Rome: San Vitale

Yes, Rome has her own church of San Vitale. It is nowhere near as famous nor as fascinating as its namesake in Ravenna, but if you happen to be in the vicinity, make sure you check it out. The church is located on the busy Via Nazionale and can hardly…

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Rome: Castel Sant’Angelo

It is difficult to imagine that this imposing cylindrical drum on a large square platform was once the tomb of the Roman Emperor Hadrianus (117-138), also known as Hadrian. The original decorations are all gone and the structure was turned into a formidable fortress long ago. It has also served…

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Rome: San Francesco a Ripa

The San Francesco is small church in Trastevere, located near the western shore (ripa) of the river Tiber. It is of course dedicated to none other than Saint Franciscus of Assisi, one of the best-known and most important saints in the history of the Catholic Church. His preaching was in…

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Rome: San Giorgio in Velabro

It is difficult to explain why a tourist in Rome should visit the San Giorgio in Velabro. There is not much of interest to see. The architecture is clumsy, there are no artistic treasures inside and the only thing that can be considered ‘art’ – the apse fresco – is…

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Rome: San Tommaso in Formis

San Tommasso in Formis is a very small church from the thirteenth century on the Caelian hill. It has been restored on multiple occasions between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The church itself is not that interesting. Much more interesting churches with a much richer history, like the Santa Maria…

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Rome: Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

The Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is an old Roman Catholic church that is just within the third century Aurelian Walls of the city. The church is architecturally and culturally rather unimpressive, but it is very important from a religious point of view. There has been a Christian place of worship…

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Rome: San Pietro in Montorio

This church is located on the Gianicolo, an ancient hill north and west of Trastevere which was named after the Roman god Janus. The San Pietro in Montorio is dedicated to Saint Peter, the apostle who needs no further introduction. An old tradition dictates that Peter was crucified upside down…

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Rome: Villa Farnesina

Just opposite the Palazzo and Galleria Corsini is a beautiful Renaissance villa, over 500 years old, that has some of the most gorgeous frescoes in all of Rome. This is the Villa Farnesina, built between 1506 and 1510. Many signs in Trastevere give directions to the villa and indicate that…

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Rome: Galleria Corsini

Just outside Trastevere, one can find the Palazzo Corsini. It is home to the Galleria Corsini, one of two locations of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica (the other being the Palazzo Barberini). Although I have been to Rome several times and almost always stay at a hotel in Trastevere, I…

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Rome: A fascist past

Walking through the streets of Rome, visitors are reminded of Italy’s dark, fascist past in many places. I am talking about Italy in the twenties, thirties and forties of the previous century, Benito Mussolini’s Italy. Sometimes the visitor is hardly aware that he or she is near or even on…

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Rome: Santa Maria in Cosmedin

The Santa Maria in Cosmedin is a church that is located on the Forum Boarium, Ancient Rome’s cattle market. Just to the north was another forum, the Forum Holitorium, which was a vegetable market. Both forums were obviously very important trading locations in Antiquity. A reconstruction of early Rome from…

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Rome: Santo Stefano Rotondo

The martyr The Santo Stefano Rotondo is located on the summit of the Caelian hill, just opposite the Santa Maria in Domnica, but somewhat hidden behind a wall and trees. The church was built in the fifth century and it is the oldest surviving church in Rome that was built…

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