Rome: The Eternal City
The One, the Only, Eternal City
Legend has it that in ancient Rome in the centre of its Forum there was a marker, the Milliarium Aureum, or ‘golden milestone’ from which all distances in the Roman empire were measured, and from which all major routes could be linked. Whether or not that stone actually existed is up for debate. But the expression ‘All roads lead to Rome” is not, because 2000 years ago this empirical capital was, in fact, the centre of the world.
Many travellers today still consider this city a ‘golden milestone’ on their travel list and for good reason. Architectural wonders like the Colosseum, the Forum, St. Peter’s Basilica and the aqueducts flowing into the city from outside its fabled walls, have given this city the right to be one of the most-visited in the world. But it isn’t just the past that makes Rome so magnetic.
Rome is perhaps the quintessential example of a city that lives in the past, the present, and the future, all at the same time. You can’t dig a spadeful of earth for a modern subway without unearthing some artefact that dates back to Rome’s past. Relics and buildings from ancient, medieval, or renaissance times can all be found here. But this city is no museum, and the people who live here, while respecting their past with the same pride as their ancient Roman ancestors, live life to its fullest in the present. Every piazza is populated with locals strolling with their boyfriends, girlfriends, or children, and neighbourhood bars and restaurants buzz with regulars and tourists alike.
The beauty, the passion, the pride and the chaos that define this city and its citizens are what make Rome truly timeless, even if it is no longer the literal centre of the world.
TIP: While all roads may no longer lead to Rome, it certainly feels that way if you’re trying to negotiate its traffic. Don’t even think about driving here – not only is the historical centre off-limits without special driving permits, the city is easily walkable and transit or taxis offer much better alternatives when the cobblestones take their toll on your feet.
READ MORE ARTICLES ON ROME BELOW:
My most treasured ‘insultiment’ in Rome
As a traveller I've always done my best to immerse myself in the culture of the countries I visit, with the ultimate goal being that someday I might even be mistaken for a local – and not just by another visitor, but by a local himself. This actually happened to me...
Truth or Dare, Roman-Style
The Art: (from left to right) A cheap ceramic replica of La Bocca della Veritå; the 'real deal' in Rome; and Audrey Hepburn testing its powers in the movie Roman Holiday. The Story: (or how I discovered La Bocca della Verità) On my first ever visit to Rome, I...
How I Saved a Roman Honeymoon
My desire to share travel tips probably started back in 1985 when I was living in Rome, and I couldn't help but offer advice to people on where to go and what to see in my favourite city. I wanted everyone to see the Rome that I had fallen in love with, and I soon...