RomeWhat can be said about this city? Once you're standing at the Forum Romanum, the Eternal City's heart, you'll know why they say that all roads lead to Rome. This was the center of one of the greatest empires in the history of mankind, and the grandiose historic buildings still attest to it.
Most of Southern and Western Europe, North Africa and Western Asia were controlled from this place. Gladiators were forced to fight to their death in Rome, and this is where the Caesars walked or rather, were carried. Not to forget: Roman culture and the Latin language have shaped European culture until today, more than one and a half thousand years after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Today, ancient Rome comes alive through the Colosseum, the Catacombs, the Imperial Forums and many other structures and statues. Churches, but also secular buildings attest to the city's role in medieval times.
But it was in the Renaissance and Baroque periods that Rome again came to be the center of the world, along with Florence. Rome is home to the Vatican, the worldwide centre of the Catholic church and a major destination for pilgrimage. And the popes commissioned many of the greatest works of art and architecture ever created - including the famous St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Among others, none other than Michelangelo worked as an architect here. And many more of Rome's great buildings and squares, like the Piazza di Trevi, dominated by the famous Trevi Fountain, were created then.
And once you have let a day fade out at one of Rome's many cafés, gelaterie, and ristoranti amidst the architectural treasures, you will also know what they mean by the sweet life, La Dolce Vita.
The Colosseum under WaterCould the gigantic Colosseum really be flooded with water? Historian and politician Cassius Dio describes how sea battles were indeed staged in the heart of the city. What do modern experts think? And where would the water have come from?
Behind the ScenesA day at the Colosseum would start with venationes, or beast hunts. Exotic animals from far-away colonies were released via a machinery that included stage elevators. But animals didn’t only die on stage – they also performed death sentences…
The Gladiatores - Win or DieGladiators were at once despised and idolized as antiquity’s rock stars. Experimental archeologist Marcus Junkelmann helps us take a close look at the death-defying heroes of the arena: their weapons and armour, their lives – and their deaths.
Caravaggio in Rome
Revolution in Light and ShadowMichelangelo Merisi was a drunkard and a thug accused of murder – but he was also one of the most brilliant artists of his time, known as Caravaggio. With his outrageously naturalistic and dramatic “chiaroscuro” style, he invented Baroque painting…
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