Bonn, Madrid and Rome tourism

European capitals as the centers of tourism. Bonn, Madrid, Rome tourist information about eating and drinking, sightseeing, music, theatre, transport, hotels of cities. The role in the tourism in Europe is a tourist exchange between European peoples.

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  • Introduction
    • 1. Bonn tourist information
    • 2. Madrid
    • 3. Rome
    • Conclusion
    • Literature


The word “tourist” has appeared in English language in the beginning of the XIX century and in translation from English means: the man who makes trip for the sake of own pleasure or expansion of a cultural outlook.

Tourism is a dynamical, developing phenomenon focused on the consumer. The world advice on tourism and travel has specified the following characteristics of modern tourism:

it is the largest industry of the world having approximately S 3,5 bln. of a working capital and including such components as:

travel (cruises, buses, planes, automobiles, railways);

residing (hotels and motels, conferences, exhibitions, meetings);

a feed (restaurants, cafe, bars);

rest and leisure (games, parks, entertainments, attractions).

The conducting manufacturer of an industrial output, whose contribution to a total national product makes 6,1%.

The leader tax payer.

The employer 127 million people, i. e. about everyone 15 from all working.

the most developing branch of the European economy.

Europe is a traditional tourism center. Let's consider some European capitals as the centers of tourism.

1. Bonn tourist information

Until 1999 Bonn was the seat of government of the Federal Republic of Germany. Even today it still retains some governmental functions as Bundesstadt (Federal city).

Set in the beautiful Rhine valley between the Siebengebirge hills and the Eifel, Bonn enjoys a rich heritage from its 2,000-year history. In the past half-century, however, Bonn has gone through dramatic changes. In 1949, the quiet university town was turned into the western capital of a divided Germany (mainly because Konrad Adenauer lived here). When reunification led the government to return to Berlin in the late 1990s, the city changed its course and became a centre for enterpreneurs and businessmen.

In spite of the fact that Bonn is no longer the political center of modern Germany, visitors still come here to see where Ludwig van Beethoven was born and Robert Schumann died.

The architectural style of the city is mainly Baroque, as Bonn was a royal seat of the former princes elector.

Bonn is naturally also committed to the arts. One of the famous features of Bonn is the so-called "Museum Mile", a road with several important and interesting museums.

Most visitors to Bonn are pleasantly surprised by the contrasts between magnificent historical buildings and the charm of a small village, all mixed with a sense of cosmopolitan urban life and high-quality cultural attractions.

Beethoven's home (now a museum) can be seen in the Bonngasse. Other sights include the Poppelsdorf Palace (with Botanical Garden), Bonn University (housed in an astonishingly beautiful Baroque palace which was formerly the palace of the Prince-Elector of Cologne) and the Bundeshaus (former Parliament House).

Just south of Bonn begins the romantic Middle Rhine valley with its vineyards and castle ruins. Nearby is one of the all-time "German" tourist sites: the Drachenfels (Dragon's Rock) in the village of Kцnigswinter.

Bonn history

Roman soldiers first bridged the Rhine at Bonn in the year 11 BC. And the name "Bonna" appeared in official records between 13 and 9 BC. Two thousand years have left their mark in Bonn, tracing its development from a Roman camp into the settlement known as "Villa Basilica", and on through the Baroque era's Electoral Palace which today houses the University.

Much of its history, ancient and modern, can be read in Bonn's cityscape. In the north, for instance, traces of the Romans can still be found, and in the south, providing a modern contrast, soars "Lean Eugene" - the highrise Parliamentary Office Building and symbol of high politics.

Especially worth seeing are the Basilica in the heart of the city, the venerable Mьnster in which kings were crowned between 1314-46; the two-storied church of Schwarzrheindorf; and Baroque Poppelsdorf Palace. Rounding out the historic array are magnificent turn-of-the-century villas. Bonn is renowned as the city of music. Ludwig van Beethoven first saw the light of day here in 1770. Paying homage to the great composer are Bonn's international Beethoven Festivals. His birthplace, with museum, is a must attraction. It is one of the characteristic Baroque town houses from the Electoral era.

With the National Art and Exhibition Hall and the new Art Museum, as well as numerous other collections, Bonn boasts a museum scene that is second to none. But the City of Beethoven has even more to offer. Such as the lovely Rhine riverbank promenade leading past the Beethovenhalle (concert hall), the old Customs House and Villa Hammerschmidt - all the way to Bad Godesberg, the diplomatic quarter. From here one has a splendid view of the fabled Siebengebirge with Drachenfels, Drachenburg and Petersberg. Bonn - Your destination on the Rhine.

Bonn sightseeing

The University and the late Baroque Royal Palace

Not many universities can boast to be housed in such a beautiful building as the Bonn University. This amazing Baroque palace was built for the Elector Joseph Klemens in 16007-1705. Enrico Zuccalle designed the palace. It was later extended after 1715 by Robert de Cotte. The university was founded in 1818.

Beethoven House: Birthplace of the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven, with museum Ludwig was born here and lived in this house until the age of 22. The house itself is in Baroque style. After he left at the age of 22, he never came back to his home town again. The museum has a large collection of memorabilia from the life of the most famous German composer.

Museum Mile: alongside the road on the right bank of the Rhine are several museums: the Kunstmuseum Bonn (Art Museum), the Alexander Koenig Museum, the Kunst - und Ausstellungshalle (Art and Exhibition Hall) and the Haus der Geschichte (German History Museum).

