Grabbing an opportunity to shock his viewers, the artist Caravaggio also sneaks in a self-portrait — this time, as the head of Goliath. Bernini designed this side chapel like a theater — with members of the family who paid for the art looking on from their box seats. Rome's ancient wall stretches 11 miles. It went almost directly from being a pagan temple to being a Christian church. Downtown Rome's main street, the Via del Corso, is pedestrianized, and strollers just love it. You just go outside, meet your friends, have a gelato, an aperitivo, and just enjoy the city. But at the same time I experienced such delight that I wished it would last forever.". Controlling its entire coastline, Romans called the Mediterranean simply "Mare Nostrum" —"Our Sea.". Abandoned in the wild and suckled by a she-wolf, they grew up to establish the city. Rome Travel Guide by Rick Steves For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, see our FAQ . For instance, when Rome went to the races, it came here — the Circus Maximus. Rick Steves' Europe Egyptâs Nile, Alexandria, and Luxor. I often find the antipasti and pasta dishes more varied and interesting than the more expensive secondi, or main courses. And the Pantheon, with my favorite skylight anywhere, inspired future ages to great domes of their own. This scene, showing Peter looking after early Christians, while centuries old, looks almost new. In fact, in the third century, 16 emperors were assassinated in a 50-year period. These catacombs are scattered all around the city, just outside the walls. Another colorful Roman gathering place is the Campo de' Fiori. The museum helps you imagine life before the fall of Rome. Everyone else...barbarian. But the notorious Roman traffic is being tamed. This special episode is a sonnet to travel - an introspective love story, set in Europe, that vividly celebrates the rewards of exploring our world and the joy that awaits those who travel. This is the scriptural basis for the primacy of Rome in the Catholic Church. With its million people, Rome needed lots of water. While pagans didn't enjoy the promise of salvation, those who could afford it purchased a kind of immortality by building themselves big and glitzy memorials. While much of Rome is splendid and grandiose, it can be intimate as well. Like so many classical statues, this is a 2,000-year-old Roman copy of a 2,500-year-old Greek original. Rick Steves' Europe. Back at Campo de' Fiori the artichokes and tomatoes are packed away and the social street lamps are turned on. Best of all, the monument offers a grand view of the Eternal City. For a dressy night out, this is a reliable and surprisingly reasonable choice — reserve ahead. They sacrificed an animal on the top, and thanked the gods. The square is surrounded by fun eateries, great for people-watching. The place to contemplate that thought is at the Vatican. Bernini's David is textbook Baroque. Besides the catacombs themselves, there's a historic fourth-century basilica with the relics of St. Sebastian, the (supposedly) original Quo Vadis footprints of Christ, and an exquisite Bernini statue. The citizens of Rome gathered here in the heart of the Forum to hear Mark Antony say, in Shakespeare's words, "Friends, Romans, countrymen...lend me your ears; I [have] come to bury Caesar, not to praise him." Bikes come with locks to allow you to make sightseeing stops. The church is filled with symbols of Christianity's triumph over pagan Rome: For instance, tradition says these gilded bronze columns once stood in pagan Rome's holiest temple. Then we'll head out on a bike ride along the ancient Appian Way and take in nearby marvels of Roman engineering. The Pantheon survived so well because it's been in continuous use for over 2,000 years. The inscription declares, in Latin: Tu es Petrus..."You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church." Get inspired with Rick Stevesâ recommended places to go and things to do, with tips, photos, videos, and travel information on Rome. The Republic — designed to rule a small city-state — found itself trying to rule most of Europe. We're here in May — and it's punterelle, asparagus, and artichokes. This is one of Europe's top three or four houses of art. Allow two hours for a quick visit, three or four hours for enough time to enjoy it. This is the mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, whose father-in-law was extremely wealthy. The garden-like core of the country — where serious administration takes place — is closed to the public. Once a cardinal's lavish mansion, today it welcomes the public. Crowds tend to be thinner (and lines shorter) in the afternoon (especially after 15:00 in summer); this is also true at the Forum. Built by Constantine, the first Christian emperor, this was Rome's most important church through medieval times. When the modern nation of Italy unified in the late 1800s, it absorbed most of the Papal States, including the city of Rome. Rick: Grazie. Popular with my readers, Francesca understandably books up quickly; if she's busy, she'll recommend one of her colleagues. Shop Our Holiday Sale. As visitors, it's our challenge to appreciate the grandeur of this incredible city built on the scale of giants. Travelers can enjoy better restaurants without going broke by sharing an array of smaller dishes. And this