The old adage says that Rome wasn't built in a day, but one day each year in the capital is dedicated to celebrating its founding. Those visiting Rome this spring can join in the festivities as Rome celebrates its 'birthday' on 21 April, with many of the city's top museums and archaeological sites opening their doors for free and local societies staging re-enactments to commemorate the occasion.
Rome is among the most famous historical cities in the world, from its alleged founding in 753BC through the rise and fall of the mighty Roman Empire and its prominence as the home of the Roman Catholic Church to this day. In a city with such a rich historical and cultural tradition, the celebration of Rome's founding with the annual Birth of Rome day of festivities is the perfect opportunity for visitors and locals alike to discover more about Rome's fascinating past and enjoy lively community events.
The legend goes that Rome was founded on 21 April 753BC by the brothers Romulus and Remus, twin sons of a woman who was impregnated by the god Mars. These half-divine children posed a threat to the new Latin king who ordered them to be drowned, but they were rescued and raised by a she-wolf and eventually founded the grand city. Romulus subsequently killed his brother in a dispute over who should rule and lent his name to Rome.
As with any legend, it's the tradition that matters rather than the historical accuracy, and the Birth of Rome day is an opportunity to celebrate the city's past and present glories with a number of indoor and outdoor events. Many of these are centred on Aventine Hill, where local societies stage re-enactments of the battle between Romulus and Remus as well as other notable events in Rome's history, for the entertainment of onlookers. Those interested in discovering more about Rome's past can also attend public speeches and banquets held over the preceding weeks, and the festival culminates in a dazzling fireworks display over the River Tiber.
Visitors taking flights to Rome this spring will find themselves perfectly situated for a wide range of events, from Easter celebrations that take on a special significance in the historic city, conducted by the Pope himself, to more specific events such as the Roma Wine Festival and the dedicated Fantafestival, showcasing the best independent science fiction and horror films. There's much to see and do when visiting the Eternal City over the next few months.