I think he knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they'll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they'll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it's the sand of the coliseum. He'll bring them death - and they will love him for it.
There's a great line from one of James Joyce's letters in which he wrote, "Rome reminds me of a man who lives by exhibiting to travellers his grandmother’s corpse." I think that's still fairly accurate today.
I love Italy, especially Tuscany where I'd like to spend more time. But Rome has never held very much appeal to me. After a couple of visits to the Forum and Coliseum, there wasn't a lot that got me interested.