I may justly say with the hook-nosed fellow of Rome, "I came, saw and overcame”
Rome wasn't built in a day ... more like in 2800 years actually. Legend has it that Romulus founded Rome on the 21st April 793 BC. Today it is Italy’s capital and as such it is host to all the nation’s principal institutions (including the Embassy of Italy for the Vatican City) but in its time Rome was the axis of the entire world.
Originally a little village of huts of the iron era by 616 BC the city was conquired by the Etruscans, whose government was overthrown in 509 BC when the Republic was founded. Julius Caesar was the first dictator of the city, his nephew Octavius became the first emperor – changing his name to Augustus. Christ was born during the reign of Augustus – in spite of being actively persecuted Christianity established itself and continues to claim Rome as the very heart of the religion. During the middle ages Rome declined under rule of the Papal See.
From the middle of the fifteenth century Rome began to flourish again and during the ensuing two centuries hosted the greatest Renaissance and Baroque artists. In 1870 Rome finally became the capital of Italy.
From the little village established 2770 years ago on the Roman hills along the banks of the Tiber River, Rome is home to three million people today.
Explore ancient Rome from its historical centre contained within the preserved imperial walls. The Hotel Fontana is located to ensure easy access to extraordinary Roman cultural and historical sites. The list is long and impressive and includes the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, P.zza di Spagna, Foro Romano,Colosseo, Musei Capitolini, Museo del Corso, Musei Vaticani, Palazzo Ruspoli, Chiostro del Bramante, Scuderie del Quirinale, Galleria Borghese, Palazzo Braschi, Ara Pacis, Palazzo Chigi, Column of Marcus Aurelius, Palazzo Montecitorio, Galleria Collona, Quirinale Palace, Galleria Doria Pamphili, Trevi Historical Center, Piazza Venezia and the Vittorio Emanuele Monument.
Venture further afield and you will discover many more treats:
The Colosseum - While ferocious animals did battle with 2000 gladiators in one year, one of the most astounding facts about the Coliseum is that its design allowed 50 000 spectators to be seated within 10 minutes.
The ruins of the Roman Forum – Reflect on mortality as you gaze up at the towering ionic columns that once housed the most powerful Roman senators.
The Vatican Museum – The Popes have done such a good job of collecting art that it is probably advisable to visit these daunting halls with a guide! A truly staggering number of people visit the Sistine Chapel every moment! It is advisable to bring binoculars and forget your camera as this is not allowed.
St. Peter's Basilica – Rome’s most recognizable landmark, home to a couple of pigeons, Michelangelo’s only signed work and not surprisingly many tourists!There is one spot in St. Peter’s Square from where every single column in the surrounding portico line up – the visual effect is underscored by a rich history. The area underneath the portico has done duty as a trendy racetrack in ancient times and a little later, a necropolis hosting the burials of both ancient Romans and Christians. St Peter’s and the Vatican Galleries and museum are where you find the world’s greatest artistic treasures from Renaissance Rome. (The museum and basilica are the only Vatican City buildings open to the public.)
The Pantheon – The Pantheon was built to be a temple to all gods and is the final resting place for many famous people including the painter Raphael! Now - About the story that it is said that it cannot rain through the oculus – Not true!
Campo de’ Fiori – Rich in history dating back to Ancient Rome. During day time an open-air market takes place wher you may find the very best of fresh fruit and vegetables. The piazza also features several majestic Renaissance Palaces.
The Spanish steps – An iconic image recognised all around the world. This daring architectural feat was built during the eighteenth century and continues to be famous for its beauty and elegant shops.
The Galleria Borghese – This villa was a private property until 1903. It was built to display the acquisitions of the nephew of Pope Paul IV.
Rome keeps delivering. Remarkable villas, museums, fountains, ruins and other historical buildings abound. Pack some comfortable walking shoes, hit the streets and explore ancient archaeology and a living museum of western art dating back 3 millennia.
If you prefer a panoramic vista, head to Lo Zodiaco or the Pincio!
Rome is reasonably priced. Location is the most important factor determining accommodation costs. The hotels surrounding the historical centre are the most expensive. Museum admissions also vary – it is worth checking on current specials and various discount cards before you travel. The Euro is used throughout Italy and it also forms part of the Schengen alliance. Taxi drivers in Rome must be booked by phone or found in a taxi rank (note that the fare starts from the moment you telephone). It is generally accepted that the best way is to insist on a metered fare (rather than a set fare – unless you are coming from or to the airport) the night busses can be identified by their blue owl logos’. There is a 20% value added tax on most goods in Italy. Take bottled water with you. Consider buying your stamps from the tobacconists to avoid the post office queues.
Hotel Fontana recommends:
Il Moro Ristorante
Vineria il Chianti
Bars & Lounge
Ciampini – San Lorenzo in Lucina
Bar della Pace - Piazza Navona
Teatro dei Satiri