Unveiling the Mysteries: 5 Vatican Secrets

The Vatican, a city-state nestled within the heart of Rome, holds an air of enigmatic allure that has captivated the world for centuries. As the epicenter of the Roman Catholic Church, it carries a profound historical, cultural, and spiritual significance. Beyond its religious prominence, the Vatican also holds a veil of secrecy that has given rise to numerous speculations and myths. In this exploration, we delve into the intriguing world of the Vatican and unveil five secrets that have intrigued, perplexed, and fascinated both believers and non-believers alike.

1. The Vatican Archives: A Treasure Trove of Knowledge

Nestled deep within the Vatican walls lies one of the most enigmatic institutions in the world: the Vatican Archives. While its existence has been widely acknowledged, the contents within have been shrouded in secrecy, prompting a multitude of speculations. Some whisper that the archives hold hidden historical documents that could reshape our understanding of pivotal moments in history. From the trial of Galileo Galilei to correspondence between world leaders during tumultuous times, the Vatican Archives have sparked curiosity. However, only a select few have been granted access, leaving the contents largely veiled in mystery.

2. The Swiss Guard: Protectors of a Different Era

The Vatican Swiss Guard stands as one of the oldest and smallest military units in the world, dating back to the early 16th century. Beyond their ceremonial uniforms and the picturesque role they play during Vatican events, the Swiss Guard holds a vital role in the security of the Vatican. Their duties involve safeguarding the Pope, securing key entrances, and providing an additional layer of defense. But within their history lies a secret: their remarkable training regime that harkens back to a different era. Meticulously honed skills in combat, marksmanship, and strategy are passed down through generations, ensuring that these modern guardians are prepared for any situation that may arise.

3. The Apostolic Palace: Where History and Majesty Converge

The Apostolic Palace, commonly known as the Papal Palace, is a place where history, religion, and artistry converge. While the public is granted access to a limited portion of this grand residence, many hidden chambers remain concealed from view. One of the most mysterious parts of the palace is the “Room of Tears,” a space where newly elected Popes retire to don their papal vestments and have a moment of private reflection before their introduction to the world. These intimate moments are a testament to the human aspect of the Papacy, often overshadowed by its spiritual and political dimensions.

4. St. Peter’s Basilica: Where Architecture Hides Symbolism

St. Peter’s Basilica, a breathtaking architectural marvel, holds secrets that go beyond its stunning façade. Designed by renowned artists and architects such as Michelangelo and Bernini, the basilica is a masterpiece of art and spirituality. But beneath the surface lies a rich tapestry of symbolism. The colossal dome, for example, represents the celestial realm connecting Earth to Heaven, while the keys held by St. Peter’s statue symbolize the authority entrusted to him by Jesus. Each intricate detail carries layers of meaning, inviting visitors to explore not only the physical space but also the spiritual significance ingrained within its design.

5. The Vatican’s Financial Opacity: A Shrouded Economy

Behind the spiritual and cultural splendor, the Vatican’s financial operations have often been regarded as one of its most intriguing secrets. As a city-state with its own economy and financial institutions, the Vatican’s fiscal operations have faced both scrutiny and speculation. The lack of transparency surrounding its finances has led to questions about its wealth, investment practices, and potential involvement in various financial dealings. While efforts have been made to enhance transparency and comply with international standards, the Vatican’s financial opacity continues to cast a veil of mystery over its economic operations.

In conclusion, the Vatican stands as a place of profound historical significance, spirituality, and enigmatic allure. As we’ve explored, the secrets held within its walls span a range of topics, from hidden historical documents to the intricate symbolism woven into its architecture. While some secrets may never be fully unveiled, the allure of the Vatican’s mysteries continues to captivate the imagination and intrigue of people around the world. Whether one is a devout believer or an intrigued observer, the Vatican’s secrets offer a glimpse into a world where history, faith, and mystery intertwine. Enjoy our guides to discover more with our Vatican Tours and Tickets

By |August 21st, 2023|Senza categoria|0 Comments

Vatican Museums – The Raphael Rooms

The Vatican Museums are one of the world’s largest museums featuring works of art, sculptures, and other precious masterpieces collected by different Popes and the Catholic Church over the centuries. It is estimated that there are in the region of over 70,000 pieces of art in total, with 20,000 being displayed within the museums.

