates around Termini station, so its streets are noisy. It has one of the most beautiful museums in Rome, that is the Palazzo Massimo alle terme. If you are looking for a budget hotel in Rome, this neighborhood is for you.

Trastevere and Gianicolo

This beautiful area of Rome, with its postcard lanes and its nonconformist atmosphere, is one of the most beloved neighborhoods in Rome. There is always a celebration air and there are hundreds of bars, cafes, restaurants and trattorias. For this reason it can be very noisy. Hotel accommodations are expensive.

Visit the Churches of Rome in 3 Days. The Suggested Itinerary

If you are passionate about Christian art, this itinerary to visit the churches of Rome in 3 days is for you. It will take you on a journey through the most beautiful and most interesting churches from the historical, artistic and faith point of view.

All itineraries can be walked all on foot.

First Day

The Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri in Rome

 Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri

The itinerary, which will last a full day, takes place in the historic center of the city. You can start from Piazzale della Repubblica (metro station: Repubblica) in front of which stands the huge Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (St. Mary of Angels and Martyrs) that incorporates those that once were the great antechamber and the tepidarium of Diocletian Baths, of which eight huge Egyptian marble columns remain.

Designed by Michelangelo, it was completely remodeled by Vanvitelli in 1750. Notice the double sundial traced on the transept floor, which indicates the polar star and when the sun rises to the Zenit.
From the square get on via Nazionale and reach the Church of San Paolo in the walls. In gothic style, it is the first non Roman Catholic church. The American episcopal church, completed in 1880, is famous for the nineteenth-century mosaics made by Edward Burne-James, who included among the characters of the work some portraits of his contemporaries.
Santa Prudenziana, step of the itinerary to visit the churches of Rome in 3 days

The trip to visit the churches of Rome in 3 days continues with the Church of Santa Prudenziana, the church of the Philippine community of Rome. Noteworthy is the golden mosaic of the 4th century which represents the oldest apsidal mosaic of the city. Continue past Piazza Esquilino until you arrive at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four papal basilics dating from the 5th century. Among the things to see there are the 13th-century mosaics of the façade, the cosmatic floorings, similar to marble carpets and mosaics of the apse.
From here keep going and you will find the Church of Santa Prassede, characterized by its glittering Byzantine mosaics, whose tiles still shine after a millennium from its creation. Then take via Merulana and go down to the bottom where the Basilica of Sant’Antonio in Laterano stands, with its artistic masterpieces and frescoes attributed to Franciscan artists. Next to this building you will find the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, the oldest among the papal basilicas. Consecrated in 324 it was a papal seat until 1309, then fell into ruins. What you see today is the result of remakes made after 1361. You can admire the monument to Pope Silvestro, the canopy and the cloister.

Second Day

We propose to spend the second day of our itinerary to visit the churches of Rome in 3 days in the Vatican City. We recommend that you start your visit early in the morning when the influx of tourists is not yet “crazy.”

Visit The St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica

The basilica is the largest and richest church in Italy. The first thing that will surprise you is the large size of the church and of everything inside it (including the holy water containers!). Among the things to admire there are the Bernini canopy on the papal altar and the immense dome. Take some time to admire the moving Michelangelo’s Pieta, which is behind a bulletproof glass in a chapel at the beginning of the right nave. Sculpted by the artist when he was 25, it is the only work that comes with his signature (on the band that surrounds Maria’s chest).
The itinerary continues with a visit to the Vatican Grottos, which stretch under the basilica for its entire length. Here you’ll find the tombs of many popes, including that of Pope John Paul II, which will surprise you for its simplicity in comparison to the glittering of the monuments of the basilica above. You can also see some large columns belonging to the basilica of the fourth century.

The last stop that we propose is the Vatican Museums, an attraction not to be missed. Buy the tickets online to avoid the queue at the entrance. The museum complex contains one of the largest art collections in the world. It has been calculated that it would takeSpend at least 12 years to visit it all! Spend there at least a couple of plentiful hours, without missing the Pinacoteca, the Pio-Clementino Museum, the Geographic Charters Gallery, the Raffaello Rooms and of course the unmissable Sistine Chapel

Third Day

We recommend that you dedicate the last day of the itinerary to visit the churches of Rome in 3 days to a visit of the Aventino hill, where some of the oldest churches in Rome can be found.