Historical Town Hall in the Rococo style, built in the time of the Wittelsbach princes elector.

The town hall is situated at the central market square, shaped like a triangle. The square shows a mixture of modern and Baroque architecture. The Rathaus (town hall) was built in 1737-1738 to a desing by Michel Leveilly. The Saint Remigius kirche is also situated near the Market Square. This gothic church was built for the franciscans in 1274-1317.

Das St. Martin Mьnster is the 12th-century cathedral of Bonn (1150-1230). It is a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture in the Rhine valley. The present prayer house was constructed on the site of an earlier 11th century cathedral. From this church a three-naved crypt has survived.

Schloss Poppelsdorf with the Botanical Gardens. Poppelsdorf is a classical Bonn district. With its lovely houses dating from the 1871-3 and art nouveau periods, this area is one of the most popular residential areas. Around the Poppeldorfer Castle and Botanical Gardens there are many nice cafes, restaurants and pubs. The neighbouring Sьdstadt is also lovely and just as popular, with many nice student pubs.

Beuel is the name of the city district on the eastern side of the Rhine. It is connected to the centre of Bonn by the Kennedy Bridge. Well known because of the "fifth season", carneval. Today the memorial to the laundry women remembers the pioneers of "Weiberfastnacht" in 1824. The memorial plaque on the Synagogenplatz in Beuel reminds one of one of the worst chapters in Germany's history. The Heimatmuseum Beuel is also worth seeing.

Hotels BONN













2. Madrid

Madrid became Spain's capital by grace of its geography: when Philip II moved the seat of government here in 1561, his aim was to create a symbol of Spanish unification and centralization. However, the city has few natural advantages - it is 300 km from the sea on a 650-mentre-high plateau, freezing in winter, burning in summer - and it was only the determination of successive rulers to promote a strong central capital that ensured its success.

Today, Madrid is a predominantly modern city, but the streets at her heart are a pleasant surprise, hiding odd pockets of medieval buildings and atmospheric, narrow alleys. There are admittedly few sights of great architectural interest, but it is home to some of Spain's best an: the monarchs acquired outstanding picture collections which went on to form the basis of the Prado museum. This has long ensured the city a place on any European art-tour, and the more so since the 1990s arrival of the Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza galleries, state-of-the-art homes to fabulous arrays of modern Spanish painting (including Picasso's Guernica) and European and American masters.

Galleries and sights aside, though, the capital has enough going for it in its own city life and style to ensure a diverting stay. You soon realize that it's the inhabitants - some 5,300 000 Madrilenos - that are the capital's key attraction: hanging out in the traditional cafes and Chocolaterias or the summer terrazas;. packing the lanes of the Sunday Rastro flea market, or playing hard and very, very late in a thousand bars, clubs, discos and tascas. Whatever Barcelona or San Sebastian might claim, the Madrid scene remains as it is immortalized in the movies of Pedro Almodovar - vibrant, noisy and lots of fun.

City transport

The centre is comfortably walkable, but Madrid also has a good metro system that serves most places you're likely to want to get to. It runs from 6 am until 1.30 am. The urban bus network is more comprehensive than the metro, but also more complicated - trust the transport information stand in the Plaza de Cibeles before the myriad and quickly outdated handouts. Buses run from 6am to 11.30pm, but there are also several nightbus lines in the centre, from Plaza de Cibeles and Puerta del Sol (midnight-3аm every 30min, 3-6am hourly).


The cheapest accommodation is around the Estacion de Atocha though places closest to the station are rather grim, and the area can feel somewhat threatening at night A better option is to head up c/Atocha towards Sol, to the streets surrounding the buzzing Plaza Santa Ana Prices rise as you reach the Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, but e\en here there are affordable options. Other promising areas include Gran Via, where the huge old buildings hide a vast array of hotels and hostales, and north of here up noisy c/Fuencarral cowards Chueca and Malsana.

The City

Central Puerta del Sol, with its bustling crowds and traffic, is as good a place as any to start a tour of Madrid This is officially the centre of the nation a stone slab in the pavement outside the main building on the south side marks Kilometre Zero, from where six of Spain's National Routes begin, while beneath the streets, three of the city's ten metro lines converge A statue of a bear pawing a madrono bush lies on the north side this is both the emblem of the city and a favourite meeting place.

Immediately north of Sol, c/de Preciados and c/del Carmen head towards the Gran Via, both are pedestrianized and constitute the most popular shopping area in Madrid West, c/del Arenal heads directly towards the Opera and Royal Palace, but there's more of interest along c/Mayor, one of Madrid's oldest thoroughfares, which runs southwest through the heart of the medieval city, also to end close to the Royal Palace.

Plaza de la Villa and Plaza Mayor

About two-thirds of the way along c/Mayor is the Plaza de la Villa, almost a case-book of Spanish architectural development The oldest survivor here is the Torre de los Lujanes. a fifteenth-century building in Mudejar style, next in age is the Casa de Cisneros, built by a nephew of Cardinal Сisneros in sixteenth-century Plateresque style, and to complete the picture is the Ayuntamiento (tours Mon at 5pm; free), begun in the seventeenth century, but later remodelled in Baroeque mode Baroque is taken a stage further around the corner in c/S. mJusto, where the church of San Miguel shows the unbridled imagination of its eighteenth-century Itilian architects.

