Duration: 3 hours
Capitoline Hill, Capitoline Museums, S. Maria in Aracoeli, Piazza Venezia and the Vittoriano
All roads lead to Rome.
An incredible wealth of places of interest lies within the range of Rome’s “kilometer zero”. The square on the Capitoline Hill speaks of ancient Rome and embodies old legends still surviving into today’s modern world. The center of the square houses a majestic equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. It was believed that the day the statue would lose its golden coating is the day that Rome will fall. In fact, the original is now kept inside the Capitoline Museums and was replaced by a copy. The Museums, inaugurated in 1734, are now regarded as the first public museum in the world. The collection includes masterpieces such as the Esquiline Venus, the Boy with Thorn, the Dying Gaul, the head of the colossal statue of Constantine, Brutus and the She-wolf of Rome.
On the other side of the world-renowned square (designed by Michelangelo) is the basilica of Saint Mary of the Altar of Heaven (Santa Maria in Aracoeli). This is where Augustus’s apartments used to lie. According to legend, while in his bedroom, he had a vision of a woman with a baby in her arms who prophesied the coming of the Christ: “This is the Altar of the son of God, the Altar of Heaven”.
According to a local myth, those who play the lottery (il Lotto) can secure victory by climbing the monumental staircase leading up to the church on their knees, while invoking the Three Wise Men and saying a De Profundis for the souls of Purgatory. We will descend the staircase and reach the most famous square of modern Rome, Piazza Venezia, which hosts the iconic Vittoriano, a monument frequently likened to a typewriter (hence its nickname, “la macchina da scrivere” or “typewriter”).