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Tour 7
-from the Colosseum to Porta Pinciana-

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  • The COLOSSEUM, whose official name is Flavian Amphitheater because it was built between 72 and 80 AD during the dynasty of the Flavi family. Even now it is the most amazing building of the ancient times still visible and visitable. It could host up to 55,000 - 70,000 spectators, according to different chronicles.
  • Climb on the top of the Oppian Hill (Colle Oppio)  and on the left you will reach Via Eudossiana that leads to the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains (Basilica di S. Pietro in vincoli), dating back to the fifth century AD. It keeps the chains used during the imprisonment of Peter, who was jailed both in Jerusalem and in Rome. The two chains miraculously melted together in front of the astonished eyes of Pope Leo I, who finally decided to build the basilica.
  • The last chapel on the right houses the Moses, the imposing statue by Michelangelo tracing back to the middle of the 16th century. Originally it had to be part of the decoration of the majestic tomb of Pope Julius II, but the latter was never completed in its original design.
  • go on toward the small and dark arch on the square on your right. You are now on the Borgia Staircase; Iannozza lived here, the woman who had 2 children with Pope Alexander VI, Cesare and Lucrezia. The Staircase will lead you to Via Cavour: walk down the street on the right side. Remember that on the left side of Via Cavour you will find the charming Monti quarter that, with its streets and squares, still keeps a peculiar Medieval aspect.
  • proceeding along Via Cavour, you will find on your right the top of the Esquiline Hill, featuring in the middle the Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore, the first church dedicated to Blessed Virgin Mary in 431 AD. It is definitely worth a visit. Inside you will notice 36 valuable mosaics of the fifth century that decorate the architrave of the central aisle, as well as those, also the 5th century, of the Triumphal Arch depicting the main events related to the childhood of Jesus. Moreover, the Cosmatesque floor typical of the 15th century and the wooden ceiling, which was gilded with the first gold brought from America at the beginning of the 16th century, are also noteworthy.
  • The square in front of the Basilica hosts a huge Corinthian column that stood inside the  Basilica of Maxentius in the Roman Forum during the 4th century.
  • On the rear side of the Basilica, an obelisk marks the centre of this space. This is the starting point of Via De Pretis. Now look at the horizon: you will see how the road that runs straight in front of you goes through ups and downs up to the obelisk which stands in front the Church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti, exactly on the top of the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna ...... In fact, the two obelisks indicate the starting and ending point of Via Sistina, an important way of communication built upon request of Pope Sixtus V at the end of the 16th century.
  • But that's not all. With the sequence of the obelisks (point them with your finger on the map), i.e those of Piazza del Popolo, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni, Pope Sixtus V created ​​a straight road that cuts 3 hills, the Quirinal, the Viminal and the Esquiline Hill....
  •  Now that you are on Via De Pretis, you can reach Piazza del Viminale: this is the highest point of the Viminal Hill, where the namesake Palace of the 20th century houses the Interior Ministry.
  • at the intersection with Via Nazionale, turn right, then you will see on your right the Episcopal Anglican Church of America. It is the Church of St. Paul Within the Walls, designed by the architect George Street. It was built in 1880, shortly after the unification of Italy, in Romanesque-Gothic style. The mosaics in the apse are made ​​according to some drawings depicting the Book Revelation by John The Apostle. In the apse some mosaics reproduces the Fathers of the Church: curiously, some personalities of the nineteenth century lent their face to depict them: thus  St. Andrew has the face of Abraham Lincoln, St. James that of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian national hero, St. Patrick that of General Grant, one of the protagonists of the American Civil War.
  • PIAZZA DELLA REPUBBLICA, it is circular because it reproduces exactly the perimeter of the large exedras of the Baths of Diocletian, dating back to the beginning of the 4th century AD. The exedra-like buildings provided with a beautiful porch decorating the square were designed by the architect Gaetano Koch, at the end of the 19th century --- In the middle of the square there is the Fontana delle Naiadi, built at the beginning of the 20th century by Mario Rutelli. The 4 nymphs represent the 4 forms of water (river, ocean, lake and spring).
  • The square is overlooked by  the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, built by Michelangelo in the 16th century, using the existing structures of the Baths of Domitian.
  • Now, walking along Via Emanuele Orlando, you will soon reach Largo Susanna. On the right corner you will see the large marble statue of Moses that adorns the final part of the Felice Aqueduct, an ancient Roman aqueduct restored and made operational by Pope Sixtus V at the end of the 16th century. On the opposite corner of the street there is the small church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, visit its interior  which features the extraordinary “Ecstasy of St. Teresa” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the Cornaro Chapel (the last chapel on the left).
  • go down along the church perimeter to Via Bissolati; you will soon cross the elegant Via Vittorio Veneto, the symbol of the economic, cultural and artistic development of Rome in the 60s. This period became famous thanks to the movie "La Dolce Vita" by Federico Fellini: the little square at the end of the street was dedicated to him. Here the most famous Italian and international artists used to meet and spend  the cheerful Roman evenings of those times. Among them there were great actors immortalized by the paparazzi, such as Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, and so on.
  • on your right, you will notice the unmistakable Palazzo Margherita, in fact at the end of the 19th century Queen Margherita of Savoy resided here. Only after World War II, the palace became the seat of the 'U.S. Embassy in Rome. Near the Palace on the left, there is the Hard Rock Café location.
  •  In few seconds you will be in front of the so-called Porta Pinciana, which is named after the Pincian Hill, where in the ancient times the Pinci family used to live. The city gate is one of the 18 gates of the Aurelian Walls, the 19 kilometres long defensive walls which were ordered by Emperor Aurelian in 270 AD and finished in just 7 years.



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