It was Pope Julius II who founded the Vatican Museums in the 16th Century. With so many exhibitions and artworks to feature, this is the first in a series of blogs focusing on some of the highlights of the Vatican Museums.

Overview of the Raphael Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello)

The Raphael Rooms form part of the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace and were once the official residence of Julius II della Rovere.

It was Julius II who commissioned the leading Italian High Renaissance artist, Raphael, to decorate the four rooms. Together with his students, between 1508 and 1524, they created the incredible frescoes that we still admire today.

The four rooms are: the Hall of Constantine (Sala di Costantino), the Room of Heliodorus (Stanza di Eliodoro), the Room of the Signature (Stanza della Signature) and the Room of the Fire in the Borgo (Stanza dell’Incendio del Borgo).

The Hall of Constantine

This is the largest room and was named after Constantine, the first Roman Emperor (306-337 A.D.). The Hall of Constantine hosted receptions and important ceremonies. Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to recognize the Christian faith. As Raphael died before the frescoes were finalized, his assistants completed the decoration, painting the frescoes in 1517 based on Raphael’s designs.

The designs are said to represent four significant times in Constantine’s life. They are the Vision of the Cross, the Battle of Constantine against Maxentius, the Donation of Rome to Pope Sylvester, and the Baptism of Constantine.

Room of Heliodorus

Decorated between 1511 and 1514, the Room of Heliodorus was intended for the Pope’s audience. The designs in this room document various historical events, from the Old Testament to medieval history. The four paintings in this room are the Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, the Mass at Bolsena, the Meeting of Pope Leo I and Attila, and the Deliverance of Saint Peter from Prison.

Room of the Signatura

This room was the private office and study of Pope Julius II (pontiff from 1503 to 1513). Raphael’s frescoes adorn the walls and were painted between 1508 and 1511. This era was the start of the High Renaissance. The themes of the pope’s library collection are depicted in the designs with a focus on theology, jurisprudence, philosophy, and the poetic arts. It was in this room that the most important papal documents were signed and sealed.

The Fire in the Borgo

When Pope Julius II died, only two of the rooms had been painted, so his successor Pope Leo X (pontiff between 1513-1521) continued with the plan of work, which was completed between 1514 and 1517. This was the music room for the Pope. The designs represent events from the lives of Pope Leo III and IV, with paintings depicting the Coronation of Charlemagne, the Oath of Leo III, The Fire in the Borgo, and the Battle of Ostia. The Fire in the Borgo portrays the fire in 847 in the Borgo in Rome.

There is so much to know about these famous frescoes and the history of these rooms. The best way to find out is to book an Enjoy Rome small group tour and let one of our expert Vatican guides explain each fresco and its significance.

Our guides have an incredible knowledge about the Vatican and the different exhibitions. To find out more about our Vatican tours and tickets and to book, check out our website for full details

By |August 18th, 2023|Best places in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments

Five Fascinating Facts about the Colosseum

One of the most iconic ancient Roman buildings, the Colosseum, is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, the historical Colosseum is a monumental architectural feat.

Here are five facts about the Colosseum, which make it one of the most popular destinations in Italy.

1. A Guinness World Record as the Largest Amphitheatre

The Colosseum holds a Guinness World Record as the largest amphitheater. At 189 meters long and 156 meters wide, it has a base area of 24,000 square meters.

The ruins that remain today are about a third of the original construction. Earthquakes, fire, and general neglect resulted in the Colosseum being left in ruin. Over the years, parts of the Colosseum were taken to be used in the construction of other Roman buildings. Saint Peter’s Basilica being one of the other important Roman structures that benefited.

2. The Colosseum is a Unique Freestanding Structure

The Colosseum was built with concrete, sand, travertine limestone, and tuff (volcanic rock). Construction started in 72 A.D. by Emperor Vespasian. His son Emperor Titus completed it in 80 A.D. whilst his brother, Emperor Domitian, completed the last stages and the underground tunnels.
The Colosseum design is unique as many of the earlier amphitheaters had been dug into hillsides for extra support. A freestanding structure, the Colosseum has a distinctive exterior featuring three stories of arched entrances.

