Top Historic Sights in Rome, Italy

Explore the historic highlights of Rome

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti) are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. The monumental stairway of 135 steps was built with French diplomat Étienne Gueffier's bequeathed funds of 20,000 scudi, in 1723-1725, linking the Bourbon Spanish Embassy, and the Trinit ...
Founded: 1723-1725 | Location: Rome, Italy

Colosseum

The Colosseum is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and sand, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built and probably the most well-known landmark of Rome. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72, and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81-96). The Colosseum could hold, it is e ...
Founded: 72-80 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Pantheon

The Pantheon (meaning 'temple of every god') is a former Roman temple, now a church, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. He retained Agrippa's original inscription, which has confused its date of construction as the original Pantheon burnt down so it is not ...
Founded: 126 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Palatine Hill

The Palatine Hill is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other. From the time of Augustus Imperial palaces were built here and hence it became the etymological origin of the word palace and its cognates in other languages (Italian palazzo, French palais, Ge ...
Founded: 10th century BC | Location: Rome, Italy

The Seven Halls

The Seven Halls, or Sette Sale, is the name of the complex of cisterns located on the Oppian Hill. Previously believed to be connected to Nero"s Domus Aurea, they were later found to be a large cistern supplying the Baths of Trajan. The cisterns were fed by a branch of the Trajanic Aqueduct. Found beneath the complex were the remains of a grotto lined with slabs of marble belonging to the Domus Aurea. In the fourth c ...
Founded: c. 100 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Maria in Trastevere

The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.  The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, al ...
Founded: 340 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona was built on the site of the 1th-century Stadium of Domitian and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. Defined as a public space in the last years of 15th century, when the city market was transferred there from the Campidoglio, Piazza Navona was transformed into a highly significant example of Baroque Roman architecture and art during the pontificate of Pope Innocent X. He reigned from 1644 ...
Founded: 1644-1655 | Location: Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain has appeared in several notable films, including Federico Fellini"s La Dolce Vita. The fountain at the junction of three roads marks the terminal point of the 'modern' Acqua Vergine, the revived Aqua Virgo, one of the aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome. In 19 BC, supposedly ...
Founded: 1732-1762 | Location: Rome, Italy

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. It was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorat ...
Founded: 8th century BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo is a towering cylindrical castle, initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The castle was once the tallest building in Rome. The tomb of the Roman emperor Hadrian was erected on the right bank of the Tiber, between 134 and 139 AD. Originally the mausoleum was a d ...
Founded: 134-139 | Location: Rome, Italy

Circus Maximus

The Circus Maximus was a chariot racetrack in Rome first constructed in the 6th century BCE. The Circus was also used for other public events such as the Roman Games and gladiator fights and was last used for chariot races in the 6th century CE. It was partially excavated in the 20th century and then remodelled but it continues today as one of the modern city's most important public spaces, hosting huge crowds at music co ...
Founded: 6th century BC | Location: Rome, Italy

San Marcello al Corso

San Marcello al Corso was built before 418, when Pope Boniface I was elected there. Pope Adrian I, in the 8th century, built a church on the same place, which is currently under the modern church. On 22 May 1519, a fire destroyed the church. The money collected for its rebuilding was used to bribe the landsknechts, who were pillaging the city during the Sack of Rome (1527). The work was continued by Antonio da Sangall ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Via Appia Antica

The Appian Way was a Roman Road built in the 4th century BC. It led from Rome to Brindisi, and the section leading away from Rome is lined with the mausolea of weathy Roman citizens.
Founded: Early Roman | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is a Papal major basilica and the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome. It is one of the only four churches that hold the title of 'major basilica' (all in Rome). It is agreed that the present church was built under Pope Sixtus III (432-440). The dedicatory inscription on the triumphal arch, Sixtus Episcopus plebi Dei, ('Sixtus the bishop to the people of God') is an indication of ...
Founded: 432 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica of San Vitale

