20 Fascinating Facts about the Sistine Chapel

By Go City Expert

We've collated the most fascinating facts about the Sistine Chapel within the Vatican Museums in Rome to test your trivia. Learn about the painstaking ways the ceiling was painted, and the hidden meanings behind some of the most allegorical figures...

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Buon Natale! Christmas celebrations in Rome

With less than two weeks to go until 25th December, we’re all getting very excited. Whether you’ll be in Rome for the actual day or whether you’re just visiting in the run up, you can still enjoy the wide range of festive events and activities going on during the season. Christmas Market at Piazza Navona Although Rome’s not nationally or internationally famed for its Christmas markets, the most popular one can be found dominating the whole of Piazza Navona (accessible on a Rome Bus Tour) from late November through to early January. Filled with fairground-style stalls and novelty gifts, it’s every Roman’s answer to a commercialised Christmas. And so what, it’s fun! With plenty to purchase from candy floss to delicious Italian treats like panettone, it’s worth a visit just to get you in the Christmas spirit at least. Make sure to take loose change though as cash points in the area are hard to come by. Christmas Tree at St Peter’s Square St Peter’s Basilica needs no introduction, and nor do you need reminding of its importance and spiritual and historic symbolism. At Christmas thought it’s famous for another reason (other than the obvious) as a huge Christmas tree (usually around the 25m mark) is erected in the middle of the square. The tradition of the Christmas tree has been around since 1982 when the Polish Pope John Paul II introduced this much loved Northern European festive symbol. Now, every year the tree is donated by a different country and this year it's back to Italy and the Southern region of Calabria. NB: If you’re in Rome for Christmas Eve, their annual Nativity Play is also unveiled to celebrate the birth of Christ – definitely worth a visit! Christmas Music at Natale all'Auditorium Parco della Musica Each country and culture has their own Christmas traditions and music plays as much a part in it as anything. Where the Westernised Christian traditions usually sing carols, in Rome you can enjoy Christmas at the Auditorium Parco della Musica with the Rome Gospel Festival. But it’s not all about the music, although Parco della Musica hosts a wide range of concerts and operas from early December through to early January, there’s also an ice rink and a Christmas market, too. A great place to take the kids for a mix of culture and Christmas cheer! Christmas Shopping Arti & Mestieri Expo Rome has lots of good artisanal shops and independent sellers to get inspired for your Christmas shopping, if you’re looking for something really unique then head to the Arti & Mestieri Expo (Arts & Crafts Expo), from 11th December to 14th December. With stalls exhibiting all sorts of crafts, food, wine, beauty and lifestyle products – there’s something for everyone! Perfect for stocking fillers or substantial presents you can find silver jewellery and leather goods, to handmade cards and knick knacks. Ice Skating at Castel Sant’angelo To top off the Christmas extravaganza in Rome, end your festive holiday with a bit of ice skating. At one of the most picturesque spots, right in front of Castel Sant’angelo, you can skate against a historic backdrop and drink in just being in Rome at Christmas! Just a short walk away is the bustling area of Trastevere, too, a great place to go and warm up with a drink and some pizza afterwards.
Go City Expert
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Blogger's Best Gelaterias in Rome

