Fun facts about Rome

Rome is well known as being the headquarters of the Roman Empire but did you know that it is home to one of Italy’s oldest pet cemeteries? Or that there is a church crypt decorated with the bones of around 4,000 monks? Check out this post for other unsurprising facts about Rome!

- Did you know that Rome’s Mosque is the biggest in Europe? It covers about 7,000 square metres!

- Did you know that Rome is home to one of Italy’s oldest cemeteries for animals? It was built under the command of Mussolini in 1923, who wanted it as a place where he could bury a chicken that his children loved. It is about 1,000 square metres in size and has gravestones for dogs, cats, ducks, pigeons and even a lion!

- Did you know that the obelisk at Piazza Navona is over 16 metres high? With the fountain, the pedestal and the dove, it goes beyond 30 metres!

- Did you know that there are around 2,500 illustrations of animals inside St Peter’s Basilica? If you look, you will find illustrations of lambs, bees, eagles, donkeys, whales, camels, dogs, goats, horses, doves, a deer, owls, crocodiles, elephants, crows, butterflies, cockerels, lizards, lions, pigs, squirrels, scorpions, snakes, turtles, mice, bulls, foxes, fish, wolves, sheep and bears. Incredibly, there is only one illustration of a cat!

- Did you know that the exact centre of Rome is marked by a marble fragment hidden under vegetation in the Roman Forum? You’ll find it in front of the ruins of Saturn’s temple, at the feet of Capital Hill. It was placed there in 20 B.C. by Emperor Augustus in order to establish the starting point of the main streets.

- Did you know that the Church of St Mary of the Immaculate Conception of the Capuchins (also known as Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins in Rome) has a crypt that is decorated with the bones of about 4,000 Capuchin friars? You’ll find on Via Veneto, near Palazzo Barberini and although the choice to decorate the crypt with bones appears macabre, it was actually a way that the monks emphasized that the body was not a container of the soul.

- Slightly more unnerving, did you know that the Church of Santa Maria dell'Orazione e Morte is home to a skeleton bearing a plaque with “Hodie mihi, cras tibi” (or “Your day will come”) written on it? Goodness!

- Did you know that the oldest prison in Rome dates back to 387 B.C. It looks like a cave and is the site where political prisoners were executed by strangulation! According to legend, the apostles Peter and Paul were said to have been imprisoned here.

Have these facts made you think of a holiday to Rome? Check out our extensive range of package holidays, including crypt tours, romantic night tours and RBS 6 Nations rugby packages.

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