Roma is the city of eternal charm. Its most striking feature is that everywhere you turn your gaze, there is always something interesting to see or do. Roma has thousands of years of history. It was the first great metropolis built by humanity. It was the capital of the Roman Empire and the beating heart of one of the most important ancient civilisations. Its historical and artistic heritage is of great importance to the world.
Its historical centre has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Roma boasts the highest concentration of monuments and archaeological sites in the world. It is the City of Great Beauty. Every corner, street, church or neighbourhood has stories, secrets and legends to tell that have grown over time. Roma is an immense theatre with sumptuous scenery. There are a multitude of cloisters with secluded charm. Slender trees and pines emanate serenity and majestic domes and obelisks harness and transform light in to magic.
THE CITY OF MUSEUMS
Roma’s museums are full of an immense wealth of art and treasures that are unique in the world. From classical archaeology to the Renaissance artists. From Baroque to 19th century collections. From the futuristic lines of the twentieth century to revolutionary avant-garde. Including the diversity of contemporary art. Roma has it all.
The city has a widespread museum network and hundreds of sites of archaeological and cultural interest. The most visited include the Villa Borghese Museum, the Vatican Museums, Castel Sant’Angelo, the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Palazzo Venezia and the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Palazzo Barberini. In addition to these Roma has the World’s oldest museum open to the public, the Musei Capitolini. It was commissioned in 1471 by Pope Sixtus IV. These national treasures were visited by over 432,000 people in 2016. The museum network includes 21 municipal museums that counted 1,556,875 visitors in 2016. There are also more than 200 state and private museums with over 2 million visitors.
ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHAEOLOGY
Roma offers the excitement of a glorious past. Its archaeological sites are a fascinating and constant reminder of the city’s glorious history. Spectacular symbols of the Roman Empire range from the largest amphitheatre in the world to the Pantheon. The Colosseum is a piece of eternity towering over the Imperial Forums. There are architectural masterpieces such as the Roman Forum and the Palatino, to the Baths of Caracalla and Circo Massimo. Not forgetting the Domus Aurea and the Domus Romane in Palazzo Valentini. A visit to the most famous squares which include Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Venezia, Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori, Piazza San Pietro in the Vatican and Piazza del Popolo, is a must. Then there are the fountains and the villas, the parks, gardens and terraces. So many have breath-taking views. But it is not all about the ancient. The city also offers modern architectural experiments that are capable of attracting millions of tourists every year. One outstanding example of industrial archaeology is Centrale Montemartini. It is a former power plant that has been converted into a museum and is now a new exhibition space for Musei Capitolini. It can house more than 400 ancient sculptures in a spectacular setting. It combines classical and industrial elements to great effect.
Roma has extraordinary sights and views for visitors to experience. From the terrace of the Gianicolo in Trastevere, to the famous Pincio in Villa Borghese. Walk through the romantic Giardino degli Aranci and up to the balcony of the Vittoriana. Here you can enjoy stunning views of this lively city. These panoramas are all located in the heart of the capital.
Roma is a key destination for international religious tourism. Roma has more than 900 churches and basilicas and is the seat of the Pope within Vatican City. Vatican City is the smallest sovereign state in the world. Every year 6 million visitors admire the masterpieces in the Vatican Museums, the fourth most visited museum in the world. Roma is also home to the Great Mosque, an important place of worship for the Muslim community (the largest in Europe), as well as a Jewish Synagogue. Roma has always been a cosmopolitan city and its religious and cultural landscape is coloured like a precious mosaic. It expresses the beauty and richness of diversity of the city in its many facets.
Roma is number one in Europe for its quantity and quality of green areas. It is a city full of parks and historic villas. There are as many as 42 green areas in the city of Roma alone. From the most well-known and central Villa Borghese, Villa Doria Pamphili, Villa Torlonia and Villa Celimontana, to those not far from the centre such as the Nature Reserves of Monte Mario and Vejo. These areas are rich in history, art and archaeology. They are also perfect places for sports and leisure pursuits.
THE CHALLENGE OF MODERNITY: CONTEMPORARY ROMA
Roma is not merely a city of history, it offers a contemporary lifestyle as well. From neighbourhood to neighbourhood, the city can offer an interesting overview of the evolution in art and science. Roma is not only the cradle of antiquity and past art, it is also the home of new ideas and works that are constantly evolving. In recent years some of the most prestigious names in the field of urban planning, architecture and art have designed the contemporary face of the Italian capital. For example, The Ara Pacis Museum, designed by Richard Meier, is a transparent diaphragm between the city and the Tiber River. The building was designed to safeguard and protect the first century BC Augustan altar. It is mainly used as an exhibition space and is an ideal venue for events and conferences. The MAXXI (Museum of 21st Century Art and Architecture) was designed by Iraqi Zaha Hadid and was opened in May 2012. The space is par excellence in Roma for contemporary art and architecture.
The Ponte della Musica was opened in 2011 and was designed by Kit Powell-Williams Architects. The key to its success is the constant interaction with the urban fabric in to which it is inserted. The outer space was conceived as a piazza, in which to encourage the movement of people, tourists and families.
The Parco della Musica Auditorium designed by Renzo Piano is the leading space dedicated to music in Europe and fifth in the world. Concerts, outdoor activities and spectacular events take place here. It consists of three large zones for the concert halls and is encased in a living garden.
There is a large open-air theatre, the Saint Cecilia Hall for symphonic concerts with a large orchestra and choir. Then there is the Sinopoli Hall which is more versatile and caters to all different types of music. Finally we have the Petrassi Hall which is known for contemporary music. There is
also an additional theatre and cinema. Inside is the Studio Theatre which is a multipurpose space with 350 seats and the Cavea, an amphitheatre that can hold up to 3,000 people.
The MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome) was opened in 2010. It is an early 20th-century industrial building that has been converted and expanded into an exhibition space with the design of Odile Decq. The French architect has “sewn” together sections of several pre-existing buildings to create new exhibition rooms. There is a raised terrace that offers a spectacular view of Roma.