Monthly Archives: February 2021

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

By |February 22nd, 2021|Best places in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments

Explore Rome’s Magnificent Churches

With over nine hundred churches in the eternal city, there is so much history, art, and stunning architecture to explore. Pilgrims, tourists, and locals visit Rome’s churches to observe some of the most magnificent artworks, treasures, and architecture ever created.

World-renowned artists such as Michelangelo, Bernini, Caravaggio, and Raphael, to name just a few, have created magnificent masterpieces that are displayed in basilicas across the city. Filled with sculptures, paintings, frescoes, mosaics, and other types of art and religious artifacts, churches have become so much more than just a place of worship.

As well as the well-known, awe-inspiring churches such as the Saint Peter’s Basilica, there are also many smaller, less ornate historic churches in the capital hosting an abundance of artworks.

We are delighted to offer small group guided tours of some of these beautiful architectural masterpieces. All our tours respect the regulations imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a business, we ensure all our staff and visitors wear masks and maintain social distancing measures.

Our experienced tour guides have an incredible knowledge of the city and the churches. This month our tour guide Ilaria will lead small group tours exploring the Church of Santa Maria ai Monti on February 21st and the Church of Sant’Ignazio on February 28th. There are just a few spaces remaining on each tour, so if you would like to join us, contact us now.

Church of Santa Maria ai Monti on February 21st

This 16th and early 17th-century one-nave temple is a parish and titular church in the Monti neighborhood of Rome. Best known for the ‘Madonna and Child‘ fresco, the ceiling features paintings by Cristoforo Casolani of the Ascension of the Lord, saints, and angels. Architect Giacomo Della Porta created the design. Construction started in 1580, with this design being an example of the transition between Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

Church of Sant’Ignazio on February 28th

This Baroque church built by Cardinal Ludovisi between 1626 and 1650 was built in honor of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. Inspired by the Church of Gesu, the design features a Latin cross plan with various side chapels. The nave ceiling is a ‘must-see’ with an incredible fresco by Andrea Pozzo that covers the nave.

Rome’s churches all have a story to tell. If you enjoy history and understanding more about art and architecture, you will enjoy one of our small group guided tours of some of the most beautiful churches in Rome. With just a few spaces left on these tours, contact us now to book your place.

For all our tours, including the Vatican tours and our walking tour of Rome focusing on the art of Caravaggio check out our website.

By |February 19th, 2021|Best places in Rome, Events in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments

Top 5 Reasons to Explore Rome Just Now

Now is the perfect time to plan a trip to Rome. From history, art, archeology, and architecture to winding, cobbled alleys filled with hidden gems, the eternal city has something for everyone.

Here are our top 5 reasons to put Rome on your must-visit list:

1. Rome is Open Again

After the recent closures because of the pandemic, Rome is reopening and welcoming visitors again. Popular sights such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill, Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon and many more museums reopened on February 1st.

Visitors can explore these sights without the usual busy crowds or intense summer heat. Moderate temperatures, bright blue skies, and sunshine make it pleasurable to explore the city.

2. Outdoor Spaces to Explore on Foot, by Scooter or River Boat

Rome is one of the European capital cities with the largest area of green space. The Italian aristocracy built several impressive villas with landscaped gardens, many such as Villa Doria Pamphili, Villa Ada, and Villa Borghese are open to the public.

Rome has the River Tiber, one of the longest rivers in Italy, flowing through the city. Why not experience the sights of Rome from a unique perspective, from a boat trip along the Tiber. You can hop on and off at one of the many bridges along the way. Jump off at Ponte Sant’Angelo and visit Castel Sant’Angelo before heading to the Vatican Museums and Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Or view the city from an electric scooter. This seems to be one of the most popular ways to visit Rome right now.

3. Seven Hills and Magnificent Views

Founded on seven hills, the Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal Hill, and Viminal, all these locations and other special viewpoints provide spectacular views of the city. Everyone should watch the sun setting over the city’s rooftops and experience the Roman skyline at dusk.

Want to see something unique? Visit the Orange Gardens on the Aventine Hill for a special view of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Perfectly framed through the keyhole at the Knights of Malta property, it is well worth peeking through this famous keyhole.

4. Explore Ancient Roman Ruins al Fresco

Many monuments are accessible outside and are within easy walking distance of each other. When you visit the Colosseum, imagine what it would have been like to sit among the crowds as gladiators fought. Then walk in the footsteps of the Romans through the ruins of the Forum and Palatine Hill and discover the religious, social, and political center of the Ancient city.

5. Delicious Traditional Roman Cuisine

With some restaurants and bars opening again, visitors can savor traditional Roman cuisine such as spaghetti alla carbonara (bacon pieces, eggs, and pecorino cheese) or bucatini all’amatriciana (tomato, bacon, and pecorino cheese) or try the abbacchio alla cacciatora (lamb, garlic, sage, anchovies, and rosemary) or saltimbocca all Romana (veal with ham and sage). A tiramisu or ice-cream will complete any meal.

If you would like to experience Rome from a local’s perspective or would like to know what life was like in ancient Roman times, a guided tour may be the answer. Check out our website for information about our small group or private tours of the Colosseum, the Vatican, Vatican Museums, walking tours of Ancient Rome or food tours. Our experienced tour guides love sharing their knowledge and look forward to welcoming you to Rome.

By |February 8th, 2021|Best places in Rome, Food in Rome, Holiday, Things to do in Rome|0 Comments