I visited Rome the last week of January, 2008. It was an ideal time to visit....high temperatures around 60 every day with absolutely clear skies for 5 days. And, since it was the middle of winter, few tourists. There were no lines at any of the popular tourist attractions, though the subways were still packed (watch you wallet).
The Theater of Marcellus (capacity of 13,000) and the remains of the Temple of Apollo (3 pillars), built in 430 B.C.
Temple of Castor and Pollux
Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
The Arch of Titus, built to celebrate the destruction of Jerusalem and it's Jewish Temple by Titus in 70 A.D.
Temple of Saturn, built in 500 B.C.
The Via Sacra, the sacred road, through the Roman Forum
The Colosseum, finished in 80 A.D. by Titus. It seated over 50,000 spectators, the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire.
The Colosseum seats were stripped around the 15th century for other construction projects
The arena floor covered a 2 level basement of tunnels and cages.
The Pantheon, the "temple of all gods". Built in 30 A.D., and rebuilt in 130 A.D., the temple was consecrated to all Roman gods, just in case they hadn't built a temple to the "correct" god.
The Trevi Fountain..."Three coins in a fountain..". Over 3,000 euros a day are thrown into the fountain and collected every night. That's me having a pistachio gelato.
St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. An enormous building, rising over 400 feet and capable of seating over 60,000. Built over the traditional burial site of St. Peter.
The burial site of St. Peter
Swiss guards
Many popes are buried in St. Peter's. This is Pope Pius XI
Spectacular view of Rome from the top of the dome of St. Peter's. It's an agonizing stair climb (325 steps AFTER you get off the elevator) to get up there.
A couple of "illegal" photographs from the necropolis, the city of the dead, a pagan cemetary under St. Peter's. Photography is forbidden, so I turned the flash off and took some time exposures when no one was looking.
Entrance hall to the Sistine Chapel
Creation of Adam (center)
Creation of Eve (above)
Separation of water and land (below)
From top to bottom:
Drunkenness of Noah (partially cut off)
The Flood
Sacrifice of Noah
Banishment from the Garden of Eden
Creation of Eve
Creation of Adam
Separation of water and land
Creation of sun, moon and planets
Separation of light and darkness
Michelangelo's Last Supper
The Sistine Chapel (4 below)
The Crypt - thousands of skulls and skeleton parts arranged in "artful" designs. Talk about body art...
Pretty night shot
Trajan's Column. Extensive relief displays Trajan's military victories.
Forum of Augustus with the temple of Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger). Completed in 2 B.C.
A wide shot of the Roman Forum. The pillars of the Temple of Saturn dominate on the right.
The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, honors the first king of a unified Italy
Lots of ruins in foreground.
Ruins on Palatine Hill, the oldest part of Rome. Inhabited since at least 1000 B.C.
The Hippodrome on Palatine Hill. A sporting arena.
"Nice of them to build this pillar just for us"
At this site is a sarcophagus with the words "Paulo Apostolo Mart(yri)" (Paul the Apostle and Martyr). The Church is considering (since 2006) opening the sarcophagus to see if it contains human remains.
After St. Paul was executed by Nero, his remains were buried outside the walls of ancient Rome. His followers erected a memorial over the site, with the current basilica being built around 400 A.D. At the time of it's completion, it was larger than the existing St. Peter's.
The basilica is breath-taking in it's size and grandeur. It is well away from the traditional tourist spots (it lies outside the walls of Rome), but the metro (subway) stop is only 2 blocks away. A must see!
NOT Da Vinci's, which is in Milan