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The ultimate way to see Rome

10:30 AEST Fri Oct 28 2011
Anyone who has visited Rome comes away wanting more. If there is one city that has helped shape the course of not just Europe but the entire world, it's Rome. It oozes history, culture and breathtaking architecture.

Getaway has visited Rome many times, but Jason had the enviable assignment to view the city from above.

The Colosseum

The Roman Colosseum Amphitheatre was commissioned in 72AD by Emperor Vespasian and was completed by his son, Titus, in 80AD. It is one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.

It was the centre of events and its eighty entrances gave easy access to around 55,000 spectators. The enormous elliptical amphitheatre is 188m long and 156m wide and was the stage for deadly gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights.

Just outside is the Arch of Constantine, a 25m high monument built in 315AD to mark the victory of Constantine over Maxentius at Pons Milvius.

The Pantheon

If the Colosseum was a temple to all things sporting, the Pantheon was a temple to all the gods of ancient Rome.

Commissioned by Marcus Agrippa in 27BC, it was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 126AD. The beautifully preserved example of ancient Rome is circular with a portico of three ranks of enormous granite Corinthian columns.

A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda under a coffered concrete dome with a central opening to the sky. That dome is something that would be difficult to build even today. It was another enormous achievement of Roman engineering.

St Peter's Basilica

St Peter's Basilica within the Vatican City was until recently the largest church ever built. It remains one of the holiest sites in Christendom. It stands on the site where Peter the apostle, considered the first pope, was crucified and buried. St Peter's tomb is under the main altar, along with many other popes. Founded in 324AD by Constantine, the basilica was rebuilt in the 16th century by Renaissance masters including Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini. It was consecrated in 1626.

The late-Renaissance basilica is famous as a place of pilgrimage, liturgical functions and history. Its dome was designed by Michelangelo who became chief architect in 1546.

Forty five altars and eleven chapels hold countless priceless works of art. There are 10,000 square metres of mosaics, Michelangelo's Pieta, the papal canopy and Bernini's monument to Urbano VIII.

The Vatican City is the smallest state in the world. The walled enclave within Rome measures just 44 hectares and has a population of 800. It has been the papal home for many years and has 11 museums.

Trevi Fountain

After places renowned for sport and religion, the Baroque Trevi Fountain represents romance. Inspired by Roman triumphal arches, the magnificent fountain is 25.9m high and 19.8m wide.

Commissioned in 1732 by Pope Clement, the fountain was completed in 1762. By Roman standards, it is a relatively new creation. The central figure, in a large niche, is Neptune, god of the sea. He is riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by two sea horses, each guided by a Triton. Symbolising the fluctuating moods of the sea, one horse is calm, the other restive. On Neptune's left is a statue representing Abundance, on the right one representing Salubrity. Above the sculptures are bas-reliefs, one showing Agrippa, the general who built the aqueduct carrying water to the fountain.

Legend says that you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water. It should be tossed over your shoulder with your back to the fountain. All money is donated to various charities.

Location

Rome — The Eternal City.

Cost

Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre has a two night Rome package from $196 per person twin share. It includes accommodation, a half-day tour, transfers and breakfast.

Emirates has flights to Rome and 28 other European destinations via Dubai from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. For an exclusive Getaway. viewers' discount, log on to www.emirates.com/getaway. Combined entry ticket to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palantine Hill is around $16.50.

Vatican City entry is free. It's open every day except Wednesday between 7am to 8pm. Discrete clothing is essential.

Prices correct at October 29, 2011.

For further information

Emirates
Ph: 1300 303 777
www.emirates.com/getaway

Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre
Suite 2, 644 Botany Road
Alexandria 2015
Ph: 02 9313 4633
Fax: 02 9313 4475
www.greecemedtravel.com

Italian Government Tourist Office
Level 4, 46 Market Street
Sydney 2000
Ph: 02 9262 1666
Fax: 02 9262 1677
www.italiantourism.com.au
sydney@enit.it

Visa: Australians don't need a visa to enter Italy for stays of up to 90 days.

Electricity: Standard voltage is 220V. Plugs are the European standard, with two or three round pins.

Time zone: GMT +1 hour.

Currency: The euro.

Telephone code: +39.

It is recommended travellers see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au and www.welltogo.com.au.

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