Rome & the Vatican
A - Z of Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

According to legend Rome was founded in 753 BC. It was first the centre of the Roman Republic then the Roman Empire. During the 4th century AD Rome became the capital of the Christian world. And from the 15th century the Popes influenced the image of Renaissance and Baroque Rome. Including creating some of the earliest public museums in Europe. With over 3,000 years of continuous history, Rome is one of the world’s most popular historical destinations.

Capuchin Crypt

Rome’s Capuchin Crypt – officially the Museum and Crypt of the Capuchin Friars – is at once both shocking and fascinating. In a series of small interconnected chapels beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini are the bones and mummified remains of an estimated 4,000 friars who died between 1528 and 1870. Far from being a macabre spectacle, the Capuchin order believes the remains of former friars are a silent and poignant reminder of humanity’s mortality and the passage of life on Earth.

Castel Sant'Angelo - Hadrian's Mausoleum

Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the most important historical sites in Rome. Now a museum, the structure was first built on an artificial mound on the northern banks of the Tiber River. It was built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and is wife Sabrina. In the early medieval period it was converted into a military fortress. Given its proximity to St Peter’s Basilica, in the 14th century it was converted into a residence for the Popes. The Vatican also used it as a prison. All of this history is on display to visitors , including the Papal chambers and  their exquisite frescoes.

Vatican Obelisk

Of the eight Egyptian obelisks brought to Rome, the Vatican Obelisk is the only ancient obelisk in Rome to have remained standing since Roman times. It was the largest non-inscribed obelisk to leave Egypt, at 25.5 m high and weighing an estimated 326 tonnes. It was Gaius Caligula who had the obelisk bought to Rome in 37 AD. The obelisk was originally erected in gardens Caligula had inherited from his mother, and then on the central spina of a circus, where it stood until 1585 when it was re-erected in its present position the centre of St Peter’s Square in the Vatican.