Rome

Here is a city with a history that dates so far back, some books I have read say one will never fully understand the history of this city.Even without studying its complex history, when you are in Rome, you experience Rome which has history deeply entrenched at every corner of the city.

With each trip ro Rome we stumble over some new area or sight that we have not previously seen. Often some interesting piece of history is explained or referenced. We continue to develop a new perspective on the city with each visit.

Often simply turning right, rather than left, at a corner leads us into a new experience.

 

Rome dates back to around 1,000 BC. History books reference various kings that claimed, stayed or conquered the city by about 750 BC.

To end the rule of Kings, Rome became a Republic. Brutus was the first Consul of Rome. This brought in the Roman Senate to rule the city.

By about 270 BC Rome ruled all of Italy and over the next couple of hundred of years its reach spread to many other areas of the world.

 

Largo ArgentinaIt was in 44 BC, on the 15th of March, that Julius Caesar attended a meeting of the Senate which was being held at the temporary quarters in a theater built by Pompey the Great. The meetings were being held here as the Senate was being rebuilt because of a fire.

We have walked by the Curia, today called the Largo Argentina.

Here, sixty conspirators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Brutus Albinus, and Gaius Trebonius, came to the meeting with daggers concealed in their togas and stabbed Caesar 23 times.

Historical events like this, that have happened in so many locations in Rome, make a walk through Rome a history lesson.

In about 27 BC Augustus ended the Republic and became the sole ruler of Rome. With this, Rome moved from the Republic Era to an Imperial Era. The population of Rome probably hit a million people. Forums, temples, roads and aqueducts were all built.

 

Colosseum

Important monuments such as the Colosseum (the Flavian Amphitheatre) were built. The Colosseum being built around 72 AD.

The shell of the structure still stands. The Popes took much of the travertine exterior to be used for other buildings such as the Palazzo Venezia and the Palazzo Barberinie as well as some bridges but the structure that remains is still very much something to see.

On our first trips to Rome there were no tickets, no lines, we just walked up to the Colosseum and walked in. Now, it is a very different process. It is one of the most visited sites in Rome. Be prepared for waiting lines and crowds of people, but it is still worth it.

In 275 AD Aurelian built the Aurelian Wall. This is considered one of the greatest walls ever built in Europe. It was 19 km long and had at one time 383 towers. I must admit, on our taxi rides into the Rome we see parts of the wall and really don't give what remains of the wall it the appreciation we should.

It is easy to under appreciate things in Rome. But so many large magnificent structures, you can just walk by the remains of something and not stop and appreciate it for what it is and what it represents.

Constantine the Great was the first Emperor to fully embrace Christianity. He moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople in 330.

But good times turned to bad times and in the 400s there was a series of attacks on Rome by warriors with names that evoke pictures in your head -- Alaric the Goth or Geiseric the Vandal. At the end of this, many left Rome and the city's population dropped to as little as 10,000 people.

I take it for a while it was mainly the Popes that kept Rome alive but Rome was only a shadow of its former size.

Castel Sant'AngeloIn 880, Theodora seized the Castle Sant'Angelo and she and her daughter ruled Rome for a couple of decades. When we visited the Castel Sant'Angelo we never appreciated the power that this one castle had in terms of its strategic position in the city.

The Popes did have their problems and the 13th Century they often left Rome and went to Viterbo. Then in 1309 the Popes left Rome completely and moved to Avignon, France. During this time, Rome was ruled by their representatives.

After this, there was a stretch of rough times for Rome.

Pope Nicholas V, however, around 1447, emerged to restore rule over Rome. By the 1500s things were happening. A rebuilding of St Peter's was underway. Julius II had his architect Bramante tear down much of medieval Rome and a new city emerged. New grand streets and piazzas such as the Piazza del Popolo were built to signify the new Rome.

A significant building spree was underway. Many buildings that had existed from the Roman times were stripped of their marble or demolished for new structures. I have read numerous articles where the outcome could be summarized that the Popes in their plan to rebuild the city destroyed much more than Alaric the Goth or Geiseric the Vandal back in the dark ages every destroyed.

 

On our stays in Rome we relax and try to enjoy the ambiance of the city. Simple walks through neighborhoods always reacquaint us with a previous revisits, or the discovery of something new.