Happy Birthday, Rome! Celebrating 2,771 Years
ROME -- On April 21 Rome celebrates its official birthday, ever known as the Natale di Roma, 2,771 years after the city's legendary founding by Romulus in 753 BC. For the occasion a parade of 2,000 in costume -- gladiators, politicians, priestesses -- will take place by the Colosseum.
The celebrations record the founding of Rome from tiny settlement on the Palatine Hill to what became Caput Mundi, the capital of the world, so-called for the vast extension of the Roman cultural, military and economic empire that lasted 1,000 years.
The celebratory date of April 21 itself derives from Roman history. In antiquity cattle were driven through bonfires on that day in honor of Pales, the goddess who protected flocks and livestock. Recording this, in a ceremony April 20 in the Colosseum, young ladies in Roman-looking frocks will dance, while historical charades of gladiatorial combat will take place for the entertainment of children.
In addition, the Colosseum will host a photo exhibition, plus lectures and demonstrative exhibits on Roman schooling in antiquity, on medicine, food, religion, women's fashions and makeup, idem for men, the fames children played and the lives of the military (legionaries and pretorians). Sponsors are the city of Rome plus, organizing the events for the 15th year, is the Gruppo Storico Romano, an historical drama society.
Other events include a visit to the Tiber Island, originally the Temple of Esclupius. Ending the weekend celebrations at the Colosseum are fireworks. (For details of the program in English see >> and, for this and other Italian travel site updates, also see >> )
In a novelty which will interest the many unable to be here this weekend, the new administration of the Colosseum has just announced that a single new ticket, called S.U.P.E.R., will allow visitors entry for two days into not only the Colosseum itself, but also the Roman Forum, Nero's covered passageway called the Cryptoportico, and the Palatine Museum, plus access to see new virtual reality narratives of Ancient Rome.