Rome’s history is incredibly long (about 2800 years!) and really unique: for long time the city has been the most powerful ... More and glorious one in the western world. According to the legend, everything started in 753 BC, when the city was founded on the Palatine Hill by Romulus, the first of seven kings which ruled Rome until 509 BC. Two of the last three kings were said to be Etruscan.
Around 510 BC, Rome became a Republic and it started an incredible expansion. By the end of the Republic the city was the only leader of a large empire dominating the whole of the Mediterranean.
After the civil wars of the 1st century BC., Julius Caesar became dictator and instituted a series of reforms: it was the end of the republic. However, the grandeur of Rome increased under Caesar Augustus (the first emperor ) and his successors.
Starting from the early 3rd century, matters changed: Rome formally remained capital of the empire but emperors spent less and less time there. In 330, Constantine established a second capital at Constantinople and even the later western emperors ruled from Milan or Ravenna, not Rome. This dark period got worse in 410 and 455 when Rome was sacked and profaned by invading Germanic tribes. Attempts were made to preserve the physical plant of the city in the face of growing chaos, but occupation by the Ostrogoths in the 6th century, subsequent Byzantine reoccupation, and concomitant destruction all contributed to a precipitous decline. The only social force remaining after the fall of the Roman Empire of the West was the Christian Church. Rome soon became the capital of the catholic world, and this would be the importance of Rome for more than a thousand years to come.
The city's fortunes began to improve in the 11th century and after the middle of the 15th century the city became a centre of Renaissance culture and it lived tranquil times until the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century. With the Napoleonic wars, the Pope was expelled, but he returned with the restoration after the war.
In 1871 Rome became the capital of united Italy. A great growth followed: whole new quarters were constructed and by the beginning of the 20th century the entire area within the ancient walls had been built up. High embankments were built along the Tiber to prevent floods, and most of the city was extensively modernized.
When the fascists, under Benito Mussolini’s guide, took over power in 1921, many additions and adaptations where made to Rome. As the discussed creation of the Via dei Fori Imperiali in front of the Vatican (for the construction of which a large part of the old Borgo neighbourhood was destroyed) and the founding of new quarters as the "Esposizione Universale di Roma simply known as Eur.
During the Second World War Rome suffered some heavy bombings and on June 4, 1944 it fell to the Allies.
Today, Rome is not only the charming capital of Italy and its political heart but, as the seat of the Roman Catholic church and the headquarters of major international agencies and multinational corporations, a modern city that has assumed a place of worldwide importance.
Thanks to its incredibly rich heritage of archaeological and artistic treasures, the Eternal City is without any doubts one of the most popular and famous tourist destinations in the whole world, too. Every year thousands of tourists visit Rome and many of them live a piece of their heart in it.
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