The Eternal City... one life is not enough

MUSIC: Cantare e' d'amore (Singing is about love) by Amedeo Minghi - 1996

Rome: The Eternal City…and for those who have visited her, unquestionably the most magnificent city in the world. Like the memory of a lost love, she will haunt you, stealing your senses one by one and hastening your return. For those who have not yet experienced her magic, the thrill awaits…

No one can visit Rome and not be touched by her timeless beauty. La Città Eterna - the Eternal City - has been around for over 3,000 years.

From her beginning as a tiny village in central Italy, to her current status as a top ranking city for the arts, fashion and cuisine, Rome has seen it all.

The city of Rome lies between the hills and the sea, and encompasses approximately 1,100 square kilometers (420 sq. miles). It was originally built on the famous “seven hills” that still form part of the city. According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 BC by Romulus, who—along with his twin brother Remus—was a son of Mars. After the young boys had been abandoned on the Palatine Hill, they were suckled by a she-wolf. Romulus, thereafter, founded Rome atop the Palatine Hill, naming it after himself. Today, the she-wolf remains the symbol of Rome.

History’s version of this delightful tale is that the hilly regions around the Tiber were inhabited by various hill tribes as early as the 8th century B.C. These hill dwellers were gradually dominated by the Etruscans, who built the settlement that would one day be Rome.

Frustrated with the Estruscans’ dominance over their affairs, in 510 BC, the Romans rose up and overcame their oppressors to establish a republic.

Through the centuries that followed, Rome rose as a mighty empire, declined as famine and plague set in, made it through the Dark Ages and the Renaissance, fought through foreign domination and made her way to the 21st century, stronger and more beautiful for all her experiences.

St. Peter's: a nun catching a bus covered with materialist publicity: the old and the modern world live side by side

No city in the world reflects the history of man’s endeavours quite as much as Rome. From her ancient ruins dating back to Imperial times, to her modern day galleries and shopping areas, everywhere there is evidence of timelessness.

All roads (still) lead to Rome: the Ancient Appian way (Appia Antica) arriving in Rome

Walk any street, and you will find a statue, a fountain, part of an ancient wall, or piazza - and standing nearby, a young woman on her cell phone, or a youth sitting astride his Vespa. This is the essence of the Eternal City… It means walking into a side-street so small, you’ll probably never find it again, and detecting the life and spirit of the Romans, discovering that a major tourist site lies just behind the corner, one you probably would have worked hard to find, had you set out to visit it that morning.

Imperial, Classical, Renaissance, Baroque, Modern: all these periods are represented in her art and architecture. It is the amazing contrasts that Rome presents that thrill the first-time visitor and returning aficionados alike. For there is something for everyone in Rome— the young and the old, the married and single, the extrovert and introvert. As the Romans so aptly put it: You could spend an entire lifetime in the eternal city and still not experience it all.

It is hard to stand anywhere in Rome and not be taken aback by the magnitude of her history. The entire city comprises an immense open-air museum, layered in nearly three millennia. As an entire lifetime is not enough, also words can hardly help presenting Rome.

The Eternal City exudes a magic and richness that is hard to define: it is also an unbelievably kaleidoscopic town, which is best experiencing personally. Everything in a modern town follows a functional criteria, which brings to achieve the maximum result with the least effort.

Movie shooting with actor Carlo Verdone by the Pantheon, revealing the bent of the Italian culture to re-kindle itself. The Pantheon is the only ancient monument (AD 114) preserving its original religious function.

As a consequence, towns are uninspiring, and with little character. In other historical European capitals (Paris, London or Madrid) you will see many beautiful squares or fountains. Rome will overwhelm you instead with an unbelievable and varied richness, which appears odd to our modern eyes. You will find yourself thinking: why so many churches, so many squares, so many masterpieces, so many works of art? It is Rome's natural dimension: it likes to welcome you with her infinite charms, just to make you feel that you should normally live surrounded by beauty. Perhaps only in Vienna and Prague you will find something resembling this dimension, but still not quite like it.

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