3. A Huge Network of Underground Tunnels

There is more to the Colosseum than meets the eye. The wooden floor of the arena covered the hypogeum (Latin for ‘underground’). The series of tunnels, underground passages, and cages held the gladiators and animals before they met their fate in the arena.

Hydraulic elevators and pulleys provided access between the different levels and were used to raise props, scenery, caged animals, and gladiators.

4. A Major Entertainment Venue

The Colosseum was a major entertainment venue. Emperor Titus hosted the inaugural games in 80 A.D. which lasted an impressive one hundred days. Entertainment back then was brutal with gladiator combats, wild animal fights, and other shows hosted during these games.

Seemingly, the amphitheater held between 50,000 to 80,000 spectators. In recent years, some Italian and international artists have performed at the Colosseum or used it as a stunning backdrop. Andrea Bocelli, Ray Charles, Elton John, and Paul McCartney are just a few or the stars who have performed at the Colosseum.

5. Efficient Crowd Control and the Vomitorium

The crowds attending events needed a way to enter and exit the venue quickly. The Roman Emperor accessed the venue via the northern staircase and the elite through three other entrances. Ordinary spectators accessed the Colosseum through the remaining seventy-six arched entrances.
As to be expected, the Emperor and the elites of ancient Roman society had the seats with the best views of the action. Seat allocation inside the amphitheater was based on social status. Ordinary people accessed their seats through the vomitoria, a series of passages that led out to tiers of seats.

Today the Colosseum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy. Would you like to experience the atmosphere of the Colosseum and see if through the eyes of a gladiator? We have a selection of tours and experienced tour guides who would be delighted to share their knowledge of the history of the Colosseum with visitors. For all our Colosseum tours check out best Colosseum Tours

By |July 22nd, 2023|Best places in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments

Rome’s Spectacular Piazzas

Many a cobbled Roman street leads to a piazza and the sound of trickling water in a fabulous fountain. Rome has some of the most breathtaking piazzas in the world, full of historic significance, a place to meet friends and loved ones, a spot to enjoy a bite or pre-dinner apéritif, and the perfect place to watch the world go by. Each square has a unique feel, a story to tell, and a particular atmosphere.

Here is a snapshot of four of Rome’s most beautiful piazzas and a link to our best tour to discover Rome’s specatacular Piazzas with a private guide.

Piazza San Pietro (Saint Peter’s Square)

One of Rome’s largest and most impressive piazzas, Piazza San Pietro, designed by Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, stands at the entrance to Saint Peter’s Basilica. The piazza is an impressive size measuring 320m by 240m.
Impressive for many reasons, the curved colonnades around the outside of the piazza feature four rows of 284 columns. Above the columns are 140 statues of saints, constructed in 1670.

Two circular matching fountains stand on either side of the central obelisk, one created by Bernini in 1675 and the other by Maderno in 1614. In the center of the piazza is a 25m high obelisk that originated from Egypt and was moved to Rome in 37 AD.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a magnificent square, home to three elegant Baroque fountains. Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) created in 1651 takes center stage and is topped by the Obelisk of Domitian.

The piazza itself was built on the remains of an ancient Roman stadium, the Stadium of Domitian, where the ancient Romans went to watch the games.

At each end of the piazza is a fountain, both designed by artist Giacomo della Porta. At the south end is the Fontana del Moro, and the other is Fontana del Nettuno.

At night the fountains are beautifully lit creating a distinct atmosphere. Definitely a piazza to explore on an evening stroll. The Brazilian Embassy enjoys its location in the 17th century Palazzo Pamphili.

Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere

Located across the other side of the Tiber in the heart of the Trastevere neighborhood is Piazza di Santa Maria. Positioned in this square is one of the oldest churches in Rome, dating back to the 3rd century, the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere.

In the center of the Piazza, in front of the Basilica is a fountain which is thought to be one of the oldest in the Eternal City, dating back to the 8th century. Reconstruction of the fountain took place between 1499 and 1500 by Donato Bramante.

With many of the cobbled streets leading to the piazza hosting an array of independent restaurants and bars, the piazza comes to life at night. The steps of the fountain are the perfect place to relax, enjoy an ice cream and people watch.

