With engines revving, Harley-Davidson enthusiasts on Friday (June 14) gathered in the Italian capital to mark 110 years of the famous motorcycle company.

Thousands are expected to attend the four-day event, which is part of global celebrations around the anniversary.

With St. Peter's Basilica serving as their backdrop, participants took a break to dance, chat and show off their vehicles before hitting the city's cobblestone streets.

"Because it's the biggest Harley traffic in Europe today, yes, it's the 110th anniversary of the company and so many brothers and friends are meeting here because it's a big event and Rome is a nice city," said German participant Andy Peter.

Some of the bikers gathering under the blazing Roman sun were simply happy to have escaped colder temperatures.

"We want to go to Italy because the weather is much better there than ours and I have been a lot of times and I love Rome, it's good. Nice buildings, everything," said Danish biker Peter Fjordbak.

Several activities and events have been organised across the Eternal City to mark the anniversary and to entertain the European enthusiasts.

The bikers are expected to attend Pope Francis's weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Sunday (June 16) for a "bike blessing".

Earlier in the week the motor company's representatives met with the Pope and according to the Vatican gave the pontiff two Harley-Davidson motorcycles and a leather jacket as a gift.

A 40-kilometre Harley-Davidson parade from the port city of Ostia to central Rome is scheduled for Saturday (June 15). The Roman anniversary activities run through Sunday evening.

Presented by Adam Justice