City Orientation Walk II, Rome

The glory of Ancient Rome is known throughout the entire world and each year millions of tourists travel to Rome to visit its ancient sites. Rome's historic center is packed with so many landmarks and works of art, that it would take days to see it all. The following tour offers you a walk by the most remarkable, must see sites in Rome's ancient center.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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City Orientation Walk II Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk II
Guide Location: Italy » Rome (See other walking tours in Rome)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 17
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Author: clare
Piazza di Spagna

1) Piazza di Spagna (must see)

Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps are among the most popular tourist attractions in Rome, a popular meeting point for many. Completed in 1725, these famous 138 famous steps (the widest staircase in Europe) link Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinita dei Monti with Chiesa della Trinita dei Monti.

One of the most famous squares of Rome, Piazza di Spagna owes its name to the Palazzo di Spagna, seat of the Embassy of Spain among the Holy See. In the middle of the square is the famous Fontana della Barcaccia, dating to the beginning of the baroque age, sculpted by Pietro Bernini and his son, the more famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini. At the right corner of the Spanish Steps there is the house of the English poet John Keats, nowadays changed into a museum dedicated to him and his friend Percy Bysshe Shelley, full of books and memorabilia of English Romanticism. At the left corner there is the Babington's tea room, founded in 1893. The side near Via Frattina is overlooked by the two facades of the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide, a property of the Holy See. In front of it, there is the Column of the Immaculate Conception, erected in 1856, two years after the proclamation of the dogma.

***ROMAN HOLIDAY: Joe Meets Ann Again***
Fresh after haircut, Princess Ann sits on the steps, enjoying the view, eating gelato. After taking compliments for her new look, she confesses to Joe Bradley that she had run away from school and takes his proposal to spend the day together before she returns. And here the holiday begins!

Why You Should Visit:
Lovely central place where you can take beautiful photos.
If you like crowded spots with history, nice fountains and tourist activities like carriages and bars, then this is the place for you.

Best time to visit it is in the afternoon and later – also because of the heat.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fontana della Barcaccia

2) Fontana della Barcaccia

At the foot of the Spanish Steps on Piazza di Spagna you will find the remarkable Fontana della Barcaccia, the “Fountain of the Old Boat”. During his time a Pope, Urban VIII had many of Rome’s aqueducts rebuilt, bringing fresh water back to several parts of the city. In 1627 he commissioned Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini to build a fountain on the piazza. In the 15th an 16th centuries the River Tiber regularly flooded this area and according to popular legend, in 1598 one flood was so important that the piazza was under water for several weeks. When the water receded, a boat was found on the square, and this inspired Bernini in his choice of subject for his fountain. The boat is half sunk in its basin, water spilling over the bows and water trickling out of the side of the prow and from a pedestal in the middle of the boat. On the stern is a sun in relief and on the prow is the bee motif of the house of Barberini – the family name of Pope Urban VIII.

There are benches around the fountain and it’s nice to sit there in the sun listening to the gurgle of the fountain. Because of the area’s low water pressure the water doesn’t come out in a jet and fortunately no-one has thought to change this by adding a pump. Keats, the English poet who died in a house on the piazza wrote about the fountain, which he could hear from his deathbed. He asked that the words “Here lies one whose name was writ in water” should be inscribed on his tomb.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Giorgio De Chirico House Museum

3) Giorgio De Chirico House Museum

Visiting house museums is always a must if you want to find out how a famous person lived and the Giorgio de Chirico House Museum won’t disappoint you. The great artist bought an apartment in the Borgognoni Palace and you can visit the entrance hall, the dining room, bedrooms and studio where he lived and worked from 1948 until his death in 1978. On an easel in the studio is his last, unfinished sketch of a bathing woman. You can also see his book collection and his paints and brushes. In the halls on the 4th floor you will find paintings which include “Il Mediatore”, “Donna in Riposo”, “Le Maschere” and “Bagnanti”. There are also sculptures and graphics from his personal collection.

