Free Sights of Rome

Campidoglio

On the Capitoline Hill is Piazza del Campidoglio, a small but beautifully formed square laid out to a design by Michelangelo. As well as providing some spectacular views over the ciy, the piazza is home to the Capitoline Museums. The Piazza del Campidoglio crowns the Capitoline Hill, right in the centre of Rome. The nearest metro stations are Cavour and Colosseo on Linea B.

Castel Sant’Angelo

One of the most impressive sites in Rome and is linked inextricably with the history of the city itself. Begun originally by the Emperor Hadrian in the early second century AD, it was completed by Antoninus Pius in 139 and intended as a mausoleum for members of the Imperial family. During the troubled third century, the Emperor Aurelian fortified the structure and included it as part of his walls, and it remained of vital defensive importance. Open 9am–7:30pm Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Monday). In the summer it hosts various evening concerts and shows. The entrance fee costs 7 euro (3.50 concessions).

Piazza del Popolo

Taking its name from the church of Santa Maria del Popolo which stands to the north of the square, Piazza del Popolo is an attractive and pleasant place to relax after a walk up the Via del Corso. It’s also close to the park of the Villa Borghese. The quickest way to reach Piazza del Popolo is to take the metro Linea A to Flaminio. If you feel like a stroll, walk to the Piazza along the Via del Corso.

Piazza Navona

One of the busiest tourist locations in Rome, Piazza Navona’s bars and restaurants often charge a hefty premium for the opportunity to watch the world go by while you eat your carbonara. Living statues bow to those who throw a coin into their collecting jars while caricaturists, watercolour artists and purveyors of cut-price jewellery tout for customers. Piazza Navona is five minutes’ walk to the west of the Pantheon.

Protestant Cemetery

Rome houses the final resting place of numerous non-catholic travelers who died whilst visiting or living in the Eternal City. It is a beautiful and serene place, positioned next to the Roman pyramid of Gaius Cestius near Porta San Paolo, adorned with shady trees and inhabited by a number of well-fed cats. The 4000 graves are closely packed together, and provide a fascinating testimony to the large numbers of artists, grand tourists, scholars and others wanderers who came to Rome from all over the world. English and Germans are the most numerous, but there are also the graves of many Americans, Russians, Greeks and several other nationalities. The earliest grave is that of a visiting student from Oxford which dates from 1738.

The Spanish Steps

The Piazza di Spagna takes its name from the Spanish embassy to the Holy See, which is located on the piazza. It is best known for the Spanish Steps, a broad flight of stairs that leads up to the church of Trinità dei Monti which overlooks the piazza. The Piazza di Spagna has its own metro stop, ‘Spagna’, on Linea A.

The Trevi Fountain

One of the best known sights of Rome thanks at least in part (and perhaps unfairly) to its role in Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita: it was here that Anita Ekberg did her splashing about. You won’t want to do the same thing yourself, however; there is bleach in the water now. The Trevi Fountain was designed in 1732 by Niccolò Salvi, who won a competition held by Pope Clement XII. It was designed on the site of an earlier and uncompleted fountain by Bernini, and built onto the back of a newly completed palazzo. The palazzo had only just been completed by the Duke of Poli, who had designed a small recess into the building to allow for a modest fountain. Instead of using this recess, Clement XII allowed Salvi to take up the entire end of the building, brushing aside the Duke’s protests. After all, he reasoned, it may have been the Duke’s building, but it was the pope’s water. The fountain took thirty years to complete, by which time Salvi was dead.

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Richard
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Richard's a well seasoned traveller having lived and travelled in South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. Having settled in Rome since 2010 he has good grasp of the lingo and locals.
Richard
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