First time in Rome? Marijana Milićević takes you on tour for the perfect weekend in the eternal city.
The eternal city is always an unforgettable experience for everyone who visits it. As all roads lead to Rome, a weekend off, a map and a good bicycle can help you to move the very first steps in the city of countless surprises. These allow you to enjoy the tour in complete freedom, in order to get to know the local culture and the true soul of the people, but also the must-see monuments and points of interest. Indeed, riding on these ancient streets full of history, while the scent of pizzas and good wine drifts in your direction, can be an indescribable experience. This will make your mind become richer, thanks to the amazing sights and the interesting conversations carried out with the always charismatic Italians. And your heart will make you feel lucky, due to all the beauty that you have felt, seen and heard, starting from the incredible ancient city.
Basilica di San Pietro
The most lavish and largest church in the world is on the soil of the smallest country, the Vatican. The construction of today’s basilica began in 1506, during the reign of Pope Julius II, and ended in 1626, during the papacy of Urban VIII. At first sight, it is truly impossible to remain indifferent to the architecture and the impression that this magnificent church leaves, also for its size. For art lovers, this holy place of Christianity is a true paradise. Here, some of the most talented and famous artists of the Renaissance were weaned, as evidenced by the architectural and painting works of the likes of Michelangelo, Bernini, Bramante and Raffaello. The basilica is dedicated to Saint Peter, the first among the Apostles, but also first Pope and head of the Church.
Michelangelo’s Pieta – The Pieta is the first glorious work by Michelangelo Buonaroti, one of the greatest artists of the high Renaissance. The Pieta sculpture presents the scene of the mourning of Jesus Christ’s death, with the young Virgin Mary who sits with the dead son in her lap. The cradled body of Jesus Christ lies over the Virgin’s knees covered with a large robe, while her outstretched left hand accompanies this position. The drapery physically unites the Virgin and Jesus into one whole, emphasizing symbolically their spiritual connection.
This is the right place for ancient history lovers. The Vatican Museums are one of the richest museums in the world. However, for those who like to explore, there is no lack of great secrets and mysteries. Suffice it to say that the whole Vatican collection is housed in nine different museums. These artefacts have been collected by the Popes over the last five hundred years. Galleries and corridors are full of Greek and Roman ancient figures, many of which are completely naked.
Pope Julius II is one of the Popes who contributed more to the enrichment of the Vatican Museums. Given the fact that many painters could not find their place in the sky at home, they decided to accept the invitation of the then His Holiness to create in the Vatican. Today, at the entrance of the museums, we can see several paintings they left in heritage. The most famous attractions of the museum are Raphael’s Rooms and The Last Judgment by Michelangelo, in the Sistine Chapel.
Castel Sant’Angelo is the last building of day, and it also dates back to ancient times. Anyone who decides to visit this castle will be fascinated by the view from its last level, from where Rome shines in all its glory. This impressive structure was built by the Roman Emperor Publius Aelius Hadrianus Augustus, known as Emperor Hadrian, between 123 and 139 AD. This castle served as his eternal resting place, where the remains of his wife and his two sons were also laid. The building was a tomb until Emperor Aurelius placed it in the city’s defense system, because of the height and strategic position of the castle.
According to the legend, in 509 a plague spreaded in Rome. At the same time, Pope Gregory I had the vision to lead the procession towards the mausoleum. When the procession reached the mausoleum, the Pope had another vision in which the Archangel Michael appeared atop the castle, sheating his sword. Pope Gregory interpreted this as a sign of the end of the plague. Since that day, the building was named after the angel, Castle Sant Angelo, and the statue of the Archangel Michael was placed on top of the castle. Therefore, the castle gradually moved under the papal administration. After the unification of Italy, it was used as a fortress, to finally become a museum in the following years. Nowadays, it contains amazing collections of weapons, sculptures and paintings.
At the end of this first day, you can take a rest in the nice hotels located near the castle and all the other important historical sites of the ancient city.