Giorgio de Chirico was perhaps the greatest Pre-Surrealist and Surrealist artist in Italy, his work is on a par with Salvatore Dali, but his best works were executed between 1909 and 1919 during his Metaphysical Period, during which time he founded the Metaphysical School of art movement. Just as his beloved Gala was Dali’s muse, so his wife Isabella was De Chirico’s and there are several portraits of her and she figures in many of his paintings. In 1939 he adopted Rubens’ Baroque style of art and these works were criticized as not being as good as his early work. So to revenge himself on those he called “ignorant critics” he back-dated some of his paintings, which were then accepted with acclaim.
Operation hours: Tuesday - Saturday and first Sunday of the month: by appointment 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Piazza Colonna

4) Piazza Colonna (must see)

Don’t miss a visit to Piazza Colonna with its fine buildings in the very heart of Rome. In the center of the square you will find the Column of Marcus Aurelius. The square is surrounded by impressive and imposing buildings, put up between the 16th and 20th centuries; on the north side stands the Palazzo Chigi, built in 1562 for a noble family, which is now the official residence of the Italian Prime Minister.

On the east side of the square is the popular 19th-century shopping gallery – the Galleria Alberto Sordi. Initially, when it was built, the gallery was called the Galleria Colonna, but then it was renamed after the famous Italian actor/director who died in 2003. On the south side of the piazza you will find the Palazzo Ferraioli, built in the 16th century by Giacomo della Porta. Today, several rooms can be hired for fashion shows, congresses, wedding receptions, parties and exhibitions. Next to the palazzo is the small, beautiful Santi Bartolomeo ed Alessandro dei Bergamaschi Church, built in the 18th century. On the west side stands the Palazzo Wedekind, which was built in 1659 on the site of the Temple of Marcus Aurelius. The beautiful columns on the ground floor of the palace were taken from Veii, an important Etruscan city, conquered by the Roman general Camillus in 396 BC.

The fountain in the piazza was commissioned in 1577 by Pope Gregory XIII and designed by Giacomo della Porta. It was restored in 1830 and the sculptures of two pairs of dolphins and cockle shells were created by Achille Stocchi.

Why You Should Visit:
A fairly quiet place to allow an undisturbed stop for the contemplation of the wonderful continuous bas-relief Column of Marcus Aurelius at the center framed on three sides by attractive, palatial-looking buildings.

The building to the right of the Column as you look at the square from Via del Corso has a cool and shady arcade on the front and, inside, a glass-roofed shopping centre called Galleria Alberto Sordi which has several nice coffee shops inside, too.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Column of Marcus Aurelius

5) Column of Marcus Aurelius (must see)

In the center of Piazza Colonna stands the Column of Marcus Aurelius, with its interesting bas-reliefs. The column was built after the Emperor’s death in 180 AD and completed in 193 AD. It is a victory column, built in the Doric style, 30 meters high – with a base of 10 meters high. A further 3 meters of the original base are underground since its restoration in 1589 and the street level of the area was raised. During the restoration, carried out by Fontana, Pope Sixtus V ordered that a statue of St Paul be set on the top, either to remove any lingering paganism attached to the column or to match it to Trajan’s Column, where he’d had a statue of St Peter put on top.

The column has spiral bas-relief detailing the wars Marcus Aurelius was engaged in against the German Marcomannis and the Iranian Samaritans. It is closely modeled on Trajan’s Column, which was built in 113, and it has been said that the creators of the later column pinched scenes from Trajan’s history. There is one scene, however, that is unique to Marcus Aurelius’ Column: the strange and compelling images of a supernatural figure (perhaps a god) sending a great storm to save the Roman army during a battle. Christian soldiers claimed a similar event several centuries later. Inside the column are about 200 hundred marble steps that lead to the platform at the top of the column, with narrow slits in the walls to provide light. These steps are now closed to the public.

Why You Should Visit:
A survivor from Ancient Rome with massive intricate carvings.

If you have a long lens camera or binoculars, do spend some time viewing the reliefs nearer to the column's top, as these appear to be in much better condition to those nearer to ground level.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

6) Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola (must see)

The Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola at Campus Martius (Italian: 'Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola in Campo Marzio') is a Roman Catholic titular church dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, located in Rome. Built in Baroque style between 1626 and 1650, the church functioned originally as the chapel of the adjacent Roman College, that moved in 1584 to a new larger building and was renamed the Pontifical Gregorian University.

