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Natale di Roma – When Ancient Rome Comes Back to the Future

Romulus and Remus

Everyone knows that Rome was once the center of the ancient world. In fact, movies like Gladiator and TV series like Rome teleport us back in time when the Colosseum was alive with the roar of crowds and the streets are busy with the footfalls of be-sandaled feet and the shifting of togas. Ancient Rome has capture our imagination and our minds keep coming back to its glorious heydays.

What if there was a way to go back there and all it would cost you is a plane ticket?

Every April 21st, modern Romans and historical interest groups all over Europe converge in the Eternal City in order to give us a taste of its old glory through the festivities of Natale di Roma or Rome’s birthday.

The Backstory

Part of the celebration always involves the re-enactment of the myth of how the city’s founders came to be and how they founded Rome.

Roughly three thousand years ago, Mars (also known as Ares in Greek) lusted after a vestal virgin and visited her in her temple. Their union gave birth to two demi-human babies, Romulus and Remus. The tribal king of Alba Longa had the twins thrown into the Tiber River. Luckily, the currents washed their cradle onto Pale where a she-wolf nursed them with her milk.

When the two grew up, they decided to build a city on the banks of a Tiber. A violent dispute between the two drove Romulus to kill his brother Remus. Ancient Romans used to worship Romulus and venerated him as the founder of the city.


Circus Maximus

Cityscape From  Height, Roofs Of Red Tiles

The Circus Maximus or the biggest circus was the largest mass entertainment venue in Rome and here, Romans held chariot racing games as well as gladiatorial fights. The circus can be found in the valley between the Aventine and the Palatine Hills.  It was the largest stadium of its time and could easily host a maximum of 250,000 people. No other place can be an apt host to the Natale di Roma except the Circus Maximus.

Via dei  Fori Imperiali

The Via dei Fori Imperiali is a road located at the center of Rome which interlinks the Colosseum, the Piazza of Venezia, and the forums of Trajan, Augustus, and Nerva. Archaeologists eye the road for the various treasures that lie underneath it.

Event Highlights

April 21, 2014, The Birth Of Rome

Commissio Feriarum – the opening ceremony of the festivities for the founding of Rome begins with a lighting of the fire in the Circus Maximus.

Parade – History buffs and re-enactors dressed in various costumes and old regalia of ancient Rome walk towards the Via dei Fori Imperiali before the Italian public. Expect to see emperors, senators, and centurions reclaim the new roads of their old empire. European counterparts playing as their ancestors, who were thought to be barbarians by the Romans, will also grace the streets. In any case, this is a wonderful opportunity for travelers to take pictures.

Re-enactments Re-enactors will stage the founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus through a play called “The Mark of the Groove.” Aside from this, visitors can expect to see various stagings of important events in Rome’s history like its battles with the “barbarian” tribes of Europe. People can also expect re-enactments of gladiatorial fights.

Cultural and Educational Encounters – Of course, this is not just an occasion for costumes and historical role-playing, the Natale di Roma is also an educational and cultural event. Visitors can expect to see activities mounted by universities and schools which will help flesh out the fact from the fiction in Roman history.

For more information on the event and its programme, please visit Grupo Storico Romano’s exclusive page for Natale di Roma.

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By Priscila Siano (266 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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