Rome is not only Colisseum, as you surely know. There are plenty of secrets and curiosities that even Romans do not know about their city (like me, I am so bad I know): so I started to study a bit and discover some interesting things, facts and legends about my city. And now it is time to share them with you.
Did you know that…
*1 A special jewel in the City
It is the only city in the world that has a sovereign state entirely within the limits of its city –Vatican City- which is the smallest country in the world. So, if you decide to come to Rome, you can have the chance of visiting also another country. How to make your trip more interesting, more international. Cool.
*2 Our Modern Calendar
Julius Caesar, roman consul, dictator, orator and writer, was the one who introduced the modern 12 month calendar. Known as the Julian calendar, it was introduced in 46 BC. Before that, Lunar or Arabic calendars were used. If you do not like the modern calendar, now you know whose fault it is.
Ever hear about SPQR? This acronym stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus” and means “The senate and the people of Rome.” The symbol is still visible all over the city today. And especially now that you know it, you will be able to find it out in many statues, buildings and military standard.
*4 Ancient Romans “cheers”
How ancient Romans used to toast? According to the legend, they used to drink so many wine glasses as many were the letters that made up the name of the chosen person. Really, you have to be really careful with your choices.
*5 The keyhole
On the Aventino hill, you can take a look inside the keyhole that protect Priory of Malta Manor. Could you believe that from there you are able to cross three “countries”, the Italian, the Maltese ending up in admire St. Peter dome of the Vatican State? A travel into the travel.
*6 Rome’s Nasoni
Have you ever heard about Rome Nasoni? These are municipal fountains distributed everywhere, they allow everyone to drink and refresh themselves during city walks (and if you come to Rome in summertime you will appreciate them a lot, I am sure). So, just bring your empty bottle of water with you and feel free to refill it as many time you want, Nasoni are waiting to make you happy! The Nasoni name comes from the curved tube from which water comes out.
*7 First University of Rome
The first University of Rome, named Sapienza, is the largest in Europe and the second largest one in the world. Located in the center of the city, it was founded in 1303 with the Papal bull by Pope Boniface VIII.
*8 Optical illusion
Do you want to enjoy the best view of St. Peter dome? Just go to Piccolomini street, from where you can a view even better than the one you have from the square in front of the Basilica. And did you know? In Piccolomini street, the more you go and approach the dome, the more this seems to become smaller; the more you move away, the more it seems to enlarge. Go and check out directly this other magical effect of the Eternal City.
*9 21st April 753 BC
On Capitoline hill (one of the seven hills of Rome) at noon on 21st April of each year, a special bell called “Patarina” rings in order to celebrate the foundation of the Eternal City, Rome.
Everyone has its own birthday present, sometimes it is a cake, sometimes a bell ringing.
*10 “The mouth of Truth”
Truth or lie? Well, you have to be very very careful with this monument. Have you ever heard about “Bocca della Verità”, “The Mouth of Truth”? Many legends are connected with its story since the Middle Ages. People began to believe that this sculpture had the power to reveal the lies. For this reason, the suspects were brought in front of it where they were obliged to introduce a hand into its mouth. In the case of innocence, they would have taken it away indecisively; in the case of guilt, the “Mouth” would have bitten their hand showing up that they were liars. So, are you sure you are going to try this experience? 😀