Rick Steves' Rome: Eternally Engaging

Rick Steves' Rome: Eternally Engaging

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hi I'm Rick Steves exploring a city that in many ways is the capital of our Western civilization for the next hour we'll enjoy eternally entertaining and endlessly inspiring Rome thanks for joining us [Music]
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we'll marvel at the bigots the forum the Colosseum the Pantheon and the Empire's exquisite art we'll also wander into some of Rome's oldest and most colorful neighborhoods after visiting some of early Christianity holiest shrines we'll enjoy a walking tour of some of Rome's many offbeat churches housing artistic gems Rome is the birthplace of the Baroque and we'll see masterpieces by the movements father Bernini will cross the border into the
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Vatican and ponder sunbeams and st. Peters and will dine really well before it going local after dark and lacing together some of the eternal city's most romantic night spots we'll start where it all began in this little Valley amongst the fabled Seven Hills in a nutshell classical Rome lasts about a thousand years roughly 500 BC to 500 AD Rome grew for 500 years peaked for 200 years and fell for 300 years the first
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half was the Republic ruled by elected senators the last half was the Empire ruled by unelected emperors in its glory days the word Rome meant not just the city but what Romans considered the entire civilized world everyone was either Roman or barbarian people who spoke Latin or Greek were considered civilized part of the empire everyone else barbarian according to legend Rome was founded by two brothers Romulus and Remus abandoned in the wild and suckled by a she-wolf
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they grew up to establish the city in actuality the first Romans mixed and mingled here in the valley between the famous seven hills of Rome this became the Roman Forum in 509 they tossed out their King and established the relatively democratic Roman Republic that began perhaps history's greatest success story the rise of Rome from the start Romans were expert builders and
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they had a knack for effective government this simple brick building was once richly veneered with marble and fronted by a grand portico it's the Curia the Senate met here and set the legal standards that still guide Western civilization the reign of Julius Caesar who ruled around the time of Christ marked the turning point between the Republic and the Empire the Republic designed to rule a small city-state found itself trying to rule most of Europe something new and stronger was
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needed Caesar established a no-nonsense more disciplined government became dictator for life and for good measure had a month named in his honor July the powerful elites of the Republic found all this change just too radical in an attempt to save the Republic and their political power a faction of Roman senators assassinated Caesar his body was burned on this spot in 44 BC [Music] the citizens of Rome gathered here in
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the heart of the forum to hear Mark Antony say in Shakespeare's words friends Romans countrymen lend me your ears I've come to bury Caesar not to praise him but the Republic was finished and Rome became the grand capital of a grand Empire [Music] the via sacra or Sacred Way was the main street of ancient Rome it stretched from the arch of septimius severus to the arch of Titus Rome's various triumphal arches named after the emperors who
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built them functioned as public relations tools reliefs decorating the various arches show how war and expansion were the business of state Rome's thriving economy was fueled by plunder and slaves one in distant Wars ancient Rome had a population of over a million at its peak and anywhere you dig in the modern city you'll find remains of the ancient one Largo Argentina is a modern transportation hub with traffic roaring all around some of Rome's oldest temples
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the Capitoline hill which rises majestically from the busy streets has long been the home of Rome's city government during the Renaissance Michelangelo designed this regal staircase he gave the square its famously harmonious proportions and it's majestic centerpiece an ancient statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius this is a copy the second century original the greatest equestrian statue of antiquity is showcased in the adjacent capitoline museum this like the
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other great statues of antiquity is now safely out of the elements the museum helps you imagine life before the fall of Rome these reliefs show marcus aurelius performing the various duties of an emperor here as the chief priests or punt of his Maximus he prepares to sacrifice a bull here on the battlefield he grants clemency to vanquish'd barbarian leaders and this one puts you curbside at a victory parade with the Emperor the Eisenhower of his day on a chariot
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winged victory on his shoulder and trumpets proclaiming his glory [Music] the art of Imperial Rome almost always carried a message this dying golf a Roman copy of a Greek original was part of a monument celebrating another victory over the barbarians like any propaganda art battle seems stoked Imperial pride you can wander among heroic statues and
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grand halls and look into the eyes of long-forgotten emperors [Music] and the museum also shows a more peaceful and intimate side of Roman life here a boy quietly pulls a thorn from his foot at first glance these look like paintings but they're actually micro mosaics made of thousands of tiny chips [Music] this mosaic hyung and Emperor Hadrian's villa [Music] Romans emulated the high culture of the