Visiting Rome: Bocca della Verita, The Mouth of Truth

The Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth)

The itinerary starts from the Circo Massimo (metro stop: Circo Massimo). Today it looks more or less a working grass basin, but in the I century. B.C. was the largest stadium in Rome, with a capacity of up to 250,000 spectators. From there proceed to the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth). Take some photos that can witness that you’ve been here and then head to the Aventine, which hosts the Roseto Comunale (Town Rose Garden) with more than 1100 roses from around the world. Continue the itinerary by taking Via Santa Sabina and visit the Giardino degli aranci (Oranges Garden), from which you can see one of the most beautiful views of Rome. Take advantage of it to make some panoramic photos. Return to the street where you will meet the Basilica of Santa Sabina, dated to the 5th century, period when the cypress wood portal with 18 carved panels were made up. One of them is the crucifixion, one of the first portrayal of Christ’s passion. The church of Santa Maria del Priorato is located next to Piazza Cavalieri of Malta, the order to which the church belongs.
Keep going straight to the Cimitero Acattolico (Non Catholic Cemetery), considered one of the most beautiful non-Catholic cemeteries in the world. In front of the cemetery there is the Pyramid of Caio Cestio inspired by the Egyptian style and built in I sec. B.C.

Rome's actractions: Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls
Visit the churches of Rome in 3 days. Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls

The tour to visit the churches of Rome in three days ends with a visit to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Built by Constantine in the 4th century on the tomb of Saint Paul (decapitated under Nero in 67 AD), the splendid basilica was the largest church in the world until the construction of today’s St. Peter’s Basilica. what we see today is a faithful reconstruction after the fire of 1823, although some original parts remained, such as the triumphal arch, the Gothic ciborium and the candelabrum for the Easter votive candle.
In the itinerary that we have proposed to visit the churches of Rome in 3 days, we did not suggest any times for pauses and we entrust them to you depending on your interest and on the time that you would like to dedicate to individual attractions.

Practical Information

Basilica Santa Maria of Angels and Martyrs: 7am-6.30pm free admission

Saint Paul’s Church inside the walls: 9am-1.30pm free entrance

Church of Santa Prudenziana: 8am-12am / 4pm-6pm free admission

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore: 7am-8pm free admission

Church of Santa Prassede: 7am-12am/4pm-6pm Free admission

Basilica of St. Anthony in Laterano: 7am-6.30pm free entrance

Saint John in Lateran Basilica: 7am-6.30pm free entrance

St. Peter’s Basilica: 1st October – 31st March every day 7am-6.30pm / 1 April – 30 September every day 7am-7pm. Free admission.

Vatican Museums: Monday to Saturday 9am-6pm (last entry at 4pm and exit from theaters half an hour before closing).

Vatican Grottos: 7am-6pm free entrance

Free Museums in Rome: What to See and When to Visit Them

Knowing where are the free museums in Rome will allow you to “get an education” without putting your hand in the wallet. There are in fact several free museums in Rome: some are always free, others are free only on the first Sunday of the month, others still have free entrance on the last Sunday.

To simplify the task of understanding which museums to see and when to access them for free, we have created a list of some of the free museums in Rome: choose where to go according to your interests and the time you have available.

Museums in Rome That Are Always Free

Napoleonic Museum

In the museum there is a large collection of Napoleonic memorials, inherited from the collection owned by Count Giuseppe Primoli (1851-1927), son of Carlotta Bonaparte and kept inside Palazzo Primoli. Inside the same palace there is the Primoli Library and the Mario Praz Museum, the detached home of the National Gallery of Modern Art.
Address: Piazza di Ponte Umberto I, 1

Timetable: Tuesday – Sunday 10.00 – 18.00; 24 and 31 December 10 am – 2 pm. The ticket office closes half an hour before. Closed on Monday, December 25, January 1, May 1.
Admission: free
www.museonapoleonico.it

Museum of the Roman Republic and Garibaldi Memory

It is located in Porta San Pancrazio, a strategic point for the defense of the French siege of 1849, conducted by Garibaldi. The museum and the Garibaldi’s memorabilia are small but well-kept, and lead through the memories of the heroic resistance in which Goffredo Mameli and Emilio Dandolo died. Among Garibaldi’s memorabilia you’ll find the red shirt worn by Garibaldi.
Address: Largo di Porta San Pancrazio

Timetable: Tuesday – Friday 10.00 – 14.00 (entry every 45 minutes); Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.00 – 18.00 (normal entrance); 24, 31 December 10.00-14.00. Closed December 25, January 1, May 1.
Admission: free
www.museodellarepubblicaromana.it

Museum Carlo Bilotti

It is a small museum. It contains only 23 works, of which 18 are by Giorgio De Chirico. Temporary exhibitions are often held here.
Address: Viale Fiorello La Guardia

Timetable: Tuesday – Friday 10.00 – 16.00; Saturday and Sunday 10.00 – 19.00. Closed on Mondays.
Admission: free
www.museocarlobilotti.it/

Historical Museum of Liberation

It is the palace, now converted into a museum, which was used by the SS as a place of imprisonment and torture for so many anti-fascists, many of whom were shot by the same SS. It is a collection of documents, newspapers, posters and flyers about the Nazi-fascist occupation of Rome and the Second World War Italian Resistance.

The structure has been kept as close as possible to its appearance during the war years, so it is not welcoming buiding.
Address: Via Tasso, 145

Timetable: Tuesday – Sunday 9.30 – 12.30; Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 15.30 – 19.30. Monday closed.
Admission: free
www.museoliberazione.it

Barracco Museum (Giovanni Barracco’s ancient sculpture museum)

It contains a beautiful collection of Greek, Roman, Assyrian and Egyptian sculptures and artefacts, donated to Rome by Senator Giovanni Barracco in 1902.
Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele 166/A

Timetable: October to May: Tuesday – Sunday 10.00 – 16.00; June to September: Tuesday – Sunday 13.00 – 19.00; 24.31 December 10.00-14.00. Entrance up to half an hour before closing. Closed on Monday, December 25, January 1, May 1
Admission: free
www.museobarracco.it

You may also be interested

Visit the Rome museums in 3 days – What To see
The Colosseum – How it is made?
Visiting Rome in 3 days – Our recommended itinerary 
Visiting Rome in 2 days with children – Where to go and what to do
The Vatican Museums
Visit the Vatican City – What to visit

Visit the Vatican City – What to see

Unless you are in the capital for a single day, you can not miss in your itinerary to visit Rome a stop in the Vatican City.

We suggest that you arrive early in the morning (get off at Ottaviano-San Pietro metro stop) when the flow of visitors is still limited. You will still have the whole day ahead of you to visit all of the attractions of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Grottos, the wonderful Vatican Museums (you should buy tickets online to skip the queue).
Note: If you want to enjoy all the treasures of the Vatican and visit Rome while saving time and keeping an eye on the wallet, you can take advantage of the Omnia Vatican & Rome card which gives you also unrestricted access to public transport and allows you to enjoy several discounts.

Buy the Omnia Vatican & Rome card here

Below we provide you with some information about the Vatican City so that you will not be unprepared:

Where it is

The Vatican City stretches on the right bank of the Tiber, in an area where there was no urban development. The Ager Vaticanus began to be taken into consideration only at the end of the Republican age (1st century AD) when villas and gardens were built there. Later Augusto (63bc – 14ad) completed a naval battleground (naumachia), while Nero (37 ad – 68ad) made a circus. In the circus and in the gardens of Nero, many Christians were martyred, including St. Peter (67 AD).

In memory of the Apostle the construction of the two grandiose basilicas was started: the first wanted by Emperor Constantine in 324, the second wanted by Pope Julius II in the Renaissance and built on the same place as the previous one.

