Rome, capturing the attention of 7-10 million tourists every year, The Eternal City is bursting with history, art, and delicious food. Being in the spotlight for century’s you would think all of Rome’s secrets are revealed to the public eye. But there are lots of lesser-known stories about the city that you may not have heard of. Let’s test your knowledge and see if you know any of these 20 fun facts about Rome.
20 fun facts about Rome | History & culture
#1 Rome was founded in 735 BC
Rome was thought to be founded in 753 BC by Romulus. Legend says that Romulus and his twin brother Remus were raised by a she-wolf after being abandoned in the Tiber river. Eventually, a shepherd found the boys and took them in as his own. After growing up, Romulus fought and killed Remus, becoming the first ruler of Rome!
#2 Cats are free to Roam in Rome
There is a law in Rome that permits cats to live where they were born without disturbance. While visiting Rome, you will be able to see hundreds of cats resting in the ruins of the Forum and walking on the walls of the Colosseum.
#3 The Roman’s Eyes Were Bigger Than Their Stomach
I’m sure you know just how delicious the Italian food is, but in Ancient Rome, it was common for citizens to vomit between their meals so they could continue to eat more.
#4 Men could only wear togas
In Ancient Rome, only free men could wear a toga, as it was a sign of Roman citizenship.
#5 Women wore Stola’s
The women wore stola’s, which was the female version of a toga.
#6 The Coins in The Trevi Fountain
3,000 Euros are collected from the bottom of the Trevi Fountain every night. All this money is donated to a catholic charity, Caritas, who uses the money to help needy families in Rome.
#7 Roman Breathalyzer
Roman spouses kissed their wives on the mouth at the end of the day. But, instead of doing it to show their unconditional love they were checking their partner’s breath to see if they had been sitting around drinking all day.
#8 Colosseum Casualties
Throughout the battles at the Colosseum, it is estimated that over 500,000 people and 1 million wild animals were killed. The last documented gladiator fight took place in 435 AD.
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#9 The Life of Gladiators
Contrary to popular belief, Roman Gladiators rarely fought to the death. Instead they were considered celebrities. However, this fame did not bring ease into their lives. Some Gladiators did by in combat and many were slaves. These harsh conditions did inspire rebellions such as the famous rebellion led by Spartacus.
#10 Emperor Gaius Caligula
The Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula did some questionable things including: making his horse a senator, committing incest with his sisters, feeding prisoners to wild animals, and having conversations with the moon.
#11 Roman Delicacies
In ancient Rome, Flamingo tongues were considered a popular delicacy.
#12 Emperor Nero
The ancient Roman Emperor Nero (ruling from 54 AD – 68 AD) is notorious for supposedly singing and playing the fiddle while Rome burned to the ground during the Great Fire of Rome.
#13 Present Day Rome
Today, Rome contains 280 fountains and over 900 churches that tourists and locals can enjoy year round.
#14 Rome wasn’t always the Capital City
Rome stole the title of “capital city” from Florence in 1870.
The symbol SPQR, which is found all over the city of Rome, stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus” which means, “The senate and the people of Rome”.
#16 Beauty in Rome
Women in ancient Rome dyed their hair red and blonde by using goat fat and beech wood ashes.
#17 The First Mall in Rome
The Roman Emperor Trajan built the first ever shopping mall. It contained multiple levels and over 150 outlets that sold everything ranging from food to clothes.
#18 Gladiator Blood
When a woman in ancient Rome was having trouble having a child, the doctor would prescribe gladiator blood to increase fertility. Gladiator Blood was used for a number of other medical problems in ancient Rome.
#19 No Toilet Paper No Problem
Before toilet paper was invented, the ancient Romans used a wet sponge and running water in public restrooms.
#20 The Use of Urine
In ancient Rome, there were public urinals for men to urinate in. They then used this urine to wash their clothes and even used it to brush their teeth!