If you’re spending the summer in Rome, you’ll quickly find yourself searching for ways to cool off in the heat and in desperate need of refreshment. There’s no better way to tackle those needs and celebrate the Rome’s thriving culinary scene than with an ice cold creamy gelato. Gelato is one of Rome’s most iconic gourmet staples and is not to be missed, especially after a long hot day on the tourist trail. Forget waiting until after dinner, have dessert first and make a beeline for some of the best haunts in town during the day. There’s no better way to cool off than with a scoop (or three) of homemade ice cream – trust us. We asked some of the best food, travel and city bloggers where to order the best gelato in Rome. Take it from the professionals and read on... Best Gelato in Rome Именно здесь Грегори Пек угощал мороженым Одри Хепберн в фильме "Римские каникулы"🍦 _____________ Побывать в Италии и не попробовать gelato- непростительно) Giolitti — самое старое кафе-мороженое в Риме. Это историческое заведение было внесено в список Forbes, как одно из самых вкусных морожениц мира. Здесь можно попробовать мороженое со вкусом сицилийской кассаты, шампанского, марсалы и риса Настоящим удовольствием будет выстоять очередь в кафе возле Пантеона и насладится рожком мороженого у фонтана напротив исторического здания. И после встать в очередь опять 💛 A post shared by Dance teacher (@likaqn) on Aug 10, 2018 at 1:54am PDT Best Gelato near the Pantheon We spoke with Alida, the food blogger behind MyLittleItalianKitchen, who suggested Gelateria Giolitti. Located on Via Uffici del Vicario, this family-run business has been in the business of gelato for over a hundred years and has a prime spot on the tourist trail. She said, ‘“The Gelateria Giolitti is barely a stones throw from the Pantheon and the Trevi fountain and is a family run business which has been producing ice cream since 1890. The salon of Gelateria Giolitti has an attractive decor styled in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco style and which is very elegant with the 1930’s furnishings.” As for what they serve? They’ve had a few years to figure out their flavour range and it’s an endless list of both traditional Italian favourites and international influences. Alida continued, “Their tremendous selection of ice cream flavours range from figs, dried fruit, champagne, rice, zabaione, sicilian cassata, nutella and cookies and many others which will leave you craving for more. Their ice cream is simply fantastic! Just the place to go for a creamy and first class ice cream indulgence in stylish surroundings.” #sgnomsterinrome Care for some gelato in the cold cold weather? • 4 scoops with chocolate cone €4.00 A post shared by SG Food | Travel | Lifestyle (@sgnomster) on Apr 17, 2018 at 4:35am PDT Best gelato near St Peter’s Basilica Gelarmony - Via Marcantonio Colonna, 34 With four locations and an avid fan base, Gelarmony is a local favourite and travel blogger Valeria of Rome, New York, London, World insists it's one of the best scoops in Rome. For those poring over their guidebooks and figuring out the day’s route, make time to stop off at their branch situated just fifteen minutes from St Peter’s Basilica for a cold treat. Valeria said, “Their gelato comes in sixty different and delicious flavors, all made of natural ingredients imported from Sicily. You can’t go wrong by picking the more common flavors like chocolate or pistachio, but you should also try their specialties such as cassata and my personal favorites: tiramisù and amaretto. Gelarmony also offers tasty soya-based options. Enjoy!” Let her know what you think on Twitter @RomeNYLondWorld Hotly contested on the streets of Rome, but in this 32 degree heat it has to be gelato from... #Rome #gelato #food #foodie A post shared by Lisa Helmanis (@daystudiolondon) on Jul 6, 2018 at 6:17am PDT Unique gelato in Rome Gelateria del Teatro – Via dei Coronari, 65 (Navona Square) & Lungotevere dei Vallati, 25 (Campo dei Fiori Square /Lungotevere area) For those bored of the standard chocolate and vanilla, head to one of Gelateria del Teatro’s two branches for a more experimental bite. It’s one of local Rome blogger Antonio of Romeing’s favourite spots to cool off on a hot summer’s day with a scoop of some of the best gelato in Rome. Antonio said, “Gelateria del Teatro is so confident about their quality that in each of their two charming locations you can even watch them make their gelato. Flavours include lavender with white peach and pumpkin with chocolate and there is a variety of cone sizes to choose from, including the giant, five-scoop cone monster. We recommend the specialty: rosemary and lemon, a refreshing, cleansing, light yet satisfying flavor.” Let Antonio know which flavours you’ve tried at @Romeing Venchi Gelato, Rome! 🇮🇹 ☀️ . . . . #aegeuswatches #aegeuswatch #klockor #watchesofinstagram #elegance #simplicity #timepiece #watch #watches #klocka #aegeusklocka #wristwatch #aegeus #elegantblacksilver #blacksilver #menwatches #minimalistwatch #minimalistwatches #mensstyle #fashion #watchaddict #vatican #italy #rome #venchi #venchigelato A post shared by Aegeus Watches 🇸🇪 (@aegeuswatches) on Jul 11, 2018 at 2:57pm PDT Best traditional gelato in Rome Venchi – Via degli Orfani, 87 Why dispute the classics? A gelateria named Venchi takes the prize for the best traditional gelato in the city according to food blogger Beverley of Beverley Glock, sticking to all natural ingredients and classic Italian flavours that will really hit the spot. As with the earlier Gelateria Gillotti, it’s also situated nearby the Pantheon in case you have room for more than one sweet treat on your travels. She said, “I’ve never had a poor ice cream in Rome so why would it start here? Venchi make their ice cream with natural ingredients; fresh milk, cream, eggs, fresh fruit and their own chocolate. Only fruit and nuts are used to colour and flavour their ice cream, so there’s no artificial colouring. “Venchi pride themselves on the variety of traditional Italian flavours they offer and situated in an idyllic location right next to The Pantheon, you can tick the ‘culture’ box as you sit down to enjoy the best ice cream in Rome. Do you agree? Let her know on @BeverleyGlock Breakfast, lunch or dinner , hot summer days or rainy cloudy afternoons - in Rome it’s always time for #icecream !! Wearing my beautiful @yalchypapa bracelet 💌 #WeInRoma A post shared by Travel Blog • בלוג טיולים (@ila.na.na) on Jan 26, 2018 at 6:09am PST Best gelato in Trastevere La Fonte della Salute – Via Cardinal Marmaggi, 2-4-6 A day spent wandering the colourful neighbourhood of Trastevere never goes unwasted, as there’s always something new to discover in one of Rome’s most charming areas. Slip past the old men drinking espresso and the trattoria to grab a table at La Fonte della Salute, which serves an unforgettable gelato that caters to people from all walks of life. Blogger Tiziano of Rome Local Friend said, “La Fonte della Salute, which may be translated to “fountain of health” is definitely the best ice cream maker of Trastevere. The shop has been open since 1981. Then after a change in management, it came back stronger than before. Now they sell organic, vegan and gluten free ice cream. This is definitely what one would call the ‘Gelateria of the 21st century’. I love to pop in for a tasty ice cream whenever I am around. They still offer a very wide variety of flavours, from cream to fruit, so I invite you to come too during your strolls in the neighborhood. They also provide some free tables outside.” What’s your favourite flavour? Start a conversation with @RomeLocalFriend
Megan Hills
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Happy Halloween horror tour of Ancient Rome

