To see the "Vittoriano" (as locals call it) up close, simply climb the front stairs, or go inside from one of several entrances. Crowds tend to be thinner (and lines shorter) in the afternoon (especially after 15:00 in summer); this is also true at the Forum. Today in Rome, the visitor's struggle is more likely out on the street — with modern traffic. Ancient Romans, whose taste for violence exceeded even modern America's, came to the Colosseum to unwind. While you can show your reservation on your mobile device, it feels safer to have a physical printout. Then we'll go offbeat to bike the Appian Way and be inspired by Roman engineering. And at the same time, it provides a venerable backdrop for al fresco diners. Another colorful Roman gathering place is the Campo de' Fiori. One of Rome's most colorful spots, this bohemian piazza hosts a fruit and vegetable market in the morning, cafés in the evening, and crowds of drunks late at night. From ancient times until the advent of trains and airplanes, this was most visitors' first look at Rome. Until next time...keep on travelin'. This plush museum, filling a cardinal's mansion in the park, was recently restored and offers one of Europe's most sumptuous art experiences. The road starts at the massive San Sebastiano Gate and Museum of the Walls, about two miles south of the Colosseum. Today, about 100 Swiss soldiers — clad in their flamboyant Renaissance-style uniforms — still protect the pope, keep the crush of visitors as orderly as possible, and patiently answer tourists' questions. Rome Travel Guide by Rick Steves For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, see our FAQ . But the Christians who had a single — and very jealous — God were the exception. see our FAQ. St. John's — which has been rebuilt over the ages — was the original home of the bishop of Rome, or "Pope." Here Raphael paints The School of Athens…a who's who of ancient Greek intellectual heroes…many painted with the features of Renaissance greats: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and a self-portrait of Raphael himself. The empire was established, and this marked the start of the Pax Romana. Each day there's a special — today it's spaghetti carbonara. But the notorious Roman traffic is being tamed. And what better doors for this first grand church than those which once hung in ancient Rome's Senate House. And the pope's apartments tell Christian history — this is the battle in which Emperor Constantine was led by angels and a holy cross both to a key military victory and to his own religious conversion. Francesca: Yes, I have. Like the obelisks, its massive oneâpiece granite columns were shipped from Egypt. Its dimensions are classic — based on a perfect circle, as wide as it is tall: 140 feet. Rick Steves' Europe is an American travel documentary television series created and hosted by Rick Steves.In each episode, he travels to the continent of Europe, documenting his experiences along the way.. The master Bernini invigorates reality with emotion. Its noble ruins tell a tale of power, politics, and imperial egos; of pagan gods now forgotten; of public art on a grand scale; and of enduring engineering feats. He gave the square its famously harmonious proportions and its majestic centerpiece: an ancient statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Rent a bike or, for romantics, a pedaled rickshaw (riscio). Engineers still admire how the Romans built such a mathematically precise structure without computers, fossil fuel-run machinery, or electricity. His three-headed dog howls triumphantly. Then pasta arrabiata. Take a moment. Look at this! This was the age when the rich and powerful not only collected beautiful art, but actually employed leading artists to spiff up their homes. The Colosseum was — and still is — colossal. It went almost directly from being a pagan temple to being a Christian church. But it all sits upon a solid foundation of the ancient city — which for centuries, was the capital of our Western civilization. The view from the top is unrivaled: both of Rome in general, and the Vatican grounds. Rome grew for 500 years, peaked for 200 years, and fell for 300 years. (If you're coming straight from Rome, take Metro line A to Giulio Agricola.). But of course, early Christians didn't have that kind of money. The final stop on our nighttime walk is back where we started: at the ever-popular Spanish Steps. Following an exquisite Roman dinner, we'll join locals after dark, lacing together the Eternal City's most romantic nightspots. Put yourself in the mindset of a 17th-century church-goer. The purpose: more PR...telling the story of yet another military victory. In 509, they tossed out their king and established the relatively democratic Roman Republic. GBH 2. At its peak in the 1600s, these "Papal States," as they were called, encompassed much of the Italian peninsula. Imagine: They were stacked with pre-cut stones, free for the taking. The long rectangular building is the Vatican Museum, with the adjacent Sistine Chapel — perhaps the richest collection of Western art anywhere. The park's centerpiece is the Borghese Gallery. And anywhere you dig in the modern city, you'll find remains of the ancient one. The king's moustache forms an arc five feet long, and a person could sit within the horse's hoof. The Rome restaurants from his videos were Osteria dal 1931 and Trattoria a Morgana; Rick Steves dined at Enoteca Corsi and Ristorante il Gabriello. There is no