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Facts About Rome


The capital city of Italy is Rome - Roma, situated in the region of Lazio.  Its nickname is la Città Eterna, meaning 'the eternal city.'  Rome is considered 'eternal' because it is so ancient and seems to live forever. 

Saint Lawrence - San Lorenzo is the patron saint of Rome.  

There is a saying: Tutte le strade portano a Roma,  meaning 'All roads lead to Rome.'   This is because the main roads of the ancient Roman Empire all led to Rome.  A famous and very long Roman road that runs between Rome and Brindisi (south east Italy) is called la Via Appia Antica.   In English, it is known as the Appian Way(Images below)


The emblem of Rome (la stemma di Roma) is a red shield with a golden crown on top.  On the shield there is a golden cross and the letters SPQR which stand for the Latin words: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus.  In Italian these words mean: il Senato e il Popolo Romano (Senate and People of Rome).

Emblem of Rome Stemma di Roma

The story of Rome begins with the birth of twin brothers called Romulus and Remus (born in 771 B.C.)  In Italian they are known as Romolo e Remo.

Their great-uncle, King Amulius, feared that the baby boys would grow up and seize power.  In order to avoid any future threat, he ordered that they should be killed.  The babies were taken from their mother and abandoned in a basket on the banks of the River Tiber - il Tevere.  

However, the baby boys were very lucky and survived because a she-wolf found them and looked after them as if she was their real mother.  She took the twins to a cave called la Grotta del Lupercale and fed them with her milk.  Eventually, a shepherd and his wife found the baby boys and raised them in their home.


When they grew up, the twins wanted to build their own city.  They argued over where it should be situated and Romulus killed his brother during their quarrel. 

The surviving and victorious brother, Romulus, established his new city on the Palatine Hill.   He named the city after himself and became the first King of Rome in 753 B.C.

The famous statue (above) of the baby boys drinking the wolf's milk can be seen in the museum of Rome called Musei Capitolini.    In Italy this statue is known as La Lupa Capitolina.  The statue is a symbol of Rome and of the city's foundation.

The first hill in the city's foundation was the Palatine Hill - il Palatino.   As the city expanded, a further six hills became part of Rome.   In total, the city was built on seven hills known as i sette colli di Roma. 
They are: 
Palatine Hill - il Palatino.
Aventine Hill - l'Aventino.
Capitoline Hill - il Monte Capitolino
Esquiline Hill - l'Esquilino
Caelian Hill - il Celio
Quirinal Hill - il Quirinale
Viminal Hill - il Viminale

The foundation of Rome is celebrated in the city each year on 21 April.  This has been calculated to be the exact day in the year 753 B.C. on which Romulus founded it.  The annual celebration is known as il Natale di Roma.  On this occasion, there are lots of activities throughout the day in Rome, such as processions with participants dressed as soldiers and citizens of Ancient Rome. 

The Vatican City - La Città del Vaticano, is situated within Rome.   It is an independent city-state but a city within a city!   It is an area covering just 108.7 acres, surrounded by a wall.  Its ruler is the Bishop of Rome, also known as the Pope - il Papa.  This little city is the home and base of the Roman Catholic Church.

Image by Kévin Langlais
Image by Ashwin Vaswani

The current pope is Pope Francis.  In Italian he is called Papa Francesco.  He is the head of the Catholic Church.  

The Vatican City is guarded by the smallest and oldest army in the world, the Swiss Guard.  In Italian, they are called la Guardia Svizzera. 

Below is the flag of the Vatican City, a photo of the Swiss Guard and the Vatican coat of arms.


The colours of the uniform are blue, red, orange and yellow.

The guards must be aged between 19 and 30 years, unmarried and be Swiss Catholics.

They must have trained with the Swiss Army.

They act as bodyguards to the Pope.

Rome is famous for its ancient buildings and churches.  There are more than 900 churches in Rome.

Some of the most famous buildings are:  il Colosseo (the Colosseum), il Castel Sant'Angelo, il Pantheon, l'Altare della Patria, la Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, La Sapienza (University of Rome), l'Arco di Costantino, la Basilica di San Pietro (in Vatican City), la Cappella Sistina (in Vatican City), il Palazzo Doria Pamphiljla Fontana di Trevi, .............. 

Below you can see images of the interior and exterior of il Colosseo.  An interesting fact:  il Colosseo was inaugurated in 79AD.  This is the same year that the volcano Vesuvio erupted and destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Image by Henry Paul
Image by Mathew Schwartz
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