Touring Rome Italy - Aventino

What should we visit in Rome's Aventino district and its environs?...

We hope that you are enjoying our series of articles and guest articles on Italian tourist attractions, covering the entire country except for its major cities. In a sense we have left the best for last. We will describe what to see in Italy’s great cities neighborhood by neighborhood. You may not realize it, but Rome is divided into 20 districts. And each and every one of these districts boasts its own sightseeing attractions. If you have time, visit them all. In any case, read these articles to help plan your trip to The Eternal City. You may be in for some real surprises. Roma, Non Basta una Vita (Rome, a Lifetime is not Enough) .

The Aventino region is in the south of Rome. Here you will find the Circus Maximus (Great Circus), the largest in Rome. This chariot racing venue, dating back to Ancient Rome, is located at the northern edge of the district. The Circus measured an almost unbelieveable 621 meters (2,037 feet) in length and 118 meter (387 feet) in width. On busy days it held 250,000 spectators, about one out of four city residents. I would love to have the salted peanut and beer concessions. Unfortunately there is not a lot left to see but you still might want to visit the site and let your imagination run wild.

Circus Maximus Aventino Rome

Circus Maximus Aventino Rome

Nearby you’ll find the Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church, built in the Sixth Century. Its Twelfth Century bell tower is one of the most beautiful in all Rome, and as you know there is a lot of competition. Don’t miss the “Bocca della Verità” (Mouth of the Truth). According to popular legend, the mouth would snap shut on the hand of anyone telling a lie. To keep the superstition alive, the caretaker-priest used to stick a scorpion in the back of the mouth to sting the fingers of those who stretched the truth too far. During the filming of the 1953 romantic comedy “Roman Holiday” Gregory Peck stuck his hand in the mouth and hid his hand up his sleeve when he yanked it out. Costar Audrey Hepburn got such a shock that this unscripted scene stayed in the movie. Hepburn got the Oscar for Best Actress for the film.

Piramide di Caio Costo Aventino Rome

Piramide di Caio Costo Aventino Rome

At the southern end of the district you’ll find the marble-covered Piramide di Caio Costo (Caius Cestius, Pyramid) built to hold the remains of Caius Cestius, a magistrate and member of a major religious corporation of Ancient Rome who died in 12 B C. The Piramide is undoubtedly the most original mausoleum in Rome. For a while it was incorporated into the walls that served as part of Rome’s defensive infrastructure. Later on it was forgotten and of course somewhere along the line it was pillaged. An anonymous Japanese benefactor has pledged over a million dollars to help restore this great monument to braggadocio. By the way Caius, yours wasn’t the only Roman pyramid, a larger one was demolished in the Sixteenth Century.

And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Latium or other Italian wines.

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About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.

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