The Basilica of Sts. Vitalis, Valeris, Gervase and Protase is commonly named Basilica di San Vitale. It was built in 400 with funds provided by Vestina, a wealthy dowager, and was consecrated by Pope Innocent I in 401/402. The dedication to St. Vitalis and his family (Saint Valeria, his wife, and Sts. Gervasius and Protasius, their sons) is dated to 412. San Vitale was restored several times, the most important being the ...
Founded: 400 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

San Giovanni a Porta Latina

San Giovanni a Porta Latina (Italian: 'Saint John Before the Latin Gate') is a Basilica church near the Aurelian Wall. According to Tertullian, in year 92, St John the Evangelist survived martyrdom at Rome under the Emperor Domitian by being immersed in a vat of boiling oil, from which he emerged unharmed. He was later exiled to island of Patmos. This event was traditionally said to have occurred at the Latin Ga ...
Founded: 492 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Arch of Septimius Severus

The white marble Arch of Septimius Severus at the northwest end of the Roman Forum is a triumphal arch dedicated in AD 203 to commemorate the Parthian victories of Emperor Septimius Severus.  and his two sons, Caracalla and Geta. After the death of Septimius Severus, his sons Caracalla and Geta were initially joint emperors. Caracalla had Geta assassinated in 212; Geta"s memorials were destroyed and all images or m ...
Founded: 203 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Costanza

Santa Costanza is a 4th-century round church in Rome with well preserved original layout and mosaics. It has been built adjacent to a horseshoe-shaped church, now in ruins, which has been identified as the initial 4th-century cemeterial basilica of Saint Agnes. Santa Costanza and the old Saint Agnes were both constructed over the earlier catacombs in which Saint Agnes is believed to be buried. According to the traditiona ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica of Saints John and Paul

The Basilica of Saints John and Paul on the Caelian Hill was built in 398 AD over the home of two Roman soldiers, John and Paul, martyred under the emperor Julian in 362. The church was thus called the Titulus Pammachii and is recorded as such in the acts of the synod held by Pope Symmachus in 499. The church was damaged during the sack by Alaric I (410) and because of an earthquake (442), restored by Pope Paschal I (824) ...
Founded: 398 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Forum of Caesar

The Forum of Caesar (Foro di Cesare) was built by Julius Caesar near the Forum Romanum in Rome in 46 BC. Caesar decided to construct a forum bearing his name in the northeast section of the Forum Romanum, of which he purchased a very expensive, select amount of parcels of land in that area. The Forum spanned from the Argiletum on the southeast side of the Forum Romanum to the Atrium Libertatis and spanned 160 meters by 75 ...
Founded: 46 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Trajan's Forum

Trajan"s Forum was the last of the Imperial fora to be constructed in ancient Rome. It was built on the order of the emperor Trajan with the spoils of war from the conquest of Dacia, which ended in 106. The Forum was inaugurated in 112, while Trajan"s Column was erected and then inaugurated in 113. The Forum consisted of a vast portico-lined piazza measuring 300 metres long and 185 metres wide exedrae on two s ...
Founded: 112 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Largo di Torre Argentina

Largo di Torre Argentina is a square that hosts four Republican Roman temples, and the remains of Pompey"s Theatre. The name of the square comes from the Torre Argentina, which takes its name from the city of Strasbourg, whose Latin name was Argentoratum. The four temples, originally designated by the letters A, B, C, and D, front onto a paved street, which was reconstructed in the imperial era, after the fire of AD ...
Founded: 300-400 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Palazzo Farnese

Palazzo Farnese is one of the most important High Renaissance palaces in Rome. Owned by the Italian Republic, it was given to the French government in 1936 for a period of 99 years, and currently serves as the French embassy in Italy. First designed in 1517 for the Farnese family, the building expanded in size and conception when Alessandro Farnese became Pope Paul III in 1534, to designs by Antonio da Sangallo the Young ...
Founded: 1514-1534 | Location: Rome, Italy

