Rome is the capital city of Italy and one of the most visited destinations in Italy and 16th most visited country in the world. Having been around for centuries, almost everyone knows that all roads lead to Rome, but not all know all the interesting facts about Rome. And there is a lot, hiding or being in plain sight like 280 fountains in Rome or 900 churches.

Ancient Rome facts

Facts about Rome
Italy Rome – Interesting Facts about Rome

How Old Is Rome?

According to legend, Romulus and Remus (twin brothers) are founders of Rome. They set up Rome on the site on the site where they were suckled by a she-wolf, as orphaned babies, circa 753 BC. Studies show that the city was inhabited even before 753, however, the official date of creation of Rome is 21 April 753 BC, which makes Rome 2800 years old.

History of Romulus and Remus

According to the legend Romulus killed his twin brother Remus and become the first ruler (king) of Rome.

About 90 percent of ancient Roman has not to be unearthed 

Roman has plenty of archaeology sites and numerous excavations have been ongoing for centuries now. However, thanks to its 2,800 years of history, 90 percent of its ancient structures have not been excavated, and may never be excavated because most of these sites now are now build up and occupied by businesses and homes.

The original city is deep underground, as when the building got abandoned, destroyed the debris covered the site and later was built on. Ancient Rome was 30 feet below the current street level.

Rome the City on 7 hills 

The city of Rome was constructed on 7 hills namely Aventine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Caelian Hill, Palatine Hill, Esquiline Hill, Quirinal Hill, and Viminal Hill. 

italy flag

Do you want to learn more about Italy – Read Interesting facts about Italy

What is Rome’s nickname? 

Rome is called The Eternal City because the city continued to grow in terms of size, population, and influence, and so the Ancient Romans believed that theplace would live on forever. They might have been right. Other Rome name Roma Caput Mundi comes from Latin and means Rome Capital of the World.

Rome Motto is Roma invicta which means in Latin “Unconquered Rome”. The motto Roma Invicta was used
until the end Western Roman Empire in 476 AD.

Long-serving Pantheon 

The famous Pantheon has been in use for around 2,000 years from the time it as completed in circa 126 A.D to now. Church has the biggest in the world dome from not reinforced concrete. Pantheon was the first pagan temple which got transformed into the Christian church, which saved this amazing building from being destroyed during the dark ages.

The building doesn’t have windows, the light and rain get to it via a hole in the roof – oculus. Pantheon is the most visited ancient Rome landmarks as access to it is free.

Pantheon rome italy
Rome fact

All roads lead out of Rome not to Rome

Contrary to the common belief that all roads lead to Rome, from the Roman point of view, all roads lead out if the city and not to the city. The road systems were constructed to make it easier for Roman Soldiers to move out of the city, particularly from the Milliarium Aureum (Golden) in the Forum. Romans build road network over 53,000 miles long.

Ancient Rome was more densely populated than modern Rome

Prehistoric Rome was approximately 32 times more densely populated than modern Rome. This is because the entire population in the ancient town was contained within its walls. 

Rome was the first 1 million population city 

Rome became the first city to have 1 million inhabitants in the world, in 133 BC.  In comparison, London reached that landmark in 1810 while Paris 1850. 

Rome was not always the capital of Italy

Though the town has been around for thousands of years, even being the capital of the Rome Empire, it only in 1871 Rome became the capital of Italy. Before then, the capital was Turin and then Florence. 

Facts about Rome – Ancient Roman Hygiene

Apparently Roman use human and animal urine to brush their teeth. Uggrr Gross, actually it wasn’t so bad they just used extracted from urine ammonia which is great cleaning product. they used it as well to wash their togas.

After the Roman empire conquered east and north and saw light hair women and man they wanted to have same light hair to achieve this they dye their hair with beech wood ashes and goat fat. The most popular hair colour in ancient Rome was blond and red.

Ancient Romans were born as free people. To symbolize that they are a citizen of the Rome they were wearing linen togas. While ladies were a female version of Toga called Stola

Thermal baths popular among the ancient Romans , which supplied aqueducts with water. The oldest baths, dating back to the 2nd year BC, were discovered in Pompeii. 

Access to the thermal baths was free, and their main parts were: pools with cold water (frigidarium), pools with hot water (tepidarium), hot water pools (caldarium), steam rooms (laconicum), and massage rooms (oleoterion), whose bodies were anointed with oils, rooms for rest. The largest baths were established in 216 AD, the Baths of Caracalla , which could accommodate as many as 1,500 people! In Rome itself, there were 7 such complexes:
(Agrypa baths, Augustus baths, Titus baths, Domitian baths, Caracalla baths, Diocletian baths, Constantine baths)

Before toilet paper was invented Ancient Romans to wipe their bums used wet sea sponge on a long stick called Spongia. Public toilets had a marble bench with opening, and opening in the front to wipe your bum with sponge in a stick – best look at the photo 😉

Fun facts about Rome – ancient toilets – Source of the photo – Wikipedia Commons

Facts about Rome Ancient Food

Ancient Roman Diet depended as always on your material status: Rich Romans would eat lots of meat, a wild game like pheasant, hare, boar or delicately like dormice, or flamingo tongues. Well off Romans citizens would throw lavish parties where rich would eat, vomit if full and eat again. While poorer part of society would mostly eat wheat, barley, eggs, legumes.

Typically, the Romans would have three meals a day, same as us – Breakfast (ientaculum), Lunch (prandium), Dinner (cena)

First shopping mall

Did you know that Ancients Romans were first to shop in the shopping mall? The first shopping mall was built around 110 AD by The Roman Emperor Trajan. it had multiple levels and around 150 shops.

