2,772 years of an eternal story!
Everything is ready in Rome. The date is approaching and the whole city is quivering in view of the 2,772 birthday of the eternal city, which coincides this year with a very special day for Catholics, Easter Sunday! If you are in town, be ready to great and joyful celebrations, which commemorate either the founding of Rome or the rebirth and renewal of Christian faith.
The legend claims that almost three thousand years ago, on April 21st 753 BC, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, sons of the fierce Roman god of war, Mars, and a princess named Rhea Silvia, had an argument about who would rule the new city or, according to different sources, about its size and boundaries. Romulus had the upper hand: he killed his brother with no pity and founded the city himself, naming it and becoming its first king.
In the earliest times, Rome was nothing more than a small settlement distributed on two hilltops, but it was destined to a glorious future. Over the years and the centuries, it grew and grew and its brave people and brilliant leaders made it the Caput Mundi, the cultural, political, and economic capital of the ancient world.
What to expect on the anniversary? There will be wonderful historical re-enactments, gladiator fights, ancient dances, and even a costumed parade, through three days from April 20th to April 22nd.
The enchanting setting of the Circus Maximus, the ancient chariot-racing stadium, will be the main focus of the celebrations, but the whole archaeological area will brighten up with ceremonies.
On April 20th, at 6PM, the Circus Maximus will host thrilling races with two- and four- wheel chariots, resembling the ancient Roman ones. On top of that, fabulous reconstructed ancient Roman artillery and war machines in full size will be on display, to the delight of adults and children.
Even more interesting is the event which will occur on the following day at 5PM: the Circus will become the seat of an ancient Roman football match, the Harpastum, an ancestor to the modern rugby that involves two teams trying to keep the ball within their own zone.
The opening ceremony will be the so-called “Commissio Feriarum” at 10:30AM, the ritual lighting of the sacred fire of Rome, followed by a spectacular costumed procession, featuring more 2,000 characters, senators, priests and priestesses, vestal virgins, gladiators, headed by a girl of stunning beauty who embodies the goddess Rome. They will make a three-hour long circular parade, which has its starting point in the Circus Maximus, passes along the Theatre of Marcellus, the feet of the Capitoline Hill, via dei Fori Imperiali with a stop there in front of Augustus’ statue, to honour the founder and first ruler of the Roman empire with a laurel crown, and then continues to the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine to be back in the Circus Maximus around 2PM.
There, at 3:30PM, you could attend exhilarating gladiator fights and the ceremony known as “tracciato del solco”, which recalls and glorifies the very first mythical gesture in the founding of Rome, the digging of a trench to make offerings to the earth gods and have their blessing over the city and its future inhabitants.
Do not forget to go to the Circus Maximus and have a look, let Rome’s special birthday party capture your imagination and emotions and you will be overwhelmed by the colourful beauty, the historical roots, the joyful cultural awareness connected to traditions and legends which have made Rome the charming, vibrant heart of an eternal story.
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di Susanna Milani, P.I.11676951004