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St. Peter's Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world, built on the burial site of St. Peter, one of Christ's apostles, on Vatican Hill in Vatican City. The first St. Peter's Basilica was built in the fourth century by Emperor Constantine, but by the 1400s it was almost in ruins. Nicolas V, the Pope, began restoration by Bernardo Rossellino's plans, but when the pope died the project halted. It wasn't until Pope Julius II hired architect Donato Bramante, half a century later, to redesign the church that the project began again. Bramante died and later Michelangelo Buonarroti took over, and when Michelangelo died in 1564 only the dome's drum had been built. It was 1626 before the church was reconsecrated, 1300 years after the first church had been consecrated.
The basilica of Saint John Lateran was built under pope Melchiade (311-314), it’s the most ancient church in the world. Due to the fact that the pope is also the bishop of Rome, Saint John in Lateran – being seat of the bishop’s residence – is also Rome’s Cathedral.
Founded during the fourth century in honour of St. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, St John Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano) is the Cathedral of Rome and the most important of the four major basilicas. It is known as St John Lateran Archbasilica, as is it considered the mother church of the Roman Catholic faithful.
The Basilica of St. John Lateran has played an important role throughout history; it was here that all popes were enthroned up until 1870. Nowadays, Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterno is where the Pope, as Bishop of Rome, celebrates Holy Thursday Mass.
The Vatican Museums contain masterpieces of painting, sculpture and other works of art collected by the popes through the centuries. The Museums include several monumental works of art, such as the Sistine Chapel, the Chapel of Beato Angelico, the Raphael Rooms and Loggia and the Borgia Apartment.
The Pinacoteca, or Picture Gallery, is situated in a building that dates back to 1932 and that was designed by the architect Beltrami. It is connected to the Museum complex (at the entrance of the Quattro Cancelli) by an elegant portico.
The Christian, Profane and Missionary-Ethnological Museum contains a collection of artistic and archaeological objects, some of an ethnological nature, that were once housed in the Lateran Palace.
The Collection of Modern Religious Art was added to the Museums in 1973. The History Museum is located in the Lateran Palace and includes, among other things, items that belonged to the Pontifical Military Corps.
The Colosseum is the main symbol of Rome. It is an imposing construction that, with almost 2,000 years of history, will bring you back in time to discover the way of life in the Roman Empire.
The construction of the Colosseum began in the year 72 under the empire of Vespasian and was finished in the year 80 during the rule of the emperor Titus. After completion, the Colosseum became the greatest Roman amphitheatre, measuring 188 meters in length, 156 meters in width and 57 meters in height.
Known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Roman Colosseum is one of the capital's most remarkable monuments. Every year over 6 million people visit it.
St Peter’s Square or Piazza San Pietro is probably one of the world’s most famous squares and one of the most breath-taking. Designed by Bernini during the seventeenth century, it houses over 300,000 people. The construction of the square was carried out between 1656 and 1667 at the hand of Bernini, with the support of Pope Alexander XII.
The most impressive part of the square, besides its size, are its 284 columns and 88 pilasters that flank the square in a colonnade of four rows. Above the columns there are 140 statues of saints created in 1670 by the disciples of Bernini. In the centre of the square the obelisk and the two fountains, one of Berni ni (1675) and another of Maderno (1614) stand out. The obelisk, which is 25 meters in height, was carried to Rome from Egypt in 1586.
The National Roman Museum is located in four different buildings; the Baths of Diocletain, the Palazzo Altemps, the Crypta Balbi and lastly, the Palazzo Massimo. This last palace features one of the best archaeological and classical art collections in the world.
One of seven pilgrimage basilicas in the world, this church was founded in 432 AD and is where the famous architect Bernini is buried. The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is an ancient Catholic basilica that is considered to be the largest of the churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Rome. It is one of the city’s four major basilicas.
Built on a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Cybele, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore was built in the mid-fourth century under the orders of Pope Liberius.
The basilica displays varied architectural styles, from early Christian to Baroque. The entire building was restored and renovated during the eighteenth century, so the facade and much of the interior dates from that period. Despite this, the church retains the bell tower, some mosaics and marble floors from the medieval period and some Ionic columns from other ancient Roman buildings, as well as splendid fifth-century mosaics.The ceiling decoration has been preserved from the Renaissance period, while the domes and chapels belong to the Baroque era.
Trevi Fountain, Italian Fontana di Trevi, fountain in Rome that is considered a late Baroque masterpiece and is arguably the best known of the city’s numerous fountains. It was designed by Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762.
The fountain is located in Rome’s Trevi district, abutting the Palazzo Poli. An earlier fountain on the site was demolished in the 17th century, and a design competition for a new fountain was won by Nicola Salvi in 1732. His creation was a scenic wonder. The idea of combining the palace front and fountain was derived from a project by Pietro da Cortona, but the grand pageantry of the fountain’s central triumphal arch with its mythological and allegorical figures, natural rock formations, and gushing water was Salvi’s. The Trevi Fountain took some 30 years to complete, and after Salvi’s death in 1751, Giuseppe Pannini, who slightly altered the original scheme, oversaw its completion in 1762.
The immense fountain, at its centre is Pietro Bracci’s statue of Oceanus, who stands atop a chariot pulled by sea horses and is accompanied by tritons. The fountain also features statues of Abundance and Health. Its water, from the ancient aqueduct called Acqua Vergine, long was considered Rome’s softest and best tasting; for centuries, barrels of it were taken every week to the Vatican.