Rome was founded in 753 B.C.E. on the Latium Plains at the base of the Apennine Mountains. Italy's position on a peninsula that is surrounded by three bodies of water--the Adriatic Sea, The Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea--meant that ancient Rome had easy trading routes to surrounding civilizations. Rome's proximity to water also provided it with easy access for invading other areas and for expanding into these new areas. For example, Greece is only 50 miles from Italy, and Africa is only 100 miles away.
In addition, Rome was built 15 miles inland, and it is on the top of 7 hills, providing a natural form of defense from invaders. The Tiber River runs through Rome and provides the city with a source of water and irrigation. In addition, the soil, volcanic in composition, is naturally fertile and ideal for raising crops to support a large population. The soil watered by the Mediterranean is perfect for growing wheat, necessary for making bread. The soil also supported the growth of olives and grapes, used in making wine. These crops supported the growth of the Roman population.