one puts you curbside at a victory parade with the emperor — the Eisenhower of his day — on a chariot, Winged Victory on his shoulder, and trumpets proclaiming his glory. Reservations are mandatory and easy to get in English by booking online or calling +39-06-32810 (press 2 for English). Rent a bike or, for romantics, a pedaled rickshaw (riscio). After a lifetime of exploring Europe - and inspiring Americans to see Europe as the springboard for world exploration - Rick Steves shares his reasons why. The empire was established, and this marked the start of the Pax Romana. Busy and big as Rome is, getting around is relatively easy. The purpose: more PR...telling the story of yet another military victory. From ancient times until the advent of trains and airplanes, this was most visitors' first look at Rome. Rick: Ciao, grazie. We'll ramble through the venerable heart of Rome, admire breathtaking Bernini statues, ponder sunbeams inside St. Peter's at the Vatican, and mingle with the Romans over an early-evening stroll. The Vatican City is embedded in the city of Rome. And the museum also shows a more peaceful and intimate side of Roman life. As is the case for many of Europe's top sights, admission requires a reservation. Look at this! Pop into just about any church and you hardly know where to look. While many tourists consider Palatine Hill just extra credit after the Forum, it offers insight into the greatness of Rome that's well worth the effort. Francesca: Yes, I have. Persephone's entire body seems to scream for help as Pluto drags his catch into the underworld. In the 1700s, British aristocrats on the "Grand Tour" of Europe came here to ponder Rome's decay. And this is one of three episodes â¦ Its centerpiece: St. Peter's Basilica. We're dropping by Ristorante da Fortunato. A determined cherub rips pages from a Protestant book. All the full length Rick Steves Europe PBS Episodes that I could find. While you can show your reservation on your mobile device, it feels safer to have a physical printout. People who spoke Latin or Greek were considered civilized, part of the empire. There was a kind of religious freedom back then. Later, Christian pilgrims passed through on their way to the Vatican, and a thriving market developed. In fact, in the sixth century, the barbarians did just that. Hi, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the best of Europe. To call it vast is like calling Einstein smart. Using Roman-pioneered concrete, brick, and their trademark round arches, Romans constructed much larger buildings than the Greeks. The scale of this monument is over-the-top: 200 feet high, 500 feet wide. Rick: Scusi signora, dove Campo de' Fiori? Important squares are still marked by towering columns. The Capitoline Hill — which rises majestically from the busy streets — has long been the home of Rome's city government. Woman: È là. Rick: So, this is just sort of an inclination, early evening, cool of the day. It's sweat-free, and it's the quickest way from point to point. Thankfully no one cannibalized the magnificent Pantheon, the best-preserved temple from ancient Rome. And they still seem to gallop, as they did 2,000 years ago, into Rome. Francesca: It's a perfect evening. The Appian Way — Rome's gateway to the East — is fun to explore on a rented bike. This is one splurge I'll never forget. This boy is about to become head of state. But the Romans also pioneered a totally new form of art — sculpting painfully realistic portraits of emperors and important citizens. In about 65 A.D., the apostle Peter was crucified within sight of this obelisk. The contrast provided by Mary's rough robe makes his body — even though carved in hard marble — feel soft and believable. Then, after hiking the Appian Way and exploring the catacombs, we track down the best gelato in Rome. The wine recommendation: a nice red from Piedmont. Rome took Greek culture and wrote it in capital letters. Good guidebooks have all the details. Marvel at the splendor. The Vatican is built upon the memory and grave of the first pope, St. Peter. With Rick Steves. The second-century original —the greatest equestrian statue of antiquity — is showcased in the adjacent Capitoline Museum. On weekend nights, when the Campo is packed with beer-drinking kids, the medieval square is transformed into one vast Roman street party. See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. The old center of Rome is best explored on foot — ideally in the spring or fall. It's a story of colossal achievement and monumental failure. The gates of imperial Rome are a two-mile chariot ride this way. Largo Argentina is a modern transportation hub, with traffic roaring all around some of the Rome's oldest temples. Part of your Roman experience — regardless of your budget — should be experiencing a fine meal. But they're not paintings at all. Romans are proud of their generous green spaces. High atop the canopy over the altar, a box supposedly contains bits of the skulls of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The first episode in this three-part mini-series distills Rick Steves' 30 years of travel experience into 30 minutes of practical advice on how to have a fun, affordable, and culturally broadening trip to Europe. Francesca: Bene, grazie. Rome is the birthplace of the Baroque style and Gian Lorenzo Bernini — who lived and worked here in the 17th century — is considered its father. GBH 2. ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | In the back streets it's clear; this city is a collection of real neighborhoods — artfully living well in a rustic and ancient shell. Like cities all over Europe, more and more of its old center has become traffic-free and pedestrian-friendly. See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. Rome's thriving economy was fueled by plunder and slaves won in distant wars. Little by little, the "King Pope" established his own empire. A morning spent wandering is filled with surprises. Surviving bits of the ancient empire are everywhere you look. Focusing on the grandeur of classical Rome, we marvel at the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the empire's exquisite art. And we'll meet the locals - and their beloved dogs and sheep - everywhere. In 509, they tossed out their king and established the relatively democratic Roman Republic. Francesca: Oh yes, that always — you know how the Italians are so aware of themselves and they like to be looked at, and they like to look at each other. In RICK STEVES ROME, Rick traces the rise and fall of classical Rome, meanders through the heart of Berniniâs Baroque Rome and makes a pilgrimage to the Vatican. As just about anything important that happened in ancient Rome happened here, it's arguably the most important piece of real estate in Western civilization. After the intellectual nature of the Renaissance, Baroque, which followed, was emotional. From $9.99 to buy season. A viewing perch gives travelers a close-up look at those huge letters and a heavenly perspective into the church. The square fronting it is where, in the 1930s, Mussolini whipped up Italy's nationalistic fervor, ultimately sending a generation of Italian men off to a catastrophic war. Upon entering, your first impression is: It's huge…600 feet long, bathed in sunbeams. Terms of Service | Privacy. There's no hurry. The church, originally a poor Carmelite church, was slathered with Baroque richness in the 17th century. This is a textbook example of continuous narration. This became the Roman Forum. Dinner within splashing distance of a tub from the ancient Baths of Caracalla caps a perfectly Roman day. In the year 400 you could be killed for not being a Christian. Thanks to this lack of originality, ancient Greek statues were preserved for our enjoyment today. And peel up any street or square — this is a republican-era temple — and you'll find stony remnants of Rome's grand past, standing right next to its modern present. The senate met here and set the legal standards that still guide Western civilization. After years of searching out my favorite European restaurants, I've found a few universal indicators for a great eating value. Once again, this art carried a message. And this painted garden — wallpapering a Roman villa — showed an appreciation for nature while creating an atmosphere of serenity. Its watery Baroque sculpture uses the palace behind the fountain as a theatrical backdrop for the figure of "Ocean," who represents water in every form. As a tour guide, I've lost entire groups in here. In actuality, the first Romans mixed and mingled here — in the valley between the famous Seven Hills of Rome. In this weekâs episode, Rick explores many areas of Rome, and the Baroque influence there. Romans emulated the high culture of the Greeks, and when it came to capturing beauty, their forte was making excellent copies of Greek originals. With sunlight illuminating its alabaster window — as if powering the Holy Spirit, it encrusts the legendary throne of St. Peter with a starburst of Baroque praise. Getting one's easy — just a phone call or visit the website, and you get an entry time. Here Raphael paints The School of Athens…a who's who of ancient Greek intellectual heroes…many painted with the features of Renaissance greats: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and a self-portrait of Raphael himself. [€10] Halls and courtyards are littered with ancient Greek and Roman masterpieces — like the Laocoön…so inspirational to the great masters of the Renaissance. The little-visited Museum of the Risorgimento fills several floors with displays on the movement and war that led to the unification of Italy in 1870. But the grandeur of the Roman Empire lived on in the Roman Church. The gates of imperial Rome are a two-mile chariot ride this way. This "Altar of Peace" offers a stirring glimpse at the pride and power of the Roman Empire at its peak. I like to begin near the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, at the far (southern) end of the key sights, and work northward (mostly downhill) toward central Rome. Now, 1600, Baroque went beyond realism to wow its viewers with exuberance. Stand under the Pantheon's solemn dome to gain a new appreciation for the sophistication of these ancient people. A wine shop that grew into a thriving restaurant, Enoteca Corsi is a charming local scene with the family table in back, where the kids do their homework. The Vatican is ruled — both politically and religiously — by the pope. Tu? I'm Rick Steves. The wide, curving staircase is one of Rome's iconic sights. In the seventh season of Rick Steves' Europe, America's leading authority on European travel Rick Steves rediscovers Rome, Florence, Paris, London, England's Lake District and Durham, and Venice. I assume if I had good luck in the past with eating at a restaurant that I saw on Anthony's show (Bouchon in Vegas), then I probably can't go wrong with Osteria dal 1931 and Trattoria a Morgana. This classical scene — while plenty fleshy — comes with a church-pleasing moral: Chasing earthly pleasures leads only to frustration. Put yourself in the mindset of a 17th-century church-goer. Following an exquisite Roman dinner, we'll join locals after dark, lacing together the Eternal City's most romantic nightspots. 99 to buy episode. Of course, there's much more as we've just scratched the surface of this vast collection. The altar's exquisite reliefs celebrate Rome's success and prosperity. This was generally no problem. It was a spiritual menagerie where the many gods of the empire were worshipped. Today in Rome, the visitor's struggle is more likely out on the street — with modern traffic. It's the great example of ancient Roman engineering. These frescoes — a rare surviving example of Roman painting — bring color to our image of daily life back then. Just as Hitler built the Autobahn system in anticipation of empire maintenance, the expansion-minded Roman government realized the military and political value of a good road system. This church houses Bernini's best-known statue, the swooning St. Teresa in Ecstasy. Meaning âfield of flowersâ, Rick describes how locals, tourists and chefs alike visit this market to get what is in season. Rick Steves' Europe is an American travel documentary television series created and hosted by Rick Steves.In each episode, he travels to the continent of Europe, documenting his experiences along the way.. They were simply budget, underground cemeteries. The world's grandest column from antiquity anchors Trajan's Forum. And we're doing that al fresco on Piazza Farnese. Or $0.00 with a Prime membership. But by the time this statue was carved, it's clear: The Pax Romana was finished...and Rome was falling. Then we'll go offbeat to bike the Appian Way and be inspired by Roman engineering. These reliefs show Marcus Aurelius performing the various duties of an emperor: Here, as the chief priest, or "pontifex maximus," he prepares to sacrifice a bull. With unlimited money, his palace dazzled with both fine art of the past, such as Raphael's exquisite Deposition, and with the best art of the day. In 1870 Rome became the capital of a newly united modern state of Italy. It's easy – and it can change your day. Step inside to enjoy the finest look anywhere at the splendor of ancient Rome. The monument — built to stoke the spirit of a new and struggling nation — harkens back to the glories of ancient Rome. They're huge. It stretched from the Arch of Septimius Severus to the Arch of Titus. The reign of Julius Caesar — who ruled around the time of Christ — marked the turning point between the Republic and the empire. 16 LIFE. What's seasonal during your visit will be a favored by local chefs and featured on their daily menus. In âeternally entertainingâ Rome, the themed itineraries to choose from are endless. There's too much life in the streets to go home yet. The 140-foot column is decorated with a spiral relief of 2,500 figures trumpeting the emperor's exploits. In Rome you simply round up whatever's on the meter. The ornamental cherubs dwarf a large man. In ancient times, the "Field of Flowers" was an open meadow. You'll see almost nothing built post-WWII. Monday Night Travel. Engineers still admire how the Romans built such a mathematically precise structure without computers, fossil fuel-run machinery, or electricity. Vatican City may be the world's smallest independent country, with just a thousand inhabitants, but it's the spiritual capital of hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, After dinner, we'll take a nighttime stroll, lacing together the city's piazzas and fountains. That began what was perhaps history's greatest success story — the rise of Rome. Think of this museum as a walk back in time. It can accommodate thousands of worshippers. 4.9 out of 5 stars 43. For 1,700 years pilgrims — believing Jesus climbed these stairs on the day he was condemned — have scaled the Scala Santa on their knees. The Rome restaurants from his videos were Osteria dal 1931 and Trattoria a Morgana; Rick Steves dined at Enoteca Corsi and Ristorante il Gabriello. Piazza San Pietro, with its ring of columns, symbolizes the arms of the church welcoming everyone — believers and non-believers — with its motherly embrace. In 312, the general Constantine, following a vision that he would triumph under the sign of the cross, beat his rival, Maxentius. Throughout the ages, people mined once-glorious buildings as quarries. Rick Steves, America's leading authority on European travel, returns to transport viewers to the continent's bustling cities, quaint villages and picturesque countryside. Block by block, they carted away most of this temple, and then incorporated what was still standing — like these columns — into a modern building. I'm in Rome, and this is the ancient Appian Way â Europe's first super-highway. Judging by their elegant togas, these brothers were from a fine family. Our focus in this episode: Classical Rome, once the capital of the Western world. Rome: Baroque