Happy Birthday, Rome!
Here’s an all-too-familiar scenario: you’ve got a friend with a birthday coming up. It’s an important one, too, a really big deal—but, then again, at her age, every birthday is a big deal. You’ve known her for a long time—most of your life, in fact—but you’re having a hard time figuring out what to get her this year. She’s like a second mother to you, and therefore the gift has to be awesome. So what do you get her? Definitely not the same thing you got her last year, since she’d remember it, even at her advanced age, and she’d hold it against you for the rest of your (and her) life. Oh, and she’s going to outlive you by a long shot.
So what do you get for someone on her 2765th birthday? Don’t panic: a lot of people have put a lot of thought into it, maybe even too much.
Today, tomorrow, and Sunday the City of Rome is marking the traditional “birthday” of Rome, commemorating the founding of the city by Romulus on April 21, 753 BC. The whole centro storico will be the scene of one big party.
Among the things not to miss:
- Reduced entry to the Capitoline Museums (coinciding with Culture Week), where you can pay homage to Romulus’ adoptive mom, the Lupa Capitolina, who is basically responsible for the last 2765 years
- The Gruppo Storico Romano’s re-enactments of the foundation myth (the plowing of the pomerium) and the ancient Parilia festival
- A series of itineraries around the Trevi fountain exploring the complex culture and history of Rome from antiquity to today
- Free guided tours of the Palazzo Senatorio (City Hall)
Among the things you could probably live without:
- Various military bands playing really loud music that only your grandparents could enjoy
- Various official ceremonies involving lots of very well-dressed but bored-looking people in stiff poses carrying wreaths and medallions that no one will care about after this weekend
- Various shows about artists and historical figures you’ve never heard of
- Various tours of Rome’s monumental Verano cemetery, just to rub in the fact that Rome is going to outlive you by a long shot
- A big, gawdy concert on the Via dei Fori Imperiali featuring a bunch of actors, musicians, and artists you’ve never heard of