Torre dei Conti

The Torre dei Conti was one of the most impressive towers that dominated medieval Rome. It was built in 1238 by Richard Conti, brother of Pope Innocent III as a fortified residence for his family, the Conti di Segni. The tower stood on the border of the territory of the rival family of the Frangipani. Currently standing at 29 metres, it was once 50–60 m tall, and gained the nickname of Torre Maggiore (Major Tower) for ...
Founded: 1238 | Location: Rome, Italy

Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

The National Roman Museum is a museum with several branches in separate buildings throughout the city of Rome. Palazzo Massimo alle Terme houses part of the National Roman Museum, one of the world’s greatest collections of ancient art. It provides a magnificent showcase for some of the most beautiful paintings, mosaics and sculptures of the Roman age. One room is devoted to the mummy that was found in 1964 on the Via ...
Founded: N/A | Location: Rome, Italy

Arch of Constantine

The Arch of Constantine is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I"s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, it is the largest Roman triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph. Though dedicated to Constantine, much of the de ...
Founded: 315 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Francesca Romana Church

Santa Francesca Romana church was built in the second half of the 10th century, incorporating an 8th-century oratory that Pope Paul I excavated in the wing of the portico of the Temple of Venus and Roma. It was rebuilt by Pope Honorius III in the 13th century, when the campanile was built and the apse was decorated with mosaics of a Maestà, the Madonna enthroned accompanied by saints. The interior has been altered since. ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Susanna Church

The Church of Saint Susanna at the Baths of Diocletian is located on the Quirinal Hill in Rome. There has been a titular church associated to its site as far back as AD 280. The current church was rebuilt from 1585 to 1603 for a monastery of Cistercian nuns founded on the site in 1587 which still exists there. About 280, an early Christian house of worship was established on this site, which, like many of the earliest Ch ...
Founded: 280 AD / 1585 | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls

The Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls (Basilica Papale di San Paolo fuori le Mura), is one of Rome"s four ancient major basilicas. The Basilica was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I over the burial place of St. Paul, where it was said that, after the Apostle"s execution, his followers erected a memorial, called a cella memoriae. In 386, Emperor Theodosius I began erecting a much larger and ...
Founded: 386 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Forum of Augustus

The Forum of Augustus is one of the Imperial forums of Rome, Italy, built by Augustus. It was built in 42 BC to commemorate Augustus' victory at the Battle of Philippi over the assassins of Julius Caesar. The Temple of Mars Ultor stands in the forum. It was inaugurated in 2 BC and it came to function as the focal point of Roman military strategy. For example, Augustus decreed that it should be the meeting place for the ...
Founded: 42 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Maria Antiqua

Located at the foot of the Palatine Hill, Santa Maria Antiqua is the oldest and most significant Christian monument in the Roman Forum. The church was abandoned in the 9th century after an earthquake buried the buildings; it remained sealed for over 1000 years until its rediscovery in the early 20th century. Therefore, Santa Maria Antiqua represents a key element for the understanding of the cultural and urban developmen ...
Founded: 5th century | Location: Rome, Italy

Altare della Patria

The Altare della Patria, also known as the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, is a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. The eclectic structure was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885; sculpture for it was parceled out to established sculptors all over Italy, such as Leonardo Bistolfi and Angelo Zanelli. It was inaugurated in 1911 and completed in 1925. The Vittoriano fea ...
Founded: 1885-1925 | Location: Rome, Italy

Galleria Borghese

The Galleria Borghese is an art gallery housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. At the outset, the gallery building is integrated with its gardens. The Galleria Borghese houses a substantial part of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities, begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605-1621). The Villa was built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, developing sketches ...
Founded: 1903 | Location: Rome, Italy

