If you follow my posts, you already know that I love Rome! The glorious city of Rome is adorned with spectacular historic sites, sumptuous fountains, magnificent art treasures, charming cafes and world-class restaurants and hotels.
If you are traveling to Rome for a weekend, here’s a list of my favorite attractions for a “Glorious Vino con Vista” weekend in Rome. But remember that the Italians say: ‘non basta una vita’, “a lifetime is not enough” to visit 28 centuries of history!
Jump on the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus and visit the following sites:
1. Rome is filled with incredible historic monuments! Pay tribute to the Papacy in the Vatican City formerly ruled by Pope Benedict XVI and presently lead by newly elected Pope Francis. Vatican City is the world’s smallest sovereign country in both land mass and population. It serves as the spiritual headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church.
St Peter’s Basilica with its famous dome is one of the highlights of Rome’s skyline. This area is one of my favorite “Vino-con Vista” destinations in Rome. The impressive architecture in this area offers a host of cafés and shops where you can buy rosary beads and interesting frames filled with pictures or Popes. My sons joke about all of my Pope frames.
Wait in line at Saint Peter’s Basilica to see Michelangelo’s Pieta and the incredible dome. Admire Bernini‘s Monument to Pope Alexander VII and take pictures and videos with your iPad of Bernini’s monumental bronze Baldachinno (canopy) over the Tomb of Saint Peter.
Do not leave Rome without seeing these sites! Send some postcards from the post office as you soak up the Baroque genius in this magical city.
Michelangelo’s contributions to the remarkable Sistine Chapel include his legendary Last Judgement and the spectacular frescoed ceiling. “The Last Judgement” depicts the division of the damned from the redeemed. Jesus commands the center of the wall with his right arm raised over his head. Under that raised arm, his mother Mary is crouched at his side. Saint Bartholomew, with his flayed skin, has the face of Michelangelo and is seated in front of Jesus.
The ceiling vault depicts nine scenes from the book of Genesis beginning at the altar end of the chapel: The Separation of Light from Darkness, The Creation of the Sun and the Moon, The Separation of Land from Water, The Creation of Adam, The Creation of Eve, and The Temptation of Adam and Eve combined in one panel with the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Then there is the Sacrifice of Abel, The Flood and finally, The Drunkenness of Noah. He painted the entire ceiling lying on his back.
Do not miss the Raphael Rooms. Raphael was born in Urbino in 1483. In 1508, he was summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II to decorate the papal apartments in the Vatican Palace. The first room he tackled was the Pope’s Library and office called the Stanza della Segnatura. This room has my favorite work of art by Raphael called “The School of Athens.”
The themes he selected were Theology, Poetry, Philosophy and Jurisprudence. “The School of Athens” fresco represents “Philosophy.” It is filled with figures of people thinking, writing, arguing and reading. Basically, it represents a gathering of intellectuals where everyone is engaged in learning.
Plato is in the center under the arch (on the left) in the red toga with his finger pointing upward toward the sky. He is demonstrating that all ideal concepts are found in the heavens; as he believed that we should aspire to imitate the divine. He’s holding a copy of “Timaeus.” The close-up shot of Plato, has the face of Leonardo da Vinci.
I found the numbered picture in a Twitter post by art historian Jeff Titelius. I think you will find the description of the cast of characters quite intellectually stimulating.
Standing next to Plato, Aristotle (in blue) is holding his book inscribed “Nicomachean Ethics” in his left hand with his right hand pointing forward.
In the right foreground of the scene, Euclid is drawing a geometrical figure with his protractor, but his face is really Bramante.
On the steps to the left is Pythagoras, writing in a book. In front of him, with his head resting on his hand and sitting alone in the forefront is “Heraclitus” with the pencil in his right hand. He has the face of Michelangelo.
Each significant philosopher in the “School of Athens” has an group of eager listeners. Pope Julius II definitely picked the right artist for his office! Raphael is peeriing directly at you in the close-up on the right. He is shown on the right side of Zoroaster, who is holding the globe on the left of Raphael.
3. The ancient ruins are perhaps the most impressive and incredible sights in the city! Tour the Colloseum‘s interior and follow the footsteps of the gladiators as you witness this feat of Roman engineering; a driveby approach will not suffice! This breathtaking and insightful icon of both gladiators and Emperors reflects ancient Rome.
4. Go to the Forum which is located right next to the Colloseum. Imagine Julius Ceasar and Mark Anthony giving historic speeches at this monumental venue. It was the quintessential Roman Marketplace in its heyday!
5. The Pantheon‘s classic architecture allows you to visit the tombs of historic European icons such as Popes and Italian Kings.
Raphael is buried in a niche in the Pantheon which reads: “The man here is Raphael; while he was alive, the Great Mother of All Things (Nature) feared to be outdone; and when he died, she, too, feared to die.”
Marvel at the masterpieces that adorn the circular wall and look up at the oculus that opens to the sky and sheds light throughout the magnificent structure. Originally, the great dome was sheathed in gilded bronze.
6. Throw a coin (over your shoulder) and make a wish in one of the world’s most famous fountains: the Trevi Fountain. Admire the ornate sculpture over the glistening water. This will guarantee a return trip to Rome. Next time, stay for atleast a week.
The Palazzo Poli forms the backdrop to the magnificent Trevi Fountain. This Palazzo is home to a major collection of copper engraving plates.
7. Climb the widest staircase in Europe at the Spanish Steps. These beautiful steps join Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità dei Monti. Climb the Spanish Steps to enjoy a tour the magnificent hotels that lead to the Via Venato.
Admire Bernini’s Boat Fountain at the base of the stairs before strolling along Via Condotti and buying some elegant designer shoes, purses and clothing.
8. Do not leave Rome without visiting Piazza Navona. This is one of the best Baroque Vino con Vista Venues in town. Although the glorious city of Rome is adorned with spectacular fountains; some of my favorites are located in this Square including the Fountain of the Four Rivers, The Fountain of the Moor and Neptune’s Fountain.
Some of Rome’s fountains support obelisks and others anchor famous piazzas. The dramatic fountains in Piazza Navona host a cast of interesting characters that generally spew water from their mouths. The basins are shaped in the form of chalices and decorative elements including dolphins, tritons, theatrical masks and shells. This Piazza is filled with delightful cafes and live music!
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com. Buon Viaggio!!!!!