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10 Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Rome

10 Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Rome | CosmosMariners.com

"Everyone sooner or later comes 'round by Rome," Robert Browning

As one of the most visited cities in the world, Rome has plenty to offer--a deep history, delicious food, literary ties, and stunning architecture. Simply said, Rome is a fascinating place no matter what part you choose to see. With all of the history and architecture, it's no wonder that Rome is high on my list of places to visit in the very near future.

Although Rome is known for the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain, the city has plenty more to explore. These 10 fun facts about Rome might teach you something new about this ancient city--and a few of its most famous sites.


1. The city of Rome completely surrounds another country: Vatican City. There are only two other places in the world where you can find a country within another country or territory: the Republic of San Marino (which is surrounded by Italy) and the Kingdom of Lesotho (which is surrounded by South Africa).

2. According to tradition, Rome was founded by Romulus (hence, the name). He and his twin Remus were half-gods (their dad was Mars): they were abandoned at birth and raised by a wolf. (If you're a fan of the Harry Potter series, you'll recognize Remus as Professor Lupin's first name. It's no coincidence that J.K. Rowling chose the name of a wolf's adopted son for her werewolf character.)

10 Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Rome | CosmosMariners.com
Keats-Shelley House
{photo via anna fox | creative commons}
3. Back in the 18th century, Rome was known for its dry climate, which was thought to help those suffering from respiratory issues. John Keats, the British Romantic poet, traveled to Rome after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and lived at 26 Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the Spanish Steps. His roommate was close friend and fellow writer Percy Bysshe Shelley. It was here that Keats died at the age of 25.

10 Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Rome | CosmosMariners.com
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola
{photo via some guy called darren | creative commons}

4. The ceiling of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola is flat, which is rather unusual, since most church's have a distinctive dome or vault. In this case, blame the neighbors, who didn't want their garden overshadowed by a taller roof. The flat ceiling is covered in trompe l'oeil paintings, so they still appear to be curved.

10 Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Rome | CosmosMariners.com
Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta
{photo via mauriziosacco | creative commons}
5. One of Rome's best views is through a keyhole! Head to the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta on Mount Aventine and find the large, locked gate. Hop in the line to peek through the gate's keyhole--when it's your turn, you'll be able to see St. Peter's Cathedral perfectly. Another cool thing to note about this spot is that it's a part of the headquarters of the last remaining group of knights leftover from the Crusades.

6. A portion of the world's oldest road, Appia Antica, runs through Rome. Construction began on the road in 312 BC, and it covers over 300 miles.

7. At one point, all roads really did run to Rome. At the peak of the empire (which stretched well into the UK on the northern border and eastward to the Euphrates River), the Romans had built over 53,000 miles of roads.

8. The city has over 900 churches and nearly 300 fountains.

10 Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Rome | CosmosMariners.com
Pantheon
{photo via jun | creative commons}
9. The Pantheon's dome is the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. This record still holds even 2000 years after it was built. At 142 feet in diameter, the dome is even larger than the one at St. Peter's Basilica (which is 136 feet in diameter).

10. Historical records estimate that over half a million people and more than a million animals were killed during the battles at the Colosseum. Among the animals forced to battle there were elephants, lions, and bears. After the last gladiator fights were held in the 500s, the structure was used for local building materials, a garbage dump, a temple dedicated to the sun, and a wool factory.

Whether you're going on short city breaks to Rome or you're using it as a base for a longer trip, there's plenty to see and do in this ancient place!

Have you visited Rome? What did you like about it?

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