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Greeks and when it came to capturing beauty their forte was making excellent copies of Greek originals the capital ein Venus is one of the truest representations of the concept of feminine beauty from ancient times like so many classical statues this is a 2000 year old Roman copy of a 2500 year old Greek original and this statue called the drunken faun is a playful reminder that a trade of ancient Rome that survives to this day
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is a fondness for good food and fine wine [Music] part of your Roman experience regardless of your budget should be experiencing a fine meal and we're doing that alfresco on Piazza Farnese II we're starting with a great spread of antipasti prosciutto porcini mushrooms puntarelle a local salad and fresh mozzarella as everywhere
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eat with the season tonight we said bring on whatever's fresh travelers can enjoy better restaurants without going broke by sharing an array of smaller dishes and now the pasta I often find the antipasti and pasta dishes more varied and interesting than the more expensive secondi or main courses even in early May it's plenty warm to dine outside dinner within splashing distance of a tub from the ancient baths of caracalla
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caps a perfectly Roman day Rome is a big city too big to walk everywhere take advantage of public transport I like a hotel in a convenient neighborhood near a subway stop Rome's subway system while not extensive is easy to use from our hotel it's a straight shot to the Colosseum call assail that's our stop the Colosseum was and still is colossal it's the great example of ancient Roman engineering it
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was begun in 72 AD during the reign of Emperor Vespasian when the Empire was nearing its peak using Roman pioneered concrete brick and their trademark round arches Romans constructed much larger buildings than the Greeks but it seems they still respected the fine points of Greek culture they decorated their no-nonsense mega structure with all three Greek orders of columns Doric ionic and Corinthian stepping inside you can almost hear the
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roar of ancient Rome take a moment to imagine the place in action Romans filled and emptied the Colosseum's fifty thousand seats as quickly and efficiently as we do our super stadiums today it's built with two theaters facing each other that's what an amphitheater is so twice as many people could enjoy the entertainment canvas awnings were hoisted over the stadium to give protection from the Sun these passageways underneath the arena were covered by a wooden floor between axe animals and gladiators were shuffled
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around out of sight ancient Romans whose taste for violence exceeded even modern America's came to the Coliseum to unwind gladiators criminals and wild animals fought to the death providing the public with a festival of gore to celebrate the Colosseum's grand opening Romans retreated to the slaughter of 5,000 animals nearby Trajan's column trumpets the glories of Emperor Trajan who ruled Rome in its heyday this is a textbook example of continuous narration
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like a 200-yard long scroll it winds all the way to the top the purpose more PR telling the story of yet another military victory Trajan extended the boundaries of the empire to its greatest size ever from the Nile to the north of Britain controlling its entire coastline Romans called the Mediterranean simply marine Ostrom our sea downtown Rome is a kind of architectural time warp you'll see
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almost nothing built post-world War two a striking exception is this contemporary building showcasing the ARA Pacis this altar of peace offers a stirring glimpse at the pride and power of the Roman Empire at its peak nine years before Christ Emperor Augustus led a procession of priests up these steps to the newly built altar of peace they sacrificed an animal on the top and thanked the gods the last of the serious barbarian resistance had been quelled
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and now there could be peace the Empire was established and this marked the start of the parks Romana the parks Romana or Roman peace was a golden age of good living relative stability and military dominance that lasted from the time of Christ for about two centuries the altars exquisite reliefs celebrate Rome's success and prosperity this goddess of fertility is surrounded by symbols of abundance and this procession
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shows a populace thankful for at Emperor the stability and relative prosperity that characterized the two centuries of the Roman peace was due in part to a steady succession of capable rulers as visitors it's our challenge to appreciate the grandeur of this incredible city built on the scale of giants for instance when Rome went to the races it came here the Circus Maximus imagine
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a quarter of a million Romans cheering on careening chariots and over looking at all the Palatine Hill filled with towering palaces and a visit to the National Museum at the Palazzo Massimo helps humanize the Empire while ancient Rome's architecture was monumental its citizens were just people like you and me without electricity these frescoes a rare surviving example of Roman painting bring color to our image
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of daily life back then Romans like to think of themselves as somehow living parallel with the gods these domestic scenes come with a twist of mythology and this painted garden wallpapering a Roman villa showed an appreciation for nature while creating an atmosphere of serenity admiring the artifacts of Rome's elite from exquisite jewelry to this delicate golden hairnet
