Fun Facts About Rome

Oct 12, 2017

Rome, the Eternal City, is a city unlike any other in the world. Here are a few random facts about this amazing city!  Enjoy and Share!

  • Decorated by 4,000 deceased monks The Capuchin Crypt in Rome consists of five chapels and a corridor 60 meters long. c
  • The abbreviation SPQR can be found on many Roman statues, buildings, and military standards. It stands for “senatus populusque romanus.” meaning “The senate and people of Rome.”
  • Togas were unique to Rome and were worn by free-born Roman men as a mark of distinction. Ironically, the only women who wore togas were prostitutes because they were not allowed to wear stolas, the traditional garment of Roman women. d
  • On the day the Colosseum officially opened, it remained open for 3 full days and 5,000 animals were killed. During its history, it has been estimated that over 500,000 people (men and women) and over a million animals from all over the world were killed. e
  • Because Romans were highly superstitious and feared anything to do with the left, they based their words for “left” and “left-handed” on the modern meaning of sinister. They words are  sinistra and sinister, respectively. a
  • The Pantheon, “Temple of the Gods,” was built by the emperor Hadrian (118-125). It is remarkable for a couple of reasons: 1) its massive dome has withstood the test of time and elements for almost 2000 years and I made solely of concret with no reinforcing steel and 2) The oculus in the center of the dome is open air. Until the nineteenth century The Pantheon was the largest concrete curved dome that existed. a
  • If you have ever seen the film Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, then you are familiar with the Mouth of Truth or “La bocca della Verita.” Legend says that if you tell a lie andyou’re your hand in the mouth it will cut off your hand. At one point priest in the Middle ages actually put scorpions in the mouth to perpetuate the myth. The Mouth of Truth is now thought to be an ancient Roman manhole cover or part of a first-century statuec
  • Blessing of the Throats – Every year in the middle of winter, February 3rd, after the mass at the church of the Madonna del Divino Amore in Campo Marzio, the priest gives a blessing to people’s throats to help get them through the winter. To bless the throats the priest holds two lit candles in the form of a cross and touches the people on the throat repeating the phrase: “Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.” b
  • Mass in Aramaic – Every Sunday at 10:30am in the church of Santa Maria in Campo Marzio you can be a part of a mass in Jesus’ language, Aramaic, as well as Arabic and Italian. b
  • The Most Holy Crucifix – One night in 1519 the church of San Marcello al Corso burnt to the ground in a fire. Everything was destroyed except a wooden crucifix from the main alter. This crucifix later put an end to a plague and became known as the Most Holy Crucifix. There is a legend that the sculptor of this particular crucifix actually killed a man in his sleep so that he could create a more realistic representation of Christ on the Cross.b
  • The Trevi Fountain took 30 years to build. It was originally started because of a competition that Pope Clement XII organized. In 1732 the work began and was designed of Niccolo Salvi, which was influenced by Bernini. It remained unfinished until after Niccolo died in 1751, and was finally finished in 1762 by Giuseppe Panini.b
  • Invito a Palazzo – “Invitation to the Palace.” One day each year there are several banks open to the public for tours. The reason is because many of the palaces in Rome are now occupied by banks. These palaces have amazing frescoes and sculptures you can see on the first Saturday in October for free.b
  • The giant and famous obelisk in St. Peter’s Square is also a meridian (one of the largest in the world).b
  • Of all the many many basilicas in the world, there are only 4 in all of Christendom that possess a holy door and they are located in Rome. The four churches are: Saint Peter in the Vatican, Saint Mary Major, Saint John Lateran, and Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Why is a holy door a holy door? Because they are only opened every 25 years during Jubilees. b
  • Blessings in Rome – There are many different things in Rome you can get blessed on specific dates. Some include, blessing of the throats, blessings of expectant mothers, blessing of the animals, blessing of motorists and many more.b

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  References a Burgan, Michael. 2005. Empire of Ancient Rome. New York, NY: Facts on File Books. bLovatelli, Ginevra. 2012. Secret Rome. France: Jonglez c The Sydney Morning Herald. “Rome—Places to See.” November 28, 2008. d Wolf, Greg, ed. 2003. Cambridge Illustrated History: Roman World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. e Kerrigan, Michael. 2001. Ancient Rome and the Roman Empire. London, UK: BBC WorldWide Ltd.