Rome, Italy is a beautiful city that has played a prominent role in the history of Western civilization. With its many well-known landmarks it is a favorite destination in Italy of travelers from around the world.
The early history of the Rome is uncertain, but Roman legend and tradition cite the founding of the city in 753 BC by Romulus, the mythical figure that legend says was the son of the god Mars. Archaeological evidence shows that the original inhabitants of the area lived in farming communities on and around the Palatine Hill, the site where the Roman Forum was later built.
Early Rome was ruled by a monarchy that was overthrown in 508 BC and replaced with a republican government, and later by the Roman Republic. In 27 BC, Rome transitioned into the imperial period and a Principate type of government, founded by Octavian, grandnephew of Augustus Caesar. The Republic used a constitutional form of government but heavily favored those from influential families over the average citizen.
During the reign of Constantine I, Rome became the seat of the Papacy and the Catholic Church, gaining the city a place of importance, both politically and religiously. The Holy See, or more commonly called the Vatican, is located within Vatican City which was established in 1929, a walled area within Rome that is a sovereign city.
Rome was also home to Michelangelo, the revered artist, architect and engineer of the Renaissance period, best known for his magnificent paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
When visiting Rome, it is hard to know where to begin as there are so many things to see. One might begin their day with a visit to the Pantheon, which was the temple of the pagan gods worshiped by the ancient Romans. It is a magnificent structure and actually the second Pantheon, as the first burned down in 80 AD. The current Pantheon was built by Emperor Hadrian in 125 AD.
The Pantheon is a magnificent site, with its grand columns that grace the entrance and the massive dome that tops the structure. Inside the Pantheon, visitors are greeted by beautiful frescoes, sculptures and icons that adorn the walls and lighting inside the structure is provided by the oculus, an opening in the dome that provides natural light.
Another architectural wonder is the Roman Coliseum. Completed in 80 AD, it was originally called the Flavian Amphitheatre and had seating for up to seventy thousand. The remaining structure seen today is still an imposing presence, but is just a shell of the original grandeur.
Scattered throughout the 'Eternal City,' as Rome is called, are a number of beautiful fountains and squares.
Trevi Fountain combines classic Baroque art with water and fantasy in this beautiful creation in the city center.
The Piazza del Popolo is an impressive square that is adorned with monuments depicting historic events and fountains, with churches set around the perimeter of the ellipse.
There are many historical sites in Rome, Italy that offer a glimpse of the ancient world to visitors in the modern day.
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