The culture and traditions in Rome reflect its historic past and celebrate the modern world. Rome culture is an eclectic mix of high culture, the arts, fashion and historic architecture. Daily life centers around enduring Rome traditions rich in religion and food. It is this contrast of historic and modern culture and traditions that defines Rome as the Eternal City.
The past and present harmoniously existing within steps of each other best defines Rome culture. For example, structures by 17th-century architect Bernini mingle with modern day architecture. Art created by the masters during the Renaissance and Baroque periods coexists with modern-day pieces in art museums and galleries throughout the city. Modern work buildings are steps away from historic monuments, like the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. In short, Rome is an eclectic culture of a busy cosmopolitan city that reveres its past. Much of the Roman culture reflects the diverse people who passed through the city at different points in history. Gladiators, pagan deities, master artists and learned men left an influential footprint on the Eternal City. Tourists flock to the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Palatine and Forum Museum, the Galleria Borghese, the Palazzo Altemps, the Piazza di Spagna and the Domus Aurea to gain an appreciation of the stepping stones of today’s Roman culture.
Food is an integral part of the culture in Rome, with dishes that are full of flavor and reflective of old Roman traditions. Fresh vegetables, inexpensive cuts of meats, pasta and cheese are typical ingredients in Roman dishes. Food establishments flourish in Rome, with pizzerias, family-run trattorias and trendy restaurants in full supply. Food is further celebrated with food festivals. They are an important part of the culture scene in Rome and typically usher in a season, celebrate the Roman heritage, or simply carry on an age-old tradition. The Sagra del Csarciofo, for instance, celebrates the artichoke, a staple in Roman cooking. The springtime festival showcases the many ways the artichoke can be cooked.
During the Easter and Christmas holiday seasons, Rome traditions exhibit the strong Christian culture of the Eternal City. One such Rome tradition is to go to St. Peter’s Square on Easter and Christmas to receive a blessing from the Pope. During the Lenten season, Good Friday marks the annual Procession of the Cross from the Roman Colosseum to the Palatine and Forum. On Easter Sunday morning, an outdoor mass takes place in St. Peter’s Square. During the Christmas season, churches in Rome display elaborate nativity scenes, and live music is enjoyed in the piazzas. The traditional midnight mass at the Vatican attracts thousands of locals and international visitors.
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