Rome was once the center of the world. Its construction icons and works of art are the witnesses of a historical past that influenced all eastern civilization. If it was not enough to make it mandatory a visit to the eternal city, differently from other city capitals that not always mirror the culture and way of life of their countries, Rome is the heart of Italy.
The quantity of historical monuments and works of art in museums, churches and basilicas in Rome and in the Vatican is a challenge for the visitors planning capacity, as I could confirm in my visit in May 2006. Although the regions of the center of the city and the ancient center must be explored on foot, the subway or taxis may be used for longer distances.
The Pantheon, in the center of the city, is the most preserved ancient construction of Rome. The building has a cylindrical structure with a huge hemispherical dome (bigger then the Basilica of Saint Peter). The dome has a radius that equals the height of the supporting cylinder. Built as the temple of all gods around 110 AD, it was transformed into a church in the 17th century.
At the top of the dome, the Pantheon has a circular opening - the "oculo" - that lights the interior of the building.
The Pantheon is situated at the Piazza de la Rotonda, surround by typical roman constructions.
The Spanish Steps, close to the Square of Spain, attracts many visitors who like to seat on the steps and watch the time and people go by.
The Fontana de Trevi is the biggest and most famous spring of Rome and is always full of tourists. If possible, the visitor must also visit the spring by night and appreciate the artificial illumination.
A place of combats between gladiators and fights between savage animals, in the ancient times, the Coliseum is till today the most magnificent construction of Rome. It is a unique experience to visit its internal alleys, passages and stairs, where the Romans used to gather and watch the shows.
In the ancient center are situated the ruins and constructions of the Roman Forum, the political, social and commercial center of ancient Rome. Among the ruins are the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Setimo Severo, the foundations of the Basilica Julia and the three remaining columns of the temple of Castor and Polux.
In the ancient center is also situated the Palatino Mount, where Rome may have been founded. It has been, for centuries, the place of residence of Roman emperors and aristocrats.
Close to the ancient center, you can find the monument to Vitorio Emanuele, the first king of the unified Italy.
The Basilica of Saint Peter, with its 186 meters of extension and with a dome of 136 meters of altitude, dominates the Vatican and houses many works of art of artists like Michelangelo and Bernini.
A visit to the Vatican Museum is mandatory. Among the works of art of the impressive collection of the museum are Michelangelo's paintings at the Sistine Chapel and Rafael's paintings on the private chambers of Pope Julio II. The decoration of the various chambers and some construction details surprise the visitor like the decoration of the Vatican library and the double helicoid stair.
The colorful borough of Trastevere - "beyond the (river) Tiber" - has an active night life and a concentration of restaurants and bars.
Rome with its agitated life, historical monuments and remains of the old Roman empire scattered all over the city, is a never ending source of images for the photographer.