What's on at St Peter's Basilica

By Go City Expert

St Peter’s Basilica is the power house of the Catholic Church set in Rome’s Vatican City, on the northern side of the River Tiber. The impressive basilica overlooks a huge colonnade-lined square and was designed and decorated by Italy’s most esteemed and prestigious designers such as Bernini, Michelangelo and Bramante. Capture the picture perfect moment for yourself and visit one of Rome’s most iconic silhouettes, St Peter’s Basilica. Boasting the world’s highest dome, the structure as a whole is truly breath-taking and one of the most impressive examples of religious architecture in the world. As it’s a place of pilgrimage and prayer, it’s no surprise that there are various events held there every month. Thousands gather to hear the weekly sermons – some even travel across the globe just to participate. If you fancy a bit of the action and are in Rome this month, pay a visit to this stunning landmark and epicentre of the Catholic Church to take part in some of the public Papal proceedings in June. 6th June, Friday Saint Peter's Square, at 12:15 - Meeting with the Carabinieri Corps on the 200th anniversary of its foundation 7th June, Saturday Saint Peter's Square, at 16:30 - Meeting with the Sports Associations 8th June, Pentecost Sunday Vatican Basilica, at 10:00 - PAPAL MASS, Holy Mass Saint Peter's Square, at 12:00 – Angelus 11th June, Wednesday Saint Peter's Square, at 10:30 - General Audience 12th June, Thursday Consistory Hall, at 10:00 - Consistory for several Causes of Canonization 15th June, Sunday Saint Peter's Square, at 12:00 - Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Angelus 18th June, Wednesday Saint Peter's Square, at 10:30 - General Audience 22nd June, Sunday Saint Peter's Square, at 12:00 – Angelus 25th June, Wednesday Saint Peter's Square, at 10:30 - General Audience 29th June, Sunday Vatican Basilica, at 9:30 - Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, PAPAL MASS - Holy Mass and imposition of the Pallium on new Metropolitan Archbishops Discover more with the OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card. Enjoy a free audio guide at St Peter’s Basilica for FREE and skip the queues saving you time in the busy months. Why not visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel after, and walk right up to the front with no queuing and no extra payment. Want to learn more? Click here to find out how it works...

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Eat and drink like a local: the best bars and cafés in Rome

To truly experience any city, it’s best done like a local. It’s not always possible to find the best places to eat and drink in a guidebook so word of mouth and tip-offs from those who know is key. Like any capital city, Rome can be a bit of a tourist trap and without knowing about the best spots, eating and drinking out can be quite a costly expense and in the worst case, a disappointment. The best bars and cafes in Rome aren’t often that far off the beaten track, but sometimes it takes a little to know them. From where to find the best espresso, to the best pizza you can’t fail with our best places to eat and drink your way around Rome. Antica Birreria Peroni Via di San Marcello, 19 If you want to expand your satisfy your Peroni cravings then this bar is the one for you. Antica Birreria Peroni has been the watering whole of Roman locals for over 100 years, so it’s safe to say there’s a reason why it’s been going so long. A simple bar-come-restaurant it's tucked away just off the busy Via del Corso shopping street, down a cobbled alley, so think authentic and traditional. Try their specialities that fill the bar; Peroni Gran Riserva, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Crystall Red - or even Fuller’s London Pride in case you get homesick. Il Goccetto Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14 Dubbed Rome’s best wine bar, this unassuming nook is where you want to go for a taste of Italy’s fine wines. Literally, a hole in the wall, it’s housed in one of Rome’s oldest buildings which dates back to 1527. Selling over 800 different wines, it’s impossible to try them all but you can have a good go at it! With walls stacked with bottles – much like a library with its books – it’s the perfect place to go and rest your feet after a day of sightseeing. You can choose from a selection of cold meats and cheeses to accompany your wine; a great aperitivo before dinner. Caffé Greco Via dei Condotti, 86 Italians don’t do things in halves when it comes to the hard stuff. Famous for their strong coffees, tasting a true Roman espresso is top of the list. Head to the Antico Caffé Greco on the prestigious shopping street Via dei Condotti, and experience a real Roman coffee. In one of the oldest coffee shops in Rome it’s considered a historic landmark as it opened in 1760. Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities as it’s a hot spot for those in the know. Dar Poeta Vicolo del Bologna, 45/46 You might be sick of the sight of Pizza when leave Rome but you can’t go without having a seat at Dar Poeta first. Loved by locals, this Trastevere based pizzeria will whip up some of the most authentic flavours and serve up simple combinations that will leave you wanting more! From traditional tomato and mozzarella to Nutella calzone, there’s a range of options from sweet to savoury. Make sure you’ve got a big appetite because you’ll want to try it all. Gelateria Fatamorgana Via Roma Libera, 11 The USP of this ice-cream shop is that it’s all about the all-natural and no-additives. In a city that’s bursting with ice cream shops you want to get a good scoop. This chain of gelaterias can be found all around the city from near the Vatican to the Coliseum. Indulge in their hand-made combinations such as blueberry cheesecake, or even basil and black olives if you’re feeling adventurous. Ice-cream’s a great palate cleanser and with creamy options to light sorbets you’re bound to find something to suit your mood.
Go City Expert
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Discover Rome's famous film locations

