10 things you might not know about Rome…

Make a wish

The Trevi Fountain is one of Rome’s most iconic and highly visited sights. The tradition is to throw a coin with the right hand over the left shoulder. The custom is so popular in fact, that 3,000 euros are collected from the fountain every day. All the money is donated to Caritas, a charity that helps poor families in Rome.

Pasta is a way of life

Romans love pasta so much that they have a whole museum dedicated to it. The museum is owned by the Agnesi family, the founders of Agnesi, a pasta producer founded in 1824.

Built to last

The Colosseum is such a prominent fixture on the Roman landscape that it’s easy to take it for granted. This theater has stood on the same site for over 2,000 years and remains structurally sound. The Colosseum was built with 80 entrances and could hold up to 80,000 spectators.

What makes the Spanish steps… Spanish?

The name of the Spanish Steps is a little misleading. Built between 1723 and 1725, they were only named such because the Spanish embassy was at their base. The French actually had more to do with their creation, being funded by a donation from a French diplomat, Etienne Gueffier. For some reason, the “French steps” never caught on.

The city of 1000 churches (almost)

Home to the Pope, many Catholics see Rome as the religious center of the world. St. Peter’s Basilica receives over 6 million visitors every year. But did you know that Rome has over 900 churches?

The city contains a country

Technically, the Pope does not live in Rome. The Pope’s address is in Vatican City, which is considered an independent country, sharing a 3.2 km (2 miles) border with the rest of Italy. Vatican City even has its own postage stamps and issues its own passports.

Heaven for coffee lovers

Romans love coffee and the cappuccino is a firm favorite. But there’s one rule — no cappuccino after 11 AM or after meals. Tradition dictates that espresso is the only option after dinner. One thing Romans might love more than caffeine is gelato. Sound delicious?

Quench your thirst

When visiting Rome there’s no need to buy water. You can refill your bottle at one of the city’s many fountains! The city has 280 fountains and many of them have a drinkable water supply.

The eternal city

The “Eternal City” is not a name invented by the Italian tourist board. Such was the power of Rome that ancient Romans thought the city would last forever. Though only time will tell if the city is “eternal”, it hasn’t always been the capital of Italy. That title belonged to Florence until 1870.

An inventive people

The Ancient Romans are famous for their many inventions, including modern plumbing. But did you know that they also invented concrete? This is the reason that so many of their buildings have maintained their structural integrity. The Pantheon has been in continuous use for over 2,000 years and the basic structure has remained unchanged.

Some other fun facts about Rome…

  • Modern Rome has 280 fountains.
  • The Romans had built a road network of 85.000 km by the early fourth century. Each Roman mile was about 1,5 km and marked by a milestone, giving birth to the saying “All roads lead to Rome.”
  • In Ancient Rome, only free-born men were allowed to wear togas, a sign of Roman citizenship. Women wore stolas, the female version of togas, made from linen.
  • The mascot of Rome is a she-wolf that cared for brothers Romulus and Remus, the mythological founders of Rome.
  • Rome became the capital city of unified Italy in 1870, taking the title from Florence.
  • Law in Rome allows cats to live without disruption in the place they were born. Wild cats can be climbing the walls of the Colosseum, and sleeping among the ruins of the Forum.
  • Women in ancient Rome dyed their hair with goat fat and beech wood ashes. The most popular colors were red and blond.
  • The first ever shopping mall was built in Rome between 107 and 110 AD by Emperor Trajan. It sold a wide variety of goods and grocery items.
  • Rome’s first university, La Sapienza, established in 1303 AD, is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world.
  • St Peter’s basilica inside Vatican City is the largest church ever constructed.