Rome in 10 steps
Even when you are running around the city, Rome is spectacular. But, for sure, people who decide to come to Rome for the Marathon on 10th April will want to devote extra time to exploring the city, before and after the race. So here are 10 ideas for sight-seeing from the Touring Club Italiano, focusing on the main monuments lying along the route of the race. If you decide to explore some of the city’s amazing sights, best to have the Touring Club’s Guida Verde of Rome in your pocket.
1 - The Rome Marathon starts at the Fori Imperiali: these are the splendid ruins of the heart of the Roman city, the monumental squares built by emperors Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nerva and Trajan between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. If you want to visit them (we recommend you join a guided tour or hire an audio-guide) the entrance is on Via IV Novembre.
2- S. Paolo fuori le Mura, in the Ostiense district, one of Rome’s four major basilicas, one of the churches in Rome where Pope Francis has opened a Holy Door to mark this year’s Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. After St Peter’s in the Vatican City, this is Rome’s largest basilica. The present appearance of the church dates from the 19th century.
3 - At Via Ostiense 106, in the Garbatella district, is the former Montemartini Power Station. Some of the collections from the Capitoline Museums are housed in this former thermo-electric complex, resulting in a weird and unique mixture of Ancient Art and industrial archaeology. One of the city’s most original museums.
4 - Just below the Gianicolo Hill, the park of Palazzo Corsini is home to Rome’s Botanical Gardens: highlights include a large rose-bed, a small bamboo forest, a Japanese garden and a tropical hot-house. And from the top of the Baroque staircase there are wonderful views over the artificial waterfall and right across the city.
5 - The famous architect Zaha Hadid designed the MAXXI, the large contemporary art gallery in the Flaminio district. Concrete, glass and steel, hanging staircases and galleries flooded with natural light house the city’s main collection of the art and architecture of the 21st century.
6 - Rome is justly proud of its parks and one of the most popular is Villa Borghese. It’s the perfect place for a walk, or to practice sport – cycling, skating or jogging – or to simply relax and enjoy the surroundings. Try not to miss the little lake with the ‘Temple of Aesculapius’.
7 - The Quirinale Palace, the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, is one of Rome’s most magnificent historic buildings. Thanks to TCI Volunteers, from June 2015, much of this cultural gem, including the gardens, has been open to the public (booking required). A chance not to be missed.
8 - S. Maria Maggiore. Another of Rome’s four major basilicas and therefore it also has a Holy Door (the two other Holy Doors can be seen at St Peter’s and S. Giovanni in Laterano). The church overlooks Piazza dell’Esquilino, and is just round the corner from Termini train station. The sparkling treasures inside include the mosaics in the apse and the Paolina Chapel.
9 - The neo-Classical monument known as the ‘Vittoriano’ overlooks Piazza Venezia. It comprises the imposing Altare della Patria with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Sacrario delle Bandiere (where the flags of Italy’s disbanded regiments are housed), the Risorgimento Museum and the Museum of Italian Emigration. This monument is also kept open to the public every day by TCI Volunteers. A lift at the back takes you up to the top, where there are splendid views of the Eternal City.
10 - The green area where the Roma Fun Run ends contains the site of the largest sports complex ever built: the Circus Maximus. Founded in the 2nd century BC, it was 621 m long and could seat 300,000 spectators. All that remains of that magnificent stadium today are a few stones close to the mediaeval Moletta Tower.
THE TOURING CLUB ITALIANO
is a not-for-profit travel association founded in 1894; a community of people who share a modern, intelligent view of tourism, with a particular focus on our environmental and cultural heritage.
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