Villa Borghese Gardens

Villa Borghese is a landscape garden in the naturalistic English manner in Rome, containing a number of buildings, museums and attractions. The gardens were developed for the Villa Borghese Pinciana, built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, developing sketches by Scipione Borghese, who used it as a party villa and to house his art collection. The gardens as they are now were remade in the early 19th century. In 1605, Card ...
Founded: 1605 | Location: Rome, Italy

Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

the basilica of Saint John Lateran was built under pope Melchiade (311-314). It is the oldest surviving church in the world. Due to the fact that the pope is also the bishop of Rome, Saint John in Lateran is also Rome's Cathedral. The present structure of the Basilica resembles the Saint Peter's basilica. The original plan had already five aisles. The ancient church was residence of the popes until the coming back from t ...
Founded: 311-314 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Mausoleum of Augustus

The Mausoleum of Augustus is a large tomb built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 28 BC. The interior of the mausoleum is not open to tourists. The mausoleum was one of the first projects initiated by Augustus in the City of Rome following his victory at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. The mausoleum was circular in plan, consisting of several concentric rings of earth and brick, planted with cypresses on top of the building ...
Founded: 28 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla were the second largest Roman public baths, or thermae, in Rome. It was built between AD 212 and 217, during the reigns of Septimius Severus and Caracalla. They would have had to install over 2,000t of material every day for six years in order to complete it in this time.  The baths remained in use until the 6th century when the complex was taken by the Ostrogoths during the Gothic War, at which t ...
Founded: 212-127 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini) are a single museum containing a group of art and archeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, on top of the Capitoline Hill. The historic seats of the museums are Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, facing on the central trapezoidal piazza in a plan conceived by Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536 and executed over a period of more than 400 years. The history of the muse ...
Founded: 1734 | Location: Rome, Italy

Arch of Titus

The Arch of Titus was constructed in c. 82 AD by the Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus"s victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70). The arch has provided the general model for many triumphal arches erected since the 16th century, perhaps most famously it is the inspiration for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. The Frangipani family turned the arch ...
Founded: 82 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Trajan's Column

Trajan"s Column is a Roman triumphal column in Rome, that commemorates Roman emperor Trajan"s victory in the Dacian Wars. It was probably constructed under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the order of the Roman Senate. It is located in Trajan"s Forum, built near the Quirinal Hill, north of the Roman Forum. Completed in AD 113, the freestanding column is most famous for its spira ...
Founded: 113 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Baths of Trajan

The Baths of Trajan were a massive thermae, a bathing and leisure complex, built in ancient Rome starting from 104 AD and dedicated during the Kalends of July in 109. Commissioned by Emperor Trajan, the complex of baths occupied space on the southern side of the Oppian Hill on the outskirts of what was then the main developed area of the city, although still inside the boundary of the Servian Wall. The baths were being ut ...
Founded: 104 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Bibiana

Santa Bibiana is a small Baroque style church. The church façade was designed and built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who also produced a sculpture of the saint holding the palm leaf of martyrs. According to an ancient, not documented tradition, the church was built in 363 by Roman matron Olimpina on the house where, during the supposed persecution of emperor Julian (361-363), Bibiana, her mother Dafrosa and her sister Demet ...
Founded: 467 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Temple of Hercules Victor

The Temple of Hercules Victor is a monopteros, a round temple of Greek "peripteral" design completely encircled by a colonnade. Dating from the later 2nd century BC, and perhaps erected by L. Mummius Achaicus, conqueror of the Achaeans and destroyer of Corinth, the temple is 14.8 m in diameter and consists of a circular cella within a concentric ring of twenty Corinthian columns. These elements supported an ar ...
Founded: 200-100 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Sabina Church

The Basilica of Saint Sabina is a titular minor basilica and mother church of the Dominicans. Santa Sabina is the oldest extant Roman basilica in Rome that preserves its original colonnaded rectangular plan and architectural style. Its decorations have been restored to their original restrained design. Other basilicas, such as Santa Maria Maggiore, are often heavily and gaudily decorated. Because of its simplicity, the Sa ...
Founded: 422-432 | Location: Rome, Italy

