spend less in rome

Appian Way (Appia Antica)

Appia AnticaThe Romans wanted to defeat every enemy that stood on their path hindering the empire’s growth and roads were built to achieve the end. Roads played significant role in moving armies, supplies, reinforcement, trade, power and wealth.

Appian way, which connects Rome to south Italy, was one of the main roads Romans desperately needed.

Appius Claudius, Roman censor, constructed dirt road with stones and mortar stretching from Rome to Capua for 200km. Part of the road was started and finished in 312 BC. The Appian to date has the longest straight road in Europe (64 km).

To mention few of the important historical events that happened on this road:

In the 71 BC, 6000 slaves were slain by the Romans after their revolt ended in defeat at the hands of the Roman Army. In the WWII, Allied Forces landed at Nettuno to capture Rome penetrating through Appian way but the Germans resisted until their defeat in 1944. And Abebe Bekila won 1960 summer olympics, that passed through this way.

Long kilometers of the Appian way are now open to the public for walking, jogging, bicycling etc.

The following monuments are found along the Appian way: Baths of Caracalla (at the start), catacomb of San Callisto and a small church (chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis) on Via Ardeatina a street that branches off Appian Way.




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Villa D’Este Tivoli

Villa D'Este TivoliPopes or their families were involved in making expensive and impressive villas, arts or monuments for power and family prestige, now these structures account to a great deal of income.

Villa D’Este is no different story, in-fact this is byproduct of Roman Catholic priests’ luxurious and competitive life style.

Pope Julius III elevated Cardinal Ippolito II D’Este, grandson of Pope Alexander VI, to governor of Tivoli (north east of Rome) in 1550.

As a result of his new assignment, the cardinal was given an old monastery. Not satisfied with the new office, Ippolito, called famous architects, engineers and painters of that time to change an unknown monastery to ‘gardening and water-play model’ across Europe.

In the process, Villa Adriana marbles and statues were dismantled by the orders of the cardinal to making his own villa better.

The late-Renaissance villa stayed on D’Este family until the 18th C. when Maria Beatrice (daughter of Ercole II D’Este) married Duke Ferdinand of Habsburg, and automatically the villa became a Habsburg property.

As other Roman villas fate, the D’Este fell in disrepair and was neglected till the Italian State bought and restored it after the end of first world war. It is now open to the public

Villa D’Este became UNESCO world Heritage Site in 2001.




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Villa Adriana Tivoli

villa AdrianaVilla Adriana, a UNESCO Heritage Site since 1999, continues to marvel generations that come to pass 20 centuries after it was built. On return from Egypt & Greece, Emperor Hadrian decided to make a retreat villa (from the chaotic city of Rome) similar to the architecture and worship that he learnt in the eastern section of his empire.

At the end of his reign, Hadrian had his quarters in this impressive villa of 1 sq km. There were various edifices including theatres, Greek and Latin libraries, two bathhouses, formal gardens with fountains, statues, pools, underground for servants, extensive housing for guests and the palace staff.

Today, the villa located 25 km north east of Rome, is nothing but ruins of what was once the glamour of its time.

Little remains of the original villa, because materials were reused to make Villa D’Este in the area, looted by barbarians or civilians and neglected for centuries. Though,16th century excavations brought to life parts of the villa, still large section remains unearthed.

The various sections of the complex recovered in part are: Hall of Doric Pillars (basilica), Temple of Venus, Greek Theatre, Maritime Theatre (Hadrian’s small favorite island), Hall of Philosophers (library), Heliocaminus (baths), Nymphaeum Stadium, Poecile (large garden with swimming pool), Canopus (god Serapis sanctuary with 119 m long canal decorated with statues), Large and Small Thermae (hot & cold baths) and Piazza d’Oro (formal dinning room).



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Trinità Dei Monti (Spanish Steps)

imagesThe Trinità Dei Monti (French church) with the beautiful Scalinata (staircase) beneath it, is a magnificent Roman Baroque style. The design of the staircase opens like a receptacle round the church’s square.

Ideas and efforts to give Trinità Dei Monti a better look by changing the ragged slope below, started in the1580s and continued for almost 140 years.

Initially a French diplomat, Etienne Gueffier, financed the works of Scalinata. Innocent XII finalized the unfinished job under Francesco De Sanctis and Alessandro Spechi (1723-25).