The church has a Latin cross plan with numerous side chapels. The building was inspired by the Jesuit mother church, the Church of the Gesu in Rome (finished in the late 16th century). The imposing order of Corinthian pilasters that rings the entire interior, the theatrical focus on the high altar at the rear of the broad eastern apse, the church's colored marbles, animated stucco figural relief, richly ornamented altars, extensive gilding, and bold Tromp l’oeil paintings in the "dome" at its crossing and in the nave ceiling all produce a festive, sumptuous effect. The church stages the triumph of its dedication most effectively.

The nave's west wall has a sculptural group showing Magnificence and Religion (1650) by Alessandro Algardi. Algardi also helped design the high reliefs in stucco that run on both lateral nave walls just above the entries to the chapels and beneath the nave's grandiose entablature. Other artworks in the church include a huge stucco statue of St. Ignatius by Camillo Rusconi (1728). A chapel holds a glass coffin with a portrait of Cardinal Bellarmino (died 1621).

Why You Should Visit:
A magnificent church with elegant altars, frescoes, sculptures, and a spectacular dome.
You will probably get a stiff neck from gaping at the ceiling for impressive amounts of time.

The church is facing one of the nicest piazzas in Rome, the Piazza di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola, which alone is worth visiting.

Opening Hours:
Sun: 9am-7pm; Mon-Sat: 7:30am-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

7) Pantheon (must see)

The Pantheon is one of Rome’s most famous buildings, and its dome and columns have been inspiring architects for centuries. The original temple, commissioned in 27BC by Marcus Agrippa, after the Battle of Actium, was destroyed in an earthquake. In 126 AD Emperor Hadrian commissioned a new temple dedicated to “pan theos” – all the gods. The temple was restored by Emperors Septimus Severus and Caracalla in the 3rd century.

The immense dome is over 48 meters high with a central oculus of 8 meters in diameter, which provided the only light in the circular temple below. The massive bronze doors weigh over 20 tons each. The portico has 16 white marble columns. The temple housed statues to the gods and animal sacrifices were carried out under the oculus.

As Christianity spread throughout Rome, the temple fell into disrepair, and in 356, when public pagan worship was outlawed it seemed that the temple might be destroyed as many others were. Luckily it was saved and it 408 it became a secular building. In 609 Pope Boniface IV had it consecrated as a Christian church – the first pagan temple to be transformed in Rome – and dedicated it to St Mary and all the Martyrs. An altar was placed in the apse, surrounded by golden mosaic depicting crosses.

Between 667 and the 16th century, the church was vandalized and robbed several times. The gold roof tiles were stolen and replaced by bronze tiles, which in their turn were removed for use in Bernini’s baldacchino in St Peter’s Basilica.

The walls of the Pantheon are filled with monumental tombs, including that of the artist Raphael. On the altar is an original 17th-century icon of the Madonna and Child; to the right of the apse are the remains of 2nd-century decorations and to the right of the entrance is Melozzo de Foli’s 15th century “Annunciation”.

Why You Should Visit:
Italian baroque meets Roman architectural excellence...
Among the world's most amazing free attractions?

Incredible at night (on the outside), especially if you enjoy musicians with talent and engagement... but be aware of pickpockets.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-6pm; Sat: 8:30am-7:30pm; 9am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Maria sopra Minerva

8) Santa Maria sopra Minerva (must see)

Santa Maria sopra Minerva (English: Saint Mary above Minerva) is one of the major churches of the Roman Catholic Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans. The church's name derives from the fact that the first Christian church structure on the site was built directly over (Latin: supra) the ruins or foundations of a temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, which had been erroneously ascribed to the Greco-Roman goddess Minerva.

The church is located in the Piazza della Minerva one block behind the Pantheon in the Pigna rione of Rome, Italy, within the ancient district known as the Campus Martius. The present church and disposition of surrounding structures is visible a detail from the Nolli Map of 1748.

