There are few capital cities in Europe where visitors can enjoy eons of history and architecture, beautiful weather, varied gastronomic delights and the joys of watching a lively and animated population of almost four million going around their daily lives. Rome most definitely offers all those in abundance, and that is why it is a perennial favourite of tourists, whether from Europe or any other location in the world.
Whether inspired by the comedy of The Italian Job, the drama of Gladiator or most recently the thrills and spills of recent blockbuster Angels and Demons, millions of filmgoers also visit the city as a result of the beautiful current-day settings or are drawn towards the romance of an ancient era witnessed on celluloid.
Certainly, one of the most impressive historic buildings in the city is the Pantheon. Now a church it was originally constructed as a temple to all the gods of ancient Rome under the commission of Marcus Agrippa and redeveloped by Emperor Hadrian. Even today visitors marvel at the intricacy of its construction, including the spectacular self-supporting domed roof at the centre of which is the oculus – the hole that is the only source of natural light for the building, as well as an opening for the elements including rain!
One of the city’s abiding landmarks is from the glory that was once Ancient Rome; the Coliseum, accommodated 50,000 spectators in its heyday, all there to witness elaborate games, which included gladiatorial battles and other ancient arena spectaculars. Close-by is the Circus Maximus, which was the venue for chariot races and other equine events, and seated 25,000 excited spectators.