The tourists throng to the Trevi
fountain to cool themselves off and with a dreamy glance throws a few coins
into this magnificent blend of water and sculpture - because those who
do are guaranteed that destiny will bring them back to Rome.
Rome (Italian and Latin: Roma)
is the capital city of Italy and of the Lazio region, as well as the country's
largest and most populous comune, with about 2.5 million residents (3.8
million considering the whole urbanised area, as represented by the Province
of Rome). It is located in the central-western portion of the Italian peninsula,
where the river Aniene joins the Tiber. As one of the largest cities in
the European Union, the Comune di Roma has a gross domestic product of
€97 billion in the year 2005, equal to 6.7% of Italy's GDP — the highest
proportion of GDP produced by any single Italian comune. The current Mayor
of Rome is Walter Veltroni
Return to a city that is
the metropolis of chaos? Where motorists make such great demands of the
pedestrians? Which is brash and noisy, hectic, and full of stray cats?
That's as maybe but with a shrug of the shoulders the countless fans ask
where else can one find so much magnificence and elegance? Where else can
one playfully wander through almost three thousand years of history and
also receive a blessing from the Pope? What's more, where else is life
so good as in a Roman trattoria? During his Italian travels, Goethe laconically
suggested that Rome was beyond our comprehension.
According to legend the
sons of the god Mars, Romulus and Ramous founded what was to become the
great city of Rome in 753 BC. In reality it was farmers who settled along
the Tiber together with encroaching Etruscans who with fire and sword but
also with astonishing skill with the cultivation and irrigation and an
exemplary administration created the Roman empire, with Rome as the glittering
center of the world or caput mondi. Under Emperors Augustus, Nero, Trajan,
Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius, the town of the seven hills continued its
Luxury for idle hands
The Coliseum, with space
for 50,000 people was built and the Caracalla hot springs with their hot
and cold baths, cosmetic salons, libraries, and lecture halls for 1,700
visitors offered a world of beauty and leisure. A crucial turning point
occurred in 391 when Emperor Constantine endorsed Christianity. The Christ-ian
Rome came into being and the imperial Rome diminished. There were times
when the city became abandoned such as following the departure of the Pope
to Avignon in 1309 but every decline was followed by the city regaining
prominence and it was a stronghold of the Renaissance and rediscovered
its special glory during the Baroque era.
Against the will of the
Pope the city was selected as his place of residence by the newly chosen
Italian king in 1871 and remained the capital city when the Italians voted
for a Republic in 1946, The Vatican City is a sovereign state and has its
own rail station, post office, radio station, and its own diminutive army,
the Swiss Guard, which legend has it wears uniforms designed by Michelangelo.
A stroll through Rome is crowned
with a visit to the Vatican City, with must see St. Peter's Square by Gian
Lorenzo Bernini from which St. Peters rises up in perfect harmony with
the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and its Pieta or ceiling paintings
by Michelangelo. Lovers of the art of gardening should wander through the
parks and admire the Farnesi gardens to admire the sumptuous water features.
After all in the end there nothing the Romans adore more then flowing water.
Those who want to get to know
the eternal city can best head for the Forum Romanun,
where you will be confronted
with the elegant world of antiquity that has been
assembled together, visit
Hadrian's column, and the Pantheon with its arched dome
but also the Coliseum, the
Catacombs, and the Via Appia Antica. Another tour of the
city is worth while for
Renaissance Rome and the powerful Baroque face of the city
which form a symbiosis of
art and way of life that is so right for this city on the Tiber.
There is such zest for life
at the Piazza Navona with its four teaming fountains,
such elegance at the Spanish
Steps, and such perfect harmony at the
Piazza della Rotonda!