The best preserved of Rome’s ancient landmarks, this one-time pagan temple is a monument to architectural precision and harmony. Featuring a dome whose diameter is exactly equal to its height (both measure 140 feet), it is called the world’s only architecturally perfect structure. One of Rome’s most consecrated burial sites, the Pantheon is the final resting place for the Renaissance painter and architect Raphael and the 19th century Italian kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I.
This stunning Baroque piazza is defined by imposing Bernini sculptures, three magnificent fountains, the grand Sant'Agnese in Agone church and the bustling, non-stop energy of visitors from around the world. The 17th century site of medieval jousts and carnivals, it is still one of the most popular gathering places in Rome, especially during “La Befana,” the traditional Christmas Fair held each December.
Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary
Rome’s feral cats have been around almost as long as Rome itself, so much so that a "biocultural heritage" law makes it illegal to move or chase off five or more cats living together in a natural urban habitat. In the early 1900s, many stray felines made the newly excavated Roman temples at the Largo di Torre Argentina their unofficial home. Since then, they’ve been taken care of by the devoted gattare ("cat ladies"), who run a cat shelter from cramped rooms beneath the square’s sidewalk. Today, as many as 350 cats live in the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, with most walking freely throughout the ruins or entertaining visitors at street level.
With an imposing sculpture of Oceanus presiding over its rushing waters and the grand Palazzo Poli looming in the immediate background, this majestic fountain is one of the most splendid in a city known for splendid fountains. Don’t forget: If you stand with your back to the fountain and toss one coin into it with your right hand over your left shoulder, you are guaranteed a return trip to Rome someday. Two coins ensure that you’ll fall in love and three mean that you’ll return to Rome, fall in love and marry.
If you’re standing here, you’ve found your way to the exact geographic center of Rome, the point from which all distances are measured. Once the starting point of Via Flaminia, a vital commercial and trade route extending east across Italy, it is today one of Rome’s busiest shopping avenues. The remains of the statue of Isis, called Madama Lucrezia, stands in the corner of the piazza near the Church of San Marco. It was once one of the “talking statues” upon which artists and poets hung works of political critique, something that still occasionally occurs to this day.
Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
Before becoming the political, administrative and religious centre of Rome, the Forum was an inhospitable marshland.
From the late 7th century CE, after the area was drained and reclaimed, several monuments were progressively built on it: first the buildings for political, religious and commercial activities, then, during the 2nd c. BCE, the civilian basilicas, where judicial activities took place.
By the end of the Republican era, the ancient Roman Forum was already fully built up so that only a few monuments were added during the Empire: the Temple of Vespasian, that of Antoninus and Faustina, the monumental Arch of Septimius Severus, the imposing Basilica of Maxentius. The last monument was the column erected in 608 CE in honour of the Byzantine Emperor Phocas.
The Palatine is the hill where, according to tradition, Romulus founded Rome in 754 BCE: the remains of huts confirm in full the details of the legend. The elevated position and the proximity to the Tiber made the Palatine very suitable for the settlement; during the Republican era it became the residential district of the Roman aristocracy.
The Emperor Augustus turned the Palatine into the official seat of power and started the construction of the Imperial Palaces, subsequently enlarged by the Julio-Claudian Emperors and by Nero. Yet it was Domitian who radically transformed the hill, by building atop the previous dwellings the majestic Flavian Palace, designed by the architect Rabirius.
Pantheon Royal Suite
Piazza della Rotonda, 7, 00186 Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 0668805002
Fax: +39 0668804365