The Minerva has been a titular church since 1557 and a minor basilica since 1566. The church's first titular cardinal was Michele Ghislieri who would become Pope Pius V in 1566 and raise the church to the level of minor basilica that same year. The current Cardinal Priest of the Titulus Sanctae Mariae supra Minervam has been Cormac Murphy-O'Connor since 2001, when he was Archbishop of Westminster, the senior position in the English Catholic church, from which he has since retired.

The church and adjoining convent served at various times throughout its history as the Dominican Order's headquarters. Today the headquarters have been re-established in their original location at the Roman convent of Santa Sabina. While many other medieval churches in Rome have been given Baroque makeovers that cover Gothic structures, the Minerva is the only extant example of an original Gothic church building in Rome. Behind a restrained Renaissance style facade the Gothic interior features arched vaulting that was painted blue with gilded stars and trimmed with brilliant red ribbing in a 19th-century Neo-Gothic restoration.

Among several important works of art in the church are Michelangelo's statue Cristo della Minerva (1521) and the late 15th-century (1488–1493) cycle of frescoes in the Carafa Chapel by Filippino Lippi. The basilica also houses many funerary monuments including the tombs of Doctor of the Church Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), who was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, and the Dominican friar Blessed John of Fiesole (Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, born Guido di Piero) better known as Fra Angelico (c. 1395-1455).

Why You Should Visit:
A real hidden gem just behind the Pantheon, packed full of art, funerary sculpture, and paintings.

At the front of the church stands one of the most curious monuments of Rome, the so-called 'Pulcino della Minerva' (or 'Elephant and Obelisk') designed by Bernini.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7am-7pm; Sat: 10:30am-12:30pm / 3:30pm-7pm; Sun: 8am-12:30pm / 3:30pm-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Campo de' Fiori

9) Campo de' Fiori (must see)

A rectangular square south of Piazza Navona at the border between rione Parione and rione Regola, the square Campo de' Fiori ("field of flowers") was filled with flowers prior to the Middle Ages, hence the name. At the end of the 15th century the square was paved and over the next few centuries a fountain and a statue of Giordano Bruno were added here to mark the site where he was burnt. Executions used to be held publicly in Campo de' Fiori. Here, on 17 February 1600, the philosopher Giordano Bruno was burnt alive for heresy, and all of his works were placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Holy Office. In 1887 Ettore Ferrari dedicated a monument to him on the exact spot of his death: He stands defiantly facing the Vatican, reinterpreted in the first days of a reunited Italy as a martyr to freedom of thought. The inscription on the base recites: "To Bruno - the century predicted by him - here where the fire burned".

The demolition of a block of housing in 1858 enlarged Campo de' Fiori, and since 1869 a daily vegetable and fish market has been held there, which before took place every morning in piazza Navona. The ancient fountain known as la Terrina (the "soupbowl") that once watered cattle, was resited in 1889, and replaced with a copy: This now keeps flowers fresh. Its inscription: FA DEL BEN E LASSA DIRE ("Do the good and let them talk") suits the gossipy nature of the marketplace. In the afternoons, local games of football give way to set-ups for outdoor cafes. At night, Campo de' Fiori is a meeting place for tourists and young people coming from the whole city.

Why You Should Visit:
A good place to buy fresh produce, cheeses, seasoning and pasta, and you can taste just about anything before you buy.
The market is open early and dies down around 1-2pm. At night, the market completely disappears and the entertainment begins.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museo di Roma (Rome City Museum)

10) Museo di Roma (Rome City Museum)

The Museo di Roma is situated in the Palazzo Braschi on Piazza San Pantaleo, so when you visit this museum, you will get a double treat – that of admiring the exhibitions of this civic museum and seeing the splendors of the beautiful palace that houses them. The museum displays various exhibitions about the cultural and social Roman way of life from the Middle Ages to the first half of the 20th century. The collection is detailed and offers over 100,000 objects that include ceramics, clothes, drawings, engravings, furniture paintings and photos.