Brilliance | Rick Stevesâ Europe. While Rome's streets and piazzas are busy with people, its countless churches are busy with art. The oculus is the only source of light. Ancient Romans, whose taste for violence exceeded even modern America's, came to the Colosseum to unwind. While it dates from the first century BC, we still remember her to this day...so apparently the investment paid off. As the rhythm of daily life hits its stride, the famous Spanish Steps — today adorned with azaleas — fill with people. Rick: Been working? Poke around. It has stood for centuries as a symbol of a truly cosmopolitan civilization. Nine years before Christ, Emperor Augustus led a procession of priests up these steps of this newly built "Altar of Peace." But the pope held out. And several are open to the public. Woman off camera: Are you Rick Steves? For a taste of the countryside around Rome and more wonders of Roman engineering, take the four-mile trip from the Colosseum out past the wall to a stretch of the ancient Appian Way, where the original pavement stones are lined by several interesting sights. He gave the square its famously harmonious proportions and its majestic centerpiece: an ancient statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Thanks for joining us. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, The king's moustache forms an arc five feet long, and a person could sit within the horse's hoof. We'll ramble through the venerable heart of Rome, admire breathtaking Bernini statues, ponder sunbeams inside St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, and mix and mingle with the Romans during an early-evening stroll. By the Middle Ages, the catacombs were abandoned and forgotten. This simple brick building was once richly veneered with marble and fronted by a grand portico. This sprawling, evocative park is a favorite these days with Roman joggers, picnickers, and anyone looking for a break from the big city. After dark, Rome takes on yet another personality. The museum's collection tells the empire's story through art: Caesar Augustus was the nephew of Julius Caesar and the first great emperor of the Pax Romana. After the fall of Rome in the fifth century, the city of Rome eventually came under control of the pope. Tombs of ancient big shots lined the Appian Way like billboards. This mosaic hung in Emperor Hadrian's villa. This is the starting point of a ritual in Rome — the evening stroll, or passeggiata. Peter's friends buried him in a nearby graveyard on what pagan Romans called the Vatican Hill. And these rooms celebrate pre-Christian philosophy. These aqueducts were the Achilles' heel of Rome. Add to favorites: Description This second of three episodes on Rome reveals a city busy with life and bursting with Baroque. And to this day, here on the national altar, burns the eternal flame remembering Italy's Unknown Soldier. Riding the elevator to the top of the monument, we enjoy a sweeping view of the Eternal City. In fact, if you want to envision ancient Rome in its pomposity today, imagine a vast city made of buildings like this. Here the 25-year-old Michelangelo makes the theological message very clear: Jesus — once alive but now dead — gave his life for our salvation. We'll eat really well, and go local after dark, lacing together the Eternal City's most romantic night spots. For added entertainment during the games, Christians were executed here. Even though the Vatican City occupies less than a square mile — this country has its own radio station, newspaper, post office, and a cute little train station. And what better doors for this first grand church than those which once hung in ancient Rome's Senate House. Statues show how Emperors were worshipped as gods on earth. It offers some of the best people-watching anywhere. Focusing on the grandeur of classical Rome, we'll admire the groundbreaking architecture at the Colosseum and Pantheon, and the empire's exquisite art at the Capitoline Museum. A guide leads you underground through the tunnels where early Christians were buried. Because they refused to worship the emperor, early Christians were persecuted. It served the needs of the divine monarchs and of the Church. I'm in Rome, and this is the ancient Appian Way — Europe's first super-highway. Taking power, Emperor Constantine then legalized Christianity. Romans filled and emptied the Colosseum's 50,000 seats as quickly and efficiently as we do our superâstadiums today. Peruse the photos of their famous visitors — everyone from Muammar Gaddafi and Prince Charles to Bill Clinton are pictured with the late Signore Fortunato, who started this restaurant in 1975 and was a master of simple edible elegance. In keeping with the Baroque age, Bernini's Rape of Persephone packs an emotional punch. You can survey the entire country from this perch. This Dying Gaul — a Roman copy of a Greek original — was part of a monument celebrating another victory over the barbarians. The statue surfs through his wet kingdom — with water gushing from 24 spouts and tumbling over 30 different kinds of plants — while Triton blows his conch shell. Over the centuries the popes have amassed enough art to fill 11 miles of museum hallways sumptuously decorated with precious tapestries, dramatic frescoes, and ancient statues.
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