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Rome has undergone rise and fall, tragedy and triumph yet remains the 'Eternal City'.
Rome's history is long and filled with tragedy and triumph, rise and fall, and rebirth. It earned its nickname as the “Eternal City” due to over a millennium of being the cultural center of the entire European continent and indeed, the Western world.
Rome became the capital of the Roman Empire, and is home to the Vatican City where many Popes have lived and where the Roman Catholic Church was founded.
Rome in the 20th Century: Modern Rome
The modern period of Rome, the 20th and now 21st centuries, can be classified as the 'Quarta Roma' or 'Fourth Rome'. Below are some of the key dates which helped reinforce Rome as the Eternal City that it remains today:
1929 – The year the pope was made the sovereign of Vatican City.
1931 – The year when there was a ‘boom’ of developments made in Rome. Slum areas which were overcrowded were opened up, ancient buildings such as Castel Sant’Angelo were restored and many public parks and gardens were built.
1946 – Italy became a totalitarian regime under Mussolini.
1960 – Rome hosted the 17th Olympic Games which resulted in the construction of major sporting facilities.
1978 – A key point in the history of the Catholic church, when Karol Woityla was annointed as Pope John Paul II.
1980 – Through the 1970s and 1980s violent transformations occurred, which even lead to the murder of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978. Pope John Paul II also suffered and lived through an assassination attempt when he was wounded in 1981.
2000 – The year of the Jubilee when about 16 million Catholic pilgrims flocked to the city. A major cleanup of Rome's churches and building facades and a reclaiming of the public places was carried out. The event lead to the beautification of the city once again, despite the government needing to spend billions to do so.
Modern Rome: The Eternal City during the Late 20th Century
One of the challenges that modern Rome has faced is a decrease in population because residents are moving out of the city to nearby villages. This is due to the fact that there is a decrease in the quality of life for Romans who tire of the pollution and heavy traffic of the metropolis.
However, the city has grown into a prime tourist location because of its status as the Eternal City and a living, breathing museum with wondrous delights to offer tourists from around the world.
While Romans are leaving, in fact, there’s now an influx of immigrants who are choosing Rome as their place of residence.