You will also find pieces of architecture and murals saved from churches and other buildings, such as the medieval frescoes from the Church of S. Maria in Vincis and 3 fragments of 13th century mosaic from the apse vault of St Peter’s Basilica. There are over 2000 examples of intact pottery and fragments of a 10th century collection of pitchers with a bas-relief in brown glaze. Another fine collection of pottery clearly shows the Arabic influence in Italy in the 12th and 13th centuries. Other pottery from the 17th and 18th centuries bears the coats of arms of various popes. In another section of the museum you will find over 250 examples of 18th and 19th century clothes, and also tapestries and ceremonial cloths used in religious rites. The ground floor is devoted to carriages and sedan chairs, and here you will find the sedan chair in red morocco and gold belonging to the Braschi family. There are also over 600 items of fine furniture on display.
Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Museo Barracco (Barracco Museum)

11) Museo Barracco (Barracco Museum)

Rome is full of interesting museums and often the smaller ones are overlooked because a lot of people think they can’t be very interesting because they are small. This is a great shame because the Barracco Museum well worth visiting in spite of its size. The museum is housed in Farnesina Palace and displays an exquisite collection of over 400 ancient statues, busts and artwork from Assyria, Cypress, Egypt, Etruria, Greece, Phoenicia and Rome. The collection was amassed by Giovanni Barracco, a rich statesman, and donated to the City of Rome in 1904. Barracco was an avid collector and either bought the items you will see on display or recovered them from archaeological digs around the city.

Included in the exhibition is a bust, found in Egypt, of a Roman wearing a diadem and thought to represent Julius Caesar. You will also see Egyptian alabaster funeral urns, which once held the internal organs of the dead. Another Egyptian statue, this time discovered during excavations in Rome, is a 1st century statue of the god Bes, who protected mothers and children. There is a wonderful display of tablets of cuneiform writing dating back to 3000BC, from Mesopotamia, an original 1st century piece of mosaic using tesserae and depicting two pigeons and a 12th century mosaic from the original St Peter’s Basilica. In the Greek section of the museum, you will find funerary and votive slabs, as well as artifacts and works from Polyclitus, the great artist who lived in the 5th BC.

Operation hours: October to May: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm; June to September: Tuesday - Sunday: 1:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Piazza Navona

12) Piazza Navona (must see)

The Navona Piazza has been one of Rome’s liveliest areas for over 1900 years and is a great place to linger over a meal in one of the restaurants or stop for a coffee in one of the outdoor cafes while admiring the fine buildings and fountains around this lovely square. The square is situated on the site where in 80 AD the Stadium of Domitian once put on athletic events for the public. The church Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore was built in 1450. It was designated a public square at the end of the 15th century when the central market was moved here. In 1501 in the southwest area of the market a statue of Pasquino was set up; it was known as the “speaking” statue as people used to leave poems and rude messages around it.

Among the buildings of note are the Palazzo Braschi which houses the Museo di Roma, the church Saint’ Agnese in Agone, the Palazzo de Cupis and the Palazzo Pamphili, the family home of Pope Innocent X. In the center of the square is Gian Lorenzo’s beautiful Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the 4 Rivers), commissioned by Pope Innocent X in 1651. Four sculptured rocks of travertine rise of out the basin, supporting four river gods, representing the rivers Nile, Danube, Ganges and Plate. These rivers, in turn, represent the four continents where Catholicism was the main religion: Africa, Europe, India, and the Americas. The river gods surround an ancient Egyptian obelisk, topped with the Pamphili symbol of a dove with an olive branch. On the southern side of the square is the Fountain of Neptune; on the northern end is the Fountain of the Moor, both designed by Giacomo della Porta. Gian Lorenzo Bernini sculpted the statue of the Moor in 1673 and Antonio della Bitta added the statue of Neptune to the southern fountain in 1878.

Why You Should Visit:
A very large square (really an oval) that despite being busy and very popular, seems to still have room for everyone.

Walk off the Piazza onto one of the side streets if you're looking for more intimate and more economic refreshments.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fontana del Moro

13) Fontana del Moro

Piazza Navona boasts three fine statues, one of which, on the southern end of the square is the impressive Fontana del Moro. The original fountain was constructed by Giacomo della Porta in 1575, in Pietrasanta marble, called “holy stone” because it was also used in parts of St Peter’s Basilica. Although Della Porta allowed his students to place four tritons blowing on shells and four masks around the border of the basin, there was no centerpiece, as public fountains at that time weren’t meant to be beautified.

