Archive for Rome sightseeing

Rome Random Facts

Rome, the Eternal City, is a city unlike any other in the world. Here are a few random facts about this amazing city!  Enjoy and Share!

Trevi Fountain Rome Italy

  • Decorated by 4,000 deceased monks The Capuchin Crypt in Rome consists of five chapels and a corridor 60 meters long. c
  • The abbreviation SPQR can be found on many Roman statues, buildings, and military standards. It stands for “senatus populusque romanus.” meaning “The senate and people of Rome.”
  • Togas were unique to Rome and were worn by free-born Roman men as a mark of distinction. Ironically, the only women who wore togas were prostitutes because they were not allowed to wear stolas, the traditional garment of Roman women. d
  • On the day the Colosseum officially opened, it remained open for 3 full days and 5,000 animals were killed. During its history, it has been estimated that over 500,000 people (men and women) and over a million animals from all over the world were killed. e
  • Because Romans were highly superstitious and feared anything to do with the left, they based their words for “left” and “left-handed” on the modern meaning of sinister. They words are  sinistra and sinister, respectively. a
  • The Pantheon, “Temple of the Gods,” was built by the emperor Hadrian (118-125). It is remarkable for a couple of reasons: 1) its massive dome has withstood the test of time and elements for almost 2000 years and I made solely of concret with no reinforcing steel and 2) The oculus in the center of the dome is open air. Until the nineteenth century The Pantheon was the largest concrete curved dome that existed. a
  • If you have ever seen the film Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, then you are familiar with the Mouth of Truth or “La bocca della Verita.” Legend says that if you tell a lie andyou’re your hand in the mouth it will cut off your hand. At one point priest in the Middle ages actually put scorpions in the mouth to perpetuate the myth. The Mouth of Truth is now thought to be an ancient Roman manhole cover or part of a first-century statuec
  • Blessing of the Throats – Every year in the middle of winter, February 3rd, after the mass at the church of the Madonna del Divino Amore in Campo Marzio, the priest gives a blessing to people’s throats to help get them through the winter. To bless the throats the priest holds two lit candles in the form of a cross and touches the people on the throat repeating the phrase: “Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.” b
  • Mass in Aramaic – Every Sunday at 10:30am in the church of Santa Maria in Campo Marzio you can be a part of a mass in Jesus’ language, Aramaic, as well as Arabic and Italian. b
  • The Most Holy Crucifix – One night in 1519 the church of San Marcello al Corso burnt to the ground in a fire. Everything was destroyed except a wooden crucifix from the main alter. This crucifix later put an end to a plague and became known as the Most Holy Crucifix. There is a legend that the sculptor of this particular crucifix actually killed a man in his sleep so that he could create a more realistic representation of Christ on the Cross.b
  • The Trevi Fountain took 30 years to build. It was originally started because of a competition that Pope Clement XII organized. In 1732 the work began and was designed of Niccolo Salvi, which was influenced by Bernini. It remained unfinished until after Niccolo died in 1751, and was finally finished in 1762 by Giuseppe Panini.b
  • Invito a Palazzo – “Invitation to the Palace.” One day each year there are several banks open to the public for tours. The reason is because many of the palaces in Rome are now occupied by banks. These palaces have amazing frescoes and sculptures you can see on the first Saturday in October for free.b
  • The giant and famous obelisk in St. Peter’s Square is also a meridian (one of the largest in the world).b
  • Of all the many many basilicas in the world, there are only 4 in all of Christendom that possess a holy door and they are located in Rome. The four churches are: Saint Peter in the Vatican, Saint Mary Major, Saint John Lateran, and Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Why is a holy door a holy door? Because they are only opened every 25 years during Jubilees. b
  • Blessings in Rome – There are many different things in Rome you can get blessed on specific dates. Some include, blessing of the throats, blessings of expectant mothers, blessing of the animals, blessing of motorists and many more.b



a Burgan, Michael. 2005. Empire of Ancient Rome. New York, NY: Facts on File Books.

bLovatelli, Ginevra. 2012. Secret Rome. France: Jonglez

c The Sydney Morning Herald. “Rome—Places to See.” November 28, 2008.

d Wolf, Greg, ed. 2003. Cambridge Illustrated History: Roman World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

e Kerrigan, Michael. 2001. Ancient Rome and the Roman Empire. London, UK: BBC WorldWide Ltd.

Destination Rome: May 15-21, 2013

Ultimate Rome Tour May 15-21, 2013 $2997 + airfare

Rome Colosseum

Our 7 Days in Rome tour is not for the faint of heart. You will be dazzled by Ancient Rome, including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Pantheon and more. You will marvel at such places as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museum, and of course the Sistine Chapel. You’ll also enjoy a private car tour, walking tours, incredible eateries and have plenty of time to explore on your own.

Register here in 3 easy steps for this amazing 7 day tour!