Piazza della Rotonda

Piazza della Rotonda offers the perfect view of the Pantheon, an incredible architectural feat, featuring the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. When standing inside the Pantheon, which is also a church, it is incredible to see the light coming through the Pantheon’s oculus. It’s even more amazing to be inside when it is raining and raindrops are coming through the dome.

Smaller than some of the other squares, the piazza also hosts the Fontana del Pantheon along with an obelisk that was added in 1711. Commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII, the Fountain of the Pantheon was designed by Giacomo Della Porta in 1575. Sculpted out of marble, this water feature stands proudly in front of the Pantheon.

If you would like to find out more about Rome’s piazzas, join us for a tour with one of our expert guides. Check out all our tours here

By |May 3rd, 2021|Best places in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments

In Conversation with an Enjoy Rome Tour Guide

Allow us to introduce you to Ilaria who has been working as an Enjoy Rome Tour Guide for a number of years. As an award-winning Tour Agency, we strive to always deliver a superior service, ensuring that our visitors receive the best service and tours. As such, we work solely with licensed guides who have degrees and PhDs in Archaeology and the History of Arts.

Our expert multi-lingual Tour Guides have exceptional knowledge of the Eternal City and other places in Italy where we operate tours (Venice, Florence, Tivoli, and Pompei. All tours are listed on www.enjoyrome.com). They love sharing their knowledge and insights with visitors. Every year thousands of guests join us for tours and learn about the history of the Vatican, Colosseum, Roman Forum, and many other historic places and monuments.

What is the best thing about being an Enjoy Rome Tour Guide?

“I enjoy meeting people from all over the world and sharing information about my wonderful city with them. No two groups are the same. Visitors come to Italy from all over the world. They have different interests and things they want to know about. The great thing about smaller group tours is being able to have conversations with our visitors as a group. Often one person’s question will spark an interest in that topic with someone else in the group.

I love seeing people’s reactions when they see something spectacular for the first time. Rome has so many breathtaking views, works of art, and ancient buildings, and particularly for those who are visiting for the first time, it is lovely to see their reactions. For me, it’s a pleasure to introduce people to the Eternal City.”

What are the benefits to visitors of a small group, private or semi-private tour of the Vatican or Colosseum?

“The major benefit is that our tours have local tour guides leading them. It’s not just a recording people are listening to, so our visitors have the chance to interact, ask questions and get more in-depth knowledge. They can also ask for recommendations of places to visit or restaurants where they can eat typical Roman cuisine.

Many of our tours are ‘skip the line’ so it’s quick to access places such as the Vatican and Colosseum. At certain times of the year these locations are extremely crowded so being able to skip the line means starting the tour without having to hang about in long queues. This is a massive benefit particularly when it’s hot.

With a local tour guide who has grown up in the city and knows the city inside out, visitors gain an insider’s perspective and often get a sneak peek at some hidden gems.”

If you were asked for the top 5 things to see and do in Rome, what would you recommend?

“With so many amazing things to see and do and places to visit, it’s hard to pick just 5. If someone is visiting for the first time, I would recommend visiting:

    1. The Vatican
    2. The Colosseum
    3. The Roman Forum
    4. The City Centre (covers well-known locations such as the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon, to name just a few)
    5. Trastevere

We look forward to welcoming you soon.”

To find out more about our tours of Rome, check out enjoyrome.com or take a look at our blog for some insights into some of the delights Rome offers.

Always A Warm Welcome at Enjoy Rome

We love welcoming visitors to Rome. We know what an incredible city we live in and always take great pleasure in offering all our guests a special experience. Exceptional customer service is at the heart of what we do. We aim to offer superior customer service from the moment someone visits our website or contacts us via social media, WhatsApp, phone, or in-person when entering our office.

Because of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, we have ensured our bright and airy office close to the Vatican is set up to welcome visitors again safely. We have installed perspex screens at the reception desk and put social distancing measures in place; we have hand sanitizer available and ensure all staff and visitors wear masks.

The Enjoy Rome office is strategically located close to the Vatican City, just a five-minute walk to the Vatican Museums and a ten-minute walk to the Ottaviano Metro station. It is here that guests joining us for one of our Vatican Tours check in to meet their tour guides.