Walking straight from the Puerta del Sol to the Plaza de la Villa, it's easy to miss altogether the Plaza Mayor, the most important architectural and historical landmark in Madrid This almost perfectly preserved, extremely beautiful, seventeenth-century arcaded square, set back from the street, was planned by Philip II and Juan Herrera as the public meeting place of the new capital: autos-da-fe (trials of faith) were held by the Inquisition here, kings were crowned, festivals and demonstrations staged, bulls fought and gossip spread the more important of these events would be watched by royalty from the be-frescoed Casa Panaderia, named after the bakery that it replaced Along with its popular but pricey cafes, the plaza still performs several public functions today in summer, it's an outdoor theatre and music stage, in autumn, a book fair, and just before Christmas it becomes a bazaar for festive decorations and religious regalia. The warren of streets surrounding the Plaza Mayor are well worth exploring, housing as they do a treasure trove of gleat tapas bars and restaurants.

The Palacio Real

Calle del Arenal ends at the Plaza Isabel II opposite the Teatro Real or Opera House, which is separated from the Palacio Real by the newly renovated Plaza de Oriente The chief attraction of the area is the grandiose Palacio Real, or Royal Palace (Mon-Fn 9am-5/6pm, Sat & Sun 9am-2/3pm, free Wed to EU citizens). Built after the earlier Muslim Alcazar burned down on Christmas Day 1734, this was the principal royal residence until Alfonso XIII went into exile in 1931. The present royal family inhabits a more modest residence on the western outskirts of the city, using the Palacio Real only on state occasions. The building scores high on statistics it claims more rooms than any other European palace, a library with one of the biggest collections of books, manuscripts, maps and musical scores in the world, an armoury with an unrivalled and often bizarre collection of weapons dating back to the fifteenth century, and an original pharmacy, a curious mixture of alchemist's den and early laboratory, its walls lined with jars labelled for various remedies Take your time to contemplate the extraordinary opulence of the place acres of Flemish and Spanish tapestries, endless Rococo decoration, bejewelled clocks and pompous portraits of the monarchs. In the Sala del Trono (Throne Room) there's a magnificent frescoed ceiling by Tiepolo representing the glory of Spam - an extraordinary achievement for an artist by then in his 70s.

The Gran Via

North from the palace, c/Bailen runs into the Plaza de Esparia, longtime home of the tallest skyscrapers in the city. From here join Gran Via, it was once the capitals major thoroughfare and effectively divides the old city to the south from the newer parts.

Permanently crowded with shoppers and sightseers, the street is appropriately named, with splendidly quirky Art Nouveau and Art Deco facades fronting its banks, offices and apartments, and huge hand-painted posters on the cinemas. At its far end, by the magnificent cylindrical Edificio Metropolis, it joins with c/Alcala on the approach to Plaza de la Cibeles Just across the junction is the majestic old Circulo de las Bellas Artes, a contemporary art space with a trendy cafe/bar.

The Prado

Just across the Paseo del Prado from the Circulo de la Bellas Artes lies Madrid's Museo del Prado, which has been one of Europe's key art galleries ever since it was opened to the public in 1819. It houses the finest works accumulated by Spanish royalty as well as standout items from other Iberian sources: over three thousand paintings in all, including the world's finest collections of Goya, Velazquez and Bosch. The most rewarding approach to the museum is perhaps through tile Puerta de Goya, on c/Felipe IV, pick up a free leaflet at the entrance to find your way round.

Even in a full day you couldn't hope to do justice to everything in the Prado, and it's much more enjoyable to make short visits with a clear idea of what you want to see III the first rooms on the ground floor are early Spanish paintings, mostly religious subjects, then in a series of rooms to your left the early Flemish masters are displayed.

The great triptychs of Hieronymus Bosch-the early Hay Wain, the middle-period Garden of Earthly Delights and the late Adoration of the May - are familiar from countless reproductions, and there's much more of his work here, along with that of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Rogier van der Weyden, Memling, Bouts, Gerard David and Massys. Durer dominates the small German collection.

The museum's collection of over 160 works of later Flemish and Dutch art has been imaginatively rehoused in a new suite of twelve rooms off the main gallery on the first floor Rubens is extensively represented - by the beautifully restored Three Graces among others - as are van Dyck and Jan Brueghel.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza collection

The Collecion Thyssen-Bornemisza (Tues-Sun 10am-7pm) occupies the old Palacio de Villahermosa, diagonally opposite the Prado. In 1993, this prestigious site played a large part in Spain's acquisition of what was perhaps the world's greatest private art collection, with important works from every major period and movement. From Duccio and Holbein, through El Greco and Caravaggio, to Schiele and Rothko; from a strong showing of nineteenth-century Americans to some very early and very late Van Goghs, and side-by-side hangings of parallel Cubist studies by Picasso, Braque and Mondrian, the collection is both rich and extensive. There's a bar and cafe in the basement and re-entry is allowed, so long as you get your hand stamped at the exit desk.

Centro de Arte Reina Soffa

The Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Моn & Wed-Sat 10am-llpm, Sun 10am-2.30pm; free Sat after 2.30pm & all Sun), facing Atocha station at the end of Paseo del Prado, keeps different opening hours and days from its neighbours, which is fortunate because this leading exhibition space, and permanent collection of modern Spanish art, is another essential stop on the Madrid art scene. The museum, a massive former convent and hospital, is a kind of Madrid response to the Pompidou centre in Paris. Transparent lifts shuttle visitors up the outside of the building, whose levels feature a cinema, excellent art and design bookshops, a print, music and photographic library, restaurant, bar and cafe, as well as the exhibition halls (top floor) and the collection of twentieth-century art (second floor).

