Sightseeing in Rome is one of the most spectacular trips of a lifetime. There is so much to see, do, and appreciate while you’re there. From historic landmarks, to scenic landscapes, Rome, Italy seems to have it all, especially when it comes to art. Sculptures have long been a part of Italy’s history and Rome has a plethora of statues and carved monuments that you can’t miss on your travels. From Michelangelo’s world renowned “David” sculpture, to the Trevi fountain, read on to discover 5 must-see sculptures when in Rome.
- Michelangelo’s “David”
Located at the Accademia Gallery, Michelangelo’s marble sculpture of biblical hero David stands 14ft tall. It has become of the most famous sculptures in all of history and the world to see when in Italy. The marble statue has been replicated many times in various forms throughout the centuries and its significance is multiplied by the story behind the sculpture. It is rumored that no one was brave enough to take on creating the epic masterpiece because of too many flaws in the original marble. As a young artist, Michelangelo took on the challenge and used marble material to create this stunning must-see piece. The statue was created between 1501-1504 and displays King David from the Bible in full nude. The sculpture took Italy by surprise and eventually by storm, being revered as one of the greatest sculpture pieces in the world. It’s worth a stop to admire this glorious and historic sculpture.
2. Michelangelo’s “Moses”
Michelangelo’s Moses sculpture is a gigantic sculpture that finds its home in the Basilica de San Pietro church in Vicoli. The gleaming massive marble sculpture depicts a larger than life Moses guarding a tomb that Pope Julius II had charged to be built in the 16th century. The sculpture shows Moses as a powerful figure but with a unique set of horns at the top of his head of wavy hair. This is untraditional considering the fact that Moses was a significant figure of humility and holiness in scripture. The horns come from a misinterpretation of the original Hebrew text of the Bible that read “rays of light” as “horns”. It’s an uncommon feature and quite a sight to see.
3. Bust of Medusa (Busto di Medusa)
The head portrait bust of Medusa portrays Medusa’s anguished look of fear and astonishment as she realizes she is turning into stone upon seeing her reflection. The marble statue is not massive in size, but it’s mythological appeal is what draws many viewers to the scene. Legend has it that anyone who looked at Medusa’s hair made of snakes would also turn into stone. The Bust of Medusa is housed in Rome’s Capitoline Museums, one of the most tourist-attracting museums in the world.
The Capitoline Museum boasts an enormous collection of historical art that brings to the remembrance the myths and traditions long held and treasured in Italy. The museum was opened in 1734. The statues and sculptures in the Capitoline Museum in Rome range from medieval to ancient sculptures. Aside from the Busto Di Medusa, the Capitoline Museum is a sight to see itself as a must-see when in Rome.
4. Colossus of Constantine (Statua Colossale di Costantino)
The Colossus of Constantine is another sculpture that resides within the Capitoline Museum in Rome. The piece is an assortment of the body parts of Italy’s Emperor Constantine the Great.
It’s a fragmented sculpture that includes a bust, torso, arm, bronze hand and other small pieces and parts. The original sculpture was said to be made of marble, wood, and bronze. The existing sculpture is only pieces of a much larger sculpture that was ransacked for its bronze parts about 235-284 AD. Constantine the Great was a monumental historical political figure in Italy’s past, and so when in Rome it is most certainly a top 5 must-see sculpture.
5. Michelangelo’s “Pieta”
Michelangelo’s Pieta is another highly acclaimed sculpture throughout the world. The sculpture depicts Madonna, or Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, holding her son’s dead, limp, and lifeless body in her arms. The original intent was to represent the idea of pain and redemption. The sculpture is a must-see because of it’s extremely life-like representation of a lifeless body in statue form. The sculpture is made of marble and shows extreme details in every vein and muscle. It’s a world-wide wonder that Christians and the non-religious alike want to see because of its intricacies and delicate emotional portrayal of pain. The sculpture has been through numerous restorations and anytime it has been moved on display, extremely high security measures have been put in place. 4 of Mary’s fingers on the left hand were broken and restored in 1736, and her eyelid that was disfigured took over 20 attempts to repair and restore. Pieta is not only significant because of its emotional connection and attention to detail, but also because it’s said to be the only piece that MichelAngelo etched his name into. He did so because at one time he happened to hear a viewer of the sculpture mistake the statue as the creation of a different artist. This fact alone make is a must-see piece when in Rome.
A Trip of a Lifetime
Rome and Italy as a country, is brimming with amazing monuments that every traveler or tourist should take the time to admire. Sculptures are one of Rome’s greatest artistic assets. You won’t regret visiting any of the above-mentioned sculptures. There are hundreds, if not thousands of other artistic pieces not even mentioned here that are worth seeing. Rome, Italy contains some of the world’s most beautiful natural stone and marble pieces that have lasted the test of time. Even with age and wear, these sculptures are still stunning and contain so much vital history. As with any trip, sightseeing can enhance your overall stay and give you something to remember for a lifetime. As they say, “When in Rome”, and with these 5 must-see sculptures you’ll be sure to get the total experience.