Traveling to Rome offers a rich and cultural experience where you will learn a lot. You will learn both through experiencing the sites and attractions, and through the knowledge of the guides on any tours that you take part in.

To get the most out of your trip it is also good to do some research before you go. So here are 30 facts about Rome to get you started:

  1. Rome’s history dates back to 753 BC. It was founded by Romulus, but he was later killed by his twin brother, Remus, who became Rome’s first ruler.
  1. Rome is Italy’s capital city, and the largest city in the country. It became the capital city in 1870.
  1. Rome is synonymous with the gladiators who fought to the death in front of large crowds in ancient Roman amphitheatres, but they had other uses too. Doctors during these times used blood from gladiators to treat patients for conditions such as infertility.
  1. The ancient Romans are famous for building roads that connected much of the world to this great city. Over the years of the Roman Empire, about 53,000 miles of road were built.
  1. The Roman Empire lasted for about 1,000 years but, like all other empires in history, it eventually fell. This happened in the fifth century.
  1. Purple was the color worn by the most senior officials in Rome. In fact, it was considered treasonous to dress completely in purple, unless you were the emperor.
  1. Palaces now exist all over Europe and the world, but the word itself has its origins in Rome. It comes from the Palatine Hill, which was built by Augustus.
  1. Rome has a museum, covering two floors, that is focused entirely on pasta.
  1. The third wife of the Emperor Claudius was a woman called Valeria Messalina. History recalls her as being a nymphomaniac who competed with prostitutes to see who could sleep with the most men in a single night.
  1. The Trevi Fountain is a must-see attraction for many tourists visiting Rome. It is well-known as a place to throw in a coin in order to bring some good luck, and all those coins add up. In fact about 3,000 Euros are removed from the waters of the fountain every night. The money is donated to charity.
  1. The Trevi Fountain is not the only fountain in Rome, however. In fact there are about 280 fountains across the city.
  1. There are also more than 900 churches.
  1. It was not good to be left-handed in ancient Rome. Left-handed people were considered different, sinister, unlucky and sometimes worse.
  1. Some members of the ruling classes in ancient Rome are remembered for their decadence and debauchery. The Emperor Caligula falls into this category. He often wore women’s clothes when he appeared in public.
  1. Emperor Caligula is also known for loving – and respecting the opinion of – his horse. The horse was called Initatus. He was housed in a marble stable. In addition, Caligula wanted to make the animal a consul.
  1. The toga is a popular dressing-up costume today, but in ancient Rome only free-born Roman men were allowed to wear them.
  1. The Romans invented concrete and started using it over 2,000 years ago. Famous ancient buildings such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum were built using this ancient form of concrete.
  1. Romans believed that the early Christians were cannibals because they misunderstood the Christian practice of taking communion.
  1. When you are in Rome you will regularly see the symbol SPQR. It stands for Senatus Populusque Romanus – the senate and the people of Rome.
  1. Socializing in ancient Rome was very different from socializing today. Today you might go to a cafe or a restaurant. Ancient Romans often went to communal toilets, where they combined the tasks of relieving themselves and having a chat. Over 140 communal toilets existed.
  1. Luckily, the ancient Romans had some socializing alternatives to the communal toilets. These included lavish banquets that were popular among the wealthy elite. They lasted for hours and it was not uncommon for participants to make themselves vomit so that they could continue with the party.
  1. At its height, the Roman Empire covered an area of 2.5 million square miles.
  1. When you visit the Colosseum or the Forum you will see lots of cats roaming freely. This is because you are visiting their home – Roman law states that cats can live undisturbed in the place they were born.
  1. Ancient Roman women went to great lengths to color their hair. It was not as easy as going to the hairdresser or buying a dye from a supermarket, though. Instead, they had to use dyes derived from ashes, bleach and animal fats.
  1. Ancient Roman women could expect a kiss on the lips from their husbands at the end of the day. Some of them were probably being affectionate, but for many it was a way of detecting whether their wives had spent the day drinking wine.
  1. Hygiene was important in ancient Rome, but they did not use soap. Instead, they applied perfumed oils to their skins and scraped them off with a tool called a strigil.
  1. The dome at the Pantheon is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. It is bigger than the dome on St Peter’s Basilica.
  1. Ancient Romans used to clean their clothes using ammonia derived from their own urine.
  1. The last fights took place in the Colosseum in 435 AD. By that date over half a million people had died in the gladiatorial battles.
  1. Rome is a great shopping destination today, but it is also the location of the world’s first ever shopping centre. It was built around 107 AD by the Emperor Trajan.

Marcus

Marcus

Editor and owner at VisitRome.com. Enthusiastic traveller who loves to explore. 20 years using the web to create online travel content. I love finding ways to travel and stay for less.
Marcus

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