There is a rather amusing history surrounding the fountain: In 1652, Olympia Maidalchini lived in a house overlooking the fountain and she wasn’t happy with it, thinking it wasn’t impressive enough to stand outside her house. So she asked her brother-in-law, Pope Innocent X, to do something about it. The pope gave a small amount of money to Bernini and commissioned him to create something worthy of his rather bossy sister-in-law. Apparently, the small amount of money offended the great artist and he gave the job to one of his students, who produced three dolphins holding up a shell. If Bernini was offended by the pitiful payment, “Donna” Olympia was likewise unimpressed by the student’s efforts. She had another moan at the Pope, who dug deeper into his coffers and Bernini produced the beautiful statue of the Moor holding a dolphin. He might have overdone it a bit, because the statue was so big that the basin had to be enlarged. In 1874, during a restoration of the fountain, the original statues were moved to the Galleria Borghese and replaced with copies. In September 2011, the fountain was damaged after a vandal attacked it with a hammer. The vandal also damaged the Trevi Fountain that night.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fountain of the Four Rivers

14) Fountain of the Four Rivers (must see)

The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi or "Fountain of the Four Rivers" is a fountain in the Piazza Navona, designed in 1651 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Pope Innocent X whose family palace, the Palazzo Pamphili, faced onto the piazza as did the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone of which Innocent was the sponsor. It is a masterpiece of Gianlorenzo Bernini's, and emblematic of the dynamic and dramatic effects sought by high Baroque artists.

The base of the fountain is a basin from the centre of which travertine rocks rise to support four river gods and above them, an ancient Egyptian obelisk surmounted with the Pamphili family emblem of a dove with an olive twig. Collectively, they represent four major rivers of the four continents through which papal authority had spread: the Nile representing Africa, the Danube representing Europe, the Ganges representing Asia, and the Rio de la Plata representing the Americas. The design of each god figure has symbolic importance. The Ganges carries a long oar, representing the river's navigability. The Nile's head is draped with a loose piece of cloth, meaning that no one at that time knew exactly where the Nile's source was. The Danube touches the Papal coat of arms, since it is the large river closest to Rome. And the Rio de la Plata is sitting on a pile of coins, a symbol of the riches America could offer to Europe.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful fountain with plenty of free space around for access and photos.
The square is full of restaurants/cafes and excellent gelato places can be found.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fountain of Neptune

15) Fountain of Neptune

Most of Rome’s important fountains were dedicated to the mythological water gods and nymphs in thanks to the fresh water that arrived in the city via the aqueducts. The Fountain of Neptune on the north end of Piazza Navona is a fine example of this custom. The ancient Aqua Virgo Aqueduct was repaired in 1453 and by 1570 a large number of pipes from it carried water to various parts of the city. The number of public fountains in any area was in consequence to the size of the area’s population and Piazza Navona was a highly populated area, as its three fountains testify.

The Fountain of Neptune was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII in 1574 and constructed by Giacomo della Porta. The lower basin is made of white marble, the upper basin out of Pietrasanta marble. When it was built, the fountain had no statue as at that time only fountains in private gardens were richly adorned, while the public ones were strictly utilitarian. In the 19th century public fountains lost their importance as fresh water suppliers as interior plumbing became possible. However they remained as a sort of “status symbol” and in 1878 Antonio della Bitta and Gregorio Zappala won a competition to add statues to the fountain. Della Bitta sculpted the centerpiece of Neptune fighting with an octopus and Zappala sculpted the Nereids, cupids and walruses.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palazzo Altemps

16) Palazzo Altemps (must see)

The National Museum of Rome is housed in several buildings in the city, one of which is the Palazzo Altemps, which you will find on the Piazza Saint Apollinaire.

The palace was built on the site of an ancient marble warehouse not far from the Temple of Apollo. During the Dark Ages, the warehouse became part of the fortifications of two rival families. The construction of the palace began in 1477 and in 1511 the Cardinal di Volterra Francesco Soderini bought it and enlarged it. It was sold to Cardinal Marco Sittico Altemps in 1568 and he used it mainly to house his wonderful collection of books and sculptures.

