Often known as the Eternal City, Rome and Roman history are full of interesting bits of trivia. If you casually toss these pieces of information into the conversation during your next trip to Italy, your traveling companions will think you are brilliant.
1. The Birth of a City
Legend holds that the Eternal City was founded by two brothers, Romulus and Remus. As infants, their cruel uncle abandoned them to starvation and the elements on Palatine Hill. A she-wolf took pity on them, brought them into her cave, and suckled them. When the brothers were fully grown, they decided to honor the she-wolf who saved them by creating a city of wonder on Palatine Hill and making the she-wolf its mascot.
2. The Riches of the Trevi Fountain
There is a legend that if you throw a coin over your shoulder as you walk away from the Trevi Fountain, you will live to return to the city and all its riches. As a result, the Trevi Fountain collects over 700,000 euros each year. The money is all donated to charity.
3. The Largest Church in the World
If you want to see the largest church ever built, you need look no further than St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Admission to the lower levels of St. Peter’s Basilica is free, so enter and look at all the wonders.
4. The Largest Museum Complex in the World
There are over 1000 Vatican Museums, making the complex in Vatican City the largest museum complex, not only in Italy, but in the world as well.
5. Bones and Architecture
If you are traveling in Rome with teenagers who get bored easily, take some time to let them explore the Capuchin Crypt. The crypt consists of five chapels and a 20-yard long corridor and is decorated with the bones of more than 4000 deceased monks.
6. The Oldest Shopping Mall
Everyone knows that the Eternal City is the place to come for designer clothes and accessories, but did you know that its reputation as a shopping mecca goes back almost 2000 years? Between AD 106 and AD 113, Emperor Trajan ordered the construction of a marketplace which spanned several levels and consisted of over 150 shops.
7. A Nice Place to Grow Old
The average life expectancy in Rome is 79.54 years, edging out the life expectancy in the United States which is 78.2 years.