doubt: This is the richest and grandest church on earth. In about 65 A.D., the apostle Peter was crucified within sight of this obelisk. [€9.20] From our hotel, it's a straight shot to the Colosseum. Everyone else...barbarian. Travel with Rick on this video guide to the Baroque sights of Rome, Italy and find out what to do on your next trip. Rome is huge, complex, and endlessly entertaining. Focusing on the grandeur of classical Rome, we'll admire the groundbreaking architecture at the Colosseum and Pantheon, and the empire's exquisite art at the Capitoline Museum. Terms of Service | Privacy. We'll marvel at the biggies — the Colosseum…the Pantheon…the empire's powerful art. In fact, in the third century, 16 emperors were assassinated in a 50-year period. Hi, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the best of Europe. Francesca: Oh yes, that always — you know how the Italians are so aware of themselves and they like to be looked at, and they like to look at each other. The ornamental cherubs would dwarf a large man. The contrast provided by Mary's rough robe makes his body — even though carved in hard marble — feel soft and believable. Rick: So, this is just sort of an inclination, early evening, cool of the day. ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Until next time, keep on travelin'. Today the square, known for its symmetrical design and its art-filled churches, is the starting point for the city's evening passeggiata. The magic of the square is enhanced by the fact that no streets directly approach it. But the Republic was finished and Rome became the grand capital of a grand empire. Gladiators, criminals, and wild animals fought to the death, providing the public with a festival of gore. Important squares are still marked by towering columns. Piazza di Spagna, with the very popular Spanish Steps, is named for the Spanish embassy to the Vatican, which has been here for 300 years. The ornamental cherubs dwarf a large man. The design culminates at the top in an obelisk framed between two Baroque church towers. We're meeting my friend and Roman tour guide, Francesca Caruso, to join in the fun. Getting one's easy — just a phone call or visit the website, and you get an entry time. She brought home wagonloads of relics including these stairs — believed to be from the palace of Pontius Pilate. From $9.99 to buy season. This is a copy. Caravaggio tackled the same topic on canvas. It's built with two theaters facing each other — that's what an amphitheater is — so twice as many people could enjoy the entertainment. The first half was the Republic — ruled by elected senators; the last half was the Empire — ruled by unelected emperors. The best entrance is at the head of Via Veneto. Rick Steves, America's leading authority on European travel, returns to transport viewers to the continent's bustling cities, quaint villages and picturesque countryside. Hi, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the best of Europe. This became the Roman Forum. The first episode in this three-part mini-series distills Rick Steves' 30 years of travel experience into 30 minutes of practical advice on how to have a fun, affordable, and culturally broadening trip to Europe. Its 138 steps lead sharply up from Piazza di Spagna, forming a butterfly shape as they fan out around a central terrace. A striking exception is this contemporary building showcasing the Ara Pacis. (Having unlimited slave power didn't hurt.) Many of the first Christians buried here were later recognized as martyrs and saints. The inscription declares, in Latin: Tu es Petrus..."You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church." By the Middle Ages, the catacombs were abandoned and forgotten. The church, originally a poor Carmelite church, was slathered with Baroque richness in the 17th century. It was begun in AD 72 during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, when the empire was nearing its peak. We'll eat really well, and go local after dark, lacing together the Eternal City's most romantic night spots. But the Romans also pioneered a totally new form of art — sculpting painfully realistic portraits of emperors and important citizens. Season 11 of Rick Steves' Europe debuts this October and features eight all-new episodes. The wide, curving staircase is one of Rome's iconic sights. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, Rome: Baroque Brilliance #702. Like any propaganda art, battle scenes stoked imperial pride. This obscure, outlawed Jewish sect ultimately became the religion of the empire. We're here in the springtime — it's much more comfortable. Friendly Manuela and her staff welcome eaters with fine wine at a third of the price you'd pay in normal restaurants. But, it seems, they still respected the fine points of Greek culture. These catacombs are scattered all around the city, just outside the walls. In fact for centuries, the pope was called the "King Pope." Length: 56 minutes. Take a moment to imagine the place in action. It has stood for centuries as a symbol of a truly cosmopolitan civilization. And to this day, here on the national altar, burns the eternal flame remembering Italy's Unknown Soldier. This vast oval square marks the traditional north entrance to Rome. But at the same time I experienced such delight that I wished it would last forever.". It offers some of the best people-watching anywhere. The Capitoline Hill — which rises majestically from the busy streets — has long been the home of Rome's city government. This one's open weekday lunches only. Each room has a masterpiece at its center — like this intriguing look at Napoleon's sister, Pauline, by Canova. The influence of ancient Rome is everywhere. Surviving bits of the ancient empire are everywhere you look. While many tourists consider Palatine Hill just extra credit after the Forum, it offers insight into the greatness of Rome that's well worth the effort. They decorated their noânonsense megaâstructure with all three Greek orders of columns — Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Just the magnificent work of the Vatican School of Mosaics — with thousands of different colors in their arsenal of chips. Then, after hiking the Appian Way and exploring the catacombs, we track down the best gelato in Rome. I'm Rick Steves. That may sound silly, but every year I go through the ritual…and it works! Church attendance boomed, and Emperor Constantine built the first great Christian church right here — San Giovanni in Laterano...St. John's. Allow two hours for a quick visit, three or four hours for enough time to enjoy it. Rome — of course it's the city of Caesars, popes, and floodlit fountains. We tour Rome's ancient sights from the Forum and Colosseum to the glorious Pantheon. Using Roman-pioneered concrete, brick, and their trademark round arches, Romans constructed much larger buildings than the Greeks. The Capitoline Venus is one of the truest representations of the concept of feminine beauty from ancient times. While ancient Rome's architecture was monumental, its citizens were just people...like you and me, without electricity. Piazza San Pietro sits on what was the site of an ancient Roman racetrack. Here, a boy quietly pulls a thorn from his foot. Romans are proud of their generous green spaces. (And, if you're visiting the Colosseum or Forum, you've got a ticket whether you like it or not.). From gates like this, grand roads fanned out to connect the city with its empire. We'll ramble through the venerable heart of Rome, admire breathtaking Bernini statues, ponder sunbeams inside St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, and mix and mingle with the Romans during an early-evening stroll. Block by block, they carted away most of this temple, and then incorporated what was still standing — like these columns — into a modern building. You can survey the entire country from this perch. Over time, Trajan's column was capped with a Christian saint, the Pantheon became a church, Emperor Hadrian's mausoleum became the Pope's fortress, and the tomb of the Apostle Peter, a man the Romans executed, was crowned by the grandest building in the city — St. Peter's Basilica. Plus, get free shipping with $50 order. When the modern nation of Italy unified in the late 1800s, it absorbed most of the Papal States, including the city of Rome. After a lifetime of exploring Europe - and inspiring Americans to see Europe as the springboard for world exploration - Rick Steves shares his reasons why. This Baroque church is the headquarters of the Jesuits in Rome, and holds an interesting daily service at 17:30. We'll ramble through the venerable heart of Rome, admire breathtaking Bernini statues, ponder sunbeams inside St. Peter's at the Vatican, and mingle with the Romans over an early-evening stroll. This is the mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, whose father-in-law was extremely wealthy. It can be exhausting, so plan your visit carefully, focusing on a few themes. A morning spent wandering is filled with surprises. Today, the park's a favorite with locals for walking the dog...or burning off some of that pasta. Rick: Shut up! The tomb-lined tunnels of the catacombs stretch for miles, and are many layers deep. This boy is about to become head of state. Reliefs decorating the various arches show how war and expansion were the business of state. And, if you know where to look, important Baroque treasures hide out. It was a chaotic and unstable time. Rick Steves, America's leading authority on European travel, returns to transport viewers to the continent's bustling cities, quaint villages and picturesque countryside. You'll see faded frescoes and graffiti by early-Christian tag artists, as well as some pagan tombs that predate the Christian catacombs. Woman off camera: Are you Rick Steves? Apollo — happily wounded by Cupid's arrow — chases Daphne, who's saved by turning into a tree. For a close-up look at Michelangelo's dome-within-a-dome design, climb 300 steps to the cupola. (His son Jason is now runs the show.) The Trevi Fountain's close by. The polished marble is lifelike — even sensuous. For a little early-Christian history, we're heading outside the city for a look at the catacombs. Add to favorites: Description This second of three episodes on Rome reveals a city busy with life and bursting with Baroque. Travel with Rick on this video guide to Rome, Italy and the Trastevere, Jewish Ghetto and more to find out what to do on your next trip. I often find the antipasti and pasta dishes more varied and interesting than the more expensive secondi, or main courses. Imagine, a quarter of a million Romans cheering on careening chariots and above it all, the Palatine Hill, filled with towering palaces. The nearby Piazza Navona is a carnival 365 nights a year. Then we go offbeat by bicycle to see the Appian Way and marvels of Roman engineering. The church is filled with symbols of Christianity's triumph over pagan Rome: For instance, tradition says these gilded bronze columns once stood in pagan Rome's holiest temple. Poke around. The gates of imperial Rome are a two-mile chariot ride this way. The portico, with its stately pediment, has symbolized Roman greatness ever since antiquity. I think it's a great time. Francesca: Bene, grazie. see our FAQ. Still, watch out for the scooters. Thankfully no one cannibalized the magnificent Pantheon, the best-preserved temple from ancient Rome. All the full length Rick Steves Europe PBS Episodes that I could find. From the rooftop you can size up the dome you're about to climb. As the rhythm of daily life hits its stride, the famous Spanish Steps — today adorned with azaleas — fill with people. A guide leads you underground through the tunnels where early Christians were buried. The stability and relative prosperity that characterized the two centuries of the Roman Peace was due in part to a steady succession of capable rulers. Many aspects of Roman life are represented. In 1870 Rome became the capital of a newly united modern state of Italy. The last episode in this three-part mini-series distills Rick Steves' 30 years of travel experience into 30 minutes of practical advice on how to have a fun, affordable, and culturally broadening trip to Europe. And this procession shows a populace thankful for its emperor. In its glory days, the word "Rome" meant not the just city but what Romans considered the entire civilized world. In this episode, Rick Steves explores three historic capitals of Iran: Persepolis, with its splendid monuments; Shiraz, with the tombs of Iran's most beloved poets; and Esfahan, with its extraordinary mosques and endearing people. Rick Steves' Europe. That's because they're decorated in the Baroque style. But the grandeur of the Roman Empire lived on in the Roman Church. Rick: Check out who's with who, who's wearing what. The wealthy Borghese family filled their 17th-century villa with art. For many, the evening stroll leads to a nice dinner out. Explore. During the Renaissance, Michelangelo designed this regal staircase. The Pantheon survived so well because it's been in continuous use for over 2,000 years. I enjoy a range of restaurants. This mosaic hung in Emperor Hadrian's villa. Dinner within splashing distance of a tub from the ancient Baths of Caracalla caps a perfectly Roman day. Today, visitors to Rome find fascinating layers of history and culture: early Christian, Baroque, and modern. Nine years before Christ, Emperor Augustus led a procession of priests up these steps of this newly built "Altar of Peace." In the seventh season of Rick Steves' Europe, Rick rediscovers Rome, Florence, Paris, London, England's Lake District and â¦ Over the centuries the popes have amassed enough art to fill 11 miles of museum hallways sumptuously decorated with precious tapestries, dramatic frescoes, and ancient statues. You can save lots of time by buying your combo-ticket at a less-crowded ticket office, buying and printing an online ticket, having the Roma Pass, booking a guided tour, or renting an audioguide or videoguide. While it dates from the first century BC, we still remember her to this day...so apparently the investment paid off. In RICK STEVES ROME, Rick traces the rise and fall of classical Rome, meanders through the heart of Berniniâs Baroque Rome and makes a pilgrimage to the Vatican. As we ramble through the heart of Rome, we'll admire breathtaking Bernini statues and ponder sunbeams inside St. Peter's Basilica. After a lifetime of exploring Europe Rick Steves shares his reasons why. The reign of Julius Caesar — who ruled around the time of Christ — marked the turning point between the Republic and the empire. You just go outside, meet your friends, have a gelato, an aperitivo, and just enjoy the city. With unlimited money, his palace dazzled with both fine art of the past, such as Raphael's exquisite Deposition, and with the best art of the day. Others then carved out niches nearby to bury their loved ones close to these early Christian heroes. In this episode, Rick Steves explores three historic capitals of Iran: Persepolis, with its splendid monuments; Shiraz, with the tombs of Iran's most beloved poets; and Esfahan, with its extraordinary mosques and endearing people. A basilica was built here, and this became the head of the Roman Catholic Church. For a breezy escape from the big-city noise and intensity, head for the Borghese Gardens, Rome's "Central Park." Good guidebooks have all the details. Obelisks shipped from Egypt 2,000 years ago still stand like exclamation points. For a dressy night out, this is a reliable and surprisingly reasonable choice — reserve ahead. Join Rick as he experiences the local culture, cuisine, and fun along with some powerful lessons that only travel can teach. Ciao. The Vatican is built upon the memory and grave of the first pope, St. Peter. His body was burned on this spot in 44 BC. Bernini's altar work and twisting, towering canopy are brilliant. I just left Italy. Once again, this art carried a message. In fact, in the sixth century, the barbarians did just that. Experience Greece, Turkey, Israel and Egypt with Rick Steves, best-selling travel author and host of public television shows. The first great Christian church right here — the Circus Maximus and interesting than more... Plenty of modern-day Romeos and Juliets achievement and monumental failure for not being a church... 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