It is for Picasso's Guernica that most visitors come to the Reina Sofia, and rightly so. Superbly displayed along with its preliminary studies, this icon of twentieth-century Spanish art and politics - a response to the fascist bombing of the Basque town of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War - carries a shock that defies all familiarity. Other halls are devoted to Dali and Surrealism, early-twentieth-century Spanish artists including Miro and post-World War II figurative art, mapping the beginning of abstraction through to Pop and avant-garde.

The Rastro

The area south of the Plaza Mayor and c/Atocha has traditionally been a tough, working-class district and in many places the old houses survive, huddled together in narrow streets. However, an influx of youthful, fashionable residents has changed the character of La Latina and Lavapies over the last decade, making it pleasantly hip. Partly responsible for this change is the Rastro (Metro La Latina), which is as much part of Madrid's weekend ritual as a Mass or a paseo. This gargantuan, thriving, thieving shambles of a street market sprawls south from Metro La Latina to the Ronda de Toledo, and is particularly busy along c/Kibera de Curtidores; crowds flood through between 10am and 3pm on Sundays and holidays. Don't expect to find fabulous bargains; the serious antiques trade has mostly moved off the streets and into the shops. It's definitely worth a visit, though, if only to see the locals out in their thousands and to do as they do - recover in a selection of traditional tapas bars - after the madness has subsided. Keep a tight grip on your bags, pockets, cameras and jewellery. Afterwards head over to the bars and terrazas around Puerta de Moros where half of Madrid congregates for an aperitive and to while away the afternoon.

Retiro and other parks

Madrid's many parks provide great places to escape the sightseeing for a few hours. The most central and most popular is the Parque del Buen Retiro behind the Prado, a stunning mix of formal gardens and wilder spaces. In its 1.3 sq km you can jog, row a boat, picnic, have your fortune told, and above all promenade - on Sunday afternoon half of Madrid turns out for the paseo. Travelling art exhibitions are frequently housed in the beautiful Palacio de Velazquez and the nearby Palacio de Cristal (times and prices vary according to exhibition). The nearby Jardines Botanicos (daily 10am-sunset; Metro Atocha), whose entrance faces the southern end of the Prado, are also delightful.

Eating and drinking

There can be few places in the world that can rival the area around Puerta del Sol in either quantity or variety of outlets. And the feasts continue in all directions, especially towards Plaza Santa Ana and along c/de las Huertas to Atocha, but also south in the neighbourhood haunts of La Latina and Lavapies, and north in the gay barrio Chueca and the alternative Malsana. The streets between Lope de Vega, Plaza Santa Ana and c/Echegary are especially pleasant for bar-hopping.

In summer, all areas of the city have pavement cafe/bars, where coffees are taken by day and drinks pretty much all night.

The prime area is Paseo Castellana, where many of the top discos can be found. Smaller scenes are in Plaza de Chueca, Paseo Resales del Pintor along the Parque del Oeste, the more relaxed and pleasant c/Argumosa in Lavapies/Atocha, Puerta de Moros in La Latina and Las Vistillas, on the south side of the viaduct on c/Bailen, due south of the royal palace.


The bars, clubs and discos of Malsana, and Huertas around Plaza Santa Ana or a little further south in Lavapies, could easily occupy your whole stay in Madrid, with the many clubs starting around lain and staying open until well beyond dawn.

The names and styles change constantly but even where a place has closed down a new alternative usually opens up at the same address. To supplement our listings, check out the English-language magazine En Madrid, or the quarterly Madrid Concept.

Music concerts - classical, flamenco, salsa, jazz and rock - are advertised posters around Sol and are also listed in the Guia del Odd and in the newspaper El Pais. In July and especially m August there's not too much happening inside, but the city council sponsors a Vcranos di la Villa programme of concerts and free cinema in some attractive, outside venues.

If you find that you've somehow stayed out all night and feel in need of early morning sustenance, a final station on the clubbers' circuit is the Chocolateria San Gines on c/de Coloreros, just off c/Mayor, for a chocolate con churros.

Live music

The music scene in Madrid sets the pattern for the rest of the country, and the best rock bands either come from here or make their name here. For young local groups try Taboo at c/San Vicente Ferrer 22, and Moby Dick Club, Avenida de Brasil 5; cool foreign independents often play at Gruta 77, c/Nicolas Morales, s/n c/Cucillo 6. Bigger rock concerts are usually held in one of the football stadiums or at La Riviera on Paseo Bajo de la Virgen del Puerto. A good array of jazz bars includes the topnotch Central Cafe, Plaza del Angel 10, near Sol, Clamons in c/Albuquerque 14, and Cafe Berlin at c/Jacometrezo 4. Fans of electronica might want to check out the quality names at Nasti, c/San Vicente Ferrer 23 or the smaller Siroco, e/San Dimas 3. South American music is on offer at various venues, especially during summer festivals, the best year-round club is the Cafe del Mercado in the Mercado Puerta de Toledo, which puts on live salsa more or less every night Flamenco can also be heard at its best in the summer festivals, especially at the noches de flamenco in the beautiful courtyard of the old barracks on c/de Conde Duque Promising year-round venues include Caracal, c/Bernardmo Obregon 18; Cafe de Chimtas, с/Тогца 7, La Solea, Cava Baja 34, Casa Patas, Camzares 10, and at Sunstan, c/de la Cruz 7 (Wed only), which is the place to head most nights for live performances of all types of World Music.

