Rome doesn't want for famous residents—from artists to politicians, many notables have called the city home. But, arguably, none changed its course more than Julius Caesar, the shrewd military leader and politician who greatly expanded the Roman Empire and eventually become its self-appointed dictator, paving the way for the imperial system.
To tour Caesar's Rome requires imagination. Many of the iconic structures that comes to mind when one thinks of Rome—The Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Baths of Caracalla—hadn't been built when Caesar ruled, and many of the important features of his daily life have long since been buried beneath the growing city. But the archaeological hints that remain transport visitors into the footsteps of one of history's most heralded and controversial figures.
Julius Caesar was born in Rome, on either the 12 or 13 of July in 100 B.C. Through a combination of political savvy, charisma and backhanded dealings, he quickly rose to power, becoming dictator of Rome in 49 B.C. after emerging victorious from a civil war. As dictator he instituted a number of reforms, from expanding who could be considered a Roman citizen to changing the Roman calendar, but his brief reign came to a bloody end when he was stabbed by a group of Roman senators in Pompey's Theater on March 15, 44 B.C.
Caesar died the most powerful man in an empire, but he wasn't always afforded a life of luxury. He was born into an poor noble family in the Roman slums of Subura, and returned to live there as a young man. Monti is the Roman neighborhood which now occupies the area where Subura once stood, located between the Via Cavour and Via Nazionale, east of the Roman Forum. Nowadays, the neighborhood houses intimate eateries, but when Caesar lived there, it was Rome's red-light district.