Near the basilica, over the centuries, the Vatican City has been developed, where the head of the Catholic Church lives and that is a jealous guardian of invaluable art treasures.

When it was born

The state of the Vatican was born on February 11, 1929, when representatives of the Holy See and those of the Italian State signed in the Lateran Palace, a Treaty establishing the State of the Vatican City, as an independent state with precise topographical boundaries. The treaty entered into force on 7 June of the same year.

Characteristics

Vatican City extends over an area of 0.440 sq km with a population of about 836 inhabitants. It prints its own currency, but because of the customs and monetary union with Italy it has adopted the Euro. On the eight types of coins, the epiphany of the reigning pope is printed in the national face. It prints also its own postage stamps valid for worldwide shipments, but only when delivered by the Vatican Post.

The state prints its own newspaper, the Roman Observer, and has its own Vatican Radio station, inaugurated by Guglielmo Marconi in 1931.

The official language is Italian, while Latin is the official language of the Holy See.

Inside the Vatican City and in the extraterritorial buildings the service of police patrol and of police are performed by the police officers and by the Swiss Guard.

The Pope

He is head of state and at the same time bishop of Rome. He enjoys full and supreme court jurisdiction over the whole Church. He is assisted in the government of the Church by a Sacred College of Cardinals and by the Roman Curia.

You can attend Papa Francesco’s hearings every Wednesday at St. Peter’s Square (find out how to do it here!)

The Pontifical Swiss Guards

It is an armed body serving the papacy since January 22, 1506, when a group of 150 mercenaries swept into the Papal State to serve Pope Julius II.

To become a Swiss guard one has to meet certain requirements:

he must be of male, be of Catholic faith, have a Swiss citizenship and an age between 18 and 30 years. In addition, one must have served in the Swiss Army and remain celibate (marriage is only granted to those who reach the rank of senior and upper grades).

PASS FOR THE VATICAN AND ROME – MUSEUMS, ATTRACTIONS, FREE TRANSPORT

If you are going to visit Rome in 3 days, but you do not want to turn your holiday into a marathon, a good solution is to use the Omnia Vatican & Rome, a cultural tourist card that will allow you to discover the treasures of Vatican City and the major attractions of Rome and to avoid the queues, by taking advantage of discounts and unlimited public transport.
With this combined pass, valid for 3 days (72 hours), you can in fact:

 

  • Skip the queue and get free access to the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum
  • Skip the queue of the Sistine Chapel
  • Take advantage of the special discounts OMNIA Vatican Pass and Roma Pass
  • Discover the eternal city with hop-on hop-on bus tours, by stopping where and when you want
  • Use public transport in unlimited ways
  • Access with discounted prices the best museums in Rome
  • Never lose your orientation thanks to the free pocket guide of Rome and the Vatican

    Notes: The entrance to the Colosseum is free every first Sunday of the month, so in these days it will not be possible to take advantage of the priority entrance.
    The Roma Pass is not available for groups. Groups of more than 9 people may not be eligible for attractions.

MEETING POINT WHERE TO EXCHANGE THE VOUCHER

Office of the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, Piazza Pio XII 9 – 00193, Rome.
Opening times: Monday to Friday: 9.00am – 6.00pm Saturday and Sunday: 9.00am – 4.00pm, closed on August 15th November 1st, December 8th, December 25th and December 26th.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

From 108 euros

DETAILS

The Omnia Vatican Card includes

Fast-track entry to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
Entrance to the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano and the cloister with a multimedia audioguide
Fast line entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica
Interactive tour of the San Pietro prison with a multimedia audioguide

The Roma card includes also free entry to 2 of the following attractions

Galleria Borhese
Capitolini Museums
Castel Sant’Angelo
Colosseum
The Palatino e the Roman Forum

The Pass also includes discounts for numerous museums and attractions

Museums

National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo
National Roman Museum – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
National Roman Museum – Palazzo Altemps
National Roman Museum – Crypta Balbi
National Roman Museum – Baths of Diocletian
National Gallery of Palazzo Barberini
Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia
Capitoline Museums
Centrale Montemartini
National Museum of Oriental Art
MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art Rome
MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts
Planetarium and astronomical museum

