The capital of Italy is located in the region of Lazio that has been populated for at least 60 000 years. It is conventional knowledge that Rome was founded in 753 BC, and the city today is a showcase of all architectural traditions and periods present in Rome through the ages. The most ancient monuments in Rome are seven Egyptian obelisks.
Here, history and myth are intertwined. The founders of Rome are believed to be Romulus and Remus, the descendants of Aeneas вЂ“ the Trojan prince who made his way to Lazio from fallen Troy around 1250 BC. Casa Romuli, built in the 8th century BC, is a landmark of ancient times and is located on the Palatine hill вЂ“ one of the most distinguished ancient places of the city.
Until 509 BC Rome was ruled by Etruscan kings. The Etruscans gave Italy their alphabet and left a rich collection of Etruscan valuables. The only architectural remnants of Etruscan culture in Rome to be still partially standing are necropoles, such as Cerveteri. The most ancient structures of Rome observe the Etruscan architectural traditions, for example, porticoes with the sole entrance.
The blossoming of Rome began with the Roman Republic вЂ“ the political system in which two consuls were democratically elected every year. Consequently, the power shifted to commanders, or military leaders like Julius Caesar, and starting with Caesar's successor, Augustus, Rome became the capital of the empire.
There are few monuments left that remind us of the Roman Republic, as most were reconstructed and rebuilt during the times of the Roman Empire. Architecture was changing form: new elements, such as arch, vault and dome, were introduced. Two temples in Roman Forum Boarium (2nd century BC) still remain standing, but the most significant contribution of the epoch were roads constructed in the city, most notably the Appian Way (312 BC).
Starting from when Augustus came in power and until the rule of Traianus the might of Rome was undeniable. The most well-known sights of Rome from the times of the Empire are the Pantheon (1st century AC) вЂ“ a true wonder of engineering thought, and the Colosseum (72 AC).
In 312 AC the Empire accepted Christianity and subsequently split into two weak parts. Rome was unable to withstand attacks of Germanic conquerors and most of sumptuous Roman palaces were destroyed in wars and lootings. This epoch of transition and weakening of the Empire is represented in the city by the Catacombs (50 AC) and the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (420 AC).
The golden age of arts and sciences in Italy fell on the 15th century. This is when Roman architecture moves away from Gothic style and looks back to the roots of ancient Roman styles. The Capitoline Museums open in 1471, the 4th century basilica is replaced by St. Peter's Cathedral, completed in 1626. Raphael Rooms (1508) and the Sistine Chapel of 1541 are the finest examples of Renaissance treasures of the Vatican.
After Rome was pillaged in 1527 Italy fell pray to Charles V and the style of Baroque made its way into the capital. Many a cathedral of Bernini and Borromini and especially the fountains, palaces and churches of the famous Piazza Navona represent the height of Baroque in Rome that at once got back its architectural might and greatness. Piazza Navona is located on the spot of an ancient stadium. Nearby, the largest fountain in Rome is soon built and named the Trevi fountain (1762).
In 18th century Piazza di Spagna, the favourite place of upper-class Romans, emerged as a popular spot, along with the beautiful Spanish steps. The famous CaffГЁ Greco was frequented by Keats, Goethe, Byron, Liszt, and Wagner. This is the neighbourhood in which Gogol lived for many years. Another significant landmark of Rome is the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II that is devoted to Italy becoming independent of foreign yoke after almost a century-long fight.
All aforementioned sights and points of interest are only a fraction of what can be seen in Rome, for it is the city which people share not only with tourist attractions, but with centuries-long history itself.