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we can only marvel at lifestyles of the rich and roman many aspects of Roman life are represented Roman artists excelled in realism this boxer is a picture of exhaustion with a roughed-up face and tired hands complete with brass knuckles the museum's collection tells the Empire's story through art Caesar Augustus was the nephew of Julius Caesar and the first great emperor of the Puck's Romana looking into the eyes of
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the man who called himself the first among equals you get the feeling that the ship of state was in good hands but by the time this statue was carved it's clear the PAC's Romana was finished and Rome was falling this boy is about to become head of state it was a chaotic and unstable time in fact in the third century 16 Emperor's were assassinated in a 50 year period surrounded by nervous senators this
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child Emperor is no picture of confidence throughout the ages people mind once glorious buildings as quarries imagine they were stacked with pre-cut Stones free for the taking block by block they carted away most of this temple and then incorporated what was still standing like these columns into a modern building thankfully no one cannibalized the Magnificent Pantheon the best-preserved temple from ancient Rome the portico with its stately pediment is symbolized Roman greatness
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ever since antiquity like the obelisks its massive one-piece granite columns were shipped from Egypt they're huge it takes for tourists to hug one step inside to enjoy the finest look anywhere at the splendor of ancient Rome it's dimensions are classic based on a perfect circle as wide as it is tall 140 feet the oculus is the only source of light the Pantheon survived so well because it's been in continuous use for over
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2,000 years it went almost directly from being a pagan temple to being a Christian Church the beauty of the Pantheon and the brilliance of its construction has inspired architects through the ages the dome is made of poured concrete which gets thinner and lighter with height the highest part is made with pumice an area volcanic stone Pantheon means all the gods it was a spiritual menagerie where the many gods of the Empire were worshipped [Music]
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there was the kind of Religious Freedom back then if you were conquered you're welcome to keep your own guns as long as you worshipped Caesar - this was generally no problem but the Christians who had a single and very jealous God were the exception because they refused to worship the emperor early Christians were persecuted for a little early Christian history we're heading outside the city for a look at the catacombs Rome's ancient wall stretches 11 miles it protected the city until Italy was united in 1870
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from gates like this brand ropes and out to connect the city with its empire the Appian Way Rome's gateway to the East is fun to explore on a rented bike it was the grandest and fastest road yet the wonder of its day very straight as Roman engineers were fond of designing it stretched 400 miles to Naples and then on to Brindisi from where Roman ships sailed to Greece and Egypt these are the original stones tombs of ancient big shots lined the
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Appian Way like billboards while pagans didn't enjoy the promise of salvation those who can afford it purchased a kind of immortality by building themselves big and glitzy memorials these line the main roads out of town judging by their elegant togas these brothers were from a fine family this is the mausoleum of chauchilla Matala whose father-in-law was extremely wealthy while it dates from the first century BC we still remember her to this day so apparently
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the investment paid off but of course early Christians didn't have that kind of money so they buried their dead in mass underground in a crop alive or catacombs dug beneath the property of the few fellow Christians who did own land these catacombs are scattered all around the city just outside the walls and several are open to the public the tomb lined tunnels of the catacombs stretched for miles and are many layers deep many of the first Christians buried here
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were later recognized as martyrs and saints others then carved out niches nearby to bury their loved ones close to these early Christian heroes by the Middle Ages the catacombs were abandoned and forgotten centuries later they were rediscovered Romantic Age tourists on the Grand Tour visited by candlelight and legends grew about Christians hiding out to escape persecution but the catacombs were not hideouts they were simply budget underground cemeteries further along the
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Appian Way is Rome's aqueduct Park offering a chance to see how the ancient city got its water with its million people Rome needed lots of water these and genius aqueducts carried a steady stream from distant mountains into the city and they still seemed to gallop as they did 2,000 years ago into Rome these aqueducts were the Achilles heel of Rome if you wanted to bring down the city all you had to do is take down one of the arches in fact in the 6th century the barbarians did just that without water Rome basically shriveled
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up today the parks are favorite with locals for walking the dog or burning off some of that pasta [Music] [Music] with its Imperial might and those stories about persecutions and hungry lions in the Coliseum it's easy to forget that the last century of the Roman Empire was Christian in 312 the general Constantine following a vision that he would triumph under the sign of the Cross beat his rival Maxentius
