Destination Rome: 5 Iconic Sights

Jocelyn Murray May 29, 2015 No Comments

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Colosseum

View of the Colosseum at night
photo by DAVID ILIFF License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Known as the Flavian Amphitheater, the Roman Colosseum once towered over the center of the Eternal City, rising in a splendor of marble, concrete and limestone. It was here that gladiators fought to the death, wild animals were exhibited in staged hunts, and criminals died, all for the entertainment of the bloodthirsty crowd. Its stone vaulting, columns and corridors are hallowed by the blood of people who spent their final moments here before dying for the glory of the Empire. Their blood cries out from the past and echoes into eternity. Even in its ruined state, it is still breathtaking. The Colosseum is open for tours that could be combined with the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. If there is only one place you can see while in Rome, visit the Colosseum. It is not to be missed.

 

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum
photo by Longbow4u License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Roman Forum was the center of city, and where merchants and magistrates went about their work. It was a large plaza framed by civic buildings and temples, as well as a marketplace where vendors sold their wares. The Roman Forum is conveniently located near the Colosseum, and can be toured along with the Colosseum and other monuments in the area. It is another important landmark in the history of Rome, from the time of the Republic to the Empire. Like the Colosseum, it is not to be missed.

 

Pantheon

View of Pediment of the Pantheon
photo by Bengt Nyman License: CC-BY-SA 2.0

This circular building with a porticoed entrance of soaring Corinthian columns is a fine example of Roman architecture that has survived the millennia since being rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian. Its coffered concrete dome, rectangular vestibule, columns and pediment all attest to the power and grandeur of the Roman Empire. The Pantheon was converted to a Christian Church in Medieval times. It was also used as a tomb for the holy relics of Christian martyrs.

 

Vatican City

View of St. Peter’s Square
photo by Diliff License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. Its art and architecture are a vast collection spanning many centuries. Some of its monuments include Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Palaces, and extensive Vatican gardens. Vatican City is an integral part of Rome that is not to be missed. Numerous tours are available to view the grounds and its amazing monuments.

 

Catacombs 

Inside the Crypt of the Popes within the Catacombs of Callixtus
photo by Dnalor 01 License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Catacombs are where the holy relics of Christian martyrs were entombed outside the city of Rome. The tunnels, passageways and vast network of underground cells and corridors make for a fascinating tour into a holy place that served as the final resting place for the remains of people who had died for their faith. It is a trove of early Christian Church symbols and paintings, and an important part of the history of martyrs during the time of the Roman Empire when Christianity was banned. Tours of the Catacombs make for a provocative glimpse into the early history of the Christian Church. Like the above monuments and places, a visit to the Catacombs is not to be missed.

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Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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