Film and theatre

Cinema-going is a passion in Madrid, reflected in the queues outside the huge-capacity cinemas on Gran Via. The Spanish routinely dub foreign movies, but a few cinemas specialize in original-language screenings. These include the Alphaville and Renoir theatres at c/Martin de los Heros 14 and 12, near Plaza de Espana, the tiny California at c/Andres Mellado 47 (Metro Moncloa) and the Circulo de Bellas Artes, on Marques de Casa Riera. A bargain programme of classic films is shown at the lovely Art Deco Filmoteca at c/Santa Isabel 3, which has a pleasant bar and, in summer, an outdoor cine-terraza.

Classical Spanish theatre performances can be seen at the Teatro Espanol, Plaza Santa Ana, and the Teatro Real, Plaza de Onente, more modern works are at the Centro Cultural de la Villa, Plaza de Colon, and in the beautiful Circulo de Bellas Artes, Marques de Casa Riera 2 Cultural events in English are held from time to time at the British Institute, c/Almagro 5, which can also be a useful point for contacts.

3. Rome

Of all Italy's historic cities, it's ROME that exerts the most compelling fascination. There's arguably more to see here than in any other city in the world, with the relics of more than two thousand years of continuous occupation. For the traveller, it is the sheer weight of history in the city that is most evident, its various eras crowding in on each other to an almost breathtaking degree. There are the classical features - the Colosseum, the Forum and spectacular Palatine Hill - and relics from the early Christian period in ancient basilicas, while the fountains and churches of the Baroque period go a long way to determining the look of the city centre. But these are just part of the picture, which is an almost continuous one right up to the present day, taking in Romanesque churches, Renaissance palazzi, Rococo fountains and the ponderous buildings of post-Unification, often all found within a few paces of each other.

Rome is not an easy place to absorb on one visit, and you need to approach things slowly. On foot it's easy to lose a sense of direction in the twisting old streets, and in any case you're so likely to see something interesting that detours and stopoffs are inevitable.

The City

Piazza Venezia is a good central place to start your wanderings, flanked by the Palazzo di Venezia and overlooked by the hideous Vittorio Emanueic.

Monument or Altar of the Nation, erected at the turn of the twentieth century to commemorate Unification. Behind, the Capitoline Hill, formerly the spiritual and political centre of the Roman Empire, is home to one of Rome's most elegant squares, Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo in the 1550s for Pope Paul III, and flanked by the two branches of one of the city's most important museums of antique art - the Capitoline Museums (Tues-Sun 8.30am-8pm). On the left, the Palazzo Nuovo concentrates some of the best of the city's Roman and Greek sculpture and Renaissance painting - numerous works by Rein and Tintoretto, a vast picture by Guercino that used to hang in St Peter's, some nice small-scale work by Annibale Carracci, an early work by Ludovico Carracci, Head of a Boy, and Caravaggio's St. John the Baptist. Behind the square, a road skirts the Forum down to the small church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami, built above the prison where St Peter is said to have been held - you can see the bars to which he was chained, along with the spring the saint is said to have created in which to baptize other prisoners, and, at the top of the staircase, an imprint claimed to be of St Peters head as he was tumbled down the stairs.

Via del Plebiscito forges west from Piazza Venezia past the church of Gesu, a high, wide Baroque church of the Jesuit order that has served as the model for Jesuit churches everywhere. It's notable for its size (the left transept is surmounted by the largest single piece of lapis lazuli in existence) and the richness of its interior, especially the paintings of Baciccio in the dome and the ceiling's ingenious trompe 1'oeil, which oozes out of its frame in a tangle of writhing bodies, flowing drapery and stucco angels. Crossing over, streets wind down to Piazza di Campo dei Fiori, home to a morning market and surrounded by restaurants and bars. South of the Campo, at the end of Via dei Balestrari, the Galleria Spada (Tues-Sun 8.30ain-7pm) is decorated in the manner of a Roman noble family and displays a small collection of paintings, best of which are a couple of portraits by Reni.

To the left off the courtyard is a crafty trompe 1'oeil tunnel by Borromini, whose trick perspective makes it appear four times its actual length. Across Via Arenula, through and beyond the Jewish Ghetto, the broad open space of Piazza della Bocca diVerita is home to two of the city's better-preserved Roman temples, the Temple of Fortuna Virilis and the circular Temple of Hercules Victor, both of which date from the end of the second century ВС, though the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, on the far side of the square, is more interesting, a typically Roman medieval basilica with a huge marble altar and surround and a colourful and ingenious Cosmati mosaic floor - one of the city's finest. Outside in the portico, the Bocca di Verita gives the square its name, an ancient Roman drain cover in the shape of an enormous face that tradition says will swallow the hand of anyone who doesn't tell the truth.

The Centro Storico

You need to walk a little way northwest from the Capitoline Hill to find the real city centre of Rome, the Centro Storico, circled by a bend in the Tiber, above Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The old Campus Martius of Roman times, it later became the heart of the Renaissance city, and is now an unruly knot of narrow streets holding some of the best of Rome's classical and Baroque heritage, as well as its street - and nightlife.

