If you choose a Rome tour accompanied by a proficient, passionate guide, you will discover all sorts of interesting facts that others may never learn. In order to really travel rather than merely ‘complete through’ a destination, discovering the genuine spirit of a accepted place is a essential part of the experience. One way to do this is to seek out a few of the lesser-known nuggets of history and culture and not simply rely on the rote narratives that are inevitably rolled out. When in Rome, yes, you guessed it, you should do as the Romans do indeed! Which is look under the surface of the well-known iconic landmarks to find out some of the more engaging facts of their history.

How do you do that? We think the simplest way is to join a Rome tour. You’ll walk through the historic streets of the city with a knowledgeable and passionate guide, who’ll inspire you with the stories behind some of the world’s biggest monuments. Listed below are just a few examples of some of the quirky facts you could discover on the Rome tour. There would barely be a person who has come to the Eternal City in its background and not visited the Pantheon.

As the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome, its indomitable creator, Hadrian (Rome’s ‘Good Emperor’), has garnered admiration and awe for his astounding architectural accomplishment. While its elegance and beauty are clear, in mathematical terms it is more significant even. The design is a precise incarnation of the rules of Classical architecture, to be able to increase the aesthetics of its scale and offer it with the perfect balanced proportions.

Thought you’d noticed it all about Michelangelo’s magnificent frescos that adorn the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel? Well, perhaps. But did you know that they nearly weren’t the work of Michelangelo in any way? When he was contacted to focus on the frescos of the chapel he was engaged in a very different project (a marble tomb for Pope Julius II), to which he was devoted entirely.

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He was also far more accomplished as a sculptor (and considered himself thus) and was very reluctant to take on the commission to color frescos, which he had no experience. In the long run he grudgingly commenced work (also commissioned by Pope Julius II) and spent the next four years creating what’s now considered one of the greatest masterpieces of the High Renaissance. Since their construction in the first 1700s, the Scalina Spagna have been the most infamous ‘luogo d’incontro’ (meeting place) in Rome – playing web host to countless gatherings and trysts within the centuries. Nonetheless it didn’t just happen unintentionally.

The tradition is due to their popularity with writers and artists, who had been influenced by their architectural beauty and lovely aspect. In turn, the beautiful women of the populous city came in the hopes of being chosen as models or muses. The presence of most those lovely young ladies then began to attract travellers and rich local men looking for a prize, and in a short time the steps became a location for everyone to meet. The Best View of the populous city is Clear! Think it’s great or hate it, the first 20th-century monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (the first king of the unified Italy) can be an irrefutable and immoveable part of the town skyline.

Many local people are averse to its shiny, white marble exterior and believe it’s far too big and ostentatious. However, not hidden away at the rear quite, its latest addition offers the best views over the Forum and the rest of the town you might get from anywhere. So often it is the small tidbits of local knowledge and lesser-known facts behind a famous historical site or monument that embed themselves in the hearts and thoughts of travellers. This is more obvious than on the Rome tour never.