The conquest of America
Rocky Balboa, Al Capone, 'cheesesteaks' and Benjamin Franklin define the true essence of Philadelphia, a megalopolis in the state of Pennsylvania and the first American city to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Independence Hall was the key contributing factor in its UNESCO status. To qualify, a city must have at least one monument already listed by UNESCO. This is a requirement fulfilled by Philadelphia since 1979, thanks to this legendary red-brick building where the founding fathers of American democracy signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. These same walls witnessed the debate and later signing of the American Constitution in 1787, with George Washington as President. Independence Hall is considered to be the birthplace of the United States of America.
However, Philadelphia has much more to boast about than its historical past. Situated in the northeast of the country, between two goliaths like New York and Washington D.C, its attractive appearance is formed of skyscrapers, houses from the 18th century and roads lined with trees and museums. It’s also a major industrial port on the Delaware River, and its history and modernity are blended together with vitality and charm.
At the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps you can find Rocky’s footprints inlaid in bronze.
Photo: G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia™
The city is home to the most famous 72 steps in the world, those that Sylvester Stallone climbed on his run in his training routine as Rocky and that lead to the south façade of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Or even the luxurious cell at the Eastern State Penitentiary in Fairmont Avenue, where Al Capone was sentenced to serve eight months among exotic Persian rugs, a desk, a radio playing waltzes and numerous oil paintings.
Independence Hall is considered to be the birthplace of the United States of America.
Philadelphia is a place of constant artistic explosion. In addition to its permanent collections (which include the largest collection by Rodin outside France), in 2016 it will receive works by Picasso, Matisse and Modigliani, with an exhibition based on the Spanish master and his influences composed of over 50 works that date back to the First World War (The Barnes Foundation, from 21st February to 9th May). Philadelphia will also be exhibiting works by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, the ‘Three Greats’ of Mexican modernism whose ‘Paint the Revolution” exhibition will be on show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from October 2016 to January 2017.
The cell where Al Capone was imprisoned between 1929 and 1930.
Photo: M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
Gastronomically speaking, Philadelphia is the home of the doughnut and the ‘cheesesteak’. The first was A Dutch invention following their arrival in the 17th century and has become an irreplaceable wicked temptation of American breakfasts. The second, the ‘cheesesteak’ is the symbol of informal street lunches in the area, made from a type of baguette containing thin strips of meat and melted cheese. Try the vest best of ‘cheesesteaks’ at John’s Roast Pork (14 Snyder Avenue).
In 2015 the first festival was held devoted to the ‘cheesesteak’, which was created in 1930.
Photo: R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
The city of brotherly love – as William Penn christened it by joining “philos” (love) and “adelphos” (brother) – is full of attractions. Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin’s house, the Federal Reserve, Betsy Ross’s house, who is popularly considered to be the women who sewed the first American flag, and even Copa América football matches complete a year full of attractions for 2016.