La Maison de Marta
Saint Peter's Basilica
is wonderfully located in the centre of Rome. Or we could rather say that it is situated just a stone's throw away from the Vatican City, in the Prati area. From a historical perspective is interesting to know that the Prati district was a sort of provocation. Built over meadows (prati) soon after Rome became the capital of the newly unified Italian state in 1871, its grand palazzi housed the staff of the ministries and parliament. But its broad avenues were named after historic figures who had fought against the power of the Papal States, and the largest of its piazze – nestling beneath the Vatican walls – was named after the Risorgimento, the movement that had destroyed the papacy’s hold on Italy.
A solidly burgeois district, Prati is the perfect area to start your visit. Just across the road you can admire the beautiful Castel Sant'Angelo
, once mausoleum of Hadrian then papal seat. Within a very short walking distance you will find the St. Peter's Basilica
, Italy's most spectacular church. A monument to centuries of artistic genius, it’s also a mecca for millions of tourists and on peak days it can attract more than 20, 000 visitors. Bramante, Raphael, Antonio da Sangallo, Michelangelo
, Giacomo della Porta and Carlo Maderno all contributed to its construction but it is generally held that St Peter’s owes most to Michelangelo, who took over the project in 1547 at the age of 72 and was responsible for the great dome. But more, don't lose the opportunity of visiting the Vatican Museums
. It is an unforgettable experience because event though it could take several hours it allows you to enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the world’s great museum complexes. Each gallery contains priceless treasures but we suggest not to lose the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche, Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael Rooms) and the Sistine Chapel
. Do not forget that at 11:00 on Wednesdays, the pope meets his flock at St Peter's Basilica (in July and August at Castel Gandolfo). We would like to give you a hint for a museum tourist guides hardly suggest:
. If you love art and want an introduction to Renaissance and Baroque this is the right place for you. The villa is divided into two parts: the ground-floor museum, with its superb sculptures, intricate Roman floor mosaics and fabolous frescoes and the upstairs picture gallery. Amongts the great artworks you can admire the Apollo e Dafne, one of the masterpieces of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. If you are interested in following the Italian music scenario just consider a night at the Auditorium Parco della Musica
: this graceful scarab-shaped halls encompasses different styles of music going from Verdi to PJ Harvey with a very budget pricing for the tickets (some events cost as much as 5 Euros).
In Via SantaMaura, then, just a few blocks from San Peter's lies one of the most renowned jazz clubs of the city: Alexanderplatz
. Some international names come and play here and you will be happy to find out that on summertime the club moves out o the grounds of Villa Celimontana for an enchanting, under-the-stars jazz festival. One of the main drags of the Prati area is Via Cola di Rienzo
where there are loads of shops for every type of budget.
But we do not forget that Italy is the land of good food so don't lose the chance to taste an awesome gelato at San Crispino's
. This is not only a hub for tourists but also a landmark for proper Romans. In the Prati district, there is a Neapolitan restaurant that really deserves a visit: La Trattoria della Barchetta
. Famed for its delicious appetizers, first courses and cookies , the trattoria is considered one of the best dining spots in Rome. For those looking for high quality food even while travelling, there is a great shop in the Prati district called Al Sole d'Oro
. This shop sells quality organic products, including some fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, pasta and diary products. Finally, in the area of La Maison de Marta
, there is plenty of common services such as supermarkets, atms, laundry services, travel agencies.