Today in the museum you will find a collection of Ancient Roman sculptures from Ludovisi and many items from Egypt. To add to the interest of the museum, there are “before and after” photos showing where the statues had been broken and later restored.

In one room there is a wonderful fountain made of a mosaic of seashells, with the Altemps Coat of Arms, made of sand and limestone. In the Hall of Portraits there is an impressive collection of busts of Roman Emperors. In the Hall of the Tower you will see relics from the ancient buildings that stood on this site before the palace. The South Loggia has a bas-relief on one wall dating back to the 2nd century AD, depicting gods and goddesses on Mount Olympia. A room dedicated to Moses holds a fresco of scenes from the important moments in his life.

Why You Should Visit:
A quiet and relaxing place torn between Renaissance architecture and ancient sculpture.
Not-to-be-missed are the hundred-or-so busts, bas-reliefs, and frescoed loggias.
There's also a fascinating area where you can look down into the well-preserved remains of an ancient Roman house excavated on the site.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-7:45pm, closed on Mondays
Sight description based on wikipedia
National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo

17) National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo (must see)

On the right bank of the River Tiber stands the imposing Castel Sant’ Angelo, connected to the city by the Sant’ Angelo Bridge. The cylindrical building was erected in 139 AD, commissioned by Emperor Hadrian as a family mausoleum. The emperor’s ashes, as well as those of his wife and adopted son, reposed there. On top of the mausoleum were a garden and a golden quadriga (a chariot drawn by four horses side by side). Other emperors ashes were also placed there, the last being those of Emperor Caracalla in 217 AD.

In 401, the mausoleum was converted into a fortress and incorporated into the Aurelian Walls. In 410, Visigoth looters stole the urns and scattered the ashes. According to legend, in 590 an angel appeared on top of the building and miraculously stopped a plague that was decimating the people. The fortress was renamed Castel Sant’ Angelo in honor of this event. In the 14th century, it was once again converted, this time into a castle and a prison. Pope Nicholas III had the castle connected to St Peter’s Basilica by a fortified passageway. Pope Clement VII hid here during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Today it is the National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo. The statue on the roof represents the angel from the legend.

Why You Should Visit:
An interesting combination of war times, art, religion, and pure history.
The bridge leading to it has beautiful statues, as well.

Climb up all the way to the top for spectacular panoramic views of Rome and Vatican City.
You may bring water and snacks to the castle, or have a snack/espresso at the cafe upstairs.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-7:30pm; closed on Mondays
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rome is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Holy Sites Walking Tour

Holy Sites Walking Tour

Being the cradle of the Catholic Church, one of the world's biggest religions, Rome has a large number of valuable, sacred places of worship. Crowded with architectural splendors from different periods of time, each church and basilica represents a significant part of Rome's culture and history. Take the following tour to discover Rome's magnificent religious heritage.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 km
"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" (1953) is a movie, filmed entirely in Rome and beloved by generations of people. Starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, the film won three Oscars, giving Hepburn a boost to her glorious film career. The main storyline centers around a day of freedom in the beautiful Italian capital for an otherwise duty-bound Princess Ann. Take the following tour to live the happiest day of her life in Rome!

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.9 km
City Orientation Walk I

City Orientation Walk I

Rome's glory didn't end with the fall of the Roman empire, it continued as a melting point of culture and creativity for centuries. Today, the city is a fabulous architectural patchwork, a living masterpiece, and a true tribute to its history. The say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and that undoubtedly implies appreciating the enormous historical and architectural richness of the city, often – and rightly so – referred to as “eternal”. Stretching from Colosseum to Trevi Fountain, this walk invites you to explore the most notable attractions of the Italian capital, including the Arch of Constantine, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill and more.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Sightseeing Walking Tour in EUR

Sightseeing Walking Tour in EUR

Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR) is a suburban area in Rome established in 1942, it was designed to host an exhibition which didn't take place due to World War II. EUR is popular for the period architecture of Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. The area also contains some very important landmarks of history and culture, including Museo della Civiltà Romana, Pigorini Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico and Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Monti and Celio Walking Tour