The boundary of the historic centre to the east. Via del Corso, is Rome's main shopping street and cuts straight through the heart of the city centre. Walking north from Piazza Venezia, the first building on the left is the Galleria Doria Pamphili (10am-5pm; closed Thurs & last half of Aug), one of many galleries housed in palaces belonging to Roman patrician families. Its collection includes Rome's best cache of Dutch and Flemish paintings, canvases by Caravaggio and Velazquez's painting of Pope Innocent X. The second left after the palace leads into Piazza Sant'Ignazio, an odd little square dominated by the church of Sant'lgnazio, which has a marvellous ceiling by Pozzo showing the entry of St Ignatius into paradise, employing sledgehammer trompe 1'oeil effects, notably in the mock cupola painted into the dome of the crossing. Stand on the disc in the centre of the nave for the full effect.

Follow Via di Seminario from here and you're standing in front of the Pantheon (daily 8.30/9am - 6.30pm; free) on Piazza della Rotonda, the most complete ancient Roman structure in the city, finished around 125 AD. Inside, the diameter of the dome and height of the building are precisely equal, and the hole in the dome's centre is a full 9m across; there are no visible arches or vaults to hold the whole thing up; instead, they're sunk into the concrete of the walls of the building. It would have been richly decorated, the coffered ceiling was covered in solid bronze until the seventeenth century, and the niches were filled with statues of the gods.

There's more artistic splendour on view behind the Pantheon, in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, one of the city's art-treasure churches, crammed with the tombs and gifts of wealthy Roman families. Of these, the Carafa chapel, in the south transept, is the best known, holding Fihppino Lippi's fresco of The Assumption, below which one painting shows a hopeful Ohviero Carafa being presented to the Virgin Mary by Thomas Aquinas; another depicts Aquinas confounding the heretics in the sight of two beautiful young boys - the future Medici popes Leo X and Clement VII. You should look, too, at the figure of Christ Bearing tin Cross, on the left-hand side of the main altar, a serene work painted for the church by Michelangelo in 1521.

In the opposite direction from the Pantheon, Piazza Navona is the most appealing square in Rome, an almost entirely enclosed space fringed with cafes and restaurants that follows the lines of the Emperor Domitian's chariot arena. Pope Innocent X built most of the grandiose palaces that surround it in the seventeenth century and commissioned Borromini to design the church of Sant'Agnese on the west side. The church, typically squeezed into the tightest of spaces by Borromini, supposedly stands on the spot where St Agnes, exposed naked to tin-public in the stadium, miraculously grew hair to cover herself.

The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi opposite, one of three that punctuate the square, is by Borromini's arch-rival, Bernini; each figure represents one of the four great rivers of the world - the Nile, Danube, Ganges and Plate - though only the horse, symbolizing tin-Danube, was actually carved by Bernini himself. It is astonishing to think that Mussolini once planned to plough a boulevard straight through the piazza.

Just out of the north end, you'll find Palazzo Altemps, functioning as part of the Museo Nazionale Roniano and featuring the unmissable ancient statuary collected by the Ludovisi family. The highlight is the original fifth-century-BC Greek throne, embellished with a delicate relief of the birth of Aphrodite. East of Altemps, the Renaissance facade of the church ol Sant'Agostino is not much to look at but the church's handful of art treasures might draw you in - among them Raphael's vibrant Isaiali, on the third pillar on the left, Sansovino's craggy St Annr, Virgin and Child, and, in the first chapel on tin left, a Madonna and Pilgrims by Caravaggio, which is badly lit, so come prepared with coins for the light box. There's more work by Caravaggio down Via della Scrota, in the French national church of San Luigi dei Frances!, in the last chapel on the left: early works, describing the life and martyrdom of St Matthew, best of which is the Calling of St Matthew on the left wall - Matthew is the dissolute-looking youth on the far left, illuminated by a shaft of sunlight. A little way up Via della Ripetta from here, the Ara Pads Augustae (closed for restoration) was built in 13 ВС to celebrate Augustus' victory over Spain and Gaul. It supports a fragmented frieze showing Augustus himself, his wife Livia, Tiberius, Agrippa, and various children clutching the togas of the elders, the last of whom is said to be the young Claudius.

At the far end of Via di Ripetta the Piazza del Popolo provides an impressive entrance to the city, all symmetry and grand vistas, although its real attraction is tin-church of Santa Maria del Popolo, which holds some of the best Renaissance art of any Roman church, including frescoes by Pinturicchio in the south aisle and two fine tombs by Andrea Sansovino. Two pictures by Caravaggio get most atten tiou - the Conversion of St Paul and the Crucifixion of St Peter.

Villa Borghese

At the northern edge of the city centre, the Villa Borghese (Metro Flaminio or Spagna), now beautifully restored, is made up of the grounds of the seventeenth-century palace of Cardinal Scipione Borghese - a vast and peaceful area of woods, lakes and grass. The main attraction is the Galleria Borghese (Tues-Sun 9am-7pm), which has an assortment of works collected by Scipione Borghese, notably sculptures by Bernini and a small, but fine collection of paintings: Aeneas and Anchises, Rape of Proserpine, Apollo and Daphne and David.

The Villa Borgheses two other major museums are on the other side of the park, along the Viale delle Belle Arti. Of these, Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia (Tues-Sun 8.30am-7.30pm) is the worlds primary collection of Etruscan treasures.

