25 Fun Facts About Rome
Updated: Jun 25
Learn about the ancient city with these facts about Rome.
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The Eternal City has been captivating visitors for many, many years. With a rich history, famous monuments like the Colosseum, ancient city forums, and world-beloved cuisine, it’s no wonder so many people love the city of Rome.
Learn about how it became the well-loved city it is today with these facts about Rome. It truly is the embodiment of history, culture, and beauty. You'll want to plan a trip to go appreciate it yourself!
If you haven’t been to Rome yet, this blog is your sign to book plane tickets asap. With ancient ruins that leave you feeling like you flew back in time, incredible architecture with insane details, and delicious food you won’t want to stop eating, Rome is simply a must-visit travel destination in this wild world, let alone in the vast country of Italy.
While many people know of the capital of Italy, I’ve put together a list of fun facts about Rome to teach you more about this wonderful city and how it became the place it is today. So let’s dive in.
Facts About Rome: Its History and Current State
1. The Capital
Rome is the capital of Italy and also the largest city in Italy. Home to more than 2.8 million people, Rome sits as the 100th largest city in the world by population.
Fountains can be found all over the city. There are over 1,000 fountains in Rome, some of which are huge and intricate, like the Trevi Fountain. But there are also thousands of drinking fountains in Rome too; they constantly have clean drinking water available so bring your water bottle to fill up while exploring the city.
Along with fountains, you’ll find an abundance of churches in Rome. With over 900 churches in the city, Rome is the city with the most churches in the world. Generally, the design and details are beautiful and intricate, well-worth admiring.
4. Monarch to Republic
Florence was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy until 1870. Rome didn’t become the capital until then, and in 1946 Rome became the capital of the Italian Republic after the monarch was replaced with a republic.
5. Eternal City
The city has also been known as “The Eternal City” for many, many years. Rome gained this nickname because it was believed that this was an “empire without end,” and that the city would last forever.
6. Cats Everywhere
There are around 300,000 cats living in Rome, nearly half of which are feral. They are protected by law and seen as sacred by many. They provide great pest control and are often fed and cared for even if they are feral. You can find little cat sanctuaries all over the city with volunteers taking care of them.
7. Money in the Water
Visitors toss euros in the Trevi Fountain every day for good luck. It has become such a popular activity, it is estimated nearly 1.5 million euros are collected every year! This is all donated to help feed and shelter the homeless in Rome.
8. No, No Mayor
In 2017, Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome tried to divert the money from the Trevi Fountain to update and build the city’s infrastructure. Her plan was condemned after much backlash and criticism.
9. Spanish, French, Italian
The famous Spanish Steps are not actually Spanish, they were commissioned by the French. They are located in the Piazza di Spagna, or the Square of Spain, which is why they were given this name. It is known as the Piazza di Spagna due to it housing the Spanish embassy.
10. Tiny Nation
The world’s smallest independent nation-site is located within the city limits of Rome. The Vatican City is found in Rome, but it is its very own sovereign city-state with its own post office, bank system, telephone system, and pharmacy.
11. No Wonder
One of the seven new wonders of the world can be found in Rome. The Colosseum is a well-known monument around the world and attracts many visitors every day. This massive work of art is one of the seven wonders; it’s magnificent to see in person.
12. Too Many Slaves
It took around 60,000 to 100,000 people to complete the Colosseum. Most of these people were Jewish slaves being overseen by Roman engineers.
13. Roman Highways
“All Roads to Lead to Rome” right? Ancient Romans were known to build incredible road systems. This gave them military advantages as they would build roads directly from Rome to newly overtaken cities to claim them as colonies, greatly building their empire. They also utilized mile markers that allowed travelers to find their way, similar to today’s road signs.
14. Books Because Bibles
Bound books made of paper were created by the Romans. This is highly due to religious texts being so popular among Romans.
The Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica is a marvelous building, architectural and mural-wise. Michelangelo is known for being one of the architects to design the dome, and while he has much credit to be given, he only worked on it for 18 of the 150 years it took to build.
16. Ancient Shopping Malls
Trajan’s Market is believed to be the first mall or covered shopping center in the world. It seems to have held shops, offices, and apartments and possibly served as a public meeting forum as well. You can visit and explore the site of Trajan’s today.
17. Big Dome
The Pantheon is the best-preserved ancient monument in Italy. There are famous tombs here, including that of Raphael, the famous artist.
18. Busy Streets
Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world. With famous monuments to admire, food and gelato to enjoy on every corner, and tons of charming streets to stroll down, it’s no wonder Rome attracts over 10 million visitors every year.
19. Celebrate With a Fight
Gladiator fights were a very popular form of entertainment for ancient Romans. The completion of the Colosseum was celebrated with 100 days of games, including man-to-man combat, wild animal fights, and possibly even naval combat reenactments.
20. Drink the Blood
Gladiator blood was believed to be medicinal in ancient Rome. It was prescribed to treat infertility, epilepsy, and more.
21. No Gladiators Left
Because there were so many fights and celebrations in the Colosseum, many people died there. It is estimated that over 400,000 people died fighting in this world-famous arena over the span of nearly 350 years. That’s an average of more than 3 people dying every day.
22. Kind of Hilly
The ancient city of Rome was built on seven hills, now known as the 7 Hills of Rome. Palatine Hill is where the city was founded. You can visit Palatine Hill and the ruins of the Roman Forum right next to the Colosseum.
23. Water System to Great Empire
Romans greatly improved the already existing aqueducts to build stronger communities. They utilized pipes, canals, bridges, and gravity to create complex aqueduct systems that moved fresh water around the city to be used for drinking, cleaning, and bathing. This played a huge part in it becoming such a powerful empire.
24. Ancient Holiday Traditions
Saturnalia, coming from Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture and time, was celebrated in mid-winter. Gifts and sacrifices were offered during this winter celebration. Most people would decorate their homes, sing, dance, and come together with friends and family to celebrate the turning point of winter. Sometimes even slaves got to switch places with their masters for this event. Many modern Christmas traditions are derived from this ancient Roman holiday.
25. King Romulus
April 21st is a big deal here; it is the birthday of Rome, otherwise known as Natale di Roma. It’s believed this was the day Romulus, Rome’s namesake, became the first of the Seven Kings of Rome on this day. There are many celebrations on April 21st, such as a parade and much feasting.
Rome’s captivating history and culture attract many admirers every year. With incredible architectural feats, it’s no wonder Rome’s famous monuments have stood the test of time and continue to draw people in. These fun facts about Rome are great to know, but we’re only scratching the surface here.
With food and culture loved and admired all around the world, Rome is a true embodiment of history and magnificence. It’s more than just a wonderful travel destination, it’s art, culture, architecture, people, food, and beauty.
I hope these facts about Rome inspire you to visit and learn more about this fantastic city yourself. I hope you get the chance to appreciate its story, culture, and current beauty. Check out more of my Rome travel guides and start planning a trip!