Tourism requires free time, income and freedom of movement. It is therefore not surprising that it was one of the activities most affected by the pandemic, during last spring’s lockdown and to a partial extent in the following months, due to the many restrictions on mobility. More generally, the economic crisis generated by Covid-19 has reduced the availability of income and increased uncertainty about the future, both of which have a negative impact on susceptibility to travel.
The first data from 2020 allow us to assess the impact of the pandemic on the income generated by the tourism sector, and the numbers are merciless.
In a document published in May 2020, the World Tourism Organization had already estimated a drop of between 60 and 80 per cent in international arrivals globally compared to 2019. Provisional figures available today show that international arrivals worldwide were down 73 per cent by the end of 2020.
Fortunately, the vaccine has been found and soon the world will be accessible soon and we will be able to travel again. Among the countries you should visit, Italy is one of the most famous destinations for food, architecture, art and landscapes. Here you’ll be able to find many beautiful cities, as Florence, Milan, Venice, but Rome is one of the cities you should visit if you have never been to Italy.
Rome the Italian capital city
The Eternal City is one of the most unique places in the world. Founded on 21 April 753 B.C., in its more than 2700 years, Rome has maintained its status, if not as the capital of the world, then as the capital of culture. In Rome you will find ancient ruins, Renaissance masterpieces, modern architecture, fountains, all among its 7 hills. It is also one of the most popular cities for Italian film sets as “Roman Holiday” or “The sweet life” and, between its ancient art, world-famous churches and romantic cityscapes, it seems that everyone already knows Rome.
One of the most interesting urban features of the ancient city are its squares. There have been many very characteristic Italian piazzas in Rome; all the rulers, architects and urban planning specialists have left their mark on the eternal city. Piazza di Spagna with its incredible staircase, Piazza Venezia, Largo Torre Argentina and its ruins, Piazza della Rotonda with the Pantheon, Piazza del Quirinale, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Campo dei Fiori and its market and Piazza San Pietro in the Vatican.
During your stay in Rome be sure to visit these well-known sites, but also keep an eye out for smaller, lesser-known wonders such as Piazza della Minerva, as each has its own charm and beauty.
Perhaps one of the most characteristic monuments of the city, and an undisputed symbol, is the Colosseum or Flavian Amphitheatre. It was built between 70 and 80 AD and its unique rounded structure dominates the city. This true wonder is one of the most visited attractions by tourists and a symbol of the city and its past. During a stay in Rome, it is definitely a must-see with its idiosyncrasies such as the fake gladiators and Roman soldiers standing outside for photos.
Rome is also known as the city of water, in fact, it boasts over 2000 fountains. The most famous are Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Trevi Fountain, his father’s Barcaccia Fountain, the Fontanone of Gianicolo, which marks the end of the Acqua Paola aqueduct and starred in one of the scenes of Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning film La Grande Bellezza. Staying on the water theme, the Terme di Caracalla and the aqueducts are also amazing.
The Vatican City state
The Vatican is one of the most famous and the smallest state in Europe. It occupies just 0.44 square kilometers and less than 1,000 people live within its walls, including Pope Francis.
Thousands and thousands of tourists visit the Vatican and its museum every year, you can find works collected by the Popes over the centuries. It was opened in 1503, when Pope Julius II donated his private collection. Since that moment, the pope’s family and other pontiffs increased the museums’ collection, that became one of the largest in the world. In this museum you can find the Sistine Chapel, an incredible spectacle: Michelangelo’s frescoes are ones of the most beautiful in the history of art. Among them you can admire the Creation of Adam, the most famous in the Sistine Chapel and one of the most important masterpieces in history, or the Last Judgement, the most known part of the chapel.
The Sistine Chapel is a fundamental place for art and for the Catholic Religion. This is the place where new Popes are elected by the conclave. The cardinals remain inside the chapel until the end of the voting, whether black smoke or white smoke. For about 30 years the Chapel has been restored to its original splendour, its restoration took about 14 years and was completed in 1994.
St. Peter and the square
In Rome you have to see St. Peter’s Square, where Bernini’s colonnade welcomes you like two great arms: the dimensions of the square are astonishing, 320 meters long and 240 meters wide. The square was built thanks to the will of the Pope Alexander VII between 1656 and 1667, based on a design by the famous Bernini (as the columns).
At the top of the columns are 140 statues of saints, made in 1670 by Bernini’s disciples and in the center of the square is an Egyptian obelisk (that is 25 meters tall) and two fountains, one designed by Bernini and the other by Maderno.
They are around St Peter’s Basilica: its construction began in 1506 and ended in 1626, and it was consecrated on 18 November of the latter year. Various architects participated in its construction, including Bramante, Michelangelo and Carlo Maderno. In this square you can find the shop of Mondocattolico, in which you can buy and ship unique religious objects since 1952. Thanks to its position, the items are brought to the square during Pope Francis’ blessing, that will make even more special your souvenirs made by fine material and accurate workmanship.
A trip to Italy without passing through Rome is a real shame, so don’t miss out on the beauty of the Eternal City and fly straight to the capital of the most beautiful country in the world.
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