Day 1) Welcome to Italy

Welcome to Rome! After your airport transfer brings you to our penthouse apartment overlooking the Colosseum you will have time to get settled. At 5pm we will gather up and head out on a walking orientation tour of the area. Half way through our walk we will stop for dinner at a family run establishment just outside of Campo De Fiori. After dinner we finish our walk in the moonlight ending at the Spanish Steps. A short metro ride back to the Colosseum ends our day with some wonderful night pictures.  Activity level – Heavy

Day 2) Private Car tour and Tivoli

We spend the morning on a private car tour around Rome with stops at exciting  places like the Catacombs and the Baths of Caracalla before we head out to Tivoli to see Hadrian’s Villa. While here we enjoy gorgeous views as we eat lunch. After lunch we head to see Hadrian’s Villa, then are taken back to our place in Rome.  Activity level – Heavy

Day 3) Ancient Rome

We start the day with an amazing guided tour of the Colosseum including the Hypogeum and the third level. After the tour you have free time to explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill as much or as little as you’d like. We meet back together in the evening for a wonderful dinner in our own neighborhood. Activity level – Heavy

Day 4) Vatican Day

The Vatican Museum winds around for over a mile of amazing and wondrous sites that end at the Sistine Chapel. Our local expert guide will lead us through this awe-inspiring museum. After our tour we will have lunch together, then walk to the front of St. Peters Basilica and enter. Once inside you will be set free to take as little or as long as you’d like to see the inside of the basilica. After the basilica you are free for the remainder of the day to explore on your own.  Activity level – Heavy

Day 5) Church Day

This morning is free time. You have the option to go the see the Pope on his Wednesday speaking to start your day. We will meet as a group at the penthouse to head off on a tour of a few amazing churches, Santa Maria Maggiore, Basilica San Clemente and Santa Maria degli Angeli. We will have amazing Persian food for lunch and dinner at a local pizza place back by the Colosseum.  Activity level – Moderate

Day 6) Borghese Day

A guided tour of the Borghese Gallery starts this day off wonderfully. After the tour we have plenty of time to walk the Borghese Gardens for as long or as little as you like, since you are free for the rest of the day until Dinner. We will meet for dinner at the penthouse and walk a couple blocks to an amazing restaurant for our farewell dinner and talk about how much fun we had this week.  Activity level -Moderate

Day 7) Depart Italy

After breakfast we bid our farewells and head out with the airport transfer or to other places in Italy and Europe.

Register here in 3 easy steps for this amazing 7 day tour!

Rome, Italy vs. the Sandwich


By Claudio Lavanga, NBC News

ROME — It’s one of the highlights of any trip to Rome: Sitting on the Spanish Steps eating a real Italian gelato. But on Oct. 1, it became a potentially costly vacation memory.

The mayor of the “eternal city” has made it illegal to eat snacks and junk food on or around its monuments.

Check out the rest of this article before you head out to enjoy a snack on the Spanish Steps… Click Here to read more!

Picture of the Week: Trevi Fountain

The Amazing Trevi Fountain in Rome Italy in October!

This beautiful fountain can be enjoyed in person on one of our great Ultimate Rome 7 Day tours in 2013

2013 Tour Dates Now Open For Registration

Our new 2013 tours are open for registration!!!

If you’ve been on the fence about signing up for one of our amazing Italy tours, now is the time to take action.

We have 2 tours departing in May:

These tours will be selling out by the end of December so don’t wait to get signed up. REGISTER HERE

We have 4 tours departing in September and October:

Again these tours are filling quickly, so don’t wait! REGISTER HERE

We look forward to seeing you next spring or fall on one of our amazing Italy tours.

Underground Rome

A couple very interesting articles about the miles and miles of underground Rome!!!

Next time you are in Rome you should check out a few of these amazing places.

National Geographic Underground Rome

Go Europe’s Underground Rome tour ideas

Our Rome 7 Day Hardcore Sightseeing Tour includes some amazing underground tours like San Clamente and the Catacombs!

4 Can’t Miss Sights In Rome No One Tells You About

Rome, an amazing city filled with culture, cuisine, art, architecture and sights not to be missed. On most people’s list of places to see is the Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Galleria Borghese, Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and the list goes on. What most people don’t always hear about are some more of the strange yet wonderful places that often go unnoticed. These 4 sights should be on anyone’s list of to-see places when they travel to Rome.

1) Cappuchin Crypt

The Cappuchin Crypt is an amazing tiny space decorated with the clean skeletal remains of 4,000 monks. The room, which is located beneath Santa Maria della Immacolata Concezione church, is very artfully decorated with these skulls and bones because they ran out of room to bury people in this once extremely sought after burial ground (due to the soil being from Jerusalem). To fix this problem they exhumed the clean bones and used them as decoration. There is no fee to enter, but a donation is requested. Also, no photographs may be taken in the crypt.

2) Museum of Purgatory

Also known as the Souls of Purgatory Museum, this can’t miss sight is located in Church of the Sacred Heart. In this one small room you will see pictures and actual items that are said to be evidence of contact from those stuck between Heaven and Hell: Purgatory. There is no fee to enter this museum.

3) Rome Crime Museum

Housed in an old prison, the Crime Museum has three different sections to it and is run by the Ministry of Justice. The most commonly visited section is called Punishment and Crimes and happens to be the more gruesome and gory area. It illustrates what criminals had to deal with after they were sentenced. Life size models including the Iron Maiden can be seen here. Entrance to this Museum is 2 Euros.

4) Museum of The Sanitary Arts

Although this museum may not seem to be much when judged by the name, it happens to have some very fascinating things. For example, it has a set of Siamese twins, a large collection of wax models once used for teaching purposes, a basketball sized liver stone straight out of a camel, and several bottles filled with different floating things. Admission is free to this museum.

As you can see there are some strange places to visit in Rome that you have probably never heard about. Do some digging and see what other wonderful and off the beaten path places you can find. Double check the prices and hours of operation on their websites as these can vary dramatically from place to place. Now head out and enjoy the unique side of Rome.