How Did Rome Become the Capital of Italy?

By Anna Duncan

How Did Rome Become the Capital of Italy?

In order to understand how Rome became the capital of Italy, we need to delve into the rich history of this ancient city. Rome, known as the Eternal City, has a fascinating story that spans over two thousand years. From its humble beginnings as a small village on the banks of the Tiber River, Rome grew into a powerful empire that dominated much of Europe and beyond.

The Rise of Ancient Rome

Around 753 BC, Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, twin brothers who were raised by a she-wolf. This mythical tale serves as a symbolic representation of Rome’s resilience and strength. Over time, the city-state of Rome grew in size and power, eventually becoming the capital of the Roman Republic.

  • Expansion: The Roman Republic expanded its territory through military conquests and diplomacy. By 275 BC, Rome had conquered most of Italy.
  • Influence: As it grew in power, Rome began to exert its influence over other regions.

    It established colonies and formed alliances with neighboring cities.

  • Punic Wars: One of the most significant events in Roman history was the Punic Wars against Carthage. Through three brutal wars from 264 to 146 BC, Rome emerged victorious and gained control over Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and parts of Spain.

The Roman Empire

By 27 BC, after years of civil war and political turmoil, Octavian (later known as Augustus) became the first emperor of Rome. This marked the beginning of the Roman Empire – an era characterized by unprecedented growth and prosperity.

  • Infrastructure: The Romans were known for their advanced infrastructure, including roads, aqueducts, and public buildings. Rome became a hub of trade and commerce.
  • Pax Romana: Under the Pax Romana (Roman Peace), which lasted from 27 BC to 180 AD, Rome enjoyed a period of relative stability and peace. This allowed the city to flourish culturally and economically.

Rome as the Capital of Italy

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, Rome went through a period of decline. However, its historical significance and cultural heritage remained intact. In the late 19th century, during the Italian unification process known as the Risorgimento, Rome once again rose to prominence.

Venice vs. Florence vs. Rome

The question of which city should become the capital of Italy was a subject of debate among Italian nationalists. Venice and Florence were strong contenders due to their historical importance and cultural contributions. However, it was ultimately Rome that emerged victorious.

  • Rome’s historical legacy: The ancient ruins and monuments scattered throughout Rome served as a reminder of its glorious past as the capital of an empire.
  • Papal influence: The Vatican City, an independent state within Rome, played a significant role in shaping Italy’s political landscape.

The Capture of Rome

In 1870, Italian troops successfully captured Rome from French forces loyal to Pope Pius IX. This event marked the end of papal rule over the city and paved the way for Rome to become the capital of Italy.

Rome Proclaimed Capital:

On July 2, 1871, Rome was officially proclaimed as the capital of Italy. The Italian government began the process of transforming Rome into a modern capital by constructing new buildings and expanding its infrastructure.

Modern-day Rome

Today, Rome stands as a vibrant city that seamlessly blends ancient ruins with modern architecture. It is not only the political capital of Italy but also a cultural center that attracts millions of tourists each year.

In conclusion, Rome became the capital of Italy through a combination of historical legacy, political maneuvering, and cultural significance. Its journey from a small village to the heart of an empire showcases its enduring influence and captivating allure.