All that surrounds a visitor in Rome—the stunning art and architecture, the terrible traffic, the grandeur of scale and even the lively citizens—guarantees an unforgettable visit.
Ancient Rome is believed to have been founded on 21 April 753 BC. According to myth, the city was founded by the twins, Romulus and Remus. Romulus killed his brother in a battle over who should govern, then established the city of Rome on the Palatino. The city was ruled by Etruscan kings until 510 BC, when it became a republic.
By the 2nd century BC Rome had become very powerful. It controlled central and southern Italy, had defeated the rival empire of Carthage in three wars and was set to take over the whole Mediterranean. But as Rome became more powerful abroad, the city itself suffered several civil wars, with the last wrapping up in 44BC, when Brutus backstabbed Julius Caesar on the Ides of March.
The Republic ended and the Emperors took over, leading to a frenzy of civic and monumental building. Each Emperor wanted to leave his mark on the city - Nero built the Domus Aurea, Vespasian the Colosseum, Trajan his eponymous column, Hadrian Castel Sant'Angelo - and in their eagerness to outdo one another, they scattered Rome with many of the famous buildings which still stand today.
With the rise of Christianity in the 4th century, Rome lost much of its secular power but became the centre of a new empire, Christendom.
Modern Rome remains, as it has always been, an administrative and tourist centre, without much sign of industry or trade.