The Scalinata is also called Spanish steps -after a Spanish ambassador living in the area. It has 138 stairs and is the widest of its kind in Europe.

The Barcaccia Fountain, is another attraction at the foot of the Scalinata. Pietro and his son Gian Lorenzo Bernini made this sinking boat (1627-29) to overcome a technical problem due to low water pressure. The boat was meant to be in memory of Tiber river victims in 1598 and the legend is a fisher’s boat was carried by the flood to the exact site, where the Barcaccia Fountain now sits.

This particular site is provided by a metro stop beneath, a parking lot behind and Rome’s expensive shopping street infront.



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Rome: 2013 Marathon

wmRome Marathon will start March 17, 2013.  Start-finish line is Via dei Fori Imperiali, Colosseum area. The 42,195km unleashing run is as usual accompanied by La Stracittadina Roma Fun run (4,7km). This smaller non-competitive run is open to every one with out  age limit.

Marathon Village 14-15-16 March 2013
Time: 10:00 – 20:00
Piazza J.F.Kennedy, 1 Rome

Short History

In 490 BC, Thersipus of Erchius run from Marathon to Athens; to announce Persians had been defeated. The messenger, run all the way to Athens non-stop, said “We have won!” and collapsed on the ground.

This is the legend, the modern marathon competition claims origins.

In Greece, Messengers like Thersipus, were important in conveying messages and thus were raised with great enthusiasm, care and training.

The first official marathon race was conducted in 1896 Athens Olympics. French philosopher,  Micheal Breal is believed to have influenced his friend Pierre de Coubertin (one of the main contributors to modern Olympic competitions) to include marathon in the olympics.

Today, marathon has the largest number of participants as per race, ten of thousands in a single competition.

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Villa Borghese

vb1The flourishing of Piazza del Popolo beneath the Pincian Hill attracted an investor born with silver spoon in the mouth, a Roman Catholic cardinal and nephew of Pope Paul V. In 1605, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, patron of Bernini, started building a villa comprising a number of buildings, fountains, gardens and museums. In the 19th C much of the old garden was remade with English style landscape. Four centuries later his desire paid off. Today, Villa Borghese is one of the main tourist attractions in Rome.

Villa Borghese is a perfect refuge for tourists and locals alike in its splendid gardens, fountains, villas and museums. It is a large public park with great museum, the Borghese Galleria. It hosts artworks by Bernini, Caravagio, Raphael, Titian, Canova etc. The museum lost almost 700 artworks after one of the villa’s heirs sold them on pressure to Napoleon, now the masterpieces are in exhibition in Louvre. In 1903 the commune of Rome bought the Villa and started opening to public thereof.

To the south the Villa is surrounded by Pincian Hill , Piazza del Popolo gate to its south western entrance, Borghese Museum on its eastern section and Bioparco Zoo to the north east. The villa hosted 1960 Summer Olympics horse jumping, equestrian event and individual jumping in Piazza Siena with in its premises.

The museum allows limited number of visitors, 360 every two hours. Thus booking either by telephone or online is always advisable at least one day prior to visit.

For more info contact: www.galleriaborghese.it



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Catacombs in Rome

Inside A Catacomb

Catacombs are believed to have been used as burial chambers, worship area and refuge by persecuted Christians/Jews starting from the second century A.D. Jewish catacombs, discovered in 1918, make part of the belowground graves enriched by frescoes.

The Catacombs in Rome cover many kilometers and some are four storeys below ground zero. They contain slots carved into walls, carvings, passageways, worship halls and/or frescoes. Paintings found in this below ground complex narrate biblical stories of both old and new testaments or simply religious symbols.

Catacombs of Domitilla, for example, spread over 15 kilometers of underground caves and are Rome’s oldest underground burial complex still containing bones.

Some of the catacombs in Rome are: Marcellinus and Peter, Commodilla, Generosa, Praetextatus, Priscilla, San Callisto, San Lorenzo, San Pancrazio, San Sebastiano, San Valentino, Sant’Agnese, Jewish and so on.

To visit the San Callisto, the most famous of all catacombs, take bus 218 from San Giovanni Metro A.

For the Jewish Catacomb, get off at Metro B Policlinico and walk to Villa Torlonia.

For more detailed info about catacombs or elsewhere in Rome please stay in Hotel Des Artistes and you will enjoy complete instructions at reception.


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