Interesting facts about Rome

rome

Rome is the capital and most populous city in Italy.

It is located in the central portion of the Italian peninsula, on the Tiber River about 24 kilometers (15 miles) inland from the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The population of Rome in 2016 is estimated at 2,869,461 in the city limits.

The Comune of Rome covers an overall area of about 1,285 square kilometers (496 square miles), including many green areas

The altitude of the central part of Rome ranges from 13 meters (43 ft) above sea level (at the base of the Pantheon) to 139 meters (456 ft) above sea level (the peak of Monte Mario).

As legend has it, Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Mars, the god of war. Left to drown in a basket on the Tiber by a king of nearby Alba Longa and rescued by a she-wolf, the twins lived to defeat that king and found their own city on the river’s banks in 753 B.C. After killing his brother, Romulus became the first king of Rome, which is named for him.

she-wolf

While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe.

Rome developed where a salt trade route crossed the river Tiber en route to the coast, near the seven hills the city is said to be built on.

It’s traditionally believed that the early rulers of Rome were kings, possibly coming from a people known as the Etruscans, who were driven out c. 500 BC.

Eventually, the city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and is regarded as the birthplace of Western civilisation and by some as the first ever metropolis.

roman empire

After the Fall of the Roman Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome slowly fell under the political control of the Papacy, which had settled in the city since the 1st century AD, until in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870.

In 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which in 1946 became the Italian Republic.

Famous artists, painters, sculptors and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.

It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC.

A heady mix of haunting ruins, awe-inspiring art and vibrant street life, Italy’s hot-blooded capital is one of the world’s most romantic and inspiring cities.

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Rome is renewed for its various monuments.

As the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, the silhouette of the Colosseum is to Rome. The largest structure left to us by Roman antiquity, it still provides the model for sports arenas – present day football stadium design is clearly based on this oval Roman plan. Its real name was the Flavian Amphitheater. The name “Colosseum” was derived from a giant statue of Nero nearby.

colosseum

Beside the Colosseum stands the almost equally familiar Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch erected by the Senate to honor the emperor as “liberator of the city and bringer of peace” after his victory in the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. The arch, decorated with statues and reliefs, has survived the times relatively unscathed.

arch of constantine

The Pantheon at Rome is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. It is a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. The original Pantheon was built in 27-25 BC under the Roman Empire, during the third consulship of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, and his name is inscribed on the portico of the building. In fact, Agrippa’s Pantheon was destroyed by fire in 80 AD, and the Pantheon was completely rebuilt in about 125 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, as date-stamps on the bricks reveal. In 609 it was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all the martyrs.

pantheon rome

The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Its size was 250 by 170 meters (820 by 560 feet). Under the empire, when it primarily became a center for religious and secular spectacles and ceremonies, it was the site of many of the city’s most imposing temples and monuments.

roman forum

The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. Standing 26.3 meters (86 ft) high and 49.15 meters (161.3 ft) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Every night about 3,000 Euros are swept up from the bottom of the basin. The money is donated to Caritas, a catholic charity, who uses the money to provide services for needy families in Rome.

trevi fountain

A truly monumental stairway of 135 steps, the Spanish Steps were built with French funds between 1721‑1725 in order to link the Bourbon Spanish embassy to the Holy See with the French church, Trinità dei Monti. The steps are usually very crowded attracting tourists as well as locals who use it as a gathering place.

spanish steps

The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

The Vatican is the smallest independent state in the world, with an area of less than half a square kilometer, most of it enclosed by the Vatican walls. Inside are the Vatican palace and gardens, St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Peter’s Square, an area ruled by the Pope, supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church. This compact space offers much for tourists to see, between its museums and the great basilica itself.

vatican city

Much like the rest of Italy, Rome is predominantly Roman Catholic, and the city has been an important center of religion and pilgrimage for centuries, the base of the ancient Roman Religion with the pontifex maximus and later the seat of the Vatican and the pope.

Rome has about 280 fountains and more than 900 churches.

Public parks and nature reserves cover a large area in Rome, and the city has one of the largest areas of green space among European capitals.

Rome is well known for its statues but, in particular, the talking statues of Rome.

The city hosts eight ancient Egyptian and five ancient Roman obelisks, together with a number of more modern obelisks.

rome obelisk

Rome hosted the 1960 Summer Olympics and is the seat of United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Rome is also an important fashion and design center thanks to international brands such as Fendi, Bulgari, Renato Balestra, Valentino, Laura Biagiotti.

Rome’s Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies.

There is a law in Rome that allows cats to live without disruption in the place where they were born. If you look carefully, you will see hundreds of wild cats climbing the walls of the Colosseum, and sleeping among the ruins of the Forum.

Rome’s population of over a million was not matched by another European city until London in the nineteenth century.

Rome has been one of the world’s most visited cities for the past two millennia.

Romans used a fasces, which was a bundle of tied rods with a red ribbon that often included a bronze axe, to symbolize the power and unity of Rome. This symbol continues to be used in modern governmental systems, such as the US Legislative branch.

The Salema Porgy is a species of fish that can cause hallucinations when eaten. In Ancient Rome it was consumed as a recreational drug.

Flamingo tongues were a delicacy in ancient Rome.

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