The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (Tues-Sun 8.30am-7.20pm) houses an undistinguished collection of nineteenth - and twentieth-century Italian are including works by Modigliani, Di Chirico, Boccion and other Futurists, along with the odd Cezanne, Mondrian and Klimt.

South of the centre

On the southern side of the Palatine Hill is the Circo Massimo, a long green expanse that was ancient Rome s chariot racing track. The arena once held a crowd of 200,000, but now a litter of stones at theViale Aventino end is all that remains Across the far side of Piazza di Porta Capena, the Baths of Caracalla are better preserved, and give a much better sense of the scale of Roman architecture. It's a short walk from behind the baths down Via Gitto to the Protestant Cemetery, accessible direct on metro line В (Piramide stop), the burial place of Keats and Shelley - a small, tranquil enclave, crouched behind the mossy pyramidal tomb of Caius Cestius.

San Paolo fuori le Mura, 2km south, is one of the four patriarchal basilicas Rome, occupying the supposed site of St. Paul's tomb. Of the four, it has fared k well over the years, and the church you see is largely a nineteenth-century recon struction after a devastating fire. It is a huge, impressive building, and home to a handful of ancient features in the south transept, the Paschal Candlestick is a remarkable piece of Romanesque carving, supported by half-human beasts and rising through entwined tendrils and strangely human limbs and bodies to scene from Christ's life, the bronze aisle doors date from 1070, and the Cosmati cloister, just behind here, is probably Rome's finest, its spiralling, mosaic-encrusted column enclosing a peaceful rose garden.

Further south still, on the edge of the city, the Via Appia was the most important of all the Roman trade routes. Its sides are lined with the underground burial cemeteries or Catacombs of the first Christians. There are five complexes in all, dating from the first to the fourth centuries, almost entirely emptied of bodies now but still decorated with the primitive signs and frescoes that were the hallmark of the then-burgeoning Christian movement. You can get to the main grouping on bus #218 from the Colosseum (Via San Gregono in Laterano), but the only ones of any significance are the catacombs of San Callisto, burial place of all the third-century popes, whose tombs are preserved in the papal crypt and the site of some well-preserved seventh - an eighth-century frescoes, and those of San Sebastiano 500m further on under a basilica that was originally built by Constantine Tours take in paintings of doves and fish, a contemporary carved oil lamp and inscriptions dating the tombs themselves - although the most striking features are three pagan tombs discovered when archeologists were burrowing beneath the floor of the basilica upstairs. Nearby graffiti records the fact that this was indeed, albeit temporarily, where the Apostles Peter and Paul rested.


Across the Tiber from the centre of town, Trastevere is a small, tightly knit neigh bourhood that was once the artisan quarter of the city and has since become gentrified. It is now home to much of its most vibrant and youthful nightlife - and some of Rome's best restaurants The best time to come is on Sunday morning, when the Porta Portese flea market stretches down Via Portuense to Trastevere station in a congested medley of junk, antiques and clothing.

Afterwards, stroll north up Via Anicia to the church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere built over the site of the second-century home of the patron saint of music Locked in the hot chamber of her own baths for several days, she sang her way through the ordeal until her head was hacked half off with an axe. At the back of the church you can see excavations of the baths, though hints at restoration have robbed these of any atmosphere. If you get the chance, have a peek at the Singing Gallery's beautifully coloured and tender frescoes by Piero Cavallim.

Santa Cecilia is situated in the quieter part of Trastevere, on the southern side of Viale Trastevere, the wide boulevard which cuts through the centre of the district. There's more life on the other side centred on Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, named after the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere - held to be the first official church in Rome, built on a site where a fountain of oil is said to have sprung on the day of Christ's birth and sporting some of the city's most impressive mosaics, also by Cavallim North towards the Tiber, the Villa Farnesina is known for its Renaissance murals, including a Raphael-designed painting of Cupid and Psyche, completed in 1517 by the artists assistants. Raphael did, however, manage to finish the Galatea next door. The other paintings in the room are by Sebastiano del Piombo and the architect of the building, Peruzzi, who also decorated the upstairs Salone delle Prospettive which shows trompe 1'oeil galleries with views of contemporary Rome - one of the earliest examples of the technique.

Castel Sant'Angelo, St Peter's and the Vatican Museums

Across the Tiber from Rome's old centre, the Castel Sant'Angelo was the burial place of the Emperor Hadrian In the sixteenth century, the pope converted the building for use as a fortress and built a passageway to link it with the Vatican as a refuge in times of siege Inside, rooms hold swords, armour, guns and the like, while below, dungeons and storerooms are testament to the castle's grisly past as the city s most notorious Renaissance prison Upstairs, the official papal apartments, accessible from the terrace, are extravagantly decorated with lewd frescoes amid paintings by Poussin, Jordaens and others Via della Conciliazione, which Mussolini ploughed through the old borgo to seal a pact with the pope, leads to the Vatican City (Metro Cipro), a tiny territory surrounded by high walls on its far side and on the near side opening its doors to the rest of the city and its pilgrims in the form of Bernini's Piazza San Pietro.

