Rome: Capital of Old and New

Discover the absolute oldest and newest things to see in this truly Eternal City

We all know January is the first month of the year, but what you may not know is how it got its name. Added (along with February) to the originally ten-month long calendar by Rome’s second king Numa Pompilius in the 8th century BC, it was named after Janus, the god of doorways and gates, beginnings and endings. Makes sense that thereafter the first month of the year was changed from March to January. In honor of January’s namesake, we’ve come up with a list of very old things and very new things to visit on your trip to the Eternal City.

OLD Cerveteri- It doesn’t get much older than this. The Banditaccia Necropolis in this Etruscan town north of Rome is home to some of the oldest tombs in Italy, dating back to the 9th century BC. Trains leave every half hour from Termini station. Open Tuesday- Sunday, 8:30am-sunset. €6 (€3 reduced). To marvel at the contents of the tombs, including jewelry, armor, hand mirrors and more, visit the National Museum of Etruscan Art at Villa Giulia, Piazzale di Villa Giulia, 9. Open Tuesday– Sunday, 8:30am–7:30pm. €8 (€4 reduced).

NEW MAXXI- Rome’s newest museum (inaugurated just last year), architect Zaha Hadid’s ground-breaking Museum of 21st Century Art, hosts temporary exhibits of the works of some of the greatest up and coming artists of our time. Via Guido Reni, 4/a. Open Tues, Wed, Fri & Sun, 11am-7pm, Thu & Sat 11am-10pm €11 (€8 reduced).

OLD Santa Pudenziana- Located on the Esquiline hill, this is one of Rome’s oldest churches, and has happily not suffered from extensive modernization. The stunning mosaics of this early 4th century titulus church date to the end of the same century. Via Urbana, 160. Open every day, 8:30am-12pm and 3-6pm. Free.

NEW Jubilee Church- The most modern church in Rome, it was actually 3 years late for the Jubilee Year 2000, as it was not completed until 2003. Nevertheless it was a big success. Also known as the Church of Sails, Richard Meier’s innovative, luminous masterpiece is located in the Tor Tre Teste neighborhood. Largo Terzo Millennio, 8. To get there, take the 105 bus from Termini station. Open every day, 7:30am-12:30pm and 3:30-6:30pm. Free.

OLD+NEW Ara Pacis Museum- Another architectural gem by Richard Meier, the super-modern white cement and glass space built in 2006 houses something much older: Emperor Augustus’ 2000-year-old Altar of Peace, a massive white marble monument delicately carved with scenes of Roman legends as well as historical figures. Lungotevere in Augusta. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-7pm. €7.50 (€5.50 reduced).

OLD+NEW Centrale Montemartini- This former power plant turned museum pairs works of ancient statuary from the Ludovisi collection with 1940s industrial machinery to brilliant effect. Via Ostiense, 106. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-7pm. €4.50 (€3.50 reduced).