Rome Travel Guide

Culture

Entertainment and performing arts

Rome is an important centre for music, and it has an intense musical scene, including several prestigious music conservatories and theatres. It hosts the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (founded in 1585), for which new concert halls have been built in the new Parco della Musica, one of the largest musical venues in the world. Rome also has an opera house, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, as well as several minor musical institutions. The city also played host to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1991 and the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2004.

Rome has also had a major impact in music history. The Roman School was a group of composers of predominantly church music, which were active in the city during the 16th and 17th centuries, therefore spanning the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. The term also refers to the music they produced. Many of the composers had a direct connection to the Vatican and the papal chapel, though they worked at several churches; stylistically they are often contrasted with the Venetian School of composers, a concurrent movement which was much more progressive. By far the most famous composer of the Roman School is Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, whose name has been associated for four hundred years with smooth, clear, polyphonic perfection. However, there were other composers working in Rome, and in a variety of styles and forms.

Tourism

Rome today is one of the most important tourist destinations of the world, due to the incalculable immensity of its archaeological and artistic treasures, as well as for the charm of its unique traditions, the beauty of its panoramic views, and the majesty of its magnificent "villas" (parks). Among the most significant resources are the many museums – Musei Capitolini, the Vatican Museums and the Galleria Borghese and others dedicated to modern and contemporary art – aqueducts, fountains, churches, palaces, historical buildings, the monuments and ruins of the Roman Forum, and the Catacombs. Rome is the third most visited city in the EU, after London and Paris, and receives an average of 7–10 million tourists a year, which sometimes doubles on holy years. The Colosseum (4 million tourists) and the Vatican Museums (4.2 million tourists) are the 39th and 37th (respectively) most visited places in the world, according to a recent study.

Rome is a major archaeological hub, and one of the world's main centres of archaeological research. There are numerous cultural and research institutes located in the city, such as the American Academy in Rome, and The Swedish Institute at Rome. Rome contains numerous ancient sites, including the Forum Romanum, Trajan's Market, Trajan's Forum, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon, to name but a few. The Colosseum, arguably one of Rome's most iconic archaeological sites, is regarded as a wonder of the world.

Rome contains a vast and impressive collection of art, sculpture, fountains, mosaics, frescos, and paintings, from all different periods. Rome first became a major artistic centre during ancient Rome, with forms of important Roman art such as architecture, painting, sculpture and mosaic work. Metal-work, coin die and gem engraving, ivory carvings, figurine glass, pottery, and book illustrations are considered to be 'minor' forms of Roman artwork. Rome later became a major centre of Renaissance art, since the popes spent vast sums of money for the constructions of grandiose basilicas, palaces, piazzas and public buildings in general. Rome became one of Europe's major centres of Renaissance artwork, second only to Florence, and able to compare to other major cities and cultural centres, such as Paris and Venice. The city was affected greatly by the baroque, and Rome became the home of numerous artists and architects, such as Bernini, Caravaggio, Carracci, Borromini and Cortona, to name a few. In the late 18th century and early 19th century, the city was one of the centres of the Grand Tour, when wealthy, young English and other European aristocrats visited the city to learn about ancient Roman culture, art, philosophy and architecture. Rome hosted a great number of neoclassical and rococo artists, such as Pannini and Bernardo Bellotto. Today, the city is a major artistic centre, with numerous art institutes and museums.

Rome has a growing stock of contemporary and modern art and architecture. The National Gallery of Modern Art has works by Balla, Morandi, Pirandello, Carrà, De Chirico, De Pisis, Guttuso, Fontana, Burri, Mastroianni, Turcato, Kandisky and Cézanne on permanent exhibition. 2010 saw the opening of Rome's newest arts foundation, a contemporary art and architecture gallery designed by acclaimed Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Known as MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts it restores a dilapidated area with striking modern architecture. Maxxi features a campus dedicated to culture, experimental research laboratories, international exchange and study and research. It is one of Rome's most ambitious modern architecture projects alongside Renzo Piano's Auditorium Parco della Musica and Massimiliano Fuksas' Rome Convention Center, Centro Congressi Italia EUR, in the EUR district, due to open in 2011. The Convention Center features a huge translucent container inside which is suspended a steel and teflon structure resembling a cloud and which contains meeting rooms and an auditorium with two piazzas open to the neighbourhood on either side.

Rome is also widely recognised as a world fashion capital. Although not as important as Milan, Rome is the world's fourth most important center for fashion in the world, according to the 2009 Global Language Monitor after Milan, New York and Paris, and beating London. Major luxury fashion houses and jewellery chains, such as Bulgari, Fendi, Laura Biagiotti and Brioni (fashion), just to name a few, are headquartered or were founded in the city. Also, other major labels, such as Chanel, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani and Versace have luxury boutiques in Rome, primarily along its prestigious and upscale Via dei Condotti.

