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Xmas in Rome

Christmas time is coming and Rome is preparing to welcome the Holidays with lights, decorations and events.

Like every year, the markets of the Roman tradition will be the most important attraction of the Holidays. In particular the Christmas market of Piazza Navona will delight adults and children during the month of December, until after Epiphany. The numerous stands that will be among the ancient buildings and the wonderful Bernini’s fountain, the lights and the parfumes will give a unique athmosphere to the famous square.

But also in other places you will find traditional events, such as concerts and exhibitions of cribs in via dei Coronari, in via dell’Orso and in Sant’Eustachio area. Walking in the city centre you could also meet minstrels and fictional characters.

Even Piazza Re di Roma has been honoring this tradition for some years with stands full of sweets, decorations and crafts, in a setting reminiscent of the Advent markets of northen Europe (in fact this square is twinned with the ones of Heidelberg.

The conditions are excellent for nice walks in the heart of the Eternal City, at the sound of pipers and the possibility to warm holding in your hands a bag of roasted chestnuts, drinking a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of mulled wine.

Best Roman Piazzas

Are you keen on visiting all the great Roman Piazzas?

Write this down, because these on the list, not only are beautiful but also contain a large quantity of stories and legends behind them, moreover they host many art masterpieces.

  1. Piazza Venezia: in the middle you will see the impressive monument Vittoriano. In front at the left you’ll see the balcony from which Mussolini used to give his speeches.
  2. Piazza Navona:One of the most splendid piazzas, with the Fountain of the four Rivers of Bernini. During day and night is full with street artists and lovely restaurants.
  3. Piazza di Spagna: The spanish steps are actually french, because they were sponsored by that country. The piazza took the name after the Spanish Embassy situated just at the end of it.
  4. Pizza della Repubblica: Near Termini, outside the Metro Repubblica. The walls that surround the piazza are beautifully floodlit by night, check the 4 nude nymph on the fountain, their nudity and relaxing poses were outrageous for the church.
  5. Piazza del Campidoglio: Next to Piazza Venezia. Originally designed by Michelangelo, including the 12 points star on the floor.
  6. Piazza della Rotonda: Here is the perfectly well maintained temple the Pantheon (free entrance), which was the first pagan temple converted to the catholic cult. In Roman times, the dome was considered to be built by the devil, because of its great size.
  7. Piazza della Minerva: just behind the Pantheon, here you can see a curious obelisk which lies on an elefant designed by Bernini.
  8. Piazza della Bocca della verità: where you can find the famous stone where Audrey Hepburn put her hand in the movie Roman Holiday. It is definitely worth to see also the 2 roman temples in front of the church that host the stone.
  9. Piazza Colonna: Approximately at the middle of Via del Corso, where you can see the Column of Marco Aurelio.

There are many more Piazzas in Rome, no matter where you go, there   is a Piazza, big or small. Just make sure that on your next visit to Rome, you don’t miss the ones from this list, because they are definitely enchanting!

      Paulina Ceballos

Free things to see in the center of Rome: itinerary to follow

      This itinerary that we propose takes around 2 or 3 hours,  depending on how fast you want to walk; it covers many of the Must to see points of the Eternal City:

  •       A) Church of  Santa Marìa della Concezione: The walls and roofs are  “decorated” with the Cappuccini Friar’s bones.  Offer: €1. Where:Red Metro A: Barberini, take the Via Veneto exit and find the number 27.
  •  B) Spanish Steps: It was called after the king Ferdinand the Catholic, who gave the construcciòn of these steps as a present.
  •  C) Piazza Navona: one of the most famous piazzas of Rome  and the whole world, due to the beauty of the sculptures, fountains and churches in it.
  • D) Pantheon: Circular temple built in the beginning of the Roman era, dedicated to all the gods, it is also known as La Rotonda, because is placed in this piazza. This is the onlypagan temple of the antique Rome that has survived intact.
  • E) Trevi Fountain: Don’t forget to throw a coin above your shoulder if you want to come back to Rome. Another legend assures that if you throw 2 you’ll have a new romance, with 3 you’ll get married.
  • F) The Vittoriano in Piazza Venezia: the monumento to Vittorio Emmanuele II, has also received funny nicknames  as the “typewriting machine” or “the wedding cake”
  • G) Campidoglio: When a tourist see a photo of this piazza, it is said that he or she will immediately identify it as roman. The Capitoline is also one of the 7 famous  hills of the city.
  • H)Roman Forum: If your budget doesn’t allow you to buy the ticket you can walk along  Via dei Fiori Imperiali, you can admire it anyway. If you are in the Campidoglio, walk behind it and you’ll get to the beggining of the street. You will have the Colosseum in front of your eyes so don’t miss your camera.
  • I)Constantine’s Arch: One of the most old arches of the Roman Empire.
  • J)San Clemente Church: It has 3 levels, the lowest has a pagan altar, the second has a cristian basilica and in the superior level you can admire the middle age frescos.

