The Tiber River rises at Mount Fumaiolo in Emilia-Romagna and meets the sea at Ostia, meandering its way through Italy for 252 miles. Legend says Rome’s founders, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, were abandoned on its waters, where they were rescued by the she-wolf, Lupa.
Encircled by a 2-mile border with Italy, Vatican City is an independent city-state that covers just over 100 acres, making it one-eighth the size of New York’s Central Park. Vatican City is governed as an absolute monarchy with the pope at its head. The Vatican mints its own euros, prints its own stamps, issues passports and license plates, operates media outlets and has its own flag and anthem.
Rome is a juxtaposition of old and new. It is modern, the energy and sophistication reminding me of New York City while its low skyline revering history reminds me of Washington D.C. Yet here the history is ancient. The Colosseum, built in 70 AD, rises up at the end of Via dei Fori Imperiali, a road constructed by the order of Mussolini in 1923. While the road is highly controversial due to the demolition of ancient and medieval structures and the continued damage to the ancient monuments, it has created one of the most awe inspiring views in the world.
“We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.”
– Willy Wonka