We know that there is a lot to see on our tours and there will be a lot of walking, which is why we chose this location for one of our offices. Many other tour companies meet their guests in front of the Vatican. We like to offer our visitors a place where they can relax before or after their tours. Our offices have a comfortable lounge and bathroom, plug sockets to recharge mobiles and electronic devices, refreshments, a vending machine, and an ATM cash machine.

Staff and Tour Guides
We are fortunate to work with licensed guides from the City Council of Rome. Our expert tour guides have degrees and PhDs in Archaeology and the History of Arts.

Our Enjoy Rome staff are available to help our visitors and will happily answer questions, provide maps and make recommendations for places to visit or restaurants and bars to eat at.

When you join an Enjoy Rome small group guided tour, you can always expect a very warm welcome and a memorable experience.

By |April 29th, 2021|Best places in Rome, Events in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments

When in Rome, Enjoy Typical Roman Cuisine

Italian cuisine is famous worldwide and there is a good reason for this. Italians are passionate about good quality food and Italy is fortunate to have a wonderful larder of fresh ingredients. The provenance of food is paramount, with each region having its own specialties. Several factors influence the ingredients selected for each dish. Seasonality, location, freshness and regional traditions all have an impact.

Starters and First Courses

Usually listed as ‘Antipasti’ and ‘Primi’ on a menu. Here are some traditional dishes you will find on a Roman menu:

Supplì – Coated in breadcrumbs then deep-fried, these circular or croquette-shaped starters are made with rice and filled with mozzarella, a ‘ragu’ (meat sauce), and tomato-based sauce.
Bruschetta – Grilled bread brushed with garlic then topped with olive oil, salt, and chopped tomatoes and basil. Other variations can include artichokes, truffles, or mushrooms.

Primo (first course)

A primo could be a pasta, risotto, or a soup dish. Pasta is generally eaten as a first course followed by a main (‘secondo’).

Pasta comes in many variations and the type of sauce to go with each pasta dish will depend on the type and shape of the pasta. Pecorino Romano cheese is the one ingredient that you will definitely taste in many typical Roman dishes.

Typical Roman pasta dishes
Cacio e Pepe – A delicious pasta dish with Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper, a splash of olive oil, and a touch of the pasta cooking water which creates a creamy sauce.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara – A well-known dish that celebrates #carbonaraday on April 6th. Spaghetti is mixed with eggs, guanciale (cured meat from pork), pepper, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Bucatini all’Amatriciana – The word ‘bucatini’ originates from the Italian word ‘buco’ meaning ‘hole’. This long thin pasta is like spaghetti with a hole through the middle. It is topped with a tomato-based sauce, guanciale, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Main Meal Options

Typical Roman dishes include:
Scaloppine alla Romana – Veal sauteed with fresh baby artichokes.
Saltimbocca alla Romana – Roman-style veal cooked with ham (prosciutto) and sage.
Trippa alla Romana – Tripe cooked with a tomato-based sauce and mint, topped with Pecorino Romano cheese.

Side Dishes

Tasty, fresh, and seasonal vegetables accompany main dishes. Artichokes are a popular option and are served in several restaurants across the city. Traditional dishes include Carciofi alla Romana, whole artichokes cooked with garlic, herbs, and olive oil or Carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish style, deep-fried artichokes).

Fiori di Zucca another delicious option, zucchini flowers filled with mozzarella cheese and anchovies then covered in batter and deep-fried.


If it’s pizza you’re after, you’ll be spoilt for choice of pizzerias. With so many fresh ingredients, you can have nearly anything on a Roman pizza which generally has a thin and crispy base. Either sit in and enjoy a pizza or savor a pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) to take away and try a few different toppings.


If you have any space left after a starter and a main, there are several sweet treat options to select from. Ice cream and sorbets in a multitude of flavors are always a popular choice. If you need a stroll to digest your food, wander along to one of the city’s many ice-cream parlors. Good luck choosing just one or two flavors. The sheer choice of ice cream flavors is something else!

When in Rome though, the tiramisu, a dessert made with ladyfinger biscuits soaked in coffee and a creamy filling, is a must-try. Famous worldwide, the tiramisu also has its own annual day of celebration on March 21st.

Post Dinner Drinks
Finish your meal with an Italian liquor or ‘digestivo’. Amaro and Limoncello are two of the most popular options, however, there are many after-dinner drinks available to sample.

