Via del Corso and Side Streets, Rome
The Via del Corso, which runs northwest from the Piazza Venezia to the Piazza del Popolo, flanked by numerous Baroque palaces, has long been Rome's principal street (1.5km/1mile long but only 12m/13yd wide).
Transit: Bus: 81, 90, 119, 52, 53, 56, 60, 61, 62, 71, 81, 85, 90, 95, 115, 160, 492.
The Pantheon is the final resting place of Italian kings and some of Italy's most famous people, including the painter, Raphael. The structure supports a huge dome, which is also the light source for the building.
Trevi Fountain is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. This 17th C masterpiece, depicting the "kingdom of Ocean", draws huge crowds. Throwing coins into the fountain is a tradition for visitors.
Santa Maria sopra Minerva is located in Piazza della Minerva and built on the site of the former temple of Minerva. It is the largest Gothic church in Rome.
Augustus' Altar of Peace was created between the 13 and 9 C B.C. and is richly decorated with reliefs showing scenes of nature, mythology, and history.
Column of Marcus Aurelius
The Piazza Colonna, with the Palazzo Chigi (now housing the Prime Minister's office), is dominated by the column of Marcus Aurelius. After Marcus Aurelius' defeat of the Marcomanni, Quadi and Sarmatae the column was erected by the Senate in the center of a square flanked by temples dedicated to Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius and by other public buildings. The inscription at the foot of the column wrongly ascribes it to Antoninus Pius, and it is sometimes also known by the name of that Emperor. The column, standing 29.6m/97ft high (42m/138ft, if the base and capital are included) and 3.7m/12ft in diameter, is constructed of 27 drums of Carrara marble. A spiral relief runs up the column, with scenes from the wars with the Germanic tribes (171-173) and the Sarmatians (174- 175). The figures of soldiers and horses stand out more strongly from the background than on Trajan's Column, and like the reliefs on that column have yielded a wealth of information about the weapons and uniforms, the military techniques and the life of the period. A staircase (190 steps) inside the column gives access to the platform on the top, once occupied by a figure of Marcus Aurelius. The monument is now crowned by a bronze statue of the Apostle Paul (by Domenico Fontana), set up Column of Marcus Aurelius in 1589.
The church of Sant'Ignazio was completed in 1650 by the Jesuits. The Baroque exterior leads visitors into an elaborate interior with painted ceilings and grand furniture.
Mausoleo di Augusto
The present appearance of the Piazza Augusto Imperatore gives little hint of the importance this area once enjoyed. Here, some years before his death, the Emperor Augustus constructed a mausoleum for himself and his family (the Julio-Claudian dynasty). This took the form of a gigantic earthen mound 89m/290ft in diameter, of the kind used for the burial of kings and princes in the Mediterranean area since prehistoric times. Outside the entrance to the mound stood two Egyptian obelisks, now to be seen behind the church of Santa Maria Maggiore and in the Piazza Quirinale. By the entrance were the "Res Gestae", two bronze tablets on which Augustus recorded the achievements of his reign. (The original tablets are lost, but their text has been preserved in inscriptions.) During the Middle Ages the mausoleum was used by the Colonna family as a fortress, which was pulled down by Pope Gregory IX in 1241. Thereafter the mausoleum became a garden, an Amphitheater and even a concert hall, before being restored to its original state in 1936.
San Carlo al Corso
Although officially dedicated to St Ambrose and St Charles Borromeo, both bishops of Milan, this church is always known simply as San Carlo al Corso. This "national church" of the Lombards was given its present form by Onorio and Martino Lunghi, together with Pietro da Cortona and Carlo Fontana, in the 17th century. Its most impressive feature is the dome (by Pietro da Cortona), whether this is seen from within the church (which has a 72m/236ft long nave) or from outside in a general prospect of central Rome, above which it rears up in imposing bulk. Carlo Maratta's altarpiece ("The Glory of St Ambrose and St Charles Borromeo") and the paintings in the dome pendentives by Giancinto Brandi are of interest.
The Exchange occupies part of the site of a large ancient temple, eleven Corinthian columns from which are preserved along one side. Long thought to have been a temple of Neptune, it is now identified as the Hadrianeum, a temple erected in honor of the deified Hadrian. The floor of the temple now lies below street level. The temple was absorbed into the new customs house, now the Exchange, built by Carlo and Francesco Fontana in 1691-1700 under Pope Innocent II.
San Carlo ai Catinari
St Charles Borromeo, to whom this church is dedicated, was born at Arena in 1538. In 1560 he was made Cardinal Archbishop of Milan by his uncle Pope Pius IV. He died in 1584 and was canonized in 1610. Soon after his canonization this church, built by Rosato Rosati, was dedicated to him by the Barnabite order. San Carlo ai Catinari (named after the manufacturers of washtubs, catinari, whose workshops were near here) has an imposing travertine facade and a very fine interior.
At Via del Corso 17 in Rome is the Goethe Museum, with pictures, manuscripts, books, etc., in a house where Goethe lived during his stay in Rome (1786-88).