Rome's birthday celebrations for Natale di Roma include historical re-enactments including a costumed parade and gladiator fights.
Rome celebrates its 2,772nd birthday on 21 April which this year coincides with Easter Sunday festivities.
Known as Natale di Roma, the annual birthday celebration is based on the legendary founding of Rome by Romulus in 753 BC.
Events are centred in the Circus Maximus and include the trench-digging ritual, known as the tracciato del solco, which recalls the founding of ancient Roman towns when a trench or mundus was dug and offerings thrown into it to encourage the gods to watch over the inhabitants.Other re-enactments include the agricultural Palilia ceremony. Dating back to before the founding of Rome, the ceremony was held in honour of the goddess Pales, protector of flocks and herds, and involved vestal virgins distributing straw and the ashes and blood of sacrificed animals before jumping over a bonfire three times.
The Circus Maximus also hosts historical re-enactments including gladiator fights, aimed at children.The main event each year however is a costumed parade, featuring more than 2,000 gladiators, senators, vestal virgins and priestesses, which begins and ends at the Circus Maximus.
The pageant is organised by the Gruppo Storico Romano, an historical dramatic society which, for more than 20 years, has brought history to life by re-enacting battles, historic events, and displays of ancient theatre and dance in the city centre.
The full Natale di Roma programme of events will be published in early April on the Gruppo Storico Romano website.
Cover photo La Presse