The basilica of St Peter's (daily 7am-6/7pm, free) is the replacement of a basilica built during the time of Constantine, to a plan initially conceived at the turn of the fifteenth century by Bramante and finished off, heavily modified, over a century later by Carlo Maderno, making it something of a bridge between the Renaissance and Baroque eras The inside is full of features from the Baroque period, although the first thing you see, on the right, is Michelangelo's Pieta, completed when he was just 24 and, following an attack in 1972, displayed behind glass To the right is the Holy Door, opened by the pope for 2000, which he had declared a holy year, in all other years it remains bricked up On the right-hand side of the nave, the bronze statue of St Peter was cast in the thirteenth century by Arnolfo di Camblo and has its right foot polished smooth by the attentions of pilgrims Bronze was also the material used in Bernini's massive 28m high baldachmo, the centrepiece of the sculptor's embellishment of the interior Bernini's feverish sculpting decorates the apse, too, his cafedra enclosing the supposed chair of St Peter in a curvy marble and stucco throne An entrance off the aisle leads to the treasury, while back at the central crossing steps lead down to the Vatican Grottoes (daily 7/8am-5/6pm), where a number of popes are buried in grandiose tombs - in the main, those not distinguished enough to be buried up above Under the portico, to the right of the main doors,) ou can ascend to the roof and dome - from where the views over the city are glorious.

A five-minute walk out of the northern side of the piazza takes you up to the only part of the Vatican Palace you can visit independently, the Vatican Museums (Mon-Sat 8 45am-4 45pm, last Sun of month 8 45am-l 45pm, в10, free Sun) - quite simply the largest, richest museum complex in the world, stuffed with booty from every period of the city's history. There's no point in trying to see everything on one visit, you'd do far better to select what you want to see and aim to return another time if you can. It's worth also taking account of the official, colour-coded routes that are constructed for varying amounts of time and interest and can take anything from 45 minutes to the best part of a day.

Start off at the Raphael Stanze, at the opposite end of the building to the entrance, a set of rooms decorated for Pope Julius II by Raphael among others Of the two most interesting rooms, the Stanza Eliodoro is home to the Expulsion of Hehodorus from the Temple, an allusion to the military success of Julius II, depicted on the left in portrait Not to be outdone, Leo X, Julius's successor, in the Meeting of Attda and Si Leo opposite, ordered Raphael to substitute his head for that of Julius II, turning the painting into an allegory of the Battle of Ravenna at which he was present, thus he appears twice, as pope and as the equally portly Medici cardinal. Just behind In the same room, the Mass at Bolwza shows Julius again on the right, pictured in attendance at a famous thirteenth-century miracle in Orvieto. The next room, the Stanza della Segnatura or pope's study, was decorated between 1512 and 1514, and its School of Athens, on the near wall as you come in, is perhaps Raphael's most renowned work, a representation of the "Triumph of Scientific Truth" in which all the great minds from antiquity are present.

Eating and drinking

You can eat cheaply and well in Rome. Restaurants cluster near Campo dei Fion and Piazza Navona, but Trastevere is Rome's traditional restaurant ghetto and the home of some fine and reasonably priced eateries.


Roman nightlife still retains some of the smart ethos satirized in Fellini's Dolce Vita Discos and clubs cover the range there are vast glittering palaces with stunning lights and sound systems, places that are not much more than upmarket bars with music, and other, more down-to-earth places to dance, playing a more interesting selection of music to a younger crowd, with the centri sociali offering an innovative alternative to the mainstream scene, usually on a "pay what you can" basis Rome's rock scene is a fairly limp affair, and the city is much more in its element with jazz, with lots of venues and a wide choice of styles performed by a healthy array of local talent. Most clubs close during July and August, or move to locations on the coast, but Estate Romana organizes main outdoor locations all over Rome for concerts, discos, bars and cinemas.

Many top international groups participate You may have to pay a membership fee on top of the admission price Drinks, though, are generally no more expensive than you'd pay in the average bar.

The city's best source of listings is the magazine Roma C'e issued on Friday with a section in English, or the TiovaRoma supplement published with the Thursday edition of La Repubblica.

Classical music, opera and film

For classical music, the city's churches host a wide range of choral, chamber and organ recitals, many of them free. International names appear at Rome's new Auditorium. The Accademia di Santa Cecilia stages concerts by its own or visiting orchestras at Via della Conciliazione 4 and, in summer, in the gardens of the Villa Giulia. Rome's opera scene concentrates on the Teatro dell'Opera, on the Via Firenze, Piazza B. Gigh in winter and at various outdoor venues in summer. Purists should be prepared for a carnival atmosphere and plenty of unscheduled intervals. Rome's two English-language cinemas are the Pasqumo, Piazza Sant'Egidio 10 on Vicolo del Piede in Trastevere, and the Quirinetta at Via Minghetti 4. Other cinemas occasionally showing English-language films are the Nuovo Sacher, Largo Ascianghi 1, and Alcazar. Via Cardinal Merry delVal 14.


Much of Rome's nightlife moves outdoors during the summer, all part of the Estate Romana programme; festivals offer live music, movies, markets and munchies and may be a more appealing option than the clubs on a hot summer evening.

La Festa di Noantri Viale Trastevere and around, Medieval Trastevere's traditional summer festival in honour of the Virgin, with street stalls selling all sorts of snacks and trinkets, and a grand finale of fireworks. The main event is the Virgin's effigy being hauled joyously from the church of Santa Agata to that of San Crisogono, and back again. Last two weeks of July. La Festa dell'Unita Venues change annually; check Roma C'e for details. Throughout the summer, this cheery hotchpotch of music, film, eateries, games and other attractions - much of it free - is the re-founded Communist Party's way of reminding people of what fun the Left can be.


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