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Italy was where the Renaissance took place in the middle ages

Rome is a treasure house of works of art as a result.

Fantastically ornate churches can be found on almost every corner. Not the sort of thing seen every day by northern Presbyterians in their austere chapels!!

Piazza Navona, Rome's most beautiful baroque piazza, contains three baroque fountains, surrounded by cafes, making it the social centre of the city.

An even more famous fountain, in this city of abundant, elegant fountains, is the beautiful and impressive Fontana di Trevi, hidden away in a little piazza.

Legend has it that if you throw a coin into the Fontana di Trevi over your left shoulder, you will return to the Eternal City one day.

Not far away are the Spanish Steps, where the youth of the world sits itself down every day, rests its weary feet and "hangs out"!

Just below them, in the Via dei Condotti, are all the classy shops selling expensive designer-labels like Versace, Gucci and Christian Dior, craved by older, very rich people, with the money to buy anything, apart from the youthfulness of those on the nearby steps!

Of course, the occasional leggy young lady gets her hands on the designer labels by "falling in love" with someone old enough to be her grand-father!! Strange how such men are always stinking rich!!

C'est la vie!!!

Across the River Tiber lies the Vatican City, which is not in Rome, even though it is surrounded by Rome!

The Vatican City

The Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world and has been independent from Italy, and therefore Rome, since the Lateran Treaty of 1929.

However, you do not need your passport to enter, even though it has its own Swiss Guards, in colourful uniform! It is a fantastic place.

Entering St Peter's is something you must do, above all else on a trip to Rome.

The sheer grandeur and scale of this building is amazing.

It is 730 feet long, 364 feet wide and 438 feet from the floor to the top of the dome! 

Its superb architecture, beauty and size makes one wonder at the skills of architects and craftsmen centuries ago, who did not have any of the mechanical cranes and other lifting equipment of the modern age.

Just one of the four large pillars supporting the dome is a massive 50 feet wide! 

In one corner is Michaelangelo's "Pieta", one of the most famous marble statues in the world.

Outside St Peter's, and around the corner, is the Sistine Chapel, with Michaelangelo's even more renowned art-work fabulously decorating the ceiling. If ever there was an artistic genius, it is Michaelangelo!

It is worth checking on the times that the Sistine Chapel is open, well before visiting. It is frequently closed and queuing can take hours.

South of the Vatican are the narrow streets of Trastevere, one of the oldest parts of Rome.

There are terrific, good-value, high quality  restaurants and bars in this area. It is where many Romans socialise in the evening.

One of the best features of Rome is that it is not too big to walk around and since there are interesting architectural features and wonderful piazzas at every turn, walking is just about the best way to see it all.

Rome should be at the top of everyone's agenda for a city break or as part of a longer holiday in Italy. Come and sample the Dolce Vita!