City's formation

Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill and surrounding hills approximately 30 km (19 mi) from the Tyrrhenian Sea on the south side of the Tiber. Another of these hills, the Quirinal Hill, was probably an outpost for another Italic-speaking people, the Sabines. At this location the Tiber forms a Z-shape curve that contains an island where the river can be forded. Because of the river and the ford, Rome was at a crossroads of traffic following the river valley and of traders traveling north and south on the west side of the peninsula. Archaeological finds have confirmed that in the 8th century BC in the area of the future Rome there were two fortified settlements, the Rumi one on the Palatine Hill and the Titientes one on the Quirinal Hill, backed by the Luceres living in the nearby woods. These were simply three of numerous Italic-speaking communities that existed in Latium, a plain on the Italian peninsula, by the 1st millennium BC. The origins of the Italic peoples lie in prehistory and are therefore not precisely known, but their Indo-European languages migrated from the east in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, many Roman historians (including Porcius Cato and Gaius Sempronius) regarded the origins of the Romans (descendants of the Aborigines) as Greek despite the fact that their knowledge was derived from Greek legendary accounts. The Sabines, specifically, were first mentioned in Dionysius's account for having captured by surprise the city of Lista which was regarded as the mother- ity of the Aborigines. The Tiber (Latin Tiberis, Italian Tevere, Italian pronunciation: [?te?vere]) is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing 406 kilometres (252 mi) through Umbria and Lazio to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It drains a basin estimated at 17,375 square kilometres (6,709 sq mi). The river has achieved lasting fame as the main watercourse of the city of Rome, founded on its eastern banks. The river rises at Mount Fumaiolo in central Italy and flows in a generally southerly direction past Perugia and Rome to meet the sea at Ostia. Popularly called flavus ("the blond"), in reference to the yellowish colour of its water, the Tiber has heavily advanced at the mouth by about 3 km since Roman times, leaving the ancient port of Ostia Antica 6 km inland. However, it does not form a proportional delta, owing to a strong north-flowing sea current close to the shore, to the steep shelving of the coast, and to slow tectonic subsidence. The source of the Tiber consists of two springs 10 metres (33 ft) away from each other on Mount Fumaiolo. These springs are called "Le Vene." The springs are in a beech forest 1,268 metres (4,160 ft) above sea level. During the 1930s, Benito Mussolini placed an antique marble Roman column at the point where the river arises, inscribed QUI NASCE IL FIUME SACRO AI DESTINI DI ROMA ("Here is born the river / sacred to the destinies of Rome"). There is an eagle on the top of this column. The first miles of the Tiber run through Valtiberina before entering Umbria.