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Even after the fall of the Roman Empire the city stayed important. It also became a hotbed of intrigue. Vatican City, center of the Roman Catholic Church, is located in Rome. While Vatican City is its own sovereign country, Rome is the end of many religious pilgrimages and the place where many political machinations about the power base of the church took place. During the time when the Catholic Church was possibly the most important and most powerful entity in Europe this made Rome very important indeed.
The legend behind the start of Rome is that a pair of twins named Romulus and Remus, who had been raised by a she-wolf, decided that they would build a city. They decided that it would be built within the 7 hills that are in and around Rome today. After an argument about the name Romulus killed Remus and named the city Rome, after himself. The story also says that he invited everyone into the city, slave and free man alike. He chose 100 good and honest men to start the Roman Senate. Modern attempts to track the linguistic roots of the word "Rome" suggest that it came from the Etruscan language.
The real story is that Rome started as several small villages on the hills. The location on Rome was ideal because it wasn't too far from the ocean, about 19 miles. The Tiber River runs through Rome. It also has a place where the Tiber can be easily forded. All of this goes up to making the location of Rome just about perfect. Fresh water source, easy transportation for goods and easy to defend are three things that help people choose where to settle.
The Etruscans are part of the early history of Rome. At least two of the early kings of Rome are thought to be part Etruscan. Their names refer to Tarquinia, which was an Etruscan city. While there are many remnants of Etruscan society in Rome through their art, language and architecture, they weren't the overwhelming influence in Rome. It started out as a Latin city, and it has stayed a Latin city for the rest of its 2500+ years.
While Rome has waned somewhat in modern political influence, there is no way that anyone can deny its influence on the modern world. People still flock to Rome for many reasons, including religious pilgrimages and education, fashion, and just to immerse themselves in the rich history of the area. If you are looking for somewhere that is not only beautiful but full of history and places to explore, Rome is the place to go.
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