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taking power Emperor Constantine then legalized Christianity this obscure outlawed Jewish sect ultimately became the religion of the Empire in the year 300 you could be killed for being a Christian in the year 400 you could be killed for not being a Christian church attendance boomed and Emperor Constantine built the first great Christian Church right here San Giovanni in Luciano st. John's it opened as a kind of first
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Vatican Saint John's which is then rebuilt over the ages was the original home of the Bishop of Rome or Pope I atop the canopy over the altar a box supposedly contains bits of the skulls of Saint Peter and Saint Paul the church is filled with symbols of Christianity's triumph over pagan Rome for instance tradition says these gilded bronze columns once stood in pagan Rome's holiest temple and what better doors for this first grand Church than those which once hung
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in ancient Rome's Senate house the adjacent holy stairs are a major stop on Rome's pilgrimage trail many credit Emperor Constantine's mother st. Helena for her son's conversion she brought home wagon loads of relics including these stairs believed to be from the palace of Pontius Pilate for 1,700 years pilgrims believing Jesus climbed to these stairs on the day he was condemned have scaled the Scala Santa on their knees
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[Music] the importance of Rome is due in part to its location the city was born about 2,500 years ago here along the Tiber River this was as far upstream as boats could sail and the first place the river could be crossed by bridge as a center of river trade Rome connected the interior of the Italian peninsula with the Mediterranean this riverbank would have been bustling in ancient times imagine busy docks ramshackle boats water mills and platforms for fishing
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until modern times Rome's River was part of its economy then in the 1870s in order to protect the city from flooding the Romans walled off the time they built these tall anonymous embankments that continue to isolate the river from the city to this day while Rome was born on the Tiber today the town seems to ignore its River but the city's graceful bridges connect thriving neighborhoods just over the Tiber from here is one of Rome's most colorful districts trashed
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Avery is the place to immerse yourself in the crustier side of Rome the name trust Avery actually means across the Tiber River wandering here offers a chance to hone your senses to see Rome or in you'll discover a world of artisans who found their niche and love the people here trusty barrini are proud old-timers once bragged of never setting foot on the opposite side of the river as we explore and observe the big city seems worlds
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away for maximum trust Avery fun and insight I'm joined by my friend and Roman tour guide Francesca Caruso especially here in trust Tabor you get this sense of the many layers of Rome certainly in that is really the key to I'm just standing round this city thus almost 3,000 years of history was never abandoned so people have just built on top and around the book was already there like a layer cake isn't it where there's a beautiful roof garden yeah and most of us in Rome lived in
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apartments so no Gardens no backyard so we all dream of the articles double axel Atikokan terrazzo an attic with act with the terrace yeah so the skyline of Rome is full of these little jungles on the rooftop I think so intimate it's like we're walking through somebody's laundry room we've always lived very close together here sharing space is really not a problem we don't even have the word for a privacy in Italian we use the English word instead we simply roll the R so we say privacy privacy I know one
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more Italian word now [Music] so why are so many the oldest churches in Rome on this side of the river because this thing that it was the neighborhood of foreigners often Christian who brought their faith with them for the whole period of the persecutions they could not build churches so mass would be celebrated in the homes of wealthy converts who offer their homes for mass so then this is one of those kind of churches yes it was the house of church Elia and in later times they built a church dedicated to her and
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today the name of the church sancocho Julia now what happened to Saint Cecilia thankfully and her husband were killed because of their faith the Romans tried to steam her to death for three days in her own home and after that they beheaded her this is a beautiful statue it's just peaceful yes it's very quiet there's something very tender about it also very sad about a young woman who was killed so brutally for her faith renting another early Christian church Santa Maria in
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Trastevere is an inviting Piazza the concept of a Piazza serving as a community center goes back to ancient times piazza santa maria in trastevere still functions as the beating heart of this neighborhood great part of exploring a neighborhood is just sitting on the main square I think it's really in our DNA we've been living in our passes of common living rooms since ancient Roman times it's always been this way and let's hope it will always be this way in the future due for dinner we're venturing into a different neighborhood one of my favorite
