Insider’s Rome: The Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

You can go and see the Trevi Fountain for free, it’s just there, but it will cost you money if you ever want to see it again… Words and image by Jon Palmer There are actually lots of things you can do for free in Rome – especially if you happen to be around on […]

Insider’s Rome: The Pantheon

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Proposals to charge entry to the Pantheon remain controversial, after plans were announced to start charging visitors from May this year… Words by Jon Palmer. Image by iStock Up until now, entry to the Pantheon was free, and had been throughout its 2,000 years of continuous use. This January, however, Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, confirmed […]

Insider’s Rome: The Forum

Santi Luca e Martina, Arch of Septimius Severus and the Temple of Saturn at the Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

The Forum is where Roman history begins, but when it begins is a question that has recently had to be asked again… According to the story, Rome was founded on 21 April 753 BC, which means this April it was… umm… very old. How do we know the date so precisely? Because it’s just a […]

Insider’s Rome: le Terme di Caracalla

Though they are named for the Emperor Caracalla, it was probably his father, Severus, who laid the plans for these huge baths… Most tourists come here by public transport, though the walk from the Forum takes you past a number of sites. Or, if you really liked walking, you could combine the trip with a […]

Grotesque Style

The term Grotesque derives from the caves, or grotte, where Renaissance builders unearthed this ancient form The Grotesque style was all the rage during the 1500s for both interiors and exteriors all over Italy. It continued to be so for the following two centuries. Nowadays, when the word is mentioned, negative images of unfortunate distorted […]

La Rocca Calascio – The Highest Fortress

“He who controls the high ground controls the battle,” goes the old military adage – and it doesn’t get much higher than the Rocca Calascio. Standing at  1,460 metres above sea level – that’s 300 metres higher than Ben Nevis – this medieval fortress provides a vantage point over huge swathes of land… Standing in […]

Backstage at the Olimpico

Vincenzo Scamozzi’s final touch for the Olimpico was an amazingly detailed, three-dimensional stage set behind the scaenae, depicting the ancient city of Thebes Andrea Palladio channelled the great Roman architect and writer Vitruvius, studied Roman ruins, and added his own Renaissance ideas. With his Quattro Libri dell’Architettura (Four Books on Architecture), he dominated grand-building design […]