Location/Culture Reports

Culture Report – Rome

The next destination of TAR is Rome, Italy. Rome, also known as the Eternal City, is the capital of Italy. It has been an important center of civilization for over 2,000 years. As the capital of the Roman Empire, Rome ruled the ancient Western world. During this time, Rome was the supreme power of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia. Ancient Rome’s influence can still be seen today in such fields as architecture, government, language, and law.

A quote from the movie Life of Brian is a great example of the influence the Roman Empire had:
REG: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

XERXES: Brought peace.

REG: Oh. Peace? Shut up!

There are many books written about Ancient Rome including Virgil's Aeneid, Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and Daily Life in Ancient Rome by Jerome Carcopino. Robert Graves' I, Claudius, and Claudius the God are wonderful books filled with deceit, adultery, poisoning and incest. These books tell the story of the Roman Emperors from Augustus to Nero. The BBC production staring Derek Jacobi is one of the best shows ever made for television. Colleen McCullough has written a series of novels about ancient Rome starting with First Man in Rome. The most recent and 6th one in the series is The October Horse.

Other books about Rome include Rome: Biography of a City, by Christopher Hibbert, Martin Garrett’s Traveller's Literary Companion to Italy, and Peter Robb's M, a biography of Caravaggio, which brings 16th- and 17th-century Rome to life. Other books worth reading include A Handbook of Roman Art, by Martin Henig, Roman Architecture by Frank Sear, and Anne Pearson’s Rome: an Interactive Guide to Ancient Rome, which includes models and games.

Rome is a favorite of filmmakers. Among the movies that have been filmed in Rome are Roman Holiday (Audrey Hepburn’s first major role, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress), The Golden Bowl, Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, Three Coins in the Fountain, The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Bourne Identity, and La Dolce Vita. FYI, for you trivia buffs, La Dolce Vita is where the word paparazzi comes from - one of the characters in the movie is a photographer named Paparazzo.

Castelfranco Emilia
After Rome, the racers are then off to Castelfranco Emilia. Castelfranco Emilia is a town located along the via Emilia, between Modena and Bologna. The town takes its name from its castle that was known as "Franco", meaning "Free". The establishment of the Borgo Franco, free town or Castello Franco, came about in the Middle Ages thanks to the people of Bologna.