If you love Italian food and would like to find out more about typical Roman cuisine, we recommend one of our food tours. Our expert food guides will take you to the best places to sample the finest in traditional Roman cuisine.

By |April 27th, 2021|Best places in Rome, Food in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments

The Carriage Pavilion at The Vatican Museums

For those with a keen interest in vehicles and modes of transportation, the Carriage Pavillion at the Vatican Museums is a ‘must-see’. Inaugurated on April 19th, 1973 by Pope Paul VI, the Carriage Pavilion (Padiglione delle Carrozze) features a variety of transportation used by the popes over the centuries. Also on display near the horse-drawn carriages are several busts of various popes over the centuries.


Until the 19th century, carriages were the dominant mode of transport, however, this all changed in the 20th century when motor vehicles were added to the Vatican’s transport collection.


The Carriages Pavilion features an impressive collection of exquisite carriages, richly decorated which were predominantly used for special occasions. One of the most ornate carriages in the collection is the Grand Gala Berlin, constructed in Rome in 1826. The original carriages, sedan chairs, court livery, and horses’ harnesses are on display for all to admire.


The major automobile manufacturers competed to donate their best vehicles to the Vatican’s fleet of cars. There is now a wide-ranging collection that can be seen, featuring cars such as the classic VW Beetle, which was the last Beetle produced by Volkswagen in Mexico to the most luxurious such as the Mercedes Benz Nurburg 460 limousine, designed by Ferdinand Porshe. Other cars on display include a 1964 Lincoln Continental and a 1974 Citroen.


Popemobiles were also added to the Vatican’s collection of vehicles. These are used to transport the Pope through enormous crowds, moving at a very slow pace. In a Popemobile, the Pope stands up at the back of the vehicle, allowing people to see him passing by.

Initially, these vehicles were open-roofed, however, following the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II on 13 May 1981 in Saint Peter’s Square in the 1973 Fiat Campagnola, Popemobiles were later constructed with protective glass. Pope John Paul II survived the attempted assassination but was severely injured.

Tours of the Carriage Pavilion

To find out more about the history of these luxurious papal carriages and historical cars, join us for a tour of the Vatican Museums and the Carriage Pavilion, where are our expert guides will share their knowledge.

For further information and to book, check out all our Vatican tours.

Photo by tradizioneattacchi.eu

By |March 29th, 2021|Best places in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments

Rome’s Delightful Neighborhoods

What is it that makes Rome such a special place? Famous for history, architecture, and well-known visitor attractions such as the Vatican and the Colosseum, it’s the uniqueness of the different neighborhoods that make Rome such an enchanting city.

Rome’s Districts

Each neighborhood is distinct in style, an individual village within the city, unique from a historic, cultural, and social perspective.

Known as ‘rioni’, Rome’s historical districts date back to Ancient Roman times. According to tradition, the Sixth King of Rome, Servius Tullius divided the city into four regions. As the city grew, so did the number of rioni. Over the years and under the rule of different leaders, the number of areas increased and today Rome has twenty-two quite distinct areas.

The dominant feature of an area often influenced the neighborhood’s name. In 1743 under Pope Benedict XIV’s rule, the city was divided into fourteen rioni. Two hundred and twenty marble plaques with the names of the boundaries were installed in the streets across the city. Many were removed at a later date when districts were reorganized again, however some still remain. Today if you look up at some of the older buildings, you may well glimpse one of these original marble plaques.

Popular Neighborhoods

Most visitors will explore the ‘must visit’ areas such as the Vatican City and the historical center (Centro Storico). However, there is so much more to Rome than the popular tourist spots. The heart of ancient Rome leads to other intriguing secret courtyards and windy cobbled streets revealing ivy-covered buildings, hidden gems, and an insight into past and present Rome.

The area representing ancient Rome appeals to those looking to explore and understand Rome’s architecture, ancient ruins, and Roman history. A tour with one of our experienced tour guides will provide an insight into ancient Rome. Our tours start at the magnificent Colosseum, also taking in the Roman Forum, and Capitoline Hill. We also have a variety of tours focusing on other important landmarks such as Piazza Venezia, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona.

