Termini Station District, Rome
Santa Maria Maggiore is an important pilgrimage church with the distinction of being the only church in Rome to have celebrated mass every single day since the 5th C.
With construction on the church beginning in 431, St Peter in Chains is among the oldest of Rome's churches. It contains the chains Peter wore in the Mamertine Prison.
St Lawrence outside the Walls is a pilgrimage church, established by Constantine the Great and dedicated to St Lawrence.
A legend relates that two daughters of a Roman senator named Pudens, Pudentiana and Praxedes, were converted to the Christian faith by St Peter. The church, dedicated to St Praxades, has gone through a number of different building stages but has preserved the spatial character of an early Christian basilica, its high pillared nave rising into the presbytery with its triumphal arch and apse mosaics (ninth century, in the reign of Pope Paschal I). The mosaics are among the finest in Rome. On the triumphal arch is a representation of the heavenly Jerusalem; in the apse is the apocalyptic Lamb of the Revelation, and in the conch of the apse, above a frieze of lambs, SS. Peter and Paul leading Praxedes and Pudentiana, accompanied by Pope Paschal as the donor and by St Zeno. In addition to glorifying the saints the representations had a didactic purpose: the object, as in other religious painting, was to instruct the worshippers, who in the Middle Ages were mostly illiterate, in the doctrines of the faith. The Chapel of St Zeno (in the south aisle), built by Pope Paschal I to house the tomb of his mother Theodora, is like a medieval picturebook, every part of the walls and vaulting being covered with mosaics depicting saints and Biblical symbols.
Santa Maria della Vittoria
Santa Maria della Vittoria commemorates the Emperor Ferdinand II's victory in the battle of the White Mountain near Prague in 1620 during the Thirty Years' War, which was attributed to the intervention of the Virgin. The church, previously dedicated to St Paul, then received an image of the Virgin, found at Pilsen and reputed to be miraculous, and was re-dedicated under its present name.This attractive Baroque church, built by Carlo Maderna in 1608-20 (restoration 1990-91) for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, is of imposing effect with its finely contrived decoration of colored marble, rich stucco ornament and paintings. The most impressive thing in the church, however, is the altar of St Teresa of Avila (fourth chapel on the left), created by Bernini for Cardinal Cornaro. St Teresa (1515-82), the mystic and writer who re-founded the order of Carmelite nuns, is depicted in a state of ecstatic rapture, pierced by the love of God which is symbolized by the arrow of the angel who hovers over her. In the sacristy are pictures and flags commemorating the battle of the White Mountain.
St Agnes Outside the Walls
According to legend, Agnes was a young and beautiful Roman girl who steadfastly refused to marry the son of the pagan governor of the city and was martyred for her faith. Constantine's daughter Constantia built a church in her honor in the fourth century outside the city on the Via Nomentana. The present church was built by Pope Honorius I (625-638), but has undergone much alteration and restoration since then. Notable features of this church, a basilica with a high narrow nave, are the sixteen antique columns, the richly decorated wooden ceiling (17th century), the marble candelabra and the bishop's throne in the chancel. Finest of all, however, is the apse mosaic (seventh century) which depicts St Agnes with Popes Honorius and Symmachus, Relics of St Agnes and her sister, St Emerentiana, are contained in the high altar. Beneath the church are the Catacombe di Sant'Agnese (A.D. 300), part of the complex being preserved in its original state. They extend over three stories and have a total length of 7km/4mi.
Santa Pudenziana is said to occupy the house of the Roman senator Pudens, whose daughters Pudentiana and Praxedes were converted by St Peter while staying in the house. The church was originally built in the reign of Pope Siricius (384-399); it has undergone much subsequent alteration, but the original apse with its mosaic decoration has been preserved. The church, now lying below the present street level, is entered from Via Urbana. Externally its most notable features are the campanile and the remains of a Romanesque doorway. The finest thing in the interior is the mosaic in the apse (end of fourth century), now rather cramped by later building. It shows Christ surrounded by Apostles and women against a lively background based on ancient models, with a skillful use of perspective. Above the central group are the buildings of a city, a cross and the (partly obliterated) symbols of the four Evangelists, the man, the lion, the bull and the eagle.