Attractions

Appia Antica
Trajan’s Market
Palazzo Valentini
Ara Pacis

Tour Roma Cristiana (Christian Rome) by bus with a panoramic plan. The stops include

Basilica of Saint Peter
Piazza Navona
Pantheon
Santa Maria in Aracoeli
Central stations – Termini
Santa Maria Maggiore
San Giovanni – Scala Santa
Colosseum – Roman Forum
Circus Maximus
Tiber Island
Palazzo Farnese

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VATICAN MUSEUMS – CURIOSITIES ABOUT THE CAPPELLA SISTINA

For those visiting Rome, a stop at the Vatican Museums is a must (click here for tickets of Vatican Museums to skip the queue). They are in fact one of the largest art collections in the world and visiting them is truly an exciting experience.
The rooms of Raphael, the Pio-Clementine Museum, the Art Gallery, the Gallery of Geographical Maps are all attractions not to be missed, but what alone is worth a visit is the amazing Sistine Chapel, work of Michelangelo and undisputed masterpiece of Italian art.

And just to prepare you to know this incredible treasure, we provide below a short list of some curiosities about the Sistine Chapel that you might like to know

Curiosities about the Sistine Chapel

  • The name of the Sistine Chapel derives from Pope Sixtus IV, who commissioned the work
  • The marvelous paintings of the Sistine Chapel extend for 1,110 square meters, roughly a sixth the size of a football field.
  • It is not true that Michelangelo has painted his frescos working on his back. He worked on a platform he had invented, which extended over half of the chapel area and allowed him to stand up. The platform was moved halfway through the project. Michelangelo never had the chance to look at his work in progress from below, but he painted from a distance of a few centimeters.
  • In most of the male nudes that decorate the ceiling of Michelangelo, there are many acorns, a recurring motif among the artist’s frescoes to pay homage to the name Rovere (Rovere is synonymous with oak) to which the family of Julius II belonged.
  • The first Conclave that was held in the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace was that of 1492.  From 1870 onwards the Chapel became the seat of all the conclaves.
  • The doors of the Sistine Chapel were blocked. The word conclave (the meeting of the College of Cardinals for an election of the Pope) comes from the Latin cum clave, that is (closed) with the key.
  • The first mass in the Sistine Chapel was the one celebrated by Pope Sixtus IV on the 15 August 1483.
  • The Sistine Chapel is visited by more than 6 million people a year.
  • The Sistine Chapel today as in the past is also used as a private chapel of the Pope.
  • The Sistine Chapel is dedicated to Maria Assunta (taken to the sky).

The Vatican – Curiosities That You Might not Know

Established after the Lateran Pacts of 1929, the Vatican is the modern version of the State of the Church that ruled most of the central regions up to the Unity of Italy in 1861. The Vatican City is an independent state where the pope is the highest authority. They have a postal service, a newspaper, a radio station and an army, the Swiss guards.

Buy the Omnia Vatican & Rome card here

Below you will find some curiosities about the Vatican that you may want to know

Citozenship

You can not be a Vatican citizens by birth: the Vatican citizenship is aquired by those who, even lay people, reside there for reasons of office or employment. The spouse, children, and brothers of a Vatican citizen retain their citizenship provided they are cohabiting

Swiss Guards

Even though Switzerland today has the reputation of being a pacifist nation, in 1500 it had an unstoppable military force. With their great ability to handle the halberd, a combination of a spear and an axe, the army ground troops were able to demolish enemy legions on horseback. After witnessing their power in battle, Pope Julius II (the commissioner of the Sistine Chapel) wanted some soldiers as personal guards. Since then, the Swiss guards swore allegiance to the pope.
Even though we are used to seeing Swiss guards in Renaissance dresses, in fact the real Pope’s guards are wearing much more modern civilian clothes and arms than halberds!

