If you are religious, or even if you're just interested in art, you should take a trip to the Vatican, a city-state contained within Rome. Visit to see the amazing interior, or to take part in a service led by the Pope.
Many Roman attractions will appeal to anyone interested in living life to its fullest. Wandering the streets and stopping for the occasional gelato is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Have a pizza in the evening - never for lunch! - and stuff yourself with tiramisu for dessert.
Rome is a fabulous mix of the ancient and modern, full of locals who love enjoying their families, food, music and culture. You'll be enthralled, enchanted and amused by this vibrant and ancient city - but never bored!
The ancient city of Rome is Europe's third most visited destination, behind London and Paris. Nicknamed the "Eternal City," Rome has a timeless appeal.
Rome, located on the Tiber River in central Italy, has a history dating back almost 3,000 years. It has seen its share of emperors and dictators, from Caesar to Mussolini. Today, Rome remains the center of Christianity; the independent city-state of the Vatican City is the seat of the Catholic church and home of the pope.
Rome is a history-lover's paradise, with a treasure trove of archaeological gems around nearly ever corner. The most iconic symbol of Rome is the Colosseum, built in A.D. 72. The Colosseum was Rome's greatest amphitheatre, where massive crowds of spectators gathered to watch the gladiators. The Roman Forum was the heart of ancient Rome's political, legal, and religious life.
Today, the Forum contains the ruins of several temples, basilicas, and markets and is, along with the Colosseum, one of Rome's most popular attractions. The Pantheon is a magnificent temple built to honor the Roman gods. Visitors come from all over the world to marvel at the impressive dome, marble floors, and tomb of Raphael.
Rome boasts some of the world's most beautiful churches and basilicas, each one more stunning than the last. The most famous of these churches is St. Peter's, located in the tiny city-state of the Vatican. The enormous St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro) attracts thousands of pilgrims on Sundays and religious occasions, when the pope makes blessings from his balcony.
The symmetry of the piazza can be admired from atop the dome. Inside, visitors are treated to a visual feast. The dramatic dome, designed by Michelangelo, has made many a jaw drop. A number of magnificent monuments and sculptures, including Michelangelo's famed Pietà, are scattered throughout the sanctuary. The Vatican's other main attractions are the Vatican Museums and the Castel Sant' Angelo.
The Vatican Museums are home to some of the world's most impressive works of art, as well as the famous Sistine Chapel. The Castel Sant' Angelo has served many purposes since its construction in A.D. 139; originally, it was part of the city wall, but it it has also served as a medieval citadel and prison and a residence of the popes.
Rome has several awe-inspiring public squares and fountains. No visitor should leave the city without seeking out Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
Getting around Rome is easy with its network of public buses, trams, taxis, and metro. Pedestrians should be extra cautious when trying to navigate amongst the heavy traffic.
Italy is a member of the European Union. The official currency is the Euro.
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