Rome is the capital of Italy and Rome’s many art treasures and historic buildings make the city an important center of European culture.

November 27, 2012 8:31 am

Rome is the capital of Italy. This sprawling modern city has many ancient monuments. Rome’s history goes back more than 2,500 years. Because of its age, Rome is often called the Eternal City. Rome’s many art treasures and historic buildings make the city an important center of European culture.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME
In ancient times, Rome was the center of a mighty Roman empire. The empire lasted nearly 500 years, into the ad 400s. Roman armies conquered the lands that are now Italy, Greece, Great Britain, France, and Egypt. The Romans built many roads from Rome to distant parts of their empire. This network of roads led to a saying that “All roads lead to Rome.”
The Roman Empire’s influence is still present. The Romans spread their language, Latin, throughout Europe. Latin is the basis for Italian, French, Spanish, and other European languages.
AWESOME ARCHITECTURE
The ancient Romans were great builders. Several of their buildings still stand today. They are among Rome’s famous landmarks.
The Pantheon is a temple dedicated to the many Roman gods of mythology. The Roman Colosseum is a four-story amphitheater. An amphitheater is like a football stadium. The Colosseum is where Roman citizens once watched gladiators fight to the death. The Roman Forum was the political center of ancient Rome. The senate building and law courts were there, along with shops and religious buildings.
GREAT ART
Many artists painted in Rome. The most famous of them is Michelangelo. He lived 500 years ago. Thousands of people visit Rome each year to see his art.
Visitors to the Vatican stare in wonder at the beautiful murals that Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The murals show scenes from the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis.
VATICAN CITY
Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. The pope lives at the Vatican. He is the head of the Catholic Church. There are more than a billion Catholics worldwide, making Roman Catholicism the largest Christian religion.
Vatican City is an independent country within Rome. It is the smallest country in the world.
LEGENDARY BEGINNING
Did you know that a wolf is the official symbol for the city of Rome?
Legend says that an evil king tried to kill twin baby boys called Romulus and Remus by throwing them into the Tiber River. A female wolf found the boys washed ashore. She raised the twins. When the boys grew to be young men, they overthrew the evil king.
Romulus then founded the city of Rome on the banks of the Tiber. That was over 2,500 years ago.
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