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restaurants is a short cab ride away back on the other side of the river Ristorante el Gabriela provides a peaceful and local feeling respite from the intensity of the big city cláudio serves with charisma while his brother Gabriella cooks Roman cuisine with a creative twist using fresh organic products from the market and from his wife's farm sometimes Italians like to ignore them in you just trust the restaurateur and go with the meal he suggests ever possible so do i and
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that's the plan tonight first up fresh scampi oysters and shrimp and they're served the way Romans like it crudo or rock next Claudio switches us from a white to a red wine in anticipation of the pasta dishes okay first a ravioli with a delicate cream sauce and a pinch of sage
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that's a nice lead into our second pasta spaghetti alla Carbonara carbonara is eggs pancetta some pecorino and a little bit of parmigiano and pepper very simple and very Roman claudio recommends a wine change to a Super Tuscan super this will be super with a dish of rare beef topped with thin strips of lard as an extra treat he's prepared a special local whitefish
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and finally the Dolce sorry but these desserts taste even better than they look what a meal while much of Rome is splendid and grandiose it can be intimate as well regardless of your sightseeing agenda getting out early that you enjoy some of the world's great public spaces while they're just waking up early birds can even enjoy that generally packed Pantheon nearly all to themselves
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a morning's bent wandering is filled with surprises playful fountains decorate squares poke around explore in the backstreets it's clear this city is a collection of real neighborhoods artfully living well in a rustic and ancient shell as the rhythm of daily life hits its stride the famous Spanish steps today adorned with azaleas filled with people for over 200 years romantics have gathered here to enjoy a
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little dolce vita with their sightsee and it remains a popular place to savor the joy of simply being in Rome another characteristic an interesting old neighborhood and a delight to explore is the ghetto or Jewish quarter in ancient times this bridge was called Jews bridge because Jews and other foreigners who weren't allowed to live in central Rome would commute from trust haver II over there across this bridge to get into town to understand the
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Jewish chapter of Rome story we're joining my friend and fellow tour guide Michaela Pavan she'll Mikayla's family goes all the way back to the jewish community living here before christ and the family line continues her baby's due in just a few months so what's unique about the Roman Jewish community well first of all we're not Ashkenazi man were not safari do you know the Shekinah she went to Germany and Poland and the Sephardic went to Spain okay the Roman Jews came straight from Jerusalem before
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the destruction of the temple so we are here since before the Diaspora so when you think Eskenazi are Sephardic that's after the Dysport yeah but you could say this is the oldest Jewish community in Europe yes so if the Roman Jews came before the Diaspora why did they come here in the first place because there were diplomats and businessmen and during the centuries we had to leave with Emperor's and potions and we were tolerated because we were good for the business and we were not pushing our religions with the others and we were keeping it for ourselves so then what happened then
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we're in 1500 the Reformation came and the church had to fight any alternative religion and so the ghetto was established in Rome - okay so the church is fighting the Protestants and at the same time fighting the Jews yeah and to avoid any contamination between Jews and Christians Jews were segregated in that world area in Rome in 1555 it's always the life like in the ghetto well you have to imagine 9 thousand people's squeeze in a four blocks area flooded every single winter because the timer
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would flood every winter so was Pauline muddy disgusting there was the worst real estate of wrong the synagogue was the community center it looks like a church because back when it was built there were no Jewish architects handy and that's what Christian bill knew how to make its Art Nouveau with a dash of Tiffani the dome was painted with the colors of the rainbow symbolic of God's promised to Noah that there
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would be no more floods the star symbolized that the Jewish people would be as many as the stars in the sky [Music] back in previous centuries when the ghetto was a Walt in town Christian Romans built churches at each game and each of these churches came complete with an attempt in Hebrew script to convert the Jews while most of the squalid ghetto was demolished with Italian unification in 1870 the buildings facing the main drag
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survived shops sell fine locally produced Judaica and kosher restaurants proudly served traditional dishes like those with artichokes while the Jewish community now lives all over town many Roman Jews still enjoy gathering here in the neighborhood where they have such deep roots so I'll take you to the Jewish bakery the same family has been running the same business for 200 years the only offer five or six recipes so don't ask for weird things that the only
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have cheese cake with chocolate cinnamon biscotti with almond and the peak down that's called the Jewish pizza what's in the Jewish pizza it's like almost like a fruit cake with finest almond Canada's tell me about the challah bread the challah bread it's it's what we serve it when a baby boy is born or when a cattle gets married or when we have a Bar Mitzvah to celebrate a new baby
