The age-old proverb “Rome wasn’t built in a day” rings so true of this eternal city. Rome was probably not built in just a day, and if legends are to be believed, the process of the building started on April 21st, 753 BC, over 2,700 years ago. Even to this day, Rome grandly celebrates its birthday. Plan your Roman holiday around this time of year and grab the once in a lifetime chance to witness the grandeur of these celebrations

The Legend

The legend about the birth of Rome is as fascinating as this fantastic city itself. Legend has it that Rome was founded by the orphaned twins Romulus and Remus, who were suckled by a wolf. They were the children of Rhea Silvia and the God of War, Mercury. Rhea was the daughter of King Numitor of Alba Longa.

However, her uncle Amulius wanted her to remain a vestal virgin and forced her to forsake her children. He ordered that the twins be drowned in River Tiber. Perhaps because they were sons of God, the twins survived. They were washed to the foot of Palatine Hill where they were found by a she-wolf who suckled them and gave them life. It was here that shepherd Faustulus found the babies and took them home.

The boys grew up to become leaders of their group of shepherd warriors. When they learned that they were truly the heirs to the throne of Alba Longa, they attacked the empire, defeated Amulius and made their grandfather the king. Next, they wanted to establish their city at the place where the shepherd found them. Unfortunately, missunderstandings sprung up between the brothers and Romulus killed Remus. By default, Romulus became the king of the city they founded and called it Rome.

The exact date of founding was set by Marcus Terentius Varro, a Roman scholar, in 1 BC, as for April 21st, Rome's birthday.

The Celebrations

Rome’s birthday is the pinnacle of all birthday celebrations. Lots of activities are planned over the birthday weekend closest to April 21st. During the weekend extravaganza, Rome comes alive with concerts, reenactments of historical events, parades and other cultural celebrations at Circus Maximus. The Colosseum lights up with gladiator displays and fireworks.

The rich cultural history of Rome is beautifully depicted through the weekend birthday celebrations. Be there, say cheers and sing “Happy Birthday” to this great city.