Certainly there are other things that can be admire for free, among them: Saint Peter’s dome, the Bocca della Verità, the Storical Museum of the Roman Liberation, apart from the rest of the piazzas and public parks as theVilla Borghese.

Don’t forget to check this map!

Paulina Ceballos

Visualizzazione ingrandita della mappa

Where was Audrey Hepburn in Rome?

The actress Audrey Hepburn, famous for her beauty, elegance and naturalness, was the main protagonist of the movie Roman Holiday, filmed in 1953. Actually this was the role for which she would have been recognized worldwide and thanks to it she won an Oscar. The movie meant a revolution for what concerns locations at that time, because the director didn’t want to reproduce the city and prefered Rome itself to shoot, making the city the third leading character on the film.

The movie is about a young princess (from an unknown country), happy but at the same time she felt oppressed by her full agenda and the court, tired of her many responsabilities she decides during her visit in Rome, to escape one night and see the city in disguise as a normal girl, then she meets an american journalist (Gregory Peck) who proposes to be her guide.
This romantic comedy immortalized both actors in the typical roman piazzas, as a matter of fact nowadays in the streets of Rome you can see in the stands, many postcards, posters and calendars with those scenes.
If you are visiting Rome and you want to discover where Audrey Hepburn was, its not that hard because is almost all in the center:

  • Cafe Rocca: in Via della Rotonda, at th corner of the piazza with the same name, currently is a fashion shop.
  • Castel Sant’ Angelo: in front of this beautiful castle the princess goes dancing with the barber.
  • Fontana di Trevi
  •  Piazza Venezia.
  • Piazza di Spagna: where Joe sees again the princess while she is eating an gelato.
  • Colosseum
  • Joey Bradley’s apartment in Via Margutta 51, the entrance to the small courtyard is a few doors ahead in Vicolo dell’Orto di Napoli.
  • Via dei Fori Imperiali: where Gregory Peck finds Audrey sleeping.

Barber: Via della Stamperia 85, nowadays is a leather shop.
Bocca della verità: Santa Maria in Cosmedin, probably the most funny scene was filmed here, Gregory Peck hides his hand inside his sleeve and put his arm inside the mouth stone, the fright that Audrey shows was real, because she didn’t know what the actor would do, that prank was not planned, nevertheless it was so natural that the director decided to include it.The legend says that whoever doubted of the couples’s faithfulness, could take him or her there, if the person was unfaithful he/she would loose the hand.

  • Palazzo Colonna: Press conference, Via della Pilotta, 17 . Open only saturdays 9:00-13:15, it’s a private palace of an aristocratic family, it’s construction began on the XVI century and ended five centuries later.
  • Palazzo Barberini: Princess Embassy’s exterior. Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13.
  • Palazzo Brancaccio: the interiors of the Embassy were filmed inside here. Viale del Monte Oppio 7. This is the last aristocratic palace built in Rome in 1880. The gardens and the balcony from where the princess sees with sadness the people dancing, both are still there. Booking mandatory for visitors. (+39064873177)
  • Castra Pretoria: The Wall of the wishes, though the plates are no longer there, the wall it is in Viale del Policlinico, between Piazza Girolamo Fabrizio and Via Castro Pretorio.

Visualizza Audrey Hepburn en Roma in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori

We hope that Audrey Hepburn’s fans will enjoy this tour and have a fantastic roman holiday!
Paulina Ceballos

A church in Rome decorated with real bones and skulls? Discover this secret place: the Church of the Cappuccini Friars

posted by admin in Curiosity, Monuments

Cripta dei Cappuccini Roma

Cripta dei Cappuccini Roma

Death closes the gates of time, and opens those of eternity”

That is the message that welcomes you when you arrive to the Cappuccini Crypt, which is in the Church of the Immaculate. Probably is not included in every “To do” list in Rome, but if you have time and you want to see one of the secret places of the city, you’ll be amazed. Actually is really easy to get there, because it’s right outside the Metro Barberini, after paying a visit, you could continue your walk along the worldwide famous Via Veneto. The walls and ceilings are “decorated” with the remaining bones of the Cappuccini friars, who died between 1528 and 1870.

