Rome is one of the beauties of Europe. With beautiful buildings and astonishing architecture spread all across the city, this capital city of Italy is one of the must visit cities in Europe. Also dubbed as the “Eternal City” and center of the world by Roman poets and writers, Rome is as intriguing as a history tourism destination as well as a cultural one.
Right now, there are approximately 2.8 million Roman citizens. The number makes Rome as the most populated city in the European Union. There is one famous river in Rome, the Tiber River, which also becomes iconic with the center of Roman Catholic faith, Vatican City, which is located inside Rome.
The origin of Rome’s name is another interesting story to read and actually one of the most famous legends coming from western civilization. It is told that there were twins named Romulus and Remus who planned to build a city. Unfortunately, these twins were caught in a big fight of each other and Remus was killed in the process. Romulus was devastated and dedicated the city he finally be able to finish to his twin brother. The city Romulus built was Rome, named after its founder, Romulus. It is told too that the twins were raised by a she-wolf which explains why wolf is chosen as the symbol of the city of Rome.
Nevertheless, there are several other versions regarding the origin of Rome. One says that it is originated from the Greek word “rhome” which means “strength” while the other says that it is originated from the word “Rumon” of “Rumen” which are the archaic name of Tiber River.
History of Rome City
Rome is an old city with a history spans for two thousand and seven hundred years. It has witnessed the changing of politics and era as the capital city of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, and now Italy. With that long-spanned history, Rome plays a key role in western civilization and also often regarded as one of the birthplaces of it.
In the first century, Rome hosted the Papacy seat and then in the eight century, after the Byzantine era, became the capital of the Papal States for approximately one millennium until 1870. The next year, the Kingdom of Italy took form and Rome was elected as its capital city. Rome’s role as Italy’s capital city stayed when the kingdom finally turned into a republic in 1946 as it is today.
The most dominant period in Rome history is the Italian Renaissance period in the 15th century. It was in this era most of Rome’s works of art were created. At that time, the Papacy initiated many projects of church buildings and art creations. New Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, Piazza Navona, and Ponte Sisto are some of the constructions built in this era. The best Italian artists such as Raphael, Michaelangelo, Botticelli, Perugino, Luca Signorelli, and Rosselli also lived during that period. It was in this era the famous depiction of Mary holding the body of Jesus in Michaelangelo’s Pieta was created.
The projects unfortunately were two-sided. On one side it was such a blessing for the flourish of Renaissance art but on the other side it was a dark time for the Roman Catholic Church as many corruptions from nepotism, adultery, and huge expenses for the projects took place.
As it has been stated earlier, Rome is home to many architecture wonders from ancient to modern period. One that has a global fame is the Colosseum which was built in 70-80 AD. Its amphitheater was once the largest in the Roman Empire and could hold up to 60,000 spectators.
Other popular constructions from ancient Rome are including the Pantheon, the Circus Maximus, the Catacombs, the Pyramid of Cestius, and the Arch of Constantine.
Although not many, Rome also the home of medieval mosaics and fresco arts such as the one in Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Maria in Trastevere churches. Other works can also be found in lay buildings such as Torre dei Conti and Torre delle Milizie.
Renaissance and Baroque
The city of Rome is the second largest center of Italian Renaissance after Florence. There are plenty of buildings and constructions in the city that demonstrate the glory of Renaissance art. Buildings such as the Palazzo del Quirinale which is the President’s place now, the Palazzo Chigi which is home to the Prime Minister, and the Palazzo Venezia are among them.
The Baroque art is represented by the beauty of Trevi Fountain, a work of architecture by Nicola Salvi. Palazzo Madama and Palazzo Montecitorio are two Baroque buildings that now are used as the house to Italian Senate and the Chamber of Deputies of Italy respectively.
Christians from Middle Ages had made Rome as their pilgrimage destinations back the 15th century to visit the Vatican City. The tradition still holds true until today when thousands of Catholics flock to the city of Rome to visit the last resting place of Saint Peter and the seat of Papacy. While they are in Rome, these pilgrims also usually visit some catacombs and churches in Rome where saints are venerated. The main attraction is, of course, the Saint Peter’s basilica which is located in Vatican City.
By Air The next question in your mind is “How to get there?” Rome has two international airports, Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport and Ciampino International Airport. The first one is Rome’s main airport which is large and modern. This airport is also well-connected to the city by trains and buses. The later is the low-cost airline airport which is although located nearer to the city center, it does not have a train station that connects it to the city.
By Sea All cruise ships will dock in Civitavecchia which is connected to the city by trains and buses.
By Train Main stations in Rome are Termini, Tiburtina, Ostiense, Trastevere, and Tuscolana. Long distance train usually stops at Termini station. However, since the station is closed during 00.30 to 04.30, all the train passing during that time will stop at Triburtina instead.