As you walk the streets of Rome and find yourself looking around, chances are pretty good that you’ll see one of these 2 visual motifs. They are everywhere.

The first are the letters “S.P.Q.R.“, which can be found pretty much everywhere  from the manhole covers under your feet to the crests and sculptures adorning  buildings. S.P.Q.R. are the initials for the Latin phrase, Senatus Populusque Romanus (“The Senate and People of Rome”), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official signature of the government. At one time, Roman Armies carried banners with the letters. These 4 letters are essentially symbolic of the city and it’s people. Start looking for them and you’ll be surprised how often they appear.

The second common visual is this one here- 2 little kids suckling milk from a big dog. Yes, it’s kind of weird, but like S.P.Q.R., this image is symbolic of the city and it’s historic past. The 2 little guys are Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome nearly 3,000 years ago. According to mythology, they were conceived by the Gods and abandoned, only to be miraculously saved by a she-wolf, who suckled the poor little guys as pups of her own, until they reached manhood and established Rome. The story is infinitely more complicated and if you want to know more, theres lots out there about it.