Rome has played host to numerous Hollywood blockbusters and cult films for decades. With its streets drenched in history and its inescapably intimate (yet chaotic) setting, it’s the perfect location for any movie – be it romantic, moody or thrilling. It all started with the cinematic movement, Neorealism, which addressed the changing political situations of the middle of the 20th century. With power struggles and money struggles, the city made for an appropriate setting – plus, scattered with beautiful actors and cobbled streets, it couldn't help but work towards the creation of a picture-perfect film. Follow our itinerary to create your own Hollywood backdrop whilst visiting Rome: Trevi Fountain Rome’s best loved fountain, the Trevi Fountain, has been the backdrop to many cult films both old and new. Considered a Baroque masterpiece and the largest fountain in Rome, it’s a honey pot for locals and visitors alike who go to throw a coin into its basin, to make a wish to return to the city in the future. Superstitions aside, it’s an impressive landmark in central Rome - who doesn't remember that iconic scene in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita when Anita Eckberg take an impromptu dip. Yes, that one! Spanish Steps Just around the corner from the Trevi Fountain are the Spanish Steps which have featured in many celebrated films. The one that propelled Hepburn into Hollywood stardom was the classic Roman Holiday - one of the best visual guides to the city there is. With a wide range of backdrops, you can’t forget the scene in which she sits on the Spanish Steps to eat her ice cream. Did you know, a few streets behind the Spanish Steps is the address where her on-screen love Gregory Peck lived in the film too. In real life, Federico Fellini only lived a few doors up! Coliseum The Coliseum is one of Rome’s most loved landmarks and an icon of the Ancient Empire. Still standing over 2000 years on, the Coliseum has featured in many popular films over the years, but none as much as Gladiator. Ok, the film set was a man-made construction, but through the film you can really learn about how the Coliseum looked in all its glory and the role it played in Roman society at the time. Today you can still explore the ancient ruins and Roman Forum yourself with free entry with the Roma Pass. Castel Sant’angelo From old classics to modern masterpieces, Castel Sant’angelo is Rome’s impressive fortress overlooking the River Tiber. Its sheer scale and size makes it the perfect backdrop for some impressive footage and you’ll find it’s been used in a number of films, but more recently Darran Brown’s spiritual thriller, Angels and Demons, where its neighbouring Piazza del Popolo also featured as one of Tom Hanks’ first clues. Trastevere This much loved neighbourhood across the river is one of Rome’s most quaint and intimate areas. A maze of cobbled streets and piazzas it’s truly Roman in its terracotta hues and local ambiance. In Woody Allan’s To Rome with Love, it’s home to one of his main characters and you’ll also recognise it as a local haunt of Julia Robert’s character, Elizabeth Gilbert in the adaptation of the bestselling Eat, Pray, Love. Create your own movie this holiday and set your own backdrops with the OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card .
Go City Expert
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The history of the Roman Forum: the centre of the Ancient World