Temple of Minerva Medica

The erroneously named Temple of Minerva Medica is, in fact, a ruined nymphaeum of Imperial Rome, built in the 4th century. Nymphaeum is a building devoted to the nymphs and often connected to the water supply. The decagonal structure in opus latericium is relatively well preserved, the full dome having collapsed only in 1828. It is surrounded on three sides with other chambers added at a later date. There is no mention o ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Lateran Palace

The Lateran Palace is an ancient palace of the Roman Empire and later the main papal residence in southeast Rome. Located on St. John"s Square in Lateran on the Caelian Hill, the edifice is adjacent to the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral church of Rome. From the fourth century, the palace was the principal residence of the popes, and continued so for about a thousand years until the seat ultimately m ...
Founded: 1586 | Location: Rome, Italy

Santi Nereo e Achilleo

Santi Nereo e Achilleo is a fourth-century basilica church facing the main entrance to the Baths of Caracalla. This same building is recorded as titulus Sanctorum Nerei et Achillei in 595; therefore the dedications to Saints Nereus and Achilleus, two soldiers and martyrs of the 4th century, must date to the sixth century. In 814, Pope Leo III rebuilt the old church. In the 13th century the relics of the two martyrs were ...
Founded: c. 337 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Theatre of Marcellus

The Theatre of Marcellus is an ancient open-air theatre, built in 13 BC and formally inaugurated in 12 BC by Augustus. At the theatre, locals and visitors alike were able to watch performances of drama and song. Today its ancient edifice in the rione of Sant"Angelo, Rome, once again provides one of the city"s many popular spectacles or tourist sites. The theatre was 111 m in diameter and was the largest and mos ...
Founded: 13 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Sant'Eusebio

Sant"Eusebio is a titular church devoted to Saint Eusebius of Rome, a 4th-century martyr. The church is first mentioned in 474, by an inscription in the catacombs of Saints Marcellino e Pietro. It was consecrated by Pope Gregory IX, after the restoration of 1238. The Romanesque style, dating back to this restoration, survived to the restorations of the 17th, 18th, and 20th centuries. The interior is separated into a ...
Founded: c. 470 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Ponte Milvio

The Milvian (or Mulvian) Bridge was an economically and strategically important bridge in the era of the Roman Empire and was the site of the famous Battle of the Milvian Bridge. A bridge was built by consul Gaius Claudius Nero in 206 BC after he had defeated the Carthaginian army in the Battle of the Metaurus. In 115 BC, consul Marcus Aemilius Scaurus built a new bridge of stone in the same position, demolishing the old ...
Founded: 115 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Santo Stefano al Monte Celio

The Basilica of St. Stephen in the Round on the Celian Hill (Basilica di Santo Stefano al Monte Celio), commonly named Santo Stefano Rotondo, is Hungary"s 'national church' in Rome. It is dedicated to both Saint Stephen, the Christian first martyr, and Stephen I, the sanctified first king of Hungary who imposed Christianity on his subjects. The earliest church was consecrated by Pope Simplicius between 468 ...
Founded: 468-483 | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica of Saint Clement

The Basilica of Saint Clement, dedicated to Pope Clement I, is especially notable for its three historical layers. The 12th-century basilica is built on top of a well-preserved 4th-century church (with many frescoes), which was built next to a 3rd-century Mithraic Temple. For an admission fee, it is possible to explore the excavations of the lower two levels, which is a fascinating journey into the history of Rome. This ...
Founded: 300-400 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Sant'Agata dei Goti

Sant"Agata dei Goti is dedicated to the martyr Saint Agatha. The church was built by Ricimer for the Goths c. 460. The Goths were Arians, so when Arianism was suppressed in Rome, the building was taken over by the Catholic Church, in 592 or 593, and reconsecrated by Pope Gregory the Great. It was restored in the 9th century, and a Benedictine monastery was founded next to it. The apse of the church collapsed in 1589, ...
Founded: 460 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Quirinal Palace