Cuisine

Rome's cuisine has evolved through centuries and periods of social, cultural, and political changes. Rome became a major gastronomical centre during the ancient Age. Ancient Roman cuisine was highly influenced by Ancient Greek culture, and after, the empire's enormous expansion exposed Romans to many new, provincial culinary habits and cooking techniques. Later, during the Renaissance, Rome became well known as a centre of high-cuisine, since some of the best chefs of the time, worked for the popes. An example of this could be Bartolomeo Scappi, who was a chef, working for Pius IV in the Vatican kitchen, and he acquired fame in 1570 when his cookbook Opera dell'arte del cucinare was published. In the book he lists approximately 1000 recipes of the Renaissance cuisine and describes cooking techniques and tools, giving the first known picture of a fork.
In the modern age, the city developed its own peculiar cuisine, based on products of the nearby Campagna, as lamb and vegetables (globe artichokes are common). In parallel, roman Jews -present in the city since the 1st century BC- developed their own cuisine, the cucina giudaico-romanesca. Examples of Roman dishes include "Saltimbocca alla Romana" – a veal cutlet, Roman-style; topped with raw ham and sage and simmered with white wine and butter; "Carciofi alla romana" – artichokes Roman-style; outer leaves removed, stuffed with mint, garlic, breadcrumbs and braised; "Carciofi alla giudia" – artichokes fried in olive oil, typical of Roman Jewish cooking; outer leaves removed, stuffed with mint, garlic, breadcrumbs and braised; "Spaghetti alla carbonara" – spaghetti with bacon, eggs and pecorino, and "Gnocchi di semolino alla romana" – semolina dumpling, Roman-style, to name but a few.

Cinema

Rome hosts the Cinecittà Studios, the largest film and television production facility in continental Europe and the centre of the Italian cinema, where a large number of today's biggest box office hits are filmed. The studio complex is from the centre of Rome and is part of one of the biggest production communities in the world, second only to Hollywood, with well over 5,000 professionals – from period costume makers to visual effects specialists. More than 3,000 productions have been made on its lot, from recent features like The Passion of the Christ, Gangs of New York, HBO's Rome, The Life Aquatic and Dino De Laurentiis' Decameron, to such cinema classics as Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, and the films of Federico Fellini.

Founded in 1937 by Benito Mussolini, the studios were bombed by the Western Allies during the Second World War. In the 1950s, Cinecittà was the filming location for several large American film productions, and subsequently became the studio most closely associated with Federico Fellini. Today Cinecittà is the only studio in the world with pre-production, production, and full post-production facilities on one lot, allowing directors and producers to walk in with their script and "walk out" with a completed film.

Language

Although associated today only with Latin, ancient Rome was in fact multilingual. In highest antiquity Sabine tribes shared the area of what is today Rome with Latin tribes. The Sabine language was one of the Italic group of ancient Italian languages, along with Etruscan, which would have been the main language of the last three kings who ruled the city till the founding of the Republic in 509 BC. Urganilla, or Plautia Urgulanilla, wife of Emperor Claudius, is thought to have been a speaker of Etruscan many centuries after this date, according to Suetonius' entry on Claudius. However Latin, in various evolving forms, was the main language of classical Rome, but as the city had immigrants, slaves, residents, ambassadors from many parts of the world it was also multilingual. Many educated Romans also spoke Greek, and there was a large Greek, Syriac and Jewish population in parts of Rome from well before the Empire. Latin evolved during the Middle Ages into a new language, the volgare. The latter emerged as the confluence of various regional dialects, among which the Tuscan dialect predominated, but the population of Rome also developed its own dialect, the Romanesco. The Romanesco spoken during the Middle Ages was a southern Italian dialect, very close to the Neapolitan. The influence of the Florentine culture during the renaissance, and, above all, the immigration to Rome of many Florentines following the two Medici Popes (Leo X and Clement VII), caused a major shift in the dialect, which began to resemble more the Tuscan varieties. This remained largely confined to Rome until the 19th century, but then expanded to other zones of Lazio (Civitavecchia, Latina), from the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to the rising population of Rome and to better transportation systems. As a consequence of education and media like radio and television, Romanesco became more and more similar to standard Italian. Dialectal literature in the traditional form Romanesco includes the works of such authors as Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (one of the most important Italian poets altogether), Trilussa, and Cesare Pascarella. Contemporary Romanesco is mainly represented by popular actors such as Aldo Fabrizi, Alberto Sordi, Nino Manfredi, Anna Magnani, Gigi Proietti, Enrico Montesano, and Carlo Verdone.

Rome's historic contribution to language in a worldwide sense is much more extensive however. Through the process of Romanisation, the peoples of Gallia, the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and Dacia developed languages which derive directly from Latin and were adopted in large areas of the world both through colonization and cultural influence. Moreover, also modern English, because of the Norman Conquest, borrowed a large percentage of its vocabulary from the Latin Language. The Roman or Latin alphabet is the most widely used writing system in the world used by the greatest number of languages.

Rome has long hosted artistic communities, foreign resident communities and a large number of foreign religious students or pilgrims and so has always been a multilingual city. Today because of mass tourism many languages are used in servicing tourism, especially English which is widely known in tourist areas, and the city hosts large numbers of immigrants and so has many multilingual immigrant areas.

source: Wikipedia

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