WHY VISIT ROME?
Rome is a giant museum full of history, Rome is a city that invites you to return, and at the same time it is a city that never leaves us completely.
There are very few cities with such a vivid history as Rome, thereby obtaining the name "Città Eterna" (Eternal city). It was the capital of the Roman Empire and it is still possible to see its history through its many corners. Among the endless list of things to visit are: the remains of the Aurelian wall, the Arch of Constantine, the Capitoline Museums, the Catacombs, Navona Square and Spagna Square among many other attractions.
A LITTLE HISTORY OF ROME
The legend tells that Rome is born from of the children of Mars, twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who did not agree on the place to found it. Because of this Romulus killed his brother and founded Rome in 753 BC. The monarchy of Romulus finished in 509 BC and the new Roman republic was founded extending its territories including Sicily, Macedonia, Asia Minor, North Africa and Spain in less than 40 years controlling the Lower Mediterranean. Since the 2th century BC the Roman society underwent several changes, but the peasants rebelled producing the fall of the Republic. Crassus, Pompey and Caesar formed the first triumvir and when Crassus died, Pompey proclaimed himself king, Caesar, furious, returned to Rome and proclaimed himself dictator dying in 44 BC.
His nephew Octavius prevailed in alliance with Mark Antony and Lepidus, and they divided the Roman world among themselves. Mark Antony in love with Cleopatra, gave her his possessions and seeing the threat the west Roman territory fought against Mark Antony. Octavius replaced Lepidus in 38 BC, unified and pacified the empire being named "Augustus." At this time the classical Latin literature was developed with Virgilio, Tibulo, Ovid, Tito-Livio, defining the Roman art. The urban concentration led to the construction of amphitheaters, thermal baths, aqueducts, gardens and fountains. Each emperor left his mark, Nero built the Domus Aurea, Vespasian the Colosseum, Trajan build his column, Hadrian the Castel Sant'Angelo.
With the Catholic dogma we can understand the arrival of Christians to Rome, where St.Peter was to become the first bishop. Nero, the great-grandson of Augustus, bloodthirsty and extravagant despot, persecuted and executed Christians like St. Peter. The golden years of the Roman Empire began. Rome grew urban and intellectually. The problems came with Marcus Aurelius, for barbarian invasions, problems of succession, civil war and persecution against Christians. Rome was plundered and attacked by epidemics, a situation that continued throughout most of the Middle Ages. Constantine I, the first Christian emperor, favored religion. Rome saw the emergence of the first basilicas: Santa Croce, Santa Maria Maggiore, Saint Peter and Saint Sebastian. The first basilica, next to the Lateran palace, was seat of the papacy until Nicholas V demolished it to construct the present one.
Christianity expanded in the Greco-Roman world and became the official religion and Rome was subjected to the power of the church. After years of invasions with the Pope Stephen II started the Holy Roman Empire, which linked the church to the political power. The time came for the power of the Church, obscurantism, the Inquisition and the Crusades until 1427 that Rome became the center of Christianity. At the same time, Rome was experiencing a moment of flourishing of the forms of expression, the "Renaissance," and even when the doctrine of the Theocracy fell to the ground, the Church retained its power. In 1447, with Pope Nicholas V, Rome recovered its splendor and many palaces and monuments were built with the help of artists like Raphael, Bernini, Borromini and the pontificate transformed Rome with squares, churches and fountains.
After the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Rome, the millennial papal authority was ridiculed, giving birth to a nationalist sentiment in the Romans. That sentiment intensified when Italy passed into the hands of Austria in 1814. The protagonists of the struggle for the unification of Italy were Cavour and Garibaldi who recovered lands of the Austrians yielding others to France. In 1861 Italy managed to unify, but Rome remained under French rule and the popes. Rome joined Italy in 1870 when the French empire fell. The city expanded beyond its walls. In 1929, Benito Mussolini, with the agreement of Lateran, recognized a free Church in a free state, granting him an annual sum of money, the Vatican, the Lateran Palace and the city of Castel Gandolfo.
WHAT IS ROME NOWADAYS?
Nowadays Rome is the capital of Italy. Also known as the Eternal City ("Città Eterna") houses an invaluable concentration of historical, artistic and architectural assets. Its historical center is delimited by the Aurelian walls telling us the history of a city through a superposition of traces within three millennia.
After the declaration of Rome as the Italian capital, this city went through a period of great expansion. Many buildings were built and since the beginning of the 20th century the entire area inside the old walls was completely urbanized. The construction began on the exterior of the wall. An intensive modernization work was carried out along the Tiber River and dykes were built to prevent flooding.
CURIOSITIES OF ROME
Did you know that the city of Rome has more than 16 million visitors a year? Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is one of the most visited for its monuments and museums. Its historical center is undoubtedly the greatest expression of the historical, artistic and cultural heritage of the Western European world.
Did you know that Hadrian’s or Adriano's Mausoleum is now known as Castel Sant'Angelo? Augustus built his Mausoleum at Campus Martius and almost a century and a half later Emperor Hadrian following in his steps, ordered the construction of a new monumental tomb for himself and his successors.
ATTRACTIONS IN ROME
There are many reasons to visit the eternal city, not only because of the great heritage that the Roman Empire left us, but also because in its interior is the smallest state in the world, Vatican City, with an innumerable cultural and artistic heritage. Here are some of the many attractions of this wonderful city (see the map of Rome):
Trevi Fountain: with its 20 meters wide by 26 meters high is the largest and most beautiful fountain in the city of Rome and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the world. Remember that the legend says that if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain you will return to Rome!
Colosseum: the largest symbol of the eternal city dates back approximately 2,000 years and is the largest and oldest Roman amphitheater, in addition to being one of the best preserved amphitheaters.
Roman Forum: is located next to the Colosseum and was the center of the public and religious life of ancient Rome.
Palatine: it is believed that the Palatine Hill was the cradle of Roman culture and is located 40 meters above the Roman Forum.
Pantheon: this imposing building was built in AD 126 and is the best preserved building of ancient Rome.
The Vatican or Vatican City: this state is in the heart of Rome and is the smallest and least populated state in Europe with its 0.44 Km2 and less than 1,000 inhabitants. In its interior is: St. Peter's Basilica which houses the Holy See inside, St. Peter's Square, built by Bernini, is located at the foot of the Basilica of St. Peter and the Vatican Museums with its wonderful Sistine Chapel among other attractions.
Borghese Gallery: has become one of the most important art museums in the world as it houses works by Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, Botticelli, Bernini and Canovas.