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 Trastevere district lies across the Tiber River from Campo de’ Fiori district in the center of Rome. The Santa Maria en Trastevere Church is located close to the river near the center of this historic district. It is one of the oldest churches in Rome. Some say that this church hosted Rome’s first openly celebrated Christian masses. Of course Santa Maria en Trastevere has undergone multiple renovations over the centuries but its basic floor plan dates back to the middle of the Fourth Century. Be sure to see the mosaic on its façade and admire the many columns were taken from the ruins of ancient Roman buildings.
To the west you’ll find the San Pietro in Montorio Church built at the end of Fifteenth Century by Ferdinand II and Isabella of Spain. Tradition holds that Saint Peter was crucified on this site. The church’s six chapels compete with each other for artistic beauty. The Flagellation of Christ fresco in the first chapel on the right by Sebastiano del Piombo contains figure drawings by his one time friend, Michelangelo. Raphael’s Masterpiece, the Transfiguration, once decked the high altar, but it is now in the Vatican.
Back to the river, north of the Santa Maria Church is the Palazzo Corsini originally built in the early Sixteenth Century for Cardinal Riario and rebuilt for Cardinal Corsini some two hundred twenty years later. This site includes Rome’s Botanical Gardens boasting over seven thousand species of plants from all over the world. It features sequoias, palm trees, orchids and bromeliads. The gardens are part of the University of Rome, to be described in another article. Inside the palace you’ll find the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica boasting paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Caravaggio, Reni, and many others.
Finish this part of the tour by heading east to the Janiculum Belvedere and Lighthouse for one of the finest views of Rome. The lighthouse was given to Rome in 1911 by Italians living in Argentina. While the view is always beautiful, try to see Janiculum at night. By the way, you won’t have any trouble finding great pubs and restaurants in the cobblestoned streets of this historic part of Rome.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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