Central to Italy’s ancient past was the role of imposing infrastructure. Now thousands of years old, these arenas were once used for theatre, worship and fight-to-the-death battles. Many of these sites now scatter Italy as ancient ruins, a reminder of the country’s glories, and are free to explore and admire.
A visit to Italy wouldn’t be complete without scaling Rome’s majestic ruins in central Italy, before relaxing and enjoying Lake Como’s rich heritage in the north, viewing some of Italy’s finest ruins in style and luxury along the way.
Arch of Constantine
One of Rome’s most famous arches, Arch of Constantine, is popular with tourists hungry for a slice of Italy’s ancient past. Built on Roman Emperor Constantine the Great’s request in 315 AD, the arch was in constructed commemoration of Constantine’s victory in the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD. The Arch of Constantine is also a neighbour of the even more famous Coliseum. The two are within walking distance of one another, making it easier for you to explore Rome’s history.
The most famous of all of Rome’s ruins, the Coliseum, was once believed to be the secret to eternal youth. This vast amphitheatre could seat up to 55,000 people, and was the arena in which over 5,000 wild animals were killed during its inaugural contest. While the Coliseum was one of ancient Rome’s early forms of entertainment, its bloody fights saw the extinction of majestic creatures like the Middle Eastern Lion and North African elephant.
Building started on this gladiator battleground in 70 AD and was completed 10 years later. It is a culmination of three ancient architectural designs: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. To explore this historic site like a VIP, get your Skip-the-line: Escorted VIP Entrance here.
Originally the senate house of Ancient Rome, the imposing and stunning Curia Julia sits in the heart of Rome. Built during the reign of Julius Caesar in 632 AD, it was transformed into the church of Saint Antonio as requested by Pope Honorius I. Curia Julia is a must-see ruin for anyone venturing Rome.
Castel Sant Angelo
Sant Angelo Castle was built to be a mausoleum for Roman Emperor Hadrian sometime between 123 AD and 139 AD. However, the intended burial site more resembled a fortress. And that is exactly what it became for many of Rome’s popes that used to take refuge in the castle whenever their lives were in danger – which in ancient Rome, was a frequent threat. During Medieval times, Castel Sant Angelo became a stronghold turned prison, and is connected to the Vatican Palace through an underground tunnel which is sometimes open to visitors.
Forum of Caesar
Constructed in Rome in 46 BC, Forum of Caesar was the first of Italy’s imperial forums and was meant to reduce overcrowding in the Roman Forum. It took eight years to build and was eventually completed after Julius Caesar won a battle against his nemesis Pompey the Great. It was for this reason the Forum of Caesar is also known as the Temple of Venus. After a fire in 80 AD ruined much of the original build, it was restored under the ruling of Roman Emperor Trajan.
Spanning 250 acres, Hadrian’s Villa dates back to the 2nd century and is considered to be the best preserved Roman villa in Italy. This incredible complex was comprised of 30 buildings, libraries, a maritime theatre and colonnaded swimming pool. A worthwhile stop on your journey of Rome’s best monuments.
The largest and most famous gladiator training school in Rome, Ludus Magnus, can be found next to the Coliseum, the venue in which the gladiators would fight to the death. Built between 81 and 96 AD, per Emperor Domitian’s request, the ruins can still be explored. A site so well preserved that you can even admire the water fountains from which the gladiators would drink during training. For the best viewpoint of Ludus Magnus, visit Via San Giovanni – the Roman road that joins the Basilica di San Clemente with the Coliseum.
Mausoleum of Augustus
Mausoleum of Augustus is the tomb of Rome’s first emperor, and great nephew of Julius Caesar, Augustus, who ruled between 63 BC and 14 AD. Built around 28 BC, the mausoleum became the designated burial place of Augustus, his wife Lavia, and many other Roman emperors and public figures that followed his reign.
Palatine Hill & Stadium
The birth of Rome is often attributed to Palatine Hill, one of seven hills in the city. Legend has it that Romulus and Remus were found by a she-wolf on Palatine Hill, and thus the foundation of their village and the first huts of Rome were rooted here. Palatine Hill became a significant location in Rome, and is now the home of one of the city’s much-loved sites.
One of the most well-preserved ruins in Italy is the Pantheon of Rome. As famous as the Coliseum, this ruin is admired by all tourists who visit the city. Originally build in 25 BC by Marcus Agrippa, it was a temple dedicated to the Gods of Rome. After a fire burnt it to the ground in 80 AD, the Pantheon was rebuilt in 125 AD when Rome was under Emperor Hadrian’s rule, this is the imposing structure you can still admire today.
After exploring the ruins of Rome, jet off to Lugano Airport in Northern Italy and relax in a luxury Renaissance villa on Lake Como. Enclosed by rolling vineyard, forests and more Roman ruins, Lake Como attracts the rich from Rome and Milan who enjoy summers sailing and windsurfing. You can explore Lake Como’s historic villas and gardens before unwinding in this stunning regions many spas.
If exploring Rome’s ancient ruins and Luxury Lake Como excites you, if you prefer living the adventure to planning it, and if you want to travel in ultimate style and comfort, contact Air Charter Service to arrange a bespoke and stress-free trip. And if you’re a veteran traveller and 10 ancient ruins aren’t enough for you, discover 40 Roman ruins here.