Friday, 6 March 2015

My Biggest Dreams: Rome - The History


When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.
- Saint Ambrose 

I've always had a rather large fascination with Roman history, along with this comes a great desire to explore this beautiful city.  I've spent countless hours reading up on the city, I've came to realise that not only is this city incredibly beautiful, but there is a rather large amount of magnificent ancient Roman architecture that just has to be explored. 


The Roman Colosseum, often referred to as Flavian Amphitheatre is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built in 72 A.D, this Colosseum is still the largest amphitheatre in the world today. This amazing architectural structure has a total of 80 entrances and can hold a whopping 50,000 people in it's grounds. Although this structure is incredible to the eyes, one thing that shouldn't be forgotten when taking in this site, is the rather large amount of cold-blooded deaths that took place within the colosseum. As well as the mass amount of murdered criminals, the Colosseum also homed to many gladiatorial fights, with the last one taking place in 435 AD. This structural beauty is known as the Romans most popular monument and was built for 3 specific reasons. It was built as a gift to Roman Citizens from the Flavian Dynasty as a means of increasing their popularity, to stage entertainment, various different forms, and to show the world what Roman engineering looks like. This structure is the first thing on my list upon visiting Rome, in fact, it was the thing that birthed my fascination for the city and it's history. 

The Pantheon

The Pantheon was originally built during the reign of Augustus during 27 BC - 14 AD, but was then rebuilt around 126 AD. Even after 2000 years, The Pantheon's dome is still the worlds largest unreinforced concrete dome. This structure is one of the best-preserved Ancient Roman buildings and has been used a considerable amount throughout history. The Pantheon is actually a Christian Church and has been used as such for a number of centuries, although due to being rebuilt twice beforehand, this isn't actually the original Pantheon, but is still extremely ancient. The tombs of this structure tell the story of a doomed engagement, the famous Renaissance painter, Raphael, is buried inside, along with his fiancee, Maria Bibbiena. Like quite a lot of ancient architectural buildings, this one is no different in the respect that their is a lot of history to be learned about it. 

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a city square that is located in Rome. Built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built by Emperor Domitian in 86 AD, the square follows the form of the open space of the stadium. This square is arguably the most beautiful and famous one to exist in Rome. The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, also known as The Fountain of the Four Rivers, is the main attraction of this square, which was constructed between the years of 1647 and 1651 on the request of Pope Innocent X. This fountain consists of four figures which each represent a river from a different continent - The Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio de la Plata, this is just one of the three fountains situated on the Piazza. The others being the Fontana del Nettuno, also known as The Neptune Fountain or The Calderari, and the Fontana del Moro, also known as The Moor Fountain. The Neptune fountain was built in 1576 by Giacomo della Porta and consists of statues of Neptune which are surrounded by sea nymphs, that were added during the 19th century. The Moor Fountain, which was also by Giacomo della Porta, consists of a statues of a Moor holding a dolphin, which was added in the 17th century, the tritons were added later during the 19th century. 

Another great part about The Piazza Navona is The Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, which was again commissioned by Pope Innocent X in 1652 and was completed in 1670. St Agnes was buried in the catacombs at the present basilica of the church and is one of the great Roman virgin martyrs. The most notable part of the Basilica are it's mosaics, the shrine of the virgin martyr St. Agnes, and the catacombs.

  1. Musei Capitolini

  1. One thing that I have a huge love for is the fantastic art that people create, which is why The Capitoline Museums are such a fascination to me. These are a group of art and archeological museums that are located in Piazza del Campidogilo. The smaller building was opened to the public in 1734 by Pope Clement XII and contains a fine selection of Greek and Roman sculptures. Art is a wonderful thing to see, it's interesting to view the various different creations from artists, especially for someone like myself who isn't too good at art.

    Church of San Luigi dei Francesi

    The Church of San Luigi dei Francesi or The Church of St. Louis is a Roman Catholic church in Rome that is located near Piazza Navona and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, St. Denis the Areopagite and St. Louis IX. This beautiful architectural structure was designed by Giacomo della Porta, who also built various fountains located at the Piazza Navona. On the walls of this church hangs 'The Calling of Saint Matthew, which is a reminder that art that is 400 years old was modern when this church was first built. Some say that Rome as a city is actually a living museum, the works of art hanging on the walls of this church could prove this quite easily.

    Palatine Hill

    Palatine Hill is one of the most ancient parts of the city, some of the findings here date back to the 10th century BC, and is one of the seven hills of Rome. The Palatine is the location on which the first settlers built their huts, following this is became a residential district. There isn't much to see here, but at the same time there is, most of what can be seen here are the remains of what once stood here.

    Castel Sant'Angelo

    Castel Sant'Angelo, also known as The Mausoleum of Hadrian is a towering cylindrical building located in Rome that was built as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian. Inside of this fortress you can find The National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo which retraces the history of this structure. The Castel Sant'Angelo has undergone several renovations over the last few centuries, mainly to strengthen the castles defences. This castle is considered to be one of the most desirable tourist attractions in Rome. 

    There's a Roman saying "Even a lifetime isn't enough time to see Rome". Never could a saying ever be more true, there's far too much to view in Rome, far too much beauty and architectural history to take in. Rome is most certainly one of the worlds most fascinating cities, especially to someone like myself who has a huge love for the city. I can't wait to visit Rome. I can't wait to stand in awe when looking up at the Colosseum or The Pantheon, I can't wait to walk around the beautiful city of Rome with my camera, taking photographs of every single little thing, because I won't want to miss a thing.

    To see the post that gave me the idea for this series of posts, click here and to check out my bucket list, click here

    Until next time


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