Worth A Visit

Trastevere whose name means ‘across the Tiber’ is located just across the city next to the River Tiber. In times gone by, it was predominantly inhabited by fishermen wanting to be close to the river, now you’re more likely to find visitors, celebrities, and artists frequenting the many bars and excellent local restaurants. Narrow cobbled alleys give this area a unique and charming atmosphere. With over 900 churches across the city, you will find several in Trastevere, including one of the oldest in Rome, dating back to the 3rd century, the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, and the notable Church of Santa Cecilia. Both well worth a visit.

The Jewish Ghetto, located close to Trastevere and a stone’s throw from the center of Rome, features Europe’s oldest surviving Jewish communities, an ancient synagogue, museum, and kosher bakeries. Several Jewish-Roman restaurants can also be found in the Ghetto, serving traditional culinary delights such as ‘carciofo alla giudia’ (Jewish-style artichoke). Walled off as a residential area in the 16th century, the area is compact and easy to explore, featuring wonderful examples of Renaissance and Medieval architecture.

Monti has increased in popularity in recent years. Located close to the Colosseum and many of the ancient Roman attractions in the city, it has a slightly bohemian feel, with vintage and alternative clothes shops, alfresco cafes, small independent eateries, ivy-covered houses, street food, and trendy bars. The Piazza della Madonna dei Monti with its Renaissance-style fountain taking center stage is a popular place for visitors and locals to hang out and watch the world go by.

To learn more about Rome’s neighborhoods and find the best places to visit, check out all our tours. Our experienced tour guides have so much knowledge about Rome and love sharing their insights and stories of ancient Rome with all our visitors.

By |March 11th, 2021|Best places in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments

The Magnificence of the Vatican

A stunning collection of the world’s most famous and precious masterpieces are proudly displayed within Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. The Vatican is one of Rome’s most beloved places to discover works of art by illustrious artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Da Vinci.

The Vatican City, established in the Lateran Treaty of February 11th, 1929, is the smallest state in the world, at a size of 49 hectares and a population of approximately 800. Over the centuries, Popes have collected unparalleled collections of artworks.

Saint Peter’s Basilica
Even for the non-religious, a trip to Rome would not be complete without a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, a well-known work of Renaissance architecture and one of the largest churches in the world. According to Catholic tradition, Saint Peter is buried beneath the high altar of the Basilica.

Awe-inspiring, the imposing Basilica, constructed in 1506, features a host of sculptures and paintings including Michelangelo’s famous ‘Pietà’ statue and works by Bernini.

Visitors can enjoy spectacular views into the Basilica from inside of the dome. For those feeling energetic, it is well worth the climb to the top of the dome to experience the views looking out over the Eternal City and across the Vatican Gardens.

Saint Peter’s Square
The Basilica towers over Saint Peter’s Square which is also famous for its size at an impressive 320m by 240m. Some events at St. Peter’s Square have held over 300,000 people.

Bernini designed the elliptical piazza outlined by a colonnade of four rows of 284 columns. Standing tall above the columns are 140 statues of saints, created in 1670.
In the center of the piazza is a 25m high obelisk that originated from Egypt. Two circular, matching fountains, one by Bernini in 1675 and the second by Maderno in 1614 stand on either side of the obelisk.

The Vatican Museums
Explore the many galleries, museums, and courtyards within the Vatican Museums. The Gallery of the Tapestries features elaborate Flemish tapestries draped across the walls.

Whilst the Gallery of the Maps features frescoed maps painted between 1580 and 1585, taking visitors on a journey of the 40 Italian regions and papal properties during the time of Pope Gregory XIII.

Visitors will discover a carefully curated selection of Greek and Roman statues in the Pio-Clementino Museum, proudly displayed for all to enjoy.

The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is breathtaking! Many visitors have passed through this most revered chapel to take in Michelangelo’s masterpieces that adorn the walls and ceiling. Michelangelo’s remarkable ‘Creation of Adam’ and ‘Last Judgement’ are superb works of art and have made the artist famous for creating the largest fresco ever painted by one man.

With so much to see, why not book one of our small group Vatican tours with our experienced and knowledgeable guides who will bring history to life, revealing secrets and stories behind some of the most impressive works of art you will ever have the pleasure to see. Check out all our Vatican tours here to find the best tour for you.

By |March 2nd, 2021|Best places in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments