Apartments in Rome, Sicily and in the Amalfi coast.

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Fontana di Trevi

Fontana di Trevi in Rome by night

Via del Corso is the main street of town. At one end of the narrow but imposing street is the obelisk of Piazza del Popolo; at the other end, 1500 meters straight down the street, is the Vittorio Emanuele Monument; and many papal and princely palaces line the street. The name Corso refers to the horse races held on this road until the end of the 19th century. Off the Corso, Via delle Muratte leads up to the most sumptuous fountain in Rome: the Trevi Fountain. Legend has it that a foreigner who tosses a coin into the fountain ensures his return to Rome. Set against a large building, the fountain is decorated with bas-reliefs and statues which stand upon mighty rocks from which the water gushes. Spurts and roars animate the impressive scene. It was Agrippa who brought the Acqua Vergine to Rome in the 1 st century B.C., by way of an aqueduct. The fountain was built by Nicola Salvi (1735) under Pope Clement XII, and was decorated by several followers of Bernini. It is said that the soldiers of Agrippa were in the countryside, looking for water near the Via Collatina, when they came upon a maiden who showed them the source of this pure water; it was from then on called the Acqua Vergine (Virgin water). The bas-relief on the right side of the façade represents this event, the relief on the left shows Agrippa explaining the plan for the aqueduct to Augustus. At the centre, the statue of the Ocean God stands on a shell-shaped chariot pulled by winged horses. In 1991 important restoration work was done which returned the fountain to its original splendour.

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Quirinal Palace

Quirinal Palace in Rome

The immense Quirinal Palace was begun by Pope Gregory XII in 1574, and served as a residence to the popes until 1870, then to the king of Italy after the declaration of Rome as the nation’s capital, and finally to the President of the Republic since 1946. The palace is open to the public on occasion, and inside are works by Bernini, Guido Rei, Maderno and Giulio Romano. At the center of the piazza is a beautiful fountain made from a granite basintaken from the Roman Forum and brought here in 1818 by Raffaele Stern, along with an obelisk from the Mausoleum of Augustus and the imposing statues of Castor and Pollux.

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Capitoline Museum

Love and Psyche in the Capitoline Museum in Rome

Founded in 1471, the Capitoline Museum is the oldest public collection in the world, and contains, an extremely rich collection of marble sculpture from the classical period. In the courtyard of Palazzo Nuovo sits the famous statue of Marforio, one of the so-called “talking statues” of Rome, like the more famous Pasquino. A broad stairway leads to the first floor. In the centre of Room I lays the Dying Gaul a marble copy of the bronze statue from the monument at Pergamon. The simple and natural position of the body, the facial features which express deep anguish while revealing human strength blend marvellously to make this statue one of the most significant expressions of Hellenistic culture. The well-known group of Amore e Psyche, an enchanting Hellenistic creation, shows the chaste kiss of young lovers. The Satyr Resting is the best copy of an original in bronze by Praxiteles, the Greek artist who had the divine gifts of tender beauty and grace, Room II, or the “room of the Faun”, includes, among other works, the Laughing Satyr. Room IV, or the “room of the Philosophers” contains many busts of ancient writers and Greek and Roman warriors. The seated figure at the centre of the room is believed to be M. Claudius Marcellus, one of the roman generals of the Second Punic War, who, after a long siege, occupied Syracuse, where the great Greek scientist Archimedes rendered useless the powerful machines of the Romans. Among the many busts, four are of the great epic poet of Greece, Homer, traditionally represented as old, poor and blind. Socrates, the celebrated Athenian philosopher, is portrayed here with a flattened nose, thick lips and protruding eyes, like a satyr. Room V, or the “room of the Emperors”, contains about eighty busts of Roman Emperors, with a few Empresses; it is the most interesting portrait gallery in existence.

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Piazza Venezia

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument in Rome

Piazza Venezia takes its name from Palazzo Venezia, built in 1455 by the Venetian Pope Paul II (1461-1471), while he was still a cardinal. It was the first great Renaissance palace in Rome, and was richly decorated with outstanding works of art. The structure typifies the early Renaissance period, as it marked the transition to a modern palace from the medieval fortified dwelling, of which it retains certain features. The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument (also called the “Vittoriano), was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi. It rises from the foot of the Capitol Hill, where it was squeezed into the heart of the city, forever changing the relationship between this hill and its surroundings. The Venetian sculptor Chiaradia worked for twenty years on the equestrian statue of the king, which was completed by Gallori (1901) after the death of the artist. The elaborate bas-reliefs on the base, which represent the most famous Italian cities, were designed by Maccagnani, who for many years collaborated with Sacconi in carving the three-dimensional ornamentation. The building’s two colossal chariots are surmounted by winged Victories, whose dark bronze contrasts with the white marble makes them visible against the Roman skyline. They were made by Carlo Fontana and Paolo Bartolini in 1908. In the centre is the Altar of the Fatherland, crowned by the statue of Rome, at whose feet since 1921 lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Via dei Fori Imperiali begins to the left of the monument, a broad, straight road built in 1932, which takes its name from the ruins of the for a it passes over.

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Island of the Tiber

Island of the Tiber in Rome

A footbridge crosses from the Lungotevere to the Isola Tiberina (the island on the Tiber), where the church of St. Bartholomew stands on the ruins of the celebrated Temple of Aesculapius, the Greek God of medicine, once a pilgrimage site for the diseased. Two bridges join the island to the rest of the city; Ponte Fabricius (also known as Quattro Capi), built in 62 B.C. and still intact today, and Ponte Cestio (46 B.C.). The nearby Palatino Bridge was formerly the site of the Ponte Sublicio, noted for the legend of Horace Cocles, the Roman hero who single-handedly fought the Etruscans under Porsenna. Back across the Ponte Fabricius is the Jewish Synagogue, built in 1904 in the Babilonian style, with a grey aluminium cupola. Behind is the Ghetto, a neighbourhood where the Jews of Rome were segregated from the 16th to the 19th century, and where many Jews still live.

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