Like its namesake in Italy, Rome, Georgia, was built on seven hills. The connection to the Italian city is underscored by the statue in front of City Hall: It's a bronze reproduction of the famous sculpture of the wolf that nursed Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of ancient Rome. The city received the statue as a gift from Mussolini in 1929, before Il Duce went on to commit less friendly acts.

Once a Cherokee village, the city, located 70 mi/115 km northwest of Atlanta, has been an important manufacturing center since the early 1800s. It's home to a number of intriguing historical attractions. Stroll past the vintage homes on Broad Street in the Between the Rivers District, and visit the old cemetery on Myrtle Hill, which contains the graves of close to 400 Confederate soldiers.

Rome's Berry College is home to the magnificent Oak Hill Plantation as well as the Ford Buildings, which house a collection of Appalachian arts and crafts.

Of particular interest is the Chieftains Museum, located in the former home of the Cherokee statesman Major Ridge. Ridge tried to make peace with white settlers by signing the Treaty of New Echota, a land-for-peace swap in which the Cherokee accepted part of Oklahoma in exchange for their ancestral lands in Georgia and other parts of the Southeast. The treaty was a disaster and led to the brutal expulsion of Native Americans from the South—the forced march known as the Trail of Tears.

Southeast of Rome is the Etowah Mounds State Historic Site Cartersville, the ruins of massive earthworks that were at the heart of the Etowah Indians' social life and religious ceremonies. A museum at the site houses a collection of Etowah artifacts.

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