Monti and Celio Walking Tour

To stay close to the action in Rome but be able to mingle more with the locals, look no further than the districts of Monti and Celio. Although Monti – the city's oldest district – doesn't boast grand monuments, it more than makes up for that with its lively, friendly atmosphere. Sitting on the fountain steps at Piazza Madonna ai Monti and watching the world go by is as rewarding as any visit to the Colosseum or Palatine Hill. Neatly enough, you'll find both of these in the neighboring Celio. There's much more, however, than impressive archaeology that you can discover by taking this tour.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 km
Souvenir Shopping Tour

Souvenir Shopping Tour

It would be a pity to leave Rome without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Rome, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.5 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Souvenirs Shopping: 15 Authentic Italian Things To Buy in Rome

Souvenirs Shopping: 15 Authentic Italian Things To Buy in Rome

Rome is the Eternal City and, as such, the list of gift options available here is countless. Whether it's something edible, drinkable, wearable or pleasing to the eye that you want - you will find it all here in abundance. However, if time or budget is the factor, perhaps you might want to...
10 Best Food Markets in Rome Italy

10 Best Food Markets in Rome Italy

Of all the things Italy is most famous for (cars, music, fashion, movies, etc.), food is, undoubtedly, top of the list. Rome may well not be the whole Italy, but no Italy is whole without Rome... And the Romans, much as all their fellow-Italians, like it "fresco", hence the abundance of...
17 Best Gelaterias in Rome Italy

17 Best Gelaterias in Rome Italy

For ice cream lovers and dabblers this guide is a treasure chest of Rome’s best gelato shops. There are gelaterias everywhere. Many visitors to Rome only have a few days to explore the city. You owe it to yourself to make the most of your time and find the gelato locals eat. Often the authentic...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Rome for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Rome has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Rome's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Rome Tourist Card, OMNIA Card, Best of Rome Sightseeing Pass, or Omnia Vatican and Rome Pass.

A city pass combines all of or multiple Rome and Vatican City's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time. Some of them you don't even have to pick up but can scan straight on your phone at any of the city's major attractions/museums!

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Rome hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Corso 281 Luxury Suites, Hotel Cosmopolita, Hotel Piazza Venezia.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Rome, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Rome typically costs from around US$20 up to US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Rome and the Vatican City from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the route.

- Cruise along the river Tiber on a similar hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat to view Rome's top attractions from a different angle and be able to get on and off as often as you want at any of the stops along the Tiber riverbanks. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs) and may be upgraded to include a hop-on hop-off bus tour as well.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 3 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Rome on a 3-hour bike and food tour to visit the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the Eternal City from an informative group leader, plus savor some of the iconic food of the Italian capital.

- Come see all of Roman highlights at a great discount on the Rome Super Saver tour combining two best-selling guided tours for the price of one! Be guaranteed to skip the lines to all the major sights like Colosseum, Roman Forum, and more.

- Take a guided walk to explore Rome's renaissance after the demise of the Roman Empire, learn about the contribution of many popes towards the Eternal City's rise to its present glory. Along with viewing the iconic landmarks, on this tour you will also get a chance to taste Rome's famous gelato (ice-cream).

- Step back in time to the days of the Roman Empire on a 3-hour night tour of Rome to discover the city's top attractions in a different light. Experience Rome's nighttime ambiance amid the twilight and the evening lights adding a romantic touch to the famous sights.

- Explore the artistic trail of Caravaggio in the Italian capital on the Caravaggio walking tour of Rome paying tribute to the great artist's legacy manifested in numerous paintings throughout the city (churches and monuments). Ideal for those on a short visit to Rome and not sure where to start!

- Combine sightseeing with cooking on a 4-hour experience incorporating the “best of Rome” walking tour and the authentic pizza-making class led by a professional Italian pizza chef.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Rome, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like the chic island of Capri, ancient Ostia, Siena and San Gimignano, Assisi and Spoleto, Amalfi сoast, or the ancient city of Pompeii. For as little as US$70+ to US$170+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including gorgeous coastal scenery, historic seaport, charming medieval structures, birthplace of St. Francis, founder of the Franciscan religious order, ancient Roman ruins, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Rome, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned bus, boat or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.