Rome did not spring into being as a power on the Italian peninsula. It began as a tiny village along the Tiber River. It was an excellent location. The soil was good so crops could be grown easily. It was surrounded by 7 hills, offering a natural defensive barrier. It was on a river, the Tiber River, giving these early settlers access to fresh water for drinking and bathing, as well as a waterway for trade. With all these advantages, it's no surprise that Rome grew quickly.