Rome is the capital city of Italy, and is one of the oldest city in Europe, located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber river. Rome is famous for its long glorious history, its history as a city spans over two and a half thousand years, as one of the founding cities of Western Civilization. As one of the few major European cities that escaped World War II relatively unscathed, central Rome remains essentially Renaissance and Baroque in character, its historic centre was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1983.
A beautiful Legend
Rome city is called “Eternal City”, and also called “Seven Hill City”, because the entire city was built on seven hills. There is a beautiful legend about Rome’s foundation. According to the legend, Rhea Silvia, the princess of Alba Longa, was in love with the god of war Mars, then twin boys were born, they are
brothers, as said, of remarkable size and beauty, later named Romulus and Remus. Later, Rhea Silvia’s uncle Amulius dethroned her father, Numitor, as the rightful king. Out of fear that Rhea Silvia’s children who one day would overthrow him as king, he killed Rhea Silvia, and placed the twins in a basket and cast the basket into the Tiber river. They were not drowned by the river, but rescued by a she-wolf who fed them at the breast until a herdsman, Faustulus, found and raised them. When they grew up, they killed Amulius, revenged their dead mother.
Not long after that, they came back to the place by Tiber river where the she-wolf fed them and founded a city, it is Rome city today. The twins did not forget the favor of she-wolf, and the emblem of the city is a She-wolf suckles two boys.
A door to Roman Empire
The first impression, to many people, may be CAESAR and his empire, or glorious architectures like Colosseum, or may be Audrey Hepburn’s sweet smile and beautiful Trevi Fountain… Rome is full of Historic buildings and exotic smell.
Yes, Rome is a door to a long history, especially political history. You can feel traces of the Roman Empire throughout the Rome city. There are no high-rise buildings here, no modern offices with glass walls, but you can see many columns, large or small, long or short, and many arches, almost all with Baroque art. Though many of them are not complete, they tell us the old moving stories and changes that have taken place.
Along the Plaza Venice, there are magnificent ancient council door and temples with many sculptures and reliefs on them. There are all kinds of traces of politics, religion and social lift, and too many stories. Even if you do not know Italian, you can also feel the old culture among the history traces.
The most famous monument in Rome is known as the “Colosseum” or “Coliseum”, it is the biggest and most imposing ancient structure in the Roman world. In the ancient world, the white elliptical-shaped Colosseum, taking ten years to build, was the largest structure of its type. It stood 160 feet high with four stories of windows, arches, and columns. Each of the first three exterior floors consisted of 80 arches. As many as 50,000 spectators with numbered tickets entered through 76 of the entrances on the ground level. Two of the remaining entrances were used by Emperor Titus and two for the gladiators. Its monumental size and grandeur as well as its practical and efficient organization for producing spectacles and controlling the large crowds make it one of the great architectural monuments achieved by the ancient Romans.
The highly ostentatious opening ceremony lasted one hundred days during which people saw great fights, shows and hunts, and hundreds of animals and 2,000 gladiators were killed. Eventually, gladiator fights were outlawed by Emperor Honorius in A.D. 404. however, animal combats continued for another century.
What we see nowadays is just the skeleton of what was the greatest arena in the ancient world. Three-fifths of the outer surrounding brick wall are missing. Even that, in a world of skyscrapers, the Colosseum is hugely impressive. It stands as a glorious but troubling monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty. Inside it, behind those serried ranks of arches and columns, Romans for centuries cold-bloodedly killed literally thousands of people whom they saw as criminals, as well as professional fighters and animals.
Romantic Trevi Fountain
You will not find any other place in the world that celebrates the ever-mutating and incredible power of water like Rome. The Trevi Fountain may be the most romantic place in Rome. It is at the ending part of the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct constructed in 19 BC. It brings water all the way from the Salone Springs and supplies the fountains in the historic center of Rome with water. The central figure of the fountain, in front of a large niche, is Neptune, god of the sea. He is riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by two sea horses. Each sea horse is guided by a Triton. One of the horses is calm and obedient, the other one restive. They symbolize the fluctuating moods of the sea. On the left hand side of Neptune is a statue representing Abundance, the statue on the right represents Salubrity. Above the sculptures are bas-reliefs, one of them shows Agrippa, the girl after whom the aqueduct was named.
The Trevi Fountain is a fantastic work of art that is much more than a mere sculpture. This triumphant example of Baroque art with its soft, natural lines and fantasy creatures embodies movement as the soul of the world. The light and shade effects on the marble make the wind seem to bellow through the drapes and locks of the statues, agitating the waves, creating an extraordinarily intense and spectacular scene.
There is curious tradition regarding the Trevi Fountain. The water at the bottom of the fountain represents the sea. Legend has it you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water. You should toss it over your shoulder with your back to the fountain.
In the film “Roman Holiday”, Castel Sant’Angelo is Audrey Hepburn’s last step. It is a towering cylindrical building in Rome, initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum.
The building consisted of a square 89m (292ft) wide base on which a cylindrical colonnaded drum with a diameter of 64m was constructed. On the drum was an earthen tumulus topped by a quadriga with Hadrian’s statue. The mausoleum was connected to the city at the other side of the river by a newly constructed bridge, the Pons Aelius. The bridge is now known as the Pont Sant’Angelo. Its many statues were added later during the Renaissance. The mausoleum housed the remains of Hadrian and his successors up to Caracalla.
A very dear landmark of the town is the statue of Archangel St. Michael, high up on the enormous terrace, from which the castle takes its name. It was created in memory of an ancient legend that speaks of the terrible plague that struck Rome in 590 AD, which ended thanks to the apparition of an angel that appeared above the castle and conceded grace to the town when he sheathed his sword.
Rome, an eternal city with glories. It may no longer be the capital of world, but Rome is an epic. One visit, you will be shocked.