Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with over 7 million
pilgrims and tourists flocking to the Eternal City each year to admire its spiritual
and architectural marvels. Everybody knows that without the papacy there would be
no St. Peter’s Basilica or Vatican Museums to visit, but far fewer tourists realise
that without the foresight and vision of past popes a large number of Rome’s most
famous monuments like the Coliseum or Pantheon would almost certainly have fallen
into complete ruin or been destroyed.
To find out more about some of those
less well-known ways in which the papacy changed the face of Rome over the past centuries
and improved its appearance and its amenities, Susy Hodges sat down with Liz Lev,
who teaches Christian Art and Architecture at the Rome Campus of Duquesne University.
Apart from its work of caring for and restoring many of its monuments, Lev says Rome
also has the papacy to thank for its straight roads, its obelisks, its many fountains
and even the world's first ever public musuem.