Rome is one of the most famous cities in Europe, known for its iconic landmarks, mouth-watering food, and rich history. And, here are some useful facts about Rome for those planning a trip for the first time.
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Historical Facts on Rome
Rome is Known as the Eternal City
The nickname is pretty much self-explanatory. In other words, Rome has such a long and influential history that it feels eternal.
There is no denying it, Rome has been a powerful city for over 2,500 years, having a having impact on both the historic and modern worlds.
Walking around the city feels like being in a big open-air museum. It’s quite a remarkable experience.
1. Rome is OLD. Like really old.
Rome was founded in 753 BC, which not only makes it one of the oldest cities in Europe, but also one of the most influential.
As far as Rome’s role in Europe, the city is known for its legacy. Since the beginning of the Roman Empire, Rome has played a huge role in the development of the Western World. This, evidentially led to the phrase ‘all roads lead to Rome’ being used to describe historical past events.
2. Rome was not always part of Italy
I’m not going to lie, Italy’s history is quite confusing, and without going into too much detail. Rome was not always part of Italy. That was until 1861 when the country was unified.
Basically, before then Italy was divided into smaller states, some of which were directly controlled by the Pope. Including the ‘Papal States’, of which Rome was the capital.
3. Rome is Home to the World’s Smallest Country
Tucked away in the middle of Rome is the world’s smallest city, Vatican City.
Home to some of the most iconic landmarks such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel.
You may even be surprised to know that Vatican City has its own post office, railway station, and broadcasting service (Vatican Radio). Yet, there are less than 800 people living there.
4. One of the best-preserved monuments in the world stands tall in Rome
Would you believe that a building built around 125 A.D still stands tall today? Well, it’s true, the Pantheon one of Rome’s most iconic buildings is really that old.
Originally, the Pantheon was built to represent the pagan gods but was later converted into a Catholic church.
Today, it is still in use as a place of worship and is considered one of the best-preserved monuments in the world.
Not to mention the fact that its dome was the largest of its kind for over 1,300 years.
5. Rome was one of the first places to use concrete
Walking around Rome you may notice one thing. A lot of the city’s landmarks are made out of concrete. And that is all for a good reason.
You see Rome was actually one of the first places to use concrete for architectural purposes.
The Roman architectural revolution really shaped the city and world we know today with the introduction of building techniques such as the arch, the dome, and the vault.
6. Most of Ancient Rome is Still Underground
So, Rome is known for its ancient ruins. So much so, that the city sees over 5.8 million people each year.
But, what I found rather interesting is that over 90% of the ruins still remain undiscovered.
As modern-day Rome was created, it was common for them to build over what was once there.
It is therefore believed that gems such as old temples, marketplaces, and even entire neighborhoods are still underground just waiting to be discovered.
Cultural & Social Rome Facts
7. Rome is often referred to as ‘Caput Mundi’
‘Caput Mundi’ is a Latin term that translates to ‘Head of the World’ or the ‘Worlds Capital’.
Not only is Rome a city of past and present, but it also has a massive impact on the rest of the world.
From Italian Cuisines, it’s art and culture and historic events such as the Renaissance and the Roman Empire.
8. Rome has quite a big population
Rome has quite a large population with over 4 million people living in the city.
Of that population, it is quite multicultured with a mix of Italians, immigrants, and expats from around the world.
The city is quite welcoming to tourists too with over 9 million visitors arriving each year. So, when you are navigating the streets of Rome remember you are one person of many.
9. There are over 300,000 cats in Rome
Not only does Rome have a big population of people it also has MANY many cats. Yes, that’s right cats. Over 300,000 to be more precise.
And while many of these cats are stray or feral, they tend to be quite well looked after by local people.
In fact, Rome has a cat law, which allows cats to roam and live wherever they choose. They can not be removed from their ‘home’ unless it is for the animal’s own good.
10. It’s basically a crime to order a cappuccino after 11 am in Rome
Ok, I may be being a little dramatic here. It’s not illegal, but very much frowned upon for anyone to order a cappuccino after 11 am in Rome.
It is considered a breakfast beverage. And a breakfast beverage only.
So what I am trying to say is, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, and save the cappuccino for your morning outings. Unless of course, you are so jetlagged you just can’t help yourself.
The Landmarks Facts of Rome
11. Rome is Home to the World’s Largest Church
St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City is the largest church in the world. It can hold over 60,000 people and is over 87 meters long and 55 meters wide.
It can be seen from multiple different parts of the city and is a popular spot for people to visit to catch a glimpse of it up close and personal.
Every day, people climb the 364 steps to the top of the dome, in order to take in an incredible view of Rome and beyond.
And in my opinion, this particular view alone makes Rome worth a visit.
12. Rome has over 900 churches
Rome is known for its religious significance but did you know the city has over 900 churches?
Many of these churches host priceless works of art, including frescoes, mosaics, sculptures, and paintings by renowned artists.
Some of the most famous churches in Rome include St. Peter’s Basilica, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, and the Pantheon.
13. You Can Explore Underneath the Trevi Fountain
If you are looking for something unique to do in Rome then consider visiting Vicus Caprarius or the “City of Water” in English.
This is an archaeological site underneath the famous Trevi Fountain, an area of 400 square meters which reveals traces of Roman constructions from the imperial age.
Archaeologists have found numerous artifacts at Vicus Caprarius, including pieces of pottery, glassware, and amphorae, which offer insights into everyday Roman life.
14. Rome is home to the first-ever shopping mall
It is possible to visit the Trajan’s Market which is said to be the world’s first shopping mall, built between 100-110 AD.
Back then, the market would have over 150 shops selling a range of products from food, spices, and clothing.
Today, it is a structure that is very much a ruin, but one that is visited by thousands of tourists each year.
15. Rome has a Pyramid
Rome is a city on many people’s Europe Itinerary, and all for a good reason. The city is full of surprises including the next fact.
Not many people are aware but Rome has a pyramid. The tomb was built for Gaius Cestius, a member of the Epulones religious corporation around 18–12 BC.
Today, the Pyramid of Cestius is a historical and architectural treasure that continues to draw visitors. It offers a stark contrast to the traditional Roman architecture found throughout the city.
Fun Facts About Rome
16. You can drink Rome’s Fountain Water
There are over 2000 fountains in Rome, which is impressive in its own right.
But one thing you may not be aware, it is actually possible to drink the water from these fountains.
Keeping your trip to Rome that extra bit Budget-friendly and refreshing.
17. Rome is home to one of the smallest inhabited islands in the world
Rome’s Tiber Island is among the smallest inhabited islands in the world. Despite its size, it has a rich history and is still used today.
This pint-sized island is home to a hospital and even a couple of restaurants and bars, making it a unique must-visit spot in Rome.
It is connected to Rome’s mainland by two bridges and is quite a tranquil place to visit when exploring the city.
18. Rome has a museum dedicated to pasta
So, the Italians are known for making some incredible food staples and pasta is one of them. But did you know that in Rome there is a whole museum dedicated to just that?
If you’re a food lover visiting Rome for the first time I recommend visiting it to learn more about its history, production, nutritional values, and consumption.