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Rome celebrates 2,777th birthday with mega parade


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Rome: Italy’s capital celebrated the city’s 2,777th birthday Sunday, the annual retrospective of the city’s long history that in recent years has grown increasingly popular with tourists.

On Sunday, the city erupted with concerts, exhibits, ceremonies and a parade of more than 2,000 people marching as legionaries, centurions, senators, gladiators, vestals, priestesses, and nobles, all dressed in full Roman-era costumes.

“It’s a way to pay tribute to our city’s history while enjoying ourselves and showing off to visitors and students,” Marco Contarini, a 29-year-old coffee bar worker who participated in Sunday’s parade dressed as a centurion, told Xinhua.

According to tradition, Rome was founded on April 21, 753 B.C.

Sunday’s celebration was held in Circus Maximus, a former Roman-era racetrack that lies in a low area between the Palatine and the Aventine, the hills with a deep connection to the city’s history.

Preston Juan Loria, a 49-year-old project manager from Florida, the United States, said that discovering the day’s festivities was a happy coincidence while on vacation in the city.

“We didn’t plan to come to Rome for the city’s birthday but seeing all this is a great way to spend part of a day, taking it all in,” Loria told Xinhua. “I especially enjoyed seeing the contrasts, the period costumes in a modern city.”

Though the origins of Sunday’s celebrations date back centuries, the events have caught on with travelers as tourism in Italy has recovered from the setbacks of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are no official estimates for the number of people who participated in Sunday’s activities, media reports said the city had deployed extra police for security and traffic control. Hotel bookings were higher than usual for the weekend, media reports said.

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