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) .
Rome’s Esqualino district is named for Esquiline, one of Rome’s seven hills. Esquiline itself comes from the word “Esquilae”, which means out of the city. But the city has grown; now this lovely area is just southeast of the center of Rome. The district’s northern corner hosts a square of the same name. The Egyptian obelisk at the centre of the square comes from the Mausoleum of Augustus. On the top of the hill sits the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, in the days of antiquity this site of a private home that hosted Christian services. The present building dates back to the early Ninth Century. Make sure to its Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century frescoes and its upstart Nineteenth Century coffered ceiling. Note to the faithful: On Corpus Christi (Corpus Domini), the Thursday following the 8th Sunday after Easter, the Pope holds an early-evening service in the San Giovanni Church and then heads a procession along Via Merulana to Santa Maria.
Just southwest of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basicila is the Basilica di Santa Prassede all’Esquillino, commonly called Santa Prassede. This church was built in the late Eighth Century on the remains of an older structure. Be sure to enjoy its mosaics. Santa Prassede also houses a segment of the pillar upon which Jesus was allegedly flogged and tortured before his crucifixion in Jerusalem. Another historic church is Santa Bibiana, first consecrated in the mid-Fifth Century. While its façade was built more than a thousand years later, the columns lining the nave are from the original church. Special features include frescoes and statue of the saint by Bernini. Did I mention that rebuilding this church was one of his early projects?
The Palazzo Brancaccio, built between 1886 and 1912, is the last palace to be built in Rome. It houses the Teatro Brancaccio Politeama and the National Museum of Oriental Art. The latter boasts one of the world’s most important Tibetan art collections. From Monday to Saturday head to the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, Rome’s largest open-air food market. In fact this Piazza, is said to be the largest in all Europe.And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Latium or other Italian wines.
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 www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com 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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