Nero's Golden House
The burning of Rome in A.D. 64 happened very conveniently for Nero's purposes. In the huge area thus cleared of buildings he planned to erect a huge and sumptuously appointed new palace, and although the vast project, covering an area greater than that of the present-day Vatican City, was never completed, the site was used by Nero's successors for the erection of other buildings, including the Colosseum, approximately occupying the position of Nero's artificial lake. Excavations which began at the Renaissance in the area between the Forum and the Esquiline brought to light large numbers of works of art, frescoes and marble statues, including the famous Laocoön group, now in the Vatican Museum.
Fontana dell'Acqua Felice
The Fontana dell'Acqua Felice, with a figure of Moses as its central feature, was commissioned by Pope Sixtus V in 1585. The Pope, Felice Peretti (hence the name of the fountain), to whom Rome owes so many magnificent buildings, was unfortunate in his choice of a sculptor. Prospero di Brescia, who carved the figure of Moses, is said to have died of grief, or even to have committed suicide, on comparing his work with Michelangelo's Moses in San Pietro in Vincoli.
In the Castro Pretorio, is the National Library (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele II), built 1971-75. This contains some 3 million volumes, 1,883 incunabula, 6,169 manuscripts and 30,000 autographs, and consists of a long ten-story book-stack, an office block, a low building housing the catalogue and reading rooms, and a low conference building.
National Museum of Oriental Art
The National Museum of Oriental Art in Rome displays in its fourteen rooms the art of Asia from Persia to Japan, over the period from prehistoric times (fifth century B.C.) to the present day. Afghanistan and China, Korea and India, Nepal and Tibet, Iraq and Pakistan are all represented by a wide range of gold jewelry and bronzes, ceramics and clothing, sculpture and paintings, busts and vases.
The Porta Pia, a town gate in the Aurelian Walls near the ancient Porta Nomentana, was built by Michelangelo for the Medici Pope Pius IV in 1561-64. Near here on September 20th 1870 Italian troops entered the Papal city, an event which heralded the end of the Pope's temporal authority in the Papal State.
When the Papal University, the "Sapienza", became too small, plans were considered from 1870 onwards for replacing it with new university buildings. This large new complex was built by Mussolini in 1932-35, but it too soon became inadequate for the number of students. In the University City are a number of small museums.
Address: Viale delle Scienze, I-00186 Rome, Italy
Transit: Bus: 11, 71, 109, 111, 309, 310, 311, 411, 415, 492.
The Geological Museum is located inside the Department of Earth Science, University of Rome La Sapienza. Exhibits include rocks specimens, panels, plaster models and videos dealing with various geological topics: Earth history, origin of rocks, geological risks. Some nineteenth-century collections of ancient marbles are exposed, the most important being the well-known T. BelliCollection².
The Paleontology Museum is located in the Institute of Geology on the second floor. Exhibits include fossil remains of vertebrates and invertebrates with some specimens of quaternary mammals of Latium and Mediterranean areas.
The Anthropology Museum is located at the Institute of Anthropology on the second floor. Displays include human skeletons of prehistoric and protohistoric ages.
The Herbarium is located in the Institute of Botany on the second floor. It contains 420,000 specimens and is the second most important herbarium in Italy.
The Minerology Museum is located in the Institute of Mineralogy and Petrography. Exhibits include marbles, rocks and fossil collections.
Villa Torlonia Park
The Villa Torlonia park (area 13ha/32.5 acres), with the Neo-Classical Palazzo Torlonia (early 19th century), formerly the property of the Torlonia family, was the private residence of Mussolini during the Fascist period.It now belongs to the city of Rome, and the park (though not the villa itself) is open to the public.