These friars obtained their named Capuchin from the hood, or capuce they used to wear. The church is small, while you walk along the corridor your eyes will be delighted seeing different crypts with this peculiar decoration of skulls, pelvises, lamps made out of leg bones and even a complete skeleton lying peacefully in front of the tourists eyes.

Not to miss: Check the design of the clock on the wall opposite the door, it represents the continuity of life, in time and in eternity.

It could be a little macabre or creepy for some people, but definitely it’s a place in Rome that you will never forget!!
How to arrive: Metro Red Line A: Barberini, take the Via Veneto exit and look for the number 27.

Price: 50 cents donation.

Opening hours:9-12 noon; 3-6 p.m. Closed Thursdays.

Paulina Ceballos




This prestigious exhibit is open until June 29, 2010 inside the Victor Emmanuel Monument.


It’s a trip through the extraordinary innovations of the XIXth century that revolutionized  traditional painting.  These new techniques modernized painting, resulting in Impressionist painting that displays an expanded, broader understanding of nature and the culture of the times.


For the first time in Italy, you will see vintage photos, paintings and drafts from the beginnings of Impressionism of the Barbizon School of to the chromatic triumph of the Water Lilies by Claude Monet.  You will explore the colorful revolution of the Impressionists, admiring the atmospheres of Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley, Gustave Courbet’s Poppy Field, paintings by Auguste Renoir and Camille Pissarro including his Pontoise landscape.


Organized by major art historians from throughout the world, the works come from galleries and private collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Public Library of New York, the National Gallery of Art and Corcoran Museum of Art of Washington, Toledo Museum of Art, Kimbell Art Museum, Musée Fabre of Montpellier, Bibliotèque Nationale de France of Paris and the Hamburger Kunstalle.



Address: Complesso del Vittoriano

Via S.Pietro in carcere (Imperial Forums)


From Monday to Thursday: 9.30AM-7.30PM

Friday and saturday:           9.30AM-11.30PM

Sunday:                               9.30AM-8.30PM


Cost of the ticket: EU 10,00


INFO: 06/6780664 – 06/6780363


Lorenza Faraone

Roman Guide Center





Was Brutus really Caesarʼs son? Lacking any DNA proof, weʼll always be in doubt! But, we like to believe it and recount for you this story: Cleopatraʼs arrival in Rome was the cause of Cassiusʼ and Brutusʼ decision to lay the plot to murder Caesar.


Brutusʼ mother, everybody knows, was Servilia, a member of the patrician family of Servili.   While she was married to Marcus Giunius Brutus, tribune of the people,  Caesar was her young, tall and handsome lover.  We donʼt have any portraits of her, but she was certainly beautiful.  She was clever and, above all, so charming that her passionate love affair with Caesar lasted thirty years.


Servilia became pregnant by Caesar.  Unknown to Caesar, her son, Brutus, was also his.  As time went by, the young Brutus, did not hide his rebellious, oligarchic ideas.  Caesar was the unconquerable General.   Young Brutus was in danger.  As her son was in danger of being defeated and killed by his own father, Servilia revealed the truth to Caesar.  “Spare Brutusʼ life”, were her last words to him.  Caesar honored her wish and on the battle ground he ordered: “Donʼt touch Brutus!”


So the young man came safely back home to his mother who probably told him everything.  Caesar should have come back too, but the war wasn’t over.   His next move was to run after Pompeo to Egypt.  This is where he met Cleopatra.  He was 52 years old, she only 20.   He forgot about the civil war, Rome and…Servilia.


When Caesar finally came back to Rome, Servilia was ready to greet him. But she surely couldn’t compete with her young rival.   However, her daughter, Giunia Terza, was now the stunning beauty that she was at 16, her age when she first met Caesar.  So she offered her daughter to Caesar who was now returning with honors and substantial gifts.


While Caesar left again as a winner, in Rome the Senate’s resentment against him grew stronger, and Brutus firmly supported them.


In the meantime, while Servilia vicariously relived her love for Caesar through her young daughter, Cleopatra arrived in Rome.  She came with her little son, Tolomeus Caesar, fruit of her love affair with Caesar.


In the Senate, spirits got excited.  Cassius suspected that Caesar could take Cleopatra as his legitimate wife and recognize Tolomeus as his son.   This would mean the return of the kings, the end of the Republic… Certainly, this would be the end for Giunia Terza and, above all, Servilia.  This time, however, while she suspected the plot against him, Servilia didn’t side with Caesar, but let her son Brutus punish the betrayer.


Maria Elena Mastroiacovo

Roman Guide Center



centuries of neglect, part of the area beneath the Colosseum stage is being restaured and cleaned. Thanks to a couple of hoists faithfully reconstructed according to ancient models starting next July 2010 it will be open for viewing.


Visitors, who so far could only catch a glimpse of it, will be able to explore the underground of the famous “Blood and arena”. Gladiators used to reach it through a tunnel connecting it with their school, the “Ludus magnus”. In addition to the athletes for  gladiatoral combats, the subterranean maze of galleries, ramps and cells, were the waiting room for hunters and wild animals and condemned prisoners. Also housed  here were scene-shifters, operators, workmen ready to give life to the show with the striking noises of machines, screams, cries and roars.


One will shiver watching one of the most exciting and dreadful places of all times.
Now from the point of view of the service staff and the applauded gladiators, you will be looking up at the massive architecture of the Flavian Amphitheatre.

Also for the first time, you will see the advanced engineering of the Ancient Romans: the reconstructed underground machinery and the cruel ways of turning death into a show. This will be a thrilling experience from the very heart of the Circus.



Guide Centre



The legend tells that Romulus and Remus, who founded Rome, were adopted by a
she-wolf (lupa) hence ‘she-wolf’ became the symbol of Rome. She-wolf is an
ambiguous word by which the roman prostitutes were referred and the word
‘lupanare’ (brothel) is also derived from lupa.
The legend suggests that Acca Laurentia, the wife of Faustulus, shepherd of
Numitor, saved the lives of Romulus and Remus. The shepherd’s wife who had
found the twins and who very likely adopted them, was she-wolf, a prostitute.
The populace passed on the origins of the Eternal City with many tales; we can say
metaphorically, that Rome is born with an inclination towards chaos. Ancient
Rome, both republican and imperial, had plenty of brothels, even though they
were placed in the suburbs of the town. Romans paid frequent visits to the
brothels mainly for erotic purposes. They favoured the mercenary love intended
as a peculiar pleasure, and in their turn, many women –honest matrons –
disguised themselves as ‘she-wolves’ in order to attend the brothels and enjoy
the unidentified services. Messalina, the wife of, Emperor Claudius, camouflaged
herself under false names and common dresses in order to participate in the
brothels’ life.
Not to overly dwell on dark images of sexuality, this form of ‘eroticism’, besides a
state of heritage of the origins of Rome, was due to the cult of Venus Ericina, who
was the symbol of fertility, therefore, of sensual love and as such, was the reason
why she was worshipped, unlike the Hellenic Venus who was the symbol of beauty
and chastity.
According to Aristotle and his syllogisms, the practice of the prostitution in Rome
at the time of its Empire comes from religious reasons.
Grazia Brasi
Centro Guide Roma


caravaggio-bacchino-malato.jpgIn the occasion of the 4th centenary of the death  of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio,on
February 20th opened up the exhibition dedicated to him and going on until June 13th.

We will find his works coming from all over the world, for the first time gathered in an exhibition
also telling us about his tormented life through 30 out of his 40 paintings.
Only the works clearly signed up by the master were chosen, leaving aside those attributed to
his work-shop.

The artist who painted revolutionary and shocking canvasses commissioned by the Church and other
wealthy lovers of art, full of a deep religious feeling but  even of such a tormented and harsh realism
to make customers feel so embarassed to sometimes prefer to refuse his works.
The artist who was painting during the night, maybe while drinking wine, or taking a walk with his friends
through the old Roman alleys, taking part to riots and fights and even brutal crimes.
But no other painter was ever able to render such a tangible reality of life through that mysterious darkness
and that filtering and almost divine light which still capture our eyes and our souls.

It is worth taking this trip through his works of art, especially now that they are concentrated in one only

Lorenza Faraone
Roman Guide Centre

TEL: 06/39967500 – 06/696270  FAX: 06/696271

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