Sometimes, you just can’t find the right words to describe Rome.
The beauty of the Eternal City, the chaos, the mismatch of elegance and decay that is around every corner.
Luckily, Rome has attracted some of the best creative thinkers of the last last centuries (or millenia). The city inspires awe, and many of have written of its charms.
With that in mind, here are the best quotes about Rome:
“If we could be reborn wherever we chose, how crowded Rome would be, populated by souls who had spent their previous lives longing to inhabit a villa on the Janiculum Hill”
– Francine Prose, American Writer
“Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.”
-Anotole Broyard, American writer
“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.”
-Giotto di Bondone, Renaissance painter
“Rome will exist as long as the Coliseum does; when the Coliseum falls, so will Rome; when Rome falls, so will the world.”
-Venerable Bede, Saint
“Italy has changed. But Rome is Rome.”
-Robert De Nero, American actor
“Oh Rome! my country! city of the soul!”
—Lord Byron, English Poet
“Rome – the city of visible history, where the past of a whole hemisphere seems moving in funeral procession with strange ancestral images and trophies gathered from afar.”
-George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann Evans, an English poet
“When thou art at Rome, do as they do at Rome.”
-Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish writer
“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.”
-Augustus, Roman emperor
“Italy will never be a normal country. Because Italy is Italy. If we were a normal country, we wouldn’t have Rome. We wouldn’t have Florence. We wouldn’t have the marvel that is Venice.”
-Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy…
Did I miss any of your favorite Rome quotes?
(P.S. Buon Ferragosto!!)
17 thoughts on “10 Quotes about Rome that Perfectly Capture the Eternal City”
“The month of May, 1860, was divine. No doubt other young men, and occasionally young women, have passed the month of May in Rome since then, and conceive that the charm continues to exist. Possibly it does – in them – but in 1860 the lights and shadows were still medieval, and medieval Rome was alive; the shadows breathed and glowed, full of soft forms felt by the lost senses. No sandblast of science had yet skinned of the epidermis of history, thought, and feeling. The pictures were uncleaned, the churches unrestored, the ruins unexcavated. Medieval Rome was sorcery… Rome could not be fitted into an orderly, middle-class, Bostonian, systematic scheme of evolution. No law of progress applied to it.” — Henry Adams
This is still so true… more than 150 years later.
Hmmm… I’ll have to come see it. 🙂
We (Rome, Jimmy, Bacon and I) will be waiting!
“Rome was the worst spot on earth to teach nineteenth-century youth what to do with a twentieth-century world.” — Henry Adams
Can I just say, I have been a secret admirer of your blog for a few years now? And your Instagram account. I absolutely love your writing style and just your sense of adventure. I was living in Rome for one year, Jun ’15- May ’16, so I just came back to the states. While I was there, your posts on monthly events were how I filled out my calendar, so a huge THANK YOU for those posts! Now, being back in California, I absolutely cherish the mornings I wake up and visit your blog with a cup of coffee, waiting to devour what you have written of the city that has my whole heart. It takes me back to those streets I walked daily and actually makes me quite emotional! While I was in Rome, I went to an instameet and was telling a story I read from your blog. Come to find out, the gal I was talking to is one of your co-workers. It’s such a small world! Someday, I will be back in Roma and would love to meet you! A big fan of your work! Bravissima!
Thank you so much for this comment. Many times blogging can feel like sending something out into the void, and it is hugely motivating to know that the posts offer a little glimpse into life in Rome. I am also now incredibly curious to know which coworker you met – but I think instameets area a great way to see the faces behind the insta accounts!
I had a look at your lovely Rome diaries and hope that you do have a chance to come back to Rome soon! When that happens, let me know! Prendiamo un caffe!
“It is the sixth time I arrive to the Eternal City, but yet again, I am deeply moved. It is common among the aesthetic ones to thus feel when coming this city, hence, my almost feeling ashamed of what I now write.”
“In the world Rome is probably the place where most in beauty has been accumulated and subsists in span of twenty centuries. It has created nothing, only a spirit of greatness and order of beautiful things; but the most magnificent monuments on the earth have extended and were fixed in it with such energy to leave the most numerous and indelible tracks in it, more than in anywhere else on the globe.”
— Maurice Maeterlinck
“The Roman evening either keeps still or it sings. No one can behold it without growing dizzy, and time has filled it with eternity.”
— Jorge Luis Borges
Lisa, these are beautiful. I have always loved Borges, and that late one might be my very favorite.
I just found your blog. I’m from Rome, was born and live here. And I LOVE it, despite its HUGE flaws and problems. It will be MY city (of ruins?) forever. And I know just one quote that truly capture what ROme is and what it does to the ones who fall under its spell. It was the title of a book, written by SIlvio Negro, a journalist, born in Veneto but transplanted in ROme as director of the roman section of the Corriere della Sera. The title is “Roma, non basta una vita” – “Rome: a lifetime is not enough”.
Yes! That is a beautiful quote because it is so true. I didn’t actually know that it was attributed to Silvio Negro- thank you!
“Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her” Gilbert K. Chesterton
(for sure you already noticed that ROMA can be read in the opposite direction as AMOR!)
And the famous quote:
“Rome wasn’t built in a day”
Rome became my home as soon as I saw it. I was born that moment. That was my real birthday.
– Federico Fellini
That is a beautiful Rome quote from Fellini!!
Nice quotes! But it’s Robert DeNiro. And George Eliot was a novelist, not a poet.