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yeah appropriate today Rome is a city of magnificent art it's everywhere you look and most of it was paid for by the church public squares like Piazza Navona with Bernie knees much-loved for rivers fountain are decorated with church sponsored art until modern times it was the church that had the power the money and the need for great art and going to church offered the masses whose lives were so dreary otherwise a promising glimpse of the glory that awaited them in the next life
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the importance of the Church in Rome is obvious around every corner there seems to be another little nondescript Church hiding sumptuous art treasures the wonderful thing about seeing art in churches is that it's in situ not hanging on museum walls but exactly where the art was designed to be enjoyed these churches band many different eras Byzantine Medieval Renaissance Baroque and beyond thoughtfully stringing together a series of lesser-known churches can be an art
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lovers delight when visiting historic churches like santa maria sopra minerva our challenge is to appreciate the art with the mindset of a medieval churchgoer here we find a glorious gothic interior laden with great art the altar sits upon the tomb of Saint Catherine with the ornate tombs of two Medici Pope's looking down for generations pilgrims have marveled at this Michelangelo statue of Christ carrying the cross
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and in the side Chapel is a lovely series of frescoes by Filippo Lippi showing the good works of st. Thomas Aquinas accompanied by a celestial serenade and popping into one of Rome's many baroque churches you hardly know where to look every inch its slathered with ornamentation oh wow spiral columns framing scenes that almost come to life Cupid's doing
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flip-flops and ceilings opening up into the heavens after the intellectual nature of the Renaissance Baroque which followed was emotional by the year 1500 Renaissance artists had mastered realism now 1600 baroque went beyond realism - Wow it's yours with exuberance Baroque art was propaganda it served the needs of the divine monarchs end of the church by pulling emotional strings it convinced
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people to obey Rome is the birthplace of the Baroque style and Gian Lorenzo Bernini who lived and worked here in the 17th century is considered its father seemingly insignificant churches like Santa Maria della Vittoria come with lavish interiors and if you know where to look important Baroque treasures hideout Bernini designed this side chapel like a theater with members of the family who paid for the art looking on from their box seats the master Bernini invigorates reality
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with emotion center stage is the ecstasy of Saint Teresa Bernini captures the feeling Teresa described when the angel pierced your heart with a heavenly arrow she said the pain was so sharp that I cried aloud but at the same time I experienced such delight that I wished it would last forever [Music] scusi signor de Tove a company Fiore for a break from all that art head to come
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po de tre literally that field of flowers this is long been a fragrant and vibrant market the market thrives in the morning what's the seasonal during your visit will be favored by local chefs and featured on their daily menus we're here in May and it's food torella asparagus and artichokes whether you come for the produce or just for a strong company Fiore is one of Rome's beloved public spaces Rome is notorious
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for noisy traffic and until recently that plagued many of Rome's fine public spaces but the notorious Roman traffic is being tamed like cities all over Europe more and more of its old center has become traffic free and pedestrian friendly still watch out for the scooters after years of searching out my favorite European restaurants I found a few universal indicators for a great eating value in a place like this has them all the best eateries are little family-run
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places that cater to locals this one's open weekday lunches only at a glance you know this place is really a find limited selection handwritten menu in one language packed with the neighborhood game each day there's a special today at spaghetti carbonara simple tasty Cucina casalinga that's home cookin Roman style [Music] for a breezy escape from the big city noise and intensity
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head for the Borghese Gardens Rome's Central Park Romans are proud of their generous green spaces this sprawling Park has long offered people here a place to relax unwind and let the kids run wild the park centerpiece is the borghese gallery once a Cardinals lavish mansion today it welcomes the public as is the case with many of Europe's top sights admission requires a reservation getting one is easy just a quick phone call or visit the
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website and you get an entry type good guidebooks have all the details the wealthy Borghese family filled their 17th century villa with art this was the age when the rich and powerful not only collected beautiful art but actually employed leading artists to spiff up their homes Cardinal Borghese was the Pope's nephew and one of the wealthiest people in Rome with unlimited money his palace dazzled with both fine art of the past such as
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Raphael's exquisite deposition and with the best art of the day each room has a masterpiece at its center like this intriguing look at Napoleon's sister Pauline by Canova the polished marble is lifelike even sensuous Bernie knees David is textbook Baroque bursting with life David's body wound like a spring and lips pursed as he prepares to slay the Giant shows the determination of the aged Bernini was
