All roads certainly do lead to Rome. This is where every Italian trip begins, and as the seat of the Holy See and one of the most venerated cities for Catholics, Rome welcomes an inordinate number of religious visitors annually.
This 300 year old city has seen its share of raids and conquests, fires and earthquakes. Once the glittering jewel in the Roman Empire, Rome today retains many of the architectural marvels that her former masters endowed her with.
The starting point of every holiday itinerary is the Pantheon, arguably one of the most well preserved monuments in the world. Built in 27 BC, it has endured periods of ravage and plundering during which it lost, among other things, its bronze roof tiles. The Italian king Victor Emmanuel II is buried here, as is the painter Rafael.
Originally planned as a stadium for spectator sports and animal fights, the Colosseum was completed sometime in the eighties. Where once the blood thirsty screams of spectators and the roar of wild animals filled the arena, is now an eerie calm, and the 50,000 seats are overrun with stray cats and weeds, but the sheer scale and majesty of its construction still inspire awe.
The Roman Forum was once the religious and political center of the greatest empire on earth. The crumbling pillars and columns are an impressive sight, and speak of the kind of power wielded then by leaders of the empire.
The Palatine is located close to the Colosseum and the Forum, and houses remains of the villas of wealthy families of ancient Rome.