The Official Language

The official language of the state is Italian. Latin is the language of the Holy See: not by chance the Vatican City law is exclusively written in Latin

The Death Penalty

The death penalty remained in force until 1969 as the punishment for the attempted or done murder of a pope. In that year Pope Paul VI made it de facto but not de jure invalid, which meant that was officially abolished, but was not completely removed from the Fundamental Law (equivalent to our Constitution). It was definitively abolished with the revision of the latter only in 2001 according to the will of John Paul II.

Criminality

According to a study conducted by the German magazine Der Spiegel in 2007, the Vatican is the country with the highest crime rate in the world per inhabitant. There have been 486 criminal cases and 341 civil cases on which the Vatican Ministry of Justice has investigated. The most common crime? Theft.

But How much Money Own the Vatican?

It is not easy to answer because the accounts of the Vatican’s economic activities have not been published for 125 years.
Only in 2012, following the policy of transparency and rigor put into effect by Pope Francis, the IOR (Institute for Religious Works) had to publish the 2012 budget, showing a profit of 86.6 million euros. If you want to know the current budget, see the 2015 report published on the official portal.

The Sanpietrini

In the past, in the days when the Church celebrated its most solemn feasts, the dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica was illuminated with a flame of fire: the pans on which the fire burned were lit by so-called sanpietrini, who climbed along the dome’s curves. The remarkable ability of these intrepid climbers was an object of admiration for foreigners, who considered the enterprise possible only by those who had been practicing it since the youth.

The sanpietrini word is used also for the blocks of leucitite (an eruptive rock), also called flint or paving stone, used to make the typical Roman pavement.

The Colosseum – How Is It Made?

The symbol of the capital city par excellence and an architectural masterpiece of ancient Rome, the Colosseum is the most visited attraction of the city, with almost five million visitors a year.

You can not, therefore, exclude it from your itinerary when you visit Rome, whether you come to the capital for a couple of days, or have a chance to stay longer.

The Colosseum, we guarantee, will knock your socks off, both for its spectacular size (it is the largest Roman amphitheater in the world) and for the emotional impact that it will have on you (you cannot remain impassive in front of the the fact that the building represents a proof of the great cruelty and ferocity of ancient times).

Since there are endless queues to visit this attraction, we suggest that you get the ticket on line, you will save time that could be spent by visiting the other wonders of the capital.

Buy here the priority entrance ticket to the Colosseum

But how was the Colosseum made?
We provide below some news about the structure of what has become the model for all subsequent sports stadiums.

The external walls

In the past they were entirely covered with travertine. They are divided into three levels of arches framed by pilasters (pillars embedded in the wall) with tuscan capitals (lower level), ionic capitals (middle level) and corinthians capitals (highest level). The arches of the middle and upper levels were embellished with statues, while the tallest part featuring windows and corinthian pilasters was characterized by the supports for the 240 pillars that supported the “velarium”, a huge retractable fabric tent covering the arena.
On the ground floor there are 80 archway entrances (vomitoria), that allowed the spectators to enter and sit in a few minutes.

The Arena

Originally it had a wooden floor covered with sand in order to avoid that the gladiators could slip and in order to absorb the spilled blood.

The arena could also be flooded during naval battles (naumachie). Thanks to some trapdoors it was possible to enter the underground spaces and underground passages that constituted the hypogeum.
THE HOTELS IN THIs  AREA

Posti a sedere (seats)

The “cavea”, the area reserved to spectators, was divided into three parts: the senators sat in the lower rows, rich people in the middle and the plebeians in the upper ones. The women, except the vestals, were relegated to the top sectors.

As nowadays, the spectators had a numbered ticket pointing to a seat in a precise area.
In front of the seating rows there was a large terrace (the podium), which was reserved to the emperor, the senators and other personalities of respect.

