My writing includes my personal travel experiences, destination, history, and cultural information.
Rome, the Eternal City, is, without a doubt, a fabulous city! I have been there several times and it seems to be like a fine wine; better with age!
My first real visit to Rome was in 2010, my most recent, a very short time ago. There's a tradition at the Trevi Fountain; if you throw a coin in the fountain over your left shoulder and it goes in the water, you will be back. On my last visit, once again, the coin landed in the water, so according to tradition, I'm destined to visit again!
Rome and Its Amazing History
One could write a book on the history of Rome. It's lengthy and detailed, so for the purposes of this article, I will be brief and give you the Evelyn Woods version. After all, this is an article about my experiences in Rome, not a history lesson! Right?
The Founding of Rome
Legend has it that about 753 BC when Romulus killed his brother Remus, and the land had already been settled, he named the city after himself. There are many other myths about the founding of this beloved city, but this seems to be the most popularly accepted version.
Archeologists have traced evidence of human occupation to today's location in Rome back some 14,000 years! This evidence is based on the carbon testing of stone tools, pottery, and stone weapons.
The agricultural trade with the ancient Greeks boosted the population of the area in the 8th century BC and this is officially known as "the birth of the city", giving way to the Romulus and Remes legend.
Monarchy, Republic, Empire
Rome, it seems, was destined to be the Eternal City from its inception. Invasions and new forms of government saw Rome changing, in the scope of history, very rapidly. I'm sure you have heard the expression, "Nero fiddled while Rome was burning". In the Great Fire of Rome, 2/3 of the city burned to the ground. It is thought that this occurred around 64AD. Again, legend has it that Nero lit the fire in order to have the city rebuilt more to his personal liking, specifically, a new place. History tells us that the fire started in the shops that were located close to Circus Maximus. Apparently, the fire burned on and off for 9 days!
More Modern History
Emperors came, conquered, were defeated, and replaced until about 1418. It is at this time, that the Great Schism was repaired, a pope was elected and Renaissance began. During this period, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica were built. Great works of art appeared by Michaelangelo, Raphael, and many others.
Despite, alleged massive papal corruption, peace was finally achieved. The economy thrived and Rome entered the "modern" era.
Even More Modern History
As is typical, peace didn't last forever and things, once again, changed for Rome. Shortly after WWI ended, Italian Fascism, led by Benito Mussolini did away with democracy. By 1926, he declared a new Italian Empire, and by 1936, aligned himself with Nazi Germany. It was during this time that large parts of Rome were destroyed to build wide roads and new buildings to celebrate Fascism. In 1929, Vatican City was established as a sovereign territory.
WWII came and went, Mussolini was arrested, the Pope declared the city an "open city" and peace, once again, was restored after the Liberation Day of June 4, 1944.
In a nutshell, with volumes of details, omitted, that is how Rome came to be one of the largest, most cosmopolitan cities in the world, attracting more than 10 million visitors a year (pre-covid). Aside from being the third most visited European city, it is the subject and/or backdrop of many award-winning classic movies such as Ben Hur, Roman Holiday (one of my all-time favorite movies!), and La Dolce Vita.
We have established that Rome wasn't built in a day. And no, you can't see it in a day either. I have had the opportunity to visit Rome seven times, staying no less than two days, with my longest visit being five days, and I haven't seen everything there is to see!
Over the next few articles, I will bring to you my adventures and impressions of Rome.
We will start with Popolo Square and move on to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colosseum, and Circus Maximus. We will also visit Vatican City, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica, as well as the Catacombs.
It's not a real visit to Rome without experiencing the food, the coffee, or the fashion. So, we'll talk about that as well. You also won't want to miss the cocktail and food recipes that will be included in this Roman series.
Until next time, friends, remember "To Travel is to Live!"
© 2022 Dee Nicolou Serkin