The Quirinal Palace is one of the three current official residences of the President of the Italian Republic. It is located on the Quirinal Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome. It has housed thirty Popes, four Kings of Italy and twelve presidents of the Italian Republic. The palace extends for an area of 110,500 square metres and is the ninth-largest palace in the world.  The current site of the palace has been ...
Founded: 1583 | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

The Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem or Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome. According to tradition, the basilica was consecrated circa 325 to house the relics of the Passion of Jesus Christ. The relics were brought to Rome from the Holy Land by Empress St. Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine I. At that time, the Basilica's floor was covered with soil from Jer ...
Founded: c. 325 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

San Teodoro Church

San Teodoro is a 6th-century church in Rome. It was dedicated to Theodore of Amasea and given to the Orthodox community of Rome by Pope John Paul II in 2004. It and is located on an ancient road between the Roman Forum and Forum Boarium, along the north-western foot of the Palatine Hill. However, there is no definitive evidence of the church"s existence before the 9th century. As the dedication to an eastern saint s ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica of Santa Pudenziana

The basilica of Santa Pudenziana is a 4th-century church of Rome, dedicated to Saint Pudentiana, sister of Saint Praxedis and daughter of Saint Pudens. It has been suggested that there was no such person as Pudentiana, the name having originated as an adjective used to describe the house of Pudens, Domus Pudentiana. The church of Santa Pudenziana is recognized as the oldest place of Christian worship in Rome. It was bui ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven (Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara coeli al Campidoglio) is a titular basilica located on the highest summit of the Campidoglio. The shrine is known for housing relics belonging to Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine and various minor relics from the Holy Sepulchre. The foundation of the church was laid on the site of a Byzantine abbey mentioned in 574. Many buildings ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rome, Italy

Santi Bonifacio ed Alessio

The Basilica dei Santi Bonifacio e(d) Alessio is a basilica, rectory church served by the Somaschans, on the Aventine Hill in Rome. It is dedicated to Saint Boniface of Tarsus and (originally only) Saint Alexius.  Founded between the 3rd and 4th centuries, it was restored in 1216 by Pope Honorius III (some columns of his building survive in the present building's eastern apse), in 1582, in the 1750s by Tommaso De Marchi ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

San Marco Church

San Marco is a minor basilica in Rome dedicated to St. Mark the Evangelist. It was first built in 336 by Pope Mark, whose remains are in an urn located below the main altar. The basilica is the national church of Venice in Rome. After a restoration in 792 by Pope Adrian I, the church was rebuilt by Pope Gregory IV in 833. Besides the addition of a Romanesque bell tower in 1154, the major change in the architecture of th ...
Founded: 336 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Church of Saints Marcellinus and Peter

Santi Marcellino e Pietro al Laterano is dedicated to Saints Marcellinus and Peter, 4th century Roman martyrs, whose relics were brought here in 1256. The first church on the site was built by Pope Siricius in the 4th century, close to the Via Labicana"s catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter, with an adjoining hospice which became a centre for pilgrims. This church was restored by Pope Gregory III in the 8th century. I ...
Founded: 1751 | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica of Maxentius

The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine (Basilica di Massenzio) is the largest ancient building in the Roman Forum. Construction began on the northern side of the forum under the emperor Maxentius in 308, and was completed in 312 by Constantine I after his defeat of Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The building rose close to the Temple of Peace, at that time probably neglected, and the Temple of Venus and ...
Founded: 308-312 | Location: Rome, Italy

San Lorenzo in Lucina

The Minor Basilica of St. Lawrence in Lucina is dedicated to St. Lawrence of Rome, deacon and martyr. The name 'Lucina' derives from that of the Roman matron of the AD 4th century who permitted Christians to erect a church on the site. Putatively, Pope Marcellus I hid on the site during the persecutions of Roman Emperor Maxentius, and Pope Damasus I was elected there in AD 366. Pope Sixtus III consecrated a chur ...
Founded: 440 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Catacomb of Priscilla