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just 25 when he sculpted this and the face of David is his Caravaggio tackled the same topic on canvas grabbing an opportunity to shock his viewers the artist Caravaggio also sneaks in a self-portrait this time as the head of Goliath in keeping with the Baroque age Bernini's Rape of Persephone pecks an emotional punch Persephone's entire body seems to scream
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for help as Pluto drags his catch into the underworld [Music] his three-headed dog howls triumphantly Berni knees apollo chasing daphne is a highlight apollo happily wounded by Cupid's arrow chases daphne who saved by turning into a tree in typical Baroque style Bernini captures the instant when just as Apollo's about to ketch Daphne her fingers turn to leaves
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her toes sprout roots and Apollo's in for one rude surprise the statue as much air as stone makes a supernatural event seem real this classical scene while plenty flashy comes with a church pleasing moral chasing earthly pleasures leads only to frustration the place to contemplate that thought is at the Vatican here's the case we're crossing a
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street is crossing a border I just left Italy Vatican City may be the world's smallest independent country with just a thousand inhabitants but it's the spiritual capital of hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics the Vatican is built upon the memory and grave of the first Pope Saint Peter its centerpiece st. Peter's Basilica even though the Vatican City occupies less than a square mile this country has its own radio station newspaper post office and a cute little train station along
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with the grandest Church on earth it has a massive museum the Vatican is ruled both politically and religiously by the Pope the Vatican City is embedded in the city of Rome it's surrounded by a mighty medieval wall that evokes a less than peaceful history after the fall of Rome in the fifth century the city of Rome eventually came under control of the Pope in fact for centuries the Pope was called the king Pope little by little the king Pope established his own Empire at its peak in the 1600s these papal
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States as they were called encompassed much of the Italian peninsula when the modern nation of Italy unified in the late 1800s it absorbed most of the papal States including the city of Rome but the Pope held out for 60 years the Pope was holed up here behind the Vatican walls finally in 1929 the Pope and Mussolini signed the Lateran treaty establishing the Vatican as its own nation the garden-like core of the country we're serious administration takes place
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is closed to the public the Vatican military is made up of the Swiss Guard in 1506 the Pope imported mercenaries from Switzerland who were known for their loyalty and their courage today about a hundred Swiss soldiers clad in their flamboyant renaissance-style uniforms still protect the Pope keep the crush of visitors as orderly as possible and patiently answered tourists questions get to San Pietro sits on what was the site of an ancient Roman
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racetrack imagine chariots making their hairpin turns around that obelisk for added entertainment during the games Christians were executed here in about 65 AD the Apostle Peter was crucified within sight of this obelisk Peters friends buried him in a nearby graveyard on what pagan Romans called the Vatican Hill for 250 years Christians worshipped quietly at his tomb then in 313 ad Emperor Constantine legalized
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Christianity and changed the course of history a basilica was built here and this became the head of the Roman Catholic Church twelve hundred years later the original st. Peter's was replaced by this most glorious Church in Christendom upon entering your first impression is it's huge 600 feet long bathed in sunbeams it can accommodate thousands of worshipers the ornamental cherubs dwarf a large man as a tour guide I've lost
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entire groups in here visitors marvel at grand paintings decorating them many chapels but they're not paintings at all because oil-on-canvas would soon be covered by candle set you won't find actual paintings in st. Peter's just the Magnificent work of the Vatican school of mosaics with thousands of different colors in their arsenal of chips this scene showing Peter looking after early Christians while centuries old looks almost new Michelangelo's pietà is
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adored by pilgrims and tourists alike here the 25 year old Michelangelo makes the theological message very clear Jesus once alive but now dead gave his life for our salvation the contrast provided by Mary's ruff robe makes his body even though carved in hard marble feel soft and believable [Music] the high altar like so much of the art decorating the Vatican is another masterpiece by Bernini with sunlight
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illuminating its alabaster window as if powering the Holy Spirit it encrusts the legendary throne of st. Peter with a starburst of baroque praise directly above the altar which marks the tomb of st. Peter stems bernini's bronze canopy and above that Michelangelo's dome taller than a football field on end the inscription declares in Latin - s Petrus you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church this is the
