Chapter One: Rome Overview

Before you set foot on the Eternal City, it is essential to know specific details of what you’re about to deal with. Ancient Rome is founded upon seven hills and it is divided into districts that have survived to this day. The present day city has the remnants of its glorious past that set a blazing trail for its future. You might want to consider discovering facts about this awesome place (although I’m pretty sure you have already learned so much about it in school) so that you know what to expect before you go about in your itinerary and to avoid getting into trouble.

In this chapter, you will be provided with an overview of Rome – its city, language, culture, people, and of course history!

If you have enough knowledge about these things, you will not just enjoy and appreciate the richness of the city but also get to be prepared for a phenomenal trip down memory lane!

Rome in Focus

            The city of Rome is situated on the river of Tiber in between the Apennine Mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was once the center of the Roman Empire that ruled over a vast territory from the north of Great Britain to Mesopotamia. The city continues to be the center for administrative affairs in the country. It is now home to the Prime Minister of the Italian Government along with other ministerial offices including the Papacy.

            There are about 2 million Italians residing in its metropolitan area, and it is also home to about 4 million people today.

            Once you get to the city centre, you will immediately be awe-inspired because literally every corner in the city is filled with history, art and culture. The modern day Romans or Italians have very well preserved all of ancient Rome’s most important contributions; you can see it from their grandiose architecture down to their classic Italian cuisine.

            The city boasts its majestic basilicas, grand palaces, ancient style houses and cramp streets that echo the medieval era. It’s safe to say that the city is literally still stuck in the past not because of its ancient – looking monuments or landmarks but mainly because of its own people. The Romans still carried to this day their ancestor’s way of life through preserving various religious and cultural traditions.

            The occupied territories of the ancient Roman Empire are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you tour around Rome, it will seem like you are walking in a
life-size museum. Europe’s finest scenery and its most dramatic moments in history are all preserved in this beautiful city.

            From its ancient walls, Rome is slowly transforming itself to catch up with the advances of modern day technology. And although the city is not the go – to place for tech – savvy millennials it is still a hotspot for tourists around the world. People just can’t resist the authentic Roman gastronomy, the amazing scenery, the historical landmarks, and the grand architectures that once built and protected the city. Rome may not play a huge part in the techy wave of the future, but it’s glorious past will forever stand the test of time.

            Let us not forget that whatever technology we have today whether it is use in the battlefield, in transportation, in government, in gastronomy, in household, in the whole economy, even in the way we count, the way we number our days, the way we connect to the divine, and the way nations built an entire society is all because of the contributions of ancient Rome. Pretty much every little innovation that made our lives easier today can all be traced back to the city.

            Perhaps this is the reason why people in the recent past, present and even the next generations regarded and will declare Rome as THE Eternal City. It’s because without this once triumphant empire, the human race will never be where it is today if it wasn’t for them. Rome literally built its city on rock and roll!

A Brief History of Rome

            Before Rome was known as the Eternal City and before it became the hub of tourists all over the world it had gone through different phases and major changes; let’s take a look at its colorful past so we can appreciate the city’s present and look forward to its future.

  • 753 BCThe Foundation of Rome 

    Romulus, one of the first seven Roman Kings, founded the city of Rome. Rome’s original ancient name was Roma.
  • 509 BC: Rome was established as a Republic

The Roman senators began ruling the city after they have expelled their last king. A constitution was set and the city became a republican government.

  • 218 BC: Italian Invasion

Hannibal and his Carthage army attached and invaded Italy in the Second Punic War.

  • 45 BC: The Rise of Julius Caesar and the invention of the Gregorian calendar

The Roman Republic ended after Julius Caesar conquered Pompeii in a civil war. Caesar became Rome’s first ever dictator and supreme ruler. The new ruler hired an Egyptian astronomer to create a 12 month calendar that we now have today.

  • 44 BC: The Fall of Julius Caesar

Marcus Brutus is assassinates Julius Caesar on the Ides of March with the hopes of bringing back the Roman Republic, unfortunately a civil war broke out instead.

  • 27 BC: The Establishment of the Roman Empire

Octavius also known as Augustus appointed himself as Rome’s first emperor.

  • 64 A.D.: The attack of Nero

Nero burned the city and blamed the Christian for it. Nero eventually became Rome’s notorious emperor.

  • 80 A.D.: The Colosseum

The famous Colosseum was erected in 80 A.D. it was one of the first ever arena built in history. This is where gladiators fight to the death and was seen by thousands of Romans during that time.

  • 122 AD: The Hadrian Wall is erected

The Hadrian Wall is one of the longest walls built during the time of the Romans that run across Northern Britain in order to keep the barbarians out

  • 306 A.D.: The Rise of Emperor Constantine

Rome was a city known for persecuting Christians, but during Constantine’s reign as emperor, the city transformed itself into a Christian empire.

  • 380 A.D.: The Beginning of Christianity

In 380 A.D. Theodosius I proclaimed Christianity as the sole religion of the Roman Empire.

  • 395 A.D.: The Division of Rome

The Roman Empire was split into two – the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Roman Empire. It was divided by Theodosius.

  • 410 A.D.: Visigoths Attack Rome

For the first time in 800 years, Rome had fallen to the enemy. The empire was attacked and conquered by Visigoths.

  • 476 A.D.: The Fall of the Roman Empire

The last Roman Emperor Romulus Augustus was finally defeated by German Goth Odoacer; this marks the start of the Dark Ages in all of Europe.

  • 1305 – 1420: Age of the Renaissance

During this time the papacy was transferred to Avignon, and only regained control around 1420. After Rome had declined, there was a rebuilding program at the forefront of the Renaissance. Pope Clement VII backed the French against Roman Emperor Charles V, Rome had fallen again which brought about it’s yet another rebuilding.

  • 1453: The End of the Byzantine Empire

The Ottoman Empire took over and the Byzantine era ends. The Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople. This part of the city was renamed Istanbul in 1930 which is now the capital of Turkey.

  • 1808: Rome under Napoleon

French General Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the city and imprisoned the Pope.

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