5 Fascinating Facts About Italy’s Eternal City

As Rome celebrates its 150-year anniversary as Italy's capital, here are a few intriguing facts.

1. And, Italy’s capital goes to…

Garibaldi isn’t the most popular figure among Americans who descended from Southern Italy, but it was he who declared Rome as Italy’s capital in 1870, while the country’s Unification movement came to a close. Florence was the capital, prior to the historic decision.

Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi at Piazzale in Rome, Italy.

2. A penny for your thoughts

Each year, tens of thousands of coins are tossed into the iconic Trevi Fountain and it adds up quickly. On average, more than $750,000 is pulled from the fountain, and all of it is given to charity.

Fontana di Trevi covered in snow during a rare blizzard in February 2018.

3. Drink up

Oh, and speaking of fountains, Rome has 280 of them (or nearly 3,000, if you count the drinking fountains). The 150-year-old drinking fountains supply citizens and tourists with a never-ending supply of potable water (they’re always running, to help keep the water clean and the city’s water system ventilated).

Take a sip! The water’s just fine.

4. Old school shipping

The 60-ton granite columns that support the Pantheon’s portico were shipped from Egypt roughly 2,040 years ago. The stone was quarried in Egypt in the mountains near the Red Sea, then dragged to the Nile, sailed up the river, across the Mediterranean, and along the Tiber before finally being pulled into place, according to The Local.

The Pantheon, one of Rome’s few ancient structures that remains fully intact. 

5. The mighty Colosseum

Upon completion in 80 AD, the Colosseum (then called the Flavian Amphitheater) could seat 80,000 people. It was in use for about 400 years, and historians estimate hundreds of thousands of people perished inside its walls. In 2018, 7 million people visited the ancient structure, making it the world’s most popular tourist attraction.

Panoramic shot of the interior of The Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre) in Rome, Italy. The Colosseum was constructed in the 1st century AD.

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