The Catacomb of Priscilla on the Via Salaria was used for Christian burials from the late 2nd century through the 4th century. This catacomb, according to tradition, is named after the wife of the Consul Manius Acilius Glabrio; he is said to have become a Christian and was killed on the orders of Domitian. Some of the walls and ceilings display fine decorations illustrating Biblical scenes. The modern entrance to the cat ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Mausoleum of Valerius Romulus

Valerius Romulus (c. 292/295 - 309) was the son of the Caesar and later usurper Maxentius and of Valeria Maximilla, daughter of Emperor Galerius. He was buried in a tomb along the Via Appia. The restored tomb stands within a grand sporting arena known as the Circus of Maxentius, itself part of a broader imperial complex built by the emperor Maxentius in the early fourth century AD.
Founded: 309 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Catacomb of Callixtus

The Catacomb(s) of Callixtus is one of the Catacombs of Rome on the Appian Way, most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes, which once contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries. The Catacomb is believed to have been created by future Pope Callixtus I, then a deacon of Rome, under the direction of Pope Zephyrinus, enlarging pre-existing early Christian hypogea. Callixtus himself was entomb ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is a 5th-century church in the Trastevere rione. The first church on this site was founded probably in the 3rd century, by Pope Urban I; it was devoted to the young Roman woman Cecilia, martyred it is said under Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander (AD 222-235). Tradition holds that the church was built over the house of the saint. The baptistery associated with this church, together with the rema ...
Founded: 822 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

San Sebastiano fuori le mura

San Sebastiano fuori le mura (Saint Sebastian outside the walls) was built originally in the first half of the 4th century. The basilica is dedicated to St. Sebastian, a popular Roman martyr of the 3rd century. 'Fuori le mura' refers to the fact that the church is built outside the Aurelian Walls, and is used to differentiate the basilica from the church of San Sebastiano al Palatino on the Palatine Hill. The c ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Porta Asinaria

The Porta Asinaria is a gate in the Aurelian Walls of Rome. Dominated by two protruding tower blocks and associated guard rooms, it was built between 270 and 273, at the same time as the Wall itself. It is through this gate that East Roman troops under General Belisarius entered the city in 536, reclaiming the city for the Byzantine Empire from the Ostrogoths. By the 16th century it had become overwhelmed by traffic. A n ...
Founded: 270-273 | Location: Rome, Italy

San Lorenzo in Damaso

San Lorenzo in Damaso is a parish and titular church in central Rome. It is incorporated into the papal Palazzo della Cancelleria. Archaeological evidence suggests the site, like those of many churches in Rome, may have formerly housed a pagan temple. The first documentary evidence of a church at this site dates from AD 499. According to tradition, in the AD 380s a basilica church was erected by Pope Damasus I in his own ...
Founded: c. 380 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Pyramid of Cestius

The Pyramid of Cestius is an ancient pyramid in Rome. Due to its incorporation into the city"s fortifications, it is today one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome. The pyramid was built about 18–12 BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a magistrate and member of one of the four great religious corporations in Rome, the Septemviri Epulonum. The sharply pointed shape of the pyramid is strongly reminiscent of ...
Founded: 18-12 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Catacombs of Generosa

The Catacomb of Generosa is part of an archeological complex, rich of remains not just Christian, but also pagan. The catacomb is situated inside a hill and occupies a single level. The former entrance of the catacomb, just like other Roman catacombs, was inside a basilica, built under Pope Damasus I in the second half of 4th century, whose remains have been discovered by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in the 19th century. In ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Temple of Portunus

The Temple of Portunus or Temple of Fortuna Virilis ('manly fortune') is one of the best preserved of all Roman temples. Its dedication remains unclear, as ancient sources mention several temples in this area of Rome, without saying enough to make it clear which this is. The temple was originally built in the third or fourth century BC but was rebuilt between 120-80 BC, the rectangular building consists of a tetrastyle p ...
Founded: 120-80 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Santi Quattro Coronati