Facts about Roman aqueducts

The Roman aqueduct provided drinking water, as well as water for Bath Houses. Romans built eleven aqueducts for Rome. The indoor sewer systems that carried water away from the city and also supplied the bathhouses with ample water, where the inhabitants of ancient Rome spent so much of their leisure time.

The 11 aqueducts, were mostly outside the Rome as in the city most of the water runs in channels under the city streets. Curently the best preserve Roman Aqueduct – Pont du Gard is on of the most famous French Landmarks.

Julian calendar and a year of 445 days

It was at the request of Julius Caesar that the Julian calendar was introduced in 45 BC. It was in force in Europe for many centuries (in Spain, Portugal, Poland and Italy until 1582, in Russia from 1700 to 1918, and in Greece until 1923). The Julian calendar set the length of the year at 365 days and one additional day every 4 years (leap year).

The change of the calendar (previously in ancient Rome there was a lunar calendar that was “disrupted” – December fell in September) caused that the year 46 BC was extended by 80 days, so it lasted 445 days and was called the year of confusion (Latin “annus confusionis” ).

Few Facts about The Worst Roman Emperors

There have been several rulers in the history of Rome who has stopped at nothing. Incest. Mother- and fratricide. Rape. Mass murders. The scale of the violence they unleashed was all the greater because they had almost unlimited resources. Who were the worst emperors in the history of the Eternal City?

Tiberius (14-37)

The second emperor, the successor to Octavian Augustus, turned out to be a real monster. Tiberius, desiring to maintain power at all costs, did not shy away from treacherous attacks.

He was the first Roman emperor to unleash a real psychosis of fear in the Eternal City. It is said that he had sentenced to death only for the fact that he entered the toilet carrying a coin with his image on it.

Caligula (37-41)

Well knows for ordering the killings for no reason, for fun, and watched the tortures while eating. He was persecuting his friends and family members; he was even accused of poisoning his grandmother, Antonia. Reportedly slept with his sisters.

Although Caligula ruled for only four years, the list of his crimes is long. To this day, he remains a symbol of a crazy, unpredictable tyrant who showers gold on those he likes, but has no mercy for the rest.

Nero (54-68)

Nero went down in history as an unimaginable cruel. He did not even spare his closest people.
It was rumoured that his lust for murder was so great that he wandered the streets of the Eternal City at night, attacking random passers-by, robbing shops and assaulting women.

Facts about Colosseum

Colosseum rome italy, rome was founded in 753 BC, rome was founded by Romus and Romolus
Colosseum – the biggest theater in the Eternal city – Ancient Rome

What is Rome famous for? 

The city of churches, fountains, obelisks and cats

Coins in Trevi Fountain 

If you have ever been to Rome, you must have heard or even seen the magical fountain of Trevi. There is a tradition for tourists to toss coins in the water so that their dream can come true.

Every night around 2,000 – 3,000 Euros are fetched from the bottom of the fountain. Yearly almost 700,000 euros to 1,3 million euros worth of coins are tossed into the fountain, and all the money proceeds to catholic charity, Caritas.

Almost 700,000 Euros worth of coins is thrown to Trevi Fountain are donated to Caritas – a Catholic Charity

The capital is older than its country 

Roman was a founder long before Italy. During the prehistoric period, the Italian peninsula was made up of different cultures under the Roman Empire. But when the empire fell, the peninsula divided into several city-states that were never at peace. It was not until the late 19th century that Italy became a unified state. 

The pizza was not invented in Rome 

In ancient Greek, flatbreads were topped with cheese, oils, garlic, and herbs. This is believed to have the first version of pizzas. This method of serving flatbread spread to Italy, specifically Naples, where it was refined into modern pizza.

Rome is the most visited city in Italy 

Despite fighting for the spotlight from with the likes of Venice, Florence, and Milan, Rome is the most visited city in Italy with more than 9 million visitors every year. 

The symbol of Rome is SPQR

If you are keen enough, you will see the initials SPQR in structures all over Rome starting with the city’s coat of arms, manhole covers, ancient landmarks, and some of the official buildings. 

SPQR means – “Senatus PopulusQue Romanus”, meaning “Senate and Roman People” . In ancient times it was the official name of the Roman Empire and the abbreviation SPQR was part of the national emblem.

The first newspaper was published in Rome 

Romans used to ensure the public receives information about everything that was happening in the empire. So, they published all these pieces of information in newspapers containing legal and military issues as well as lifestyle issues such as death announcements and birth notices. 

Rome has two big soccer clubs

AS Roma and S.S. Lazio provide their fans with an unforgettable experience. Fans of these football clubs (of course) fight with each other.

Vatican City facts

St Peter’s Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica finished in 1615 (after 100 years) is the largest church building. St Peter’s Basilica is the largest Christian church building in the world 

Facts about Rome - Facts about Vatican, St Peters's Basilica piazza
view from St Peter’s basilica – Facts about Rome

A secret passage link Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican 

As one of the lesser-known things about Rome, there is a secret tunnel linking the Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican City. The tunnel, called Passetto del Borgo, was used by Pope Clement VII to escape to the nearby castle during the 1527 siege of Rome. 

The Acta Diurna or Daily Acts is believed to be the first newspaper in Rome. 

Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum

Located within the Vatican Museums, which is the 5th largest museum in the world, the Sistine Chapel is the same size as the Temple of Solomon on Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as described in the Bible’s Old Testament. 

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