You don’t normally associate the pagan festival of Halloween to the holy Catholic city of Rome, however, if you are looking for something spooky while you’re in Rome then look no further. We’ve compiled a list of our top five scariest spots across the city for you to get your fix. Just don’t blame us if it’s too frightening... Capuchin Crypt of Bones Just off Piazza Barberini, this eerie church is not one to be missed if you’re into bone-chilling experiences – pardon the pun. Located underneath the church is a crypt decorated with the bones of 4,000 monks from the Capuchin order, dating back to 1631. The bones were used decoratively to line the walls of the church and later the friars were to bury their own dead to continue the tradition. This impressive ossury is divided into five chapels and visitors are guided by natural light and low lit candles, adding to the eerie experience. Some might say it’s a macabre work of art, as the bones have been laid out in various designs and orders. You’ll notice some of the skeletons have been draped in the old Capuchin robes and look down at you from their place on the wall. Catacombs of St Callixtus These catacombs contain some of Rome’s most important martyrs and popes of Ancient Rome. It wasn’t until the first half of the second century that bodies were even buried underground, so these catacombs hold significant importance as being the first place to bury Christians all in one, joint place, together in tombs. The Catacombs of St Callixtus cover 90 acres and there are over 12 miles of pathways to explore, down four levels, over 20meters underground... Look out for the “little Vatican” the area where all the popes are buried; the crypt and statue of St Cecilia, patron of music, and also the ancient frescoes which decorate the walls. The Vatican Necropolis Found in the Vatican City, the Vatican Necropolis is the burial ground of the majority of, and the more recent, popes and is a hugely important place for Romans and Catholics to this day. Underneath St Peter’s Basilica, the catacombs are open to the public for you to walk through the tombs. Don’t miss the ‘graffiti wall’ which contains a number of ancient Latin scribbles, either. Some of the oldest tombs date back to the 3rd century and you’ll even be able to see the tombs of Apostle Peter, Circus Nero and Gaius of Rome. Museum of Purgatory Take the spook-scale up a notch to the Museum of Purgatory, a tiny room inside Sacra Cuore Suffragio (the Church of the Scared Heart). It’s believed that Father Jouet, a French missionary priest, saw a man’s face in the flames when a painting of the Virgin Mary caught fire, and he believed it was a soul whose body was buried on that spot, stuck in purgatory. So Jouet decided to build a church to pay tribute to all those souls. Many people haven’t heard of the Museum of Purgatory so you'll probably be the only visitors there at one time. Whether you believe in purgatory or not, it’s worth a visit just to see the artefacts on display that claim to be evidence of souls trapped, trying to get out.... Monster House If you need something slightly less scary and a bit more lighthearted, head up to the Spanish Steps where you can see the open mouthed door of the nicknamed Monster House. Although visitors aren’t allowed to enter the house, once owned by two baroque painters, the Zuccari brothers, you can stand outside and admire the bizarre entrance. In 1592 the Zuccaris decided it would be comical (one would assume?) to decorate their house with gaping mouthed windows and doors. Here you can see the giant features set in stone which, on a dark night, are somewhat less comfortable to look at...
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