Relax at a hotel close to Rome Ciampino Airport after a day of touring around the great citry of Rome.
Roman ForumDistance From Rome Ciampino Airport: 15.3km
Largo Romolo e Remo, Rome (Italy), 00186
We approached the Forum by detouring off the Via Nazionale, walking past the Torre delle Milizie. It was rumoured that it was from here that Nero had “watched Rome burn,” but this red brick tower wasn’t built until the 1400s, so that was the first myth disposed of. Then, round the corner, we saw the beginnings of an absolutely superb structure. The Trajan market, built in the 2nd century AD, was perhaps the first shopping centre ever constructed, and maybe you can imagine the chariots lined up in the car park. I wonder if no-parking zones existed in those days? From the front, you’ll be able to wonder at its full glory. Go back to the top, and you can explore the main hall and view some of the reconstructed shops.
Onto the Basilica of Constantine and Maxientius, which had been the largest building in the Forum and is still an impressive building to this day. It was used as a business centre for the administration of local justice, and its dimensions were 330 x 215 feet, and over 120 feet high. Apparently, the original gilded tiles of this building were used to cover the roof of the old St Peter’s. Standing at the foot of the remaining arches, you can feel what an impressive building this would have been.
Fontana di TreviDistance From Rome Ciampino Airport: 16.5km
Piazza di Trevi, Rome, 00187
Tradition has it that throwing a coin over your left shoulder into the fountain guarantees a swift return to the world’s most beautiful city. Anita Ekberg’s dip in it was immortalized in Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’, and Italian actor Toto even sold it to an American, passing himself off as its owner. Earlier it was the setting for the award-winning ‘Three Coins in the Fountain’ motion picture, ensuring its popularity worldwide. Designed by Nicola Salvi for Pope Clemente XII, it was completed in the second half of the 1700s. The statues in the centre represent Neptune supported by Tritons on either side while rococo-style Poli Palace provides the perfect backdrop.
PantheonDistance From Rome Ciampino Airport: 17.7km
Commissioned by Marcus Agrippa, restored by Domitian, and subsequently rebuilt by Hadrian (who added the dome) before being turned into a church in the early 7th century by Pope Boniface IV. The building’s sole source of light is the opening at the dome’s apex (the oculus); according to popular legend, this formed the base for the bronze pinecone that is now in the Vatican’s ‘Pigna’ courtyard, where it is used as a fountain. Many famous Italians are buried in the Pantheon, including Renaissance painter Raphael and King Vittorio Emanuele I.
Basilica di San PietroDistance From Rome Ciampino Airport: 33.4km
Metro stop: Ottaviano or take bus 40, Rome (Italy)
As with all the old Roman buildings, there was an old St. Peter’s (completed around AC 349) before the current one was built over it. It was built on top of clay soil that didn’t drain well, so the hilltop was quite soggy. Because of this, the old basilica developed structural damage over a few hundred years and had to be rebuilt (starting in about 1506 and taking over 100 years to finish).
The present St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most important and beautiful churches in Rome. It is over 25,616 square meters in area and has 44 altars, 11 domes, 778 columns, 395 statues and 135 mosaic pictures. For the architecture buffs, its dome was designed by Bramante and Michelangelo. The columnade was built by Bernini and the obelisk in the centre of the square was erected by Sixtus V.
St. Peter’s is actually in Vatican City–a separate enclave within Rome which is governed both spiritually and politically by the Pope. It is surrounded by a wall built to protect the Tomb of St. Peter and also encloses the Papal Palace and beautiful gardens.
Ostia AnticaDistance From Rome Ciampino Airport: 27.5km
Via dei Romagnoli, 717, Rome, 00122
For at least 600 years this was a busy port, but the area declined suddenly following a reduction in commerce, and the onset of malaria. Covered by sand and mud that accumulated over the centuries, it was perfectly preserved and has therefore survived intact. The Baths of Cisiarii and the Baths of Neptune can be seen, with their lovely black and white mosaic floors. The theatre has been restored, a series of large masks having been set on to blocks of rock that originally adorned the building. Leaving the main street, you reach the areas where the inhabitants used to live, the style of the homes differing according to whether the residents were workers, or traders and shippers. Workmen and sailors lived in ‘insule’, like present day blocks of flats, while the richer classes had fine homes decorated with colourful mosaics and statues. The remains that have been discovered are exhibited in the museum nearby, which also displays bas-reliefs and objects connected to the cult of Mithra, very popular in Imperial Rome. Admission: EUR 5
Piazza NavonaDistance From Rome Ciampino Airport: 17.8km
Piazza Navona, Rome, 00186
During the Christmas season this square is packed with stalls selling toys, sweets and decorations for the Nativity scene or Christmas tree, making it a favourite spot for children. Its unusual shape recalls the time of Domitian, who built a stadium for equestrian displays here. The Fountain of the Rivers, with the obelisk, and the Fountain of the Moor, with the god of the sea, at the centre of the square, are both by Bernini.