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She never hides her years, but still wears them well: after all, Rome is the Eternal City

A walk through the streets of Rome is a stroll through History with a capital H. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, it offers and almost demands endless new discoveries, thanks to the enormity of its artistic heritage. As a matter of fact, it is home to two capitals in one city: the Italian capital and the home of the Pope in the Vatican, a place of universal pilgrimage to St Peter's Square.

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Art & Culture


The largest temple in Rome The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved Roman monuments in the world. It was built in 27 BC at the behest of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. Between 112 and 125 A.D., Hadrian had it rebuilt, enlarging it, reversing its orientation and opening a large porticoed square in front of the new temple. Its dome, with its 43.44 m internal diameter, is still the widest hemispherical dome ever built in unreinforced concrete, larger than that of St. Peter’s. What is most surprising about the architecture of the Pantheon is its size: the height of the building is equal to the diameter of the dome, just over 43 meters, a feature that reflects the classic canons of rational Roman architecture. The inner part of the dome is decorated with five rows of 28 coffers that narrow upwards. An 8.95-meter-diameter oculus opens in the center, allowing natural light to penetrate and illuminate the entire building. In case of rain, the water enters the Pantheon and disappears into the 22 near-invisible holes in the floor. The oculus creates a spectacular astronomical effect whereby every 21 April at midday, a beam of light enters the Pantheon at such an angle as to perfectly hit the center of the entrance. At that exact hour, the Emperor Hadrian crossed the threshold of the temple so that the people could admire his whole figure surrounded by light, like a god. Having fallen into a state of abandonment and looted, the Pantheon was saved from the Barbarian incursions by Byzantine emperor Foca who donated it to Pope Boniface IV. It was consecrated in 609 to Santa Maria dei Martiri and unknown Christian martyrs were buried in its basement. Later it became a burial place. Raphael and the Kings of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy were laid to rest here. On the day of Pentecost, every year, a shower of rose petals descends from the oculus inside the Pantheon at the conclusion of the celebration of Corpus Christi.

Aqueduct Park

The Aqueduct Park on the Appian Way the place that holds the imposing arches of the water pipes built by the ancient Romans that have made the Roman landscape unique. Six of the 11 aqueducts that supplied Rome flowed into this area between the neighbourhoods of Cinecittà and Quarto Miglio, which today can be visited on foot or by bicycle on one of the city's most spectacular green slopes, dominated by the crowns of maritime pines. 6 Roman aqueducts and one Renaissance aqueduct Grand Tour travellers, Romantic painters, archaeologists, lovers of Roman ruins and civil engineering: they all appreciated and loved this strip of Roman countryside to the south-east of the city, which preserves the remains of six Roman aqueducts, as well as one Renaissance aqueduct, with their imposing geometric arches interrupted by the roundness of the canopies of maritime pines. The Aqueduct Park was included in the Appian Way Park in 1988 to protect a landscape of great historical and architectural value. We owe it to the initiative of a civic committee if today we can walk among such beauty, in an area rescued from degradation and for the purpose of constructing speculation. Anio Vetus, the oldest From 312 BC and for several centuries, Rome's springs were supplied with clean and safe water through the construction of imposing pipelines that brought into the city water drawn from the Latium mountains. The water of the Tiber was not adequate to respond to the needs of an increasingly populated city: hence the need to supply further afield, met thanks to these impressive hydraulic engineering works that characterised the history of the Roman Empire. The remains of the aqueducts that flow into the area are those of Anio Vetus (underground, it is the oldest and has a length of 64 km), Aqua Marcia, Tepula, Julia, Claudio and Anio Novus, which partly overlap, and Felice, built by Pope Sixtus V between 1585 and 1590 to supply some Roman neighbourhoods that had run dry due to the decay of the older aqueducts during the Middle Ages; the latter is still used to irrigate the countryside. The water of the aqueducts mostly flowed underground, but when it had to cross a valley, the pipes had to be supported by masonry arches. Picnics, drinking fountains and bicycles The vast 240-hectare area of the Aqueducts Park is closed to traffic and criss-crossed by various paths that can be walked or cycled every day. In the area there are picnic areas (but barbecuing is prohibited), drinking fountains, a bicycle rental service (open on Sundays), as well as a few bars and restaurants. The park can also be reached from the centre of Rome by metro, from Porta Furba stop, where there is an information point, and at the following stops, up to Cinecittà. In Rome, do as the Romans do, who go there at sunset, when the grazing light illuminates the arches with a magical glow.

The irresistible allure of the Eternal City

The beauty of Rome and its 3,000 years of existence is that it always knows how to surprise, including with unusual places to explore, such as the Coppedé Quarter, the Orange Garden or the Jewish Ghetto, some of the oldest in the world. To be immersed in the Roman way of life, you of course also have to sample the typical cuisine of the capital, and it never disappoints; after all, humble but delicious dishes such as cacio e pepe, carbonara, and gricia were born here.

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