The hypogeum

The underground areas were situated under the whole structure and were used to store scenographies. It was the place where the naval battlegrounds scenographies were built, to be eventually lifted with a complex pulleys system. The gladiators reached the hypogeum directly from the adjoining school, whereas the fierce animals were brought from Mount Celio, where there was a “zoo” where the beasts were locked in cages built within the masonry. From there the animals were brought to the Colosseum by using a goods lift.
If you want to know more about Rome’s most visited attraction, visit the page on the ten curiosities on the Colosseum that you may not know

The Colosseum – 10 Curiosities All To Discover

“As long as there is Colosseum, there will also be Rome; When the Colosseum falls, Rome will also fall; When Rome falls, the world will fall as well”

(Prophecy of the Venerable Beda, eigth century).

A symbol of the greatness and power of Rome, the Flavian Amphitheater, is the most famous and impressive monument of ancient Rome and an attraction that still attracts, after two thousand years, about 5 million visitors a year.

So, whether you plan a short visit, or decide to visit Rome in 3 days or more, a stop at the Colosseum is a must.
Buy the Colosseum priority ticket here!
To let you have some knowledge when visiting this wonder, we reveal some curiosities that you may not have known before. Here they are:

When it was built

The amphitheater was built by the Emperor Vespasian on the grounds of the vast complex of the Domus Aurea of Nero. The work started in 72 a.d. and ended in 80 a.d. under the Emperor Tito. The inauguration ceremony lasted 100 days, during which 5,000 animals were killed.

The size

The shape of the Colosseum is not round but oval. It is an enormous ellipse with a 527 meter perimeter. Originally it was 52 meters tall but today its height is about 48 meters. These dimensions make it the largest amphitheater in the world. At the top there were 240 uprights supporting the “velario”, a huge fabric tapestry that covered the arena. The viewers came from 80 arched entrances (vomitoria) and could fill the Colosseum in minutes

The capacity

The Flavian amphitheater could accommodate 50,000 spectators

The origin of the name

The Colosseum was originally called the Flavian Amphitheater, in honor of the illustrious Flavi family to which belonged the emperors Vespasian, Tito and Domiziano, who started and completed the construction work.The name Colosseum dates back to the Middle Ages and refers not to its size, but to the size of the Colossus of Nero, a giant statue that was at its side.

Another hypothesis is that the name derives from its position, because it is located on a hill where once there was a temple of Isis (from which “Collis Isei”).

Usages

In addition to the fights of gladiators, the Colosseum was also used as a pool for naumachie, that is, representations of naval battles. A civil and environmental engineering professor of the University of Edinburgh, Martin Crapper, suggested that water ran through a series of internal wells and pipes under the stands and calculated that the time needed to fill the entire arena would have been of about 7 hours.

The shows

At the Colosseum the shows lasted for an entire day. The spectators were forced to bring from home soft cushions to be able to sit on the hard stone seats.

Seats

All the people could take part in the games that took place in the Colosseum. Class distinctions were made only for the assignement of seats. The cavea was in fact divided into three parts: the senators sat in the lower rows, the less wealthy in the middle rows and the plebeians in the higher rows. The women (except the vestals) were relegated to the top. For the most well-off classes the seats were in marble, while for the other people the seats were in wood. Like today, everyone had a numbered ticket and each spectator had a place assigned to a specific seat.

The podium, a large terrace in front of the rows of seats, was reserved for the emperor and senators and other personalities of concern.

As a garden

After its decline after the end of the empire, the Colosseum was covered with plants, some were exotic, and grew up with the help of the microclimate of the amphitheater. There would be about 350 species of plants that for centuries have been studied by botany experts.

The Colosseum as a quarry

During the Renaissance it was used as a travertine and marble quarry for the construction of many buildings including Palazzo Venezia and Palazzo Barberini. People stopped taking materials from the Flavian Amphitheater only in the 18th century after a renewed love for the ancient Roman vestiges. It has been calculated that only one third of the original construction has been left.

Among the seven new wonders of the world

Since 2007, the Colosseum has been included among the seven new wonders of the world along with the Great Wall of China, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio in Brazil, the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, the Chichen Itza pyramids in Mexico and the Taj Mahal in India.
If you are interested to know more about the main symbol of Rome, see the page How is the Colosseum done?