Travel and Culture in Latium
Rome was founded 2700 years ago and is one of the most ancient cities in Europe and one of the richest in monuments too.
Rome was devastated for several times, but it always succeded in returning to life, becoming even the capital of the Roman Empire and then the centre of Christianity. The old town centre of Rome is considered, owing to the richness of its works of art and its monuments, the most beautiful one in the world and that is why every year about 5 million tourists visit it.
Rome had had, since its foundation, an essential position, because it was a junction point between the Greek and the Etruscan culture. The ruins of the original settlements date back to 753 B.C., when Romolo marked out the square of the city. In the 8th century B.C. the city was conquered by the Tarquinis, who built Cloaca Massima (1600 B.C.) and the Serviani Walls (565 B.C.).
The Roman rule began in 509 B.C. and Rome became a republic ruled by two consuls.
In the 2nd century B.C. the Romans conquered Greece and fought the Punic Wars until 146 B.C. (Carthage’s destruction). Then, with Julius Caesar, the city expanded, but its greatest emperor was Augustus (27 B.C.), who promoted the building developing, giving to Rome the Marcello Theatre, the Augustus Foro, the Emperor’s Mausoleum and the Pantheon. This building development continued with Nerone too (64 A.D.), with Traiano and Adriano, until the end of the Empire, in 476 A.D. .
With the coming of Christianity Rome changed its town lay-out and the Lateran became the seat of the Pope. During the Middle Ages, between 410 and 553, Rome suffered the sacks caused by the Vandals and the Gothes. Meanwhile the importance of papacy kept on growing up to the coronation, in 800, of Charlemagne.
Afterwards, in 1084, Rome was attacked by the Normans led by Henry IV (9th century) and then the feudal families, during the Investiture Conflict, subdivided the town territory into feuds.
Since the papal power was still growing, above all after the Avignon period, with Boniface VIII and Gregory IX the town underwent the absolute power of popes, who continued to rule all through the Renaissance.
In 1400, 1500 and 1600 there is an incredible flourishing of art and culture: the popes call important masters to their courts to decorate, embellish and build palaces and rooms. Artists of the calibre of Leon Battista Alberti, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Bramante, Cellini, and then also Bernini, Borromini and many others worked for the popes and made the present capital a glorious city.
At the end of the eighteenth century the Jacobin Republic settled down in Rome and later on Napoleon abolished the temporal power of the pope. In 1870 Rome became the capital of Italy and, through the urban development plan in 1883, were made some big changes, in order to open Vittorio Emanuele Avenue (the italian “corso”) and connect Venezia Square to the Vatican.
Then, with the Fascist period, the city developed even more, so that the EUR quarter and the university town of the Foro Italico were built. So the people living in the old areas had to move to the housing estates that, in the second postwar period, would undergo the building speculation typical of that time.
Rome photographies kindly granted by APT Rome