9. A History of Power in Modern Rome: A Self-Guided Audio Tour
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!
Allow me to introduce you to the city that was once known as "caput mundi", the capital of the world.
On this self-guided walking tour, you’ll go off the tourist track and get an Italian’s view of the city’s historical monuments, some of which represent fleeting hope and, many others, crushing disappointment in the country’s modern-day leaders. Join me as I unravel the political sagas of the country that gave birth to the Medici and the Borgia family, and Machiavelli.
Our tour begins next to the ancient Roman Empire’s diplomatic Arc of Constantine outside the Flavian Amphitheatre, more popularly known as the Colosseum. We’ll explore both ancient and modern Rome as you wind your way through the city to Piazza Navona where the tour ends. Along the way, you’ll unearth the stories that linger on Palatine Hill and at the Roman Forum, both of which I’ll point out to you, and you’ll find out about some of the darker, more scandalous mechanisms that run the relatively young Republic of Italy. I’ll show you Piazza Venezia, where fascist leader Mussolini riled up crowds before dragging the country into tragedy. You’ll then follow in the footsteps of victorious politicians to stand in the shadow of the Quirinal Palace where you can admire the building that was once the home of popes, then kings, and is now the residence of the President of the Republic.
If that’s not enough, on this tour of "La Città Eterna" (the Eternal City) you’ll also:
• Hear how Nicola Salvi built a sculpture just to block the view of a barber who bullied him while he worked on the Trevi fountain
• Visit the column that was built in Piazza Colonna as a tribute to Marcus Aurelius (played by Russel Crowe in the movie Gladiator)
• Discover the scandals and fisticuffs of Palazzo Chigi and Palazzo Montecitorio, the seats of power in Italy’s modern-day state
• Learn the history of the Pantheon in Piazza della Rotonda
• See the home of the Italian Senate at Palazzo Madama
• Find out about more sightseeing opportunities and local favourites like Saint Peter’s Basilica and Trastevere
I look forward to leading you on this 90-minute stroll to learn about one of the most iconic cities in the world from Romulus through to the Renaissance, and the Risorgimento to the Republic of Italy.
Please note: This tour is designed so that you don’t need to enter any of the sites along its route. You will hear plenty of interesting information without needing to go inside. However, if you do want to enter any of the attractions, it is recommended that you book ahead of time. Once you've redeemed the tour on the VoiceMap app, please look under the "Places to stop along the way" section for more booking information.