Once hailed as Caput Mundi (Capital of the World), Rome is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world and home to some of the world’s greatest architectural feats. From the glories of Ancient Rome to the modern architecture of the 20th Century, Rome is a city of delight, as much cosmopolitan as it is traditional.
Rome has some of the most famous buildings in the world; so many, in fact, that it is almost impossible to look at each one in-depth during a visit to the city. To help you, we have come up with a list of the best architectural delights. (apologies for the foggy day, which ruined the pictures somewhat!)
The Colosseum of Rome
Arguably Rome’s most famous site, the Colosseum is a statement of the grandeur of Ancient Rome and the Roman Empire. Built in AD 80 by Emperor Vespasian, the Colosseum held up to 55,000 people who crammed in through 80 entrances to see a host of gladiatorial battles and wild animal fights. The huge amphitheatre was immense in its size, measuring 188 by 156 metres and 48 metres in height. Above ground the Colosseum has four storeys; upper stories were reserved for poor citizens while lower tiers were for society’s prominent members. Underground rooms contained cages and mechanical devices for wild animals.
Vittorio Emanuele II Monument
The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument is one of modern Rome’s most prominent buildings. Built as a tribute to King Victor Emmanuel II, the monument known as “Il Vittoranio” was designed by architect Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885 and inaugurated in 1911 before final completion in 1935. The white marble building stands at 135 metres wide by 70 metres high. The monument is dominated by a 12m long equestrian statue of King Emmanuel in the Altar of the Nation. At the foot of the statue is the tomb of an unknown soldier watched over by two sentries of honour. 15 metre high columns and a long corridor round the monument with two large bronze quadriga sitting atop.
Whether you are religious or not, The Vatican City is a symbol of architectural delight. The signing of the Lateran Treaty in 1929 declared The Vatican City a sovereign state – the smallest in the world. The Vatican Museums are home to one of the most famous buildings in the world: The Sistine Chapel. Constructed between 1475 and 1481 by Giovanni de Dolci, the Sistine Chapel holds the Italian Renaissance movement’s greatest achievement – Michelangelo’s ceiling painting. The Basilica of Saint Peter and the apartments of the Pope make up the oval formation of the luxurious Saint Peter’s Square and Raphaels Rooms painted for Guillo II including the Stanza della Segnatura signify the start of the High Renaissance movement.
Built from AD 118 to AD 125 by Emperor Hadrian, The Pantheon was originally a temple for pagan gods before being converted into a church in AD 609. Standing at more than 43 metres high, the large dome stands almighty in central Rome. Three rows of eight columns and a spectacular bronze door give the access to the interior with its marble floor and view of the oculus which is the buildings only source of light.
Very few places in the world can compare to the architectural delights of Rome and the metropolis of lost empires is testament to this.