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scriptural basis for the primacy of Rome in the Catholic Church climb Michelangelo's dome to the cupola for an unrivaled view of both Roman general and the Vatican grounds the long rectangular building is the Vatican Museum with one of the greatest collections of Western art anywhere over the centuries the Popes have amassed enough art to fill eleven miles of museum hallways sumptuously decorated
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with precious tapestries dramatic frescoes and ancient statues the museum features art from every age its exquisite painting gallery includes Raphael's much-loved transfiguration halls and courtyards are littered with ancient Greek and Roman masterpieces like the Leia Kwan so inspirational to the great masters of the Renaissance and the Pope's apartments tell Christian
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history this is the battle in which Emperor Constantine was led by angels and a holy cross both to a key military victory and to his own religious conversion and these rooms celebrate pre-christian philosophy here Raphael paints the School of Athens a who's who of ancient Greek intellectual heroes many painted with the features of Renaissance greats Leonardo Michelangelo and a self-portrait of Raphael himself of course there's much more as we've
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just scratched the surface of this vast collection if you're pondering eternity try covering the Vatican Museum thoroughly busy and Vegas Rome is getting around is relatively easy if your time is limited catching a cab can be a good budget tip it's sweat free and it's the quickest way from point to point especially for a small group it can be a fine value and from the window of the cab we enjoy another lively look at the city I find Roman cabbies generally honest but still count your change in Rome you
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simply round up whatever's on either in 1870 Rome became the capital of a newly united modern state of Italy shortly after that the thunderous Victor Emmanuel monument was built to honor Italy's first king that's him on the huge horse the monument built to stoke the spirit of a new and struggling nation harkens back to the glories of ancient Rome in fact if you want to envision ancient Rome in its pomposity today imagine a vast city made of
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buildings like this the square fronting it is where in the 1930s Mussolini whipped up Italy's nationalistic fervor ultimately sending a generation of Italian men off to a catastrophic war and to this day here on the National altar burns the eternal flame remembering Italy's Unknown Soldier riding the elevator to the top of the monument we enjoy a sweeping view of the Eternal City many locals love this perch because from here they can see nearly
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all of their beloved Rome [Music] another towering Egyptian obelisk dramatically marks Piazza del Popolo this is the starting point of a ritual in Rome the evening stroll or pasta jata we're meeting my friend and Roman tour guide Francesca Caruso to join in the fun as
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the Sun Goes Down the people come out downtown Rome's Main Street the Via del Corso is pedestrianised and strollers just love it it offers some of the best people-watching anywhere I think in the end what I really like about the Italian Way of life and I can really enjoy it here in Rome this affected all I have to do is step outside and I'm surrounded by people I never feel lonely always feel connected with a sense of community I think the Vasa Jetta is a wonderful way of living the city this is just sort of an
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inclination early-evening cool of the day oh yes you just go outside to meet your friends have a gelato and a pity feel I was wearing oh yes that always you know the Italians are so aware of themselves and they like to be looked at and they like to look at each other after dark Rome takes on yet another personality and a short walk laces together its top nightspots back at campo de fiori the artichokes and tomatoes are packed away and the social street lab sir turned on
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[Music] these characteristic lanes even late at night feel safe and friendly the nearby Piazza Navona is a carnival 365 nights a year while this oblong square got its shape from a long gone ancient stadium today the games are limited to browsing and flirting around its famous Bernini fountain [Music] just down the street is the floodlit pantheon it looms high above our 21st
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century as if aching to tell its story 2,000 years of Roman history and at the same time it provides a venerable backdrop for al fresco diners there's too much life in the streets to go home yet that Trevi fountains close by this bubbly baroque Avalanche dating from the 1700s seems purpose-built for today's Roman embrace of life with history art and people perpetually partying under the stars it's no wonder
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people come here in droves for the promise that a coin tossed over the shoulder will assure their return to this Eternal City that may sound silly but every year I go through the ritual and it works but we're not done yet the final stop on our floodlit walk is the ever-popular Spanish Steps the Piazza di Spagna has been the Hangout of countless romantics over the years and I hope someday soon that includes you too
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[Music] Rome of course it's the city of Caesars hopes and floodlit fountains but for over three million people it's also simply home thanks for joining us I'm Rick Steves until next time keep on travelin ciao everyone else bar bar bar barbarians imagine a quarter of a
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million run we explored this grand city was so rich in art and culture in a more in tune with dogs family fountain look at this yeah how are you [Music]

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