Santi Quattro Coronati is an ancient basilica in Rome. The church dates back to the 4th (or 5th) century, and is devoted to four anonymous saints and martyrs. The complex of the basilica with its two courtyards, the fortified Cardinal Palace with the Saint Silvester Chapel, and the monastery with its cosmatesque cloister is built in a silent and green part of Rome, between the Colosseum and San Giovanni in Laterano. Trad ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Catacombs of Domitilla

Close to the Catacombs of San Callisto are the large and impressive Catacombs of Domitilla (named after Saint Domitilla), spread over 15 kilometres of underground caves. The Domitilla Catacombs are unique in that they are the oldest of Rome"s underground burial networks, and the only ones to still contain bones. They are also the best preserved and one of the most extensive of all the catacombs. Included in their pa ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Circus of Maxentius

The Circus of Maxentius is an ancient part of a complex erected by emperor Maxentius on the Via Appia between AD 306 and 312. It is situated between the second and third miles of the Via Appia between the basilica and catacombs of San Sebastiano and the imposing late republican tomb of Caecilia Metella, which dominates the hill that rises immediately to the east of the complex. The Circus itself is the best preserved in ...
Founded: 306-312 | Location: Rome, Italy

Ludus Magnus

The Ludus Magnus is the largest of the gladiatorial arenas in Rome. It was built by the emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) in the valley between the Esquiline and the Caelian hills. The still visible ruins of the monument belong to a second building stage attributed to the emperor Trajan (98-117). The Ludus Magnus was located in this area as it was built for the performances to be held at the Colosseum. To facilitate connection ...
Founded: c. 100 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations. The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rome, Italy

Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter

The Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter are ancient catacombs situated near the church of Santi Marcellino e Pietro ad Duas Lauros. Their name refers to the Christian martyrs Marcellinus and Peter who, according to tradition, were buried here, near the body of St. Tiburtius. In 2006, over a thousand skeletons were discovered in these catacombs; the skeletons were stacked one on top of each other and still bore the togas th ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

San Crisogono Church

San Crisogono in Trastevere is dedicated to the martyr Saint Chrysogonus. It was probably built in the 4th century under Pope Silvester I (314–335), rebuilt in the 12th century by John of Crema, and again by Giovanni Battista Soria, funded by Scipione Borghese, in the early 17th century. The bell tower dates from the 12th century rebuilding. The interior of the church was rebuilt in the 1620s on the site of a 12th-cent ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Catacombs of Commodilla

Catacombs of Commodilla, on the Via Ostiensis, contain one of the earliest images of a bearded Christ. They originally held the relics of Saints Felix and Adauctus. The hypogeum leading to the catacombs was built in the fourth century. The catacombs were used for burials until the sixth century. Later, as happened to other Christian underground cemeteries, it was transformed into a place of worship of martyrdom: restorati ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica di Sant'Anastasia al Palatino

Sant"Anastasia curch was built between the late 3rd and early 4th century, possibly by a Roman woman named Anastasia. The church is listed under the titulus Anastasiae in the acts of the 499 synod. Later the church was entitled to the martyr with the same name, Anastasia of Sirmium. The church was restored several times: Pope Damasus I (366-383), Pope Hilarius (461-468), Pope John VII (705-707), Pope Leo III (795-81 ...
Founded: c. 300 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Amphitheatrum Castrense

The Amphitheatrum Castrense is a Roman amphitheatre next to the church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. It is dated to the first decades of the 3rd century AD. It was part of an Imperial villa complex which was built by emperors of the Severan dynasty. The open arches of the outer walls were walled up when the building was incorporated into the Aurelian Walls (271-275 AD), at which point it stopped being used for spectacles ...
Founded: c. 220 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.

Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.

In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.

In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.

Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.