According to tradition, Rome was founded by Romolo in 753 B.C. Have you ever seen the famous bronze sculpture of a she-wolf feeding two human infants? One of them is Romolo. The other is his brother, Remo. They are the famous twins linked to the legend of Rome’s founding. According to this legend, the two brothers and semi-gods were sons of Rhea Silvia and Mars, the god of war. Rhea Silvia was the daughter of King Numitore, who ruled in the ancient city of Alba Longa, not far from where Rome would be later. Numitore was deposed by his brother Amulio who wanted to take control, and forced his niece to make a vow of chastity in order to avoid any threats to his usurped throne. When King Amulio found out about the birth of Romolo and Remo, he became furious and ordered a servant to put the infants into a basket and leave them in the river Tevere. The current brought the basket to an area between the actual Capitoline and the Palatine Hills in the center of Rome, exactly where the female wolf found and weaned them. What happened from that moment on is visible thanks to the eternal marks history has left on the city.
Through the juxtaposition of buildings belonging to different history and art periods; the coexistence of two separate entities in the same territory – the walled enclave known as Vatican City State and the city of Rome, and the city’s countless piazzas and fountains, one can perceive Rome’s hidden stories.
The thematic approaches through which to explore Rome are numerous and complex. The city has been the center of the Roman Republic, an empire, and the capital city of the Christian world. Throughout history, it has become a pattern of cultures, peoples, customs, and the arts. For this reason, everyone can have a different motivation for visiting and exploring Rome: architects could be interested in seeing the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana – also called Square Colosseum – in the EUR neighborhood; the faithful could come to see the Pope; archeologists could spend months studying the remains of the Roman forum.
The fascinating thing about being in Rome is that the paths of discovery are limitless. To give an example: if you are interested in both ancient sculpture and industrial archeology, Rome has a place for you: the Centrale Montemartini, which was the first public power plant to produce electricity in Rome. Now, within the same premises, it displays a permanent exhibition of ancient art that is a part of the Capitoline Museum’s collection.
If you want to learn about the different cultures living in Rome, you should visit the Nuovo Mercato Esquilino, better known as the city’s multicultural market, where you can taste a bit of India, Egypt or Morocco and listen to different languages. Rome also hosts the biggest mosque in Europe.
Lovers of nature can visit Villa Borghese, Villa Doria Pamphili or Villa Ada. One can exercise, rest, play ball and have the opportunity to peer into the daily lives of Roman people, such as families, groups of young people, or old couples and friends, as they take time out of their daily routines to catch up and relax.
One word links the ancient history of Rome with the present times: innovation. The ancient Romans established aqueducts to provide water for public baths and fountains, promoting public health and sanitation. They also built an outstanding system of roads, some of which are still functional. Today, Rome continues to be a city where innovation is fostered in its many forms. Think about the MAXXI museum project designed by the Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, or the Jubilee Church conceived by the American architect Richard Meier.
Rome is an open-air museum. Spending time getting lost in the backstreets of the historical center, talking to local people to learn about their culture, and tasting typical Roman food will give you a chance to understand the city’s atmosphere. Slowly, you will create a memory of your favorite area, street, food product, local market, and museum, and be able to create your own story of your personal path in Rome.
Experience Rome with us through our study abroad programs in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. We also have internship programs in Rome and in various parts of Italy (link).