Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)
Roman Forum (Foro Romano)
Romanian tourists in Rome (like me) flock to this monument which is part of the Romanian national pride. Also, when I came back from Rome this was the monument all my Romanian friends asked about. Did you see it? Were you able to see the Dacians on the column? The reason is that Trajan's column was built to commemorate his military campaigns in Dacia (which is now Romania). It's true Trajan won and conquered Dacia but hey, our ancestors can still be seen today, almost 2000 years later, on this column in the center of Rome. The column is a beautiful piece of Roman sculptural art; around the column winds a spiral frieze with over 2500 figures in relief illustrating the battles that took place during Trajan's military campaigns in Dacia (101-102 and 105-106). At the top the statue of Saint Peter replaced in 1588 a statue of Trajan. The ashes of the emperor and his wife were places in a golden urn in a vault below the column. The column stands in what was once Foro di Traiano (Forum of Trajan) with a huge semicircular market building.
Piazza Navona was built over the site of the 1st century Stadium of Domitian and still preserves the elliptical form of the Roman circus. Medieval jousts, 17-century carnivals, open-air sports and historic festivals took place here; the piazza was also used as market place from mid 15th century to mid 19th century. Today this place attracts tourists and Romans alike, and the cafes and restaurants lining the piazza have tables outside most of the year. Three beautiful fountains decorate the piazza out of which the most famous is the central Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (The Fountain of the Four Rivers) by Bernini. Behind this fountain is the church Sant'Agnese in Agone a remarkable example of Baroque architecture.
Castel Sant'Angelo and the Bridge of Angels
This fortress which stood at the entrance to Vatican for centuries was begun by Hadrian around 128 as a mausoleum for him and his family. The mausoleum was finished in 139 and Hadrian and many succeeding emperors were buried here. By the 6th century the building was gradually transformed into a castle and it was used to protect the popes for nearly 1000 years. According to legend the name of the castle was given during the plague of 590 when Pope Gregory the Great who was passing nearby had a vision of an angel sheathing his sword atop the stone walls. In front of the castle stands Ponte Sant'Angelo (Bridge of Angels) which was built by Hadrian as a suitable approach to his mausoleum. The bridge was transformed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini who designed the ten.
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