April 21 is the day the eternal city celebrates its official birth.
This year the capital celebrates its 2,770th birthday. Known as Natale di Roma, the annual birthday celebration is based on the legendary foundation of Rome by Romulus in 753 BC.
Buon compleanni, Roma!
You don’t look a day over 1000!
Now, let’s refresh our memories:
You will remember from your history lessons that Rome was founded as a small settlement atop the Palatine Hill (the hill within the Roman Forum complex), a settlement that would one day become the Caput Mundi (capital of the world).
Archaeology can be used to determine how Rome was actually founded, but it is through the stories orally passed down through history that gives us the colorful legendary story, filled with love, death, nurture and triumph and casts two baby boys, Romulus and Remus, alongside a she-wolf as the protagonists of one of the the world’s most fascinating tales.
The orphaned twins, Romulus and Remus, were the sons of Mars, the God of War, and Rhea Silvia, the daughter of the ex-King Numitor of Alba Longa.
Rhea’s uncle Amulius was threatened by the young babies, convinced that one day they would overthrow him, just as he had done to Rhea’s father. Rhea was forced to forsake her children and an order was given to drown the twins in the River Tiber. Remarkably, the twins survived this brutal attempt at their lives. A she-wolf found the babies and kept them alive by caring for them like they were her pups.
After the she-wolf gave Romulus and Remus a chance at life, Faustulus, a shepherd, adopted them as his own. He raised the boys as leaders of a group of shepherd warriors.
Growing stronger every day, the twins eventually learned that their mother was the daughter of the Kind of Alba Longa; they stormed the empire, claiming their right as heirs, killing the uncle who ordered their death, and reinstating their grandfather as the king.
Having had their revenge, the brothers returned to the place where the she-wolf had found them and set out to build a city of their own.
As so often happens in epic myths (and real life), the two power hungry brothers had a series of disagreements. Romulus ended up killing his brother Remus in a fight and thus Romulus then became the king of the city that they had founded atop the Palatine Hill. He named it “Rome”.
If you’ll be in Rome this weekend, and want to join the party, here’s a resource for activities planned: