Italy Travel Notes presents: ORSON JOHNSON
The modern city of Rome, as legend goes, was built on seven hills. A city that is accustomed to foreign influences, it is known for it architectural treasures. There is a lot more to Rome than we know. Here are some interesting facts to give you an insight into the Roman culture, its history and treasures.
1. The birth of the Eternal City, Rome, which was founded in 753BC, is celebrated every year by Romans on the 21st of April. Celebrations include fireworks, gladiator shows, traditional Roman banquets and parades.
2. The Pantheon which was built in 27 B.C. by Marcus Agrippa is the only monument belonging to ancient Rome that still remains intact. What is even lesser known, is that it entombs Italy’s king Vittorio Emanuele II, and his successor, Umberto I.
3. A park in Rome is named the “Park of the Monsters.” Not because it is a haunted place but because it is full of grotesque figures like a crude Hercules slaying an Amazon and an ogre’s face with a mouth so big that people can even walk through it!
4. The Baths of Caracalla although in a bad state now, were once in their prime days spread across 27 acres and could handle 1,600 bathers at any given time. Built in the 3rd century, they are the largest survivors of Rome’s imperial era.
5. Rome has a museum which is entirely dedicated to pasta. The Pasta Museum is a one of its kind around the world and showcases different pasta-making machines, as well as paintings related to pasta by contemporary artists.
6. St Peter’s Basilica inside Vatican City is the largest church ever constructed.
7. Rome’s Coliseum, a huge amphitheatre which could seat 50,000 people is one among the Seven Wonders of the World.
8. The Monumental Cemetery of the Capuchin Brothers has used the bones of over 4,000 Capuchin monks, some skeletons fully intact, to create symbolic works of art in its series of chapels.
9. The Vatican Museums is a huge museum complex with over 1,000 museums and galleries like the Gallery of Tapestries and Etruscan and Egyptian Museums that are full of masterpieces collected by the successive popes. It is the world’s largest museum complex.
10. St. Peter’s Basilica was a structure that stood for almost 1,000 years until it neared collapse and was rebuilt by 1500s and 1600s. It is an overwhelming structure which displays the work of some of Italy’s greatest artists like Raphael, Michelangelo, and Maderno.
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