The Roman Forum was the hub of commerce and trade in the Ancient World and has been dubbed the most celebrated meeting place in the world – and indeed in all history. The Roman Forum developed over many centuries in the valley between the Capitoline and Palatine Hills and was originally a sodden marsh until it was drained into the River Tiber. Funny to think that one of the most important and powerful Empires was founded on swampland! According to tradition, the Forum was founded as a result of the conciliation of two rivals, Romulus (founder of Rome) who ruled the Palatine Hill, and his nemesis Titus Tatius, who controlled the Capitoline Hill. Their original Forum was used as an open air market place but it was the Comitium which later held public speeches, civic trials and assemblies; driving the Forum into a different politically charged space. Later, in the Republican era, the Senate wanted to expand the Forum's piazza and so purchased private property to turn it into public use. From the 5th century BC, the first temples were constructed – namely the Temple of Saturn and the Temple of Castor and Pollux, as well as the Temple of Concord in the century later, expanding the growing central hub of Ancient Rome. The earliest basilicas were introduced into the Forum in 184 BC which began the process of ‘monumentalizing’ the site. The first basilica to be added to the Roman Forum was the Basilica Fulvia at the north side of the square in 179 BC; nine years later the Basilica Sempronia was constructed on the south side. As the Forum developed with more public buildings and monuments, slowly the public gatherings and important political celebrations that were held in the Comitium moved into the Forum – such as the popular comitia tribute assemblies, funerals of Roman nobility and popular games. It was during the reign of Sulla that major work was undertaken on the Forum including the laying of marble stones – raising the plaza level by almost a metre – how we see it today. In 63 BC Cicero delivered his famous speech to the conspirator Catiline in the Forum. But it was the oration given at Caesar’s funeral – which you’ll recognise from Shakespeare’s play – delivered at the speaker’s podium, the New Rostra, that was probably the most significant and memorable event that has lived in history. The burning of Caesar’s body then took place in the site where the Temple to the Defied Caesar now stands, built by the Emperor’s great-nephew Octavius, aka, Augustus. It was Augustus who later gave the Roman Forum its final form; adding the Temple of Divus Iulius and the Arch of Augustus in 29 BC. Jumping ahead to the medieval era in the 6th century (AD), some of the monuments within the Roman Forum were turned into Christian churches. By the 8th century the whole Forum was filled with these new religious buildings, transforming abandoned and ruined temples into Christian shrines. It was during this time that travellers to Rome noted that the Roman Forum was already falling apart and although the memory of its former glory lasted, the once powerful imperial site was now referred to as Campo Vaccino – meaning cattle field – as it was falling into disuse, ruin and under layers of years of debris. It was also during this period that builders and architects dismantled the surviving buildings to use the original material for the construction of towers and castles in the local area. Later on in the 13th century, the Roman Forum was used as a dumping ground for old medieval buildings – and the Roman practice of building new neighbourhoods over old ruins meant the old Roman Forum was almost nowhere to be seen, with a significant rise in ground level. It wasn’t until the 18th century that any type of excavation work really began thanks to the early efforts to recreate the outline of the Roman Forum by artists in the late 15th century, later supported and completed by antiquaries. Excavation and restoration was only really first attempted in 1803 by Carlos Fea, who began clearing debris from the Arch of Septimus Severus. Archaelogists under Napoleon’s regime then helped carried on his work, but it wasn’t until the early 20th century that the Roman Forum was fully excavated! So when you know the history of the Roman Forum, you can appreciate the history and change that the Roman Forum has witnessed over these thousands of years. Just think about it, the marble and cobbled paths and streets that you walk through are at the real level at which it stood during the Imperial period - now that should make you stop and think. With the OMNIA Card you can discover the ancient world of the Roman Forum for free. You can even skip the queues and jump straight to the front and explore the centre of Empires past. If you want to visit the Forum Museum, to discover more of the ancient world and Roman Forum, including ancient artifacts and old sculptures,, show the OMNIA Card to the ticket staff and you can get free and fast track entry to the Coliseum and museum included as well. It’s your answer to the best sightseeing experience in Rome!
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