In Ancient Rome the term ''Umbilicus Urbus Romae'' was translated to mean ''The Navel of The City of Rome''. In other words, this location within The City, was considered to be The ''Heart'' or very beginning. The Umbilicus Urbus was used to measure all distances from that spot, to all locations throughout The Republic and later Empire. The ''Spot'' dates to the 2nd Century BC.
A stone ''Plate'' was created (and is still visible today), to mark the start of a measure reference. It was from this ''Spot'' that the time worn term ''All Roads Lead To Rome'', may have developed. The location is near The Arch of Severus, and was once enclosed by a Marble ''Shrine'' (although this no longer remains).