These are only some of the sites and attractions that we shall reach during our tour.
The Coliseum, or Amphitheatre of Flavius, takes its name from a bronze state of another emperor once found not far away: the Colossus of Nero. Construction began under the Emperor Vespasian, using materials pillaged from the sack of Jerusalem in 72 AD. The third and fourth levels of seats were added in 80 AD by Titus, who opened the arena itself with 100 days of games. Stories of the Coliseum revolve around the gladiators, many of whom were slaves driven to fight by the promise of winning their freedom. Today, visitors can enter two levels of the Coliseum, and much of the original structure is still visible.
The Via dei Fori Imperiali boulevard takes its name from the adjacent forums of Caesar, Augustus, Nerva and Trajan, built to honour Roman emperors, but also to expanded the older Roman Forum and give the city a grandiose political, administrative, judicial and monumental complex.
The Circus Maximus is Rome’s oldest and largest stadium. Portions of the structure were built in stone under Caesar in 46 AD, but it is believed that the Circus Maximus was already being used at the time of the Tarquin kings. The stadium was designed for various types of sports and athletic competitions, but it became best known for the chariot races that were often held from early morning until dusk, as many as a hundred a day. At full capacity, the Circus Maximus could hold 250,000 people, or up to 300,000 including standing room. Recent digs have brought to light artefacts that make it possible to better reconstruct the ancient appearance of the Circus, which included any number of small shops, peddlers stands and taverns in the area around the race course. Today, little is left of the stadium, and the grounds are used as a public park.
The Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most renowned plazas, is considered a superb example of the Baroque style, offering masterpieces by architects such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and Pietro da Cortona. A well known legend tells of how the piazza provides evidence of the rivalry between Bernini and Borromini: one of the statutes in Bernini’s Fountain of the Rivers has its eyes closed, as if it did not want to look at the façade of the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, designed by Borromini. In the evening, Piazza Navona turns into the stage on which Roman nightlife is played out, with its restaurants, street artists, wine bars and exclusive cocktail clubs waiting to treat you to an entertaining evening in one of the most popular neighbourhoods of the Rome-by-night scene! In wintertime, for Christmas and Epiphany, Piazza Navona is filled with lights, outdoor vendors and games for children.
The lengthy flights of the Spanish Steps, appears to rest themselves on the hillside in an ongoing series of outcroppings and indentations, express the monumental dimension typical of eighteenth century Roman architecture, a trait shared with the Fountain of Trevi.
Having undergone numerous maintenance operations over time, the steps were fully restored during a major project carried out in 1995.
Starting from October 2015, they were once again subject to restoration work, reopening on 22 September 2016, following completion of the effort