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Rome, world most beautiful and inspiring capital

Italy Eternal City

In a city so filled with icons of antiquity and the Christian faith, it's hard to know where to go first.

The largest structure left to us by Roman antiquity, the Colosseum still provides the model for sports arenas. It was large enough for theatrical performances, festivals, circuses, or games.

The Vatican is the smallest independent state in the world, most of it enclosed by the Vatican walls. Inside are the Vatican palace and gardens,St. Peter's Basilica, and St. Peter's Square. The highlight of the Vatican museums is the Sistine Chapel, whose magnificent frescoed ceiling is Michelangelo's most famous work.

The Pantheon, the best preserved monument of Roman antiquity, is remarkably intact for its 2000 years. It shows the extraordinarily high technical mastery of Roman builders. Its 43-meter dome, the supreme achievement of Roman interior architecture, hangs suspended without visible supports.

Walking through the forum, now in the middle of a throbbing modern city, is like stepping back two millennia into the heart of ancient Rome.

Throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain is a tradition that is supposed to assure your return to Rome. The water swirls around the figures and collects in a large basin, always filled with coins.

Ironically, the flight of irregular stairs called the Spanish Steps were paid for by the French ambassador and lead up to the French church of Trinità dei Monti. The stairs, however, take their name from Piazza di Spagna, the plaza at their base and one of Rome's most typical squares.

The Catacombs of San Callisto and San Sebastiano, both underground burial places in the Via Appia Antica, are extensive.

One of Rome's most characteristic Baroque squares, Piazza Navona still has the outline of the Roman stadium built here. It was still used for festivals and horse races during the Middle Ages.