Tuesday, 21 April 2009


“In Rome you long for the country; in the country - oh inconstant! - you praise the distant city to the stars.” – Horace

According to legend, the City of Rome was founded on this day in 753 BC. This was linked with the festival honouring the Pales, a pair of deities who guarded cattle and other livestock. Farmers ritually cleaned farm stalls, made offerings to the gods and purified the animals. A bonfire was lit and herdsmen jumped over it three times. A feast followed with much drinking and eating. As the predominantly rural population migrated to the cities and the metropolis of Rome, this rural festival became transformed into the feast that celebrated the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.

Rome, also called the “Eternal City”, is situated in the west central part of the country, on the Tiber River, about 25 km inland. It has a population of about three million people. The city was founded on the Palatine Hill, but as it grew it spread to the other six hills of Rome (the Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Viminal and Quirinal). Rome was made capital of a unified Italy in 1871. Within its confines it has a self-contained sovereign country, Vatican City, which at 44 hectares and with a population of 900 people is the smallest country in the world. This came into existence in 1929 and is distinct from the Holy See, which was in existence long before this date.

Some expressions in English referring to Rome:
“All roads lead to Rome” is a proverb that means there are many different ways of reaching the same goal or conclusion.
“Rome was not built in a day” means a complex task is bound to take a long time and should not be rushed.
“When in Rome do as the Romans do” implies that when abroad or in an unfamiliar environment you should adopt the customs or behaviour of those around you.

Rome is one of my favourite cities and I love visiting there. The people are friendly and vivacious, the monuments and antiquities stunning, the museums wonderful and the food good. It is a place that always offers something new and there are many beautiful day trips around it also.

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