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Comune di Roma
100px Roma01.png
City flag City seal
City motto: Senatus Populusque Romanus – SPQR
(The Senate and the People of Rome)
Founded 21 April 753 BC mythical,
1st millennium BC
Region Latium
Mayor Walter Veltroni
(Left-Wing Democrats)
 - City Proper

 1290 km²
 - City (2004)
 - Metropolitan
 - Density (city proper)

almost 4,000,000
Time zone CET, UTC+1
Lightmatter colosseum.jpg
The Colosseum is the international symbol of Rome

For the car marque ROMA click here

Rome is the capital of Italy and of its region, called Latium. It is located across the confluence of the Tiber and Aniene rivers. It was once the capital of the Roman Empire, the most powerful, largest and longest lasting empire of classical Western civilization. The Vatican, a sovereign enclave within Rome, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Churchlocated at St. Peters square, and the home of the Pope.

Rome is the largest comune in Italy and it is also one of the largest European capital cities in land area, with an area of 1,285 square kilometers. The comune territory extends up to the Tyrrhenian Sea, with the district of Ostia, on the south-west, located on the shore. Within the city limits, the population is about 2.5 million; almost 3.8 million live in the urbanised area of Rome, as represented by the province of Rome, making it second in population to Milan. The current Mayor of Rome is Walter Veltroni.

With a gross domestic product of €97 billion in the year 2005, the comune of Rome produced 6.7% of Italy's GDP, which is the highest proportion of GDP produced by any single one of Italy's comunes.

The city's history extends nearly 2,800 years, during which time it has been the seat of ancient Rome and, later, the Papal States, Kingdom of Italy and Italian Republic (modern Italy). Rome is also called "la Città Eterna" (the Eternal City), "l'Urbe" (the latin for the City pre-eminently) and "The City of the Seven Hills".


The civilization of ancient Rome originated in the 8th or 9th century BC, when the tribe of the Latini migrated to the Italian peninsula to settle around the River Tiber. For almost a thousand years, Rome was a very important city in the Western world and possibly the largest city in the world, with around 1.5 to 2 million inhabitants, as the capital of the expansive Roman Empire. With the rise of Christianity, Rome became the center of the Roman Catholic Church and the home of the popes. The slow decline of the Roman Empire heralded the beginning of the Middle Ages, but the city regained prominence as the cultural capital of Western Roman Empire for several hundred years leading up to the Renaissance. Rome remains influential today, as the capital of Italy, as center of the Catholic Church, and as a major metropolis.

In Roman mythology, Rome was built on April 21 753 BC by the twin descendants of the Trojan prince Aeneas, Romulus and Remus. Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over where their city was to be located and became the first of seven Kings of Rome, as well as the source of the city's name.

Central Rome is dominated by the traditional seven hills that hark back to the Latin founding myth of the city. These seven hills are the Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, Aventine, Capitoline, and Palatine Hills. The Tiber River and its islands are an important additional component of the city, flowing south through the western portion of the central zone.


Location and layout

Rome is located on the Tiber River 24 km (15 miles) inland from the Tyrrhenian Sea. The city was built on a defendable hill dominating the last high-banked river crossing where traverse was faciliated by a midstream isle.

Much of Rome is located within the old city walls. The Servian Wall was built twelve years after Gauls' conquest of the city in 390 BC. The wall enclosed most of the Esquiline and Caelian Hill and contained the entire area of the other five. Rome grew beyond the Servian Wall but no more walls were constructed until 270, when Aurelian began building the brick-faced concrete Aurelian Walls. The new wall is almost twelve miles long and was the wall Italian forces had to breach in 1870. The wall is still largely intact.

The ancient city within the walls covers about four percent of the modern municipality's 582 square miles. The old city is the smallest of Rome's twelve administrative zones. The walled city center is made up of 22 rioni (districts), sorrounding it are 35 quartieri urbani (urban sectors), and within the city limits are six large suburbi (suburbs). The comune of Rome located outside the municipal boundaries about doubles the area of the actual city.

A belt highway describes a huge circle around the capital about six miles out from the city center. The circle ties together the antique roads that led to Rome: the Via Flaminia, the Via Aurelia and Via Appia. Large amounts of modern apartment buildings are located in the districts outside the center, where contemporary architecture has not gone unnoticed. Many street frontages and show windows often change to keep up with the times and the Romans have suceeded in harmonizing the old and the new.

Though small, the old city center contains about 300 hotels and 300 pensioni, over 200 palaces, 900 churches, eight of Rome's major parks, the residence of the Italian president, the houses of the Parliament, offices of the city and city government, and many great and well-known monuments. The old city also contains thousands of workshops, offices, bars, and restaurants. Millions of tourists visit Rome anually, making it one of the most touristic cities in the world.


Rome's climate is at its most comfortable from April through June or early July. By August, the temperature during the heat of the day often exceeds 35° C (95° F). Many businesses close during August, and Romans traditionally abandon the city for cooler climes. The average high temperature in December is about 13° C (55° F).


Today, Rome has a dynamic and diverse economy with thriving innovation, technologies, communications and service sectors. It produces 6.7% of the national GDP (more than any other city in Italy). Rome grows 4,4% annually and continues to grow at a higher rate than any other city in the rest of the country. Rome's economic growth began to surpass that of its rivals, Naples and Milan after World War II. Tourism is inevitably one of Rome's chief industries, with many notable museums including the Vatican Museum, and the Borghese Gallery. The city is also a centre for banking as well as electronics and aerospace industries. Many international headquarters, government ministries, conference centres, sports venues and museums are located in Rome's principal business districts: the Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR); the Torrino (further south from the EUR); the Magliana; the Parco de' Medici-Laurentina and the so-called Tiburtina-valley along the ancient Via Tiburtina.


City of Rome
Population by year
330 1,000,000
530 100,000
1000 20,000
1750 156,000
1800 163,000
1820 140,000
1850 185,000
1858 182,000
1871 212,000
1881 273,000
1901 422,000
1911 518,000
1921 660,000
1931 930,000
1936 1,150,000
1951 1,651,000
1961 2,187,000
1971 2,781,000
1981 2,839,000
1991 2,775,000
2001 2,546,000

At the time of the Roman Empire, Rome was for many centuries the world greatest city, with over one million estimated residents. After the fall of empire, due to barbaric invasions, the population of Rome declined to only 20,000 inhabitants in the dark ages. Afterwards, the population began to rise in the Renaissance and surpassed one hundred thousand residents in XVII century.

There were about 200,000 people living in Rome in 1870, when it became the capital of the new Kingdom of Italy. In the fascist period, between the last decades of the 19th century and World War II, Rome grew rapidly and surpassed 1,000,000 residents. The EUR district was built during this period. After WWII and the Nazi military occupation, which seriously damaged the city, Rome experienced another great change in demographics during the "economic miracle" of the 1950s and '60s. But in the late 1980s and '90s, Rome's population began to fall because many residents, in order to escape traffic and pollution, moved to the external urban belt.

At present, like most western European capitals, Rome has accumulated a substantial immigrant population. Italy's official statistics bureau (ISTAT) in 2005 estimates, states that 145,000 immigrants live in the Rome's comune, or 5.69 percent of the total comune population. The foreign population in the urban area of Rome consists in 206,000 persons, or 5.37 percent of the total urban area population. The foreign population in the metro area of Rome is about 248,000 persons or 4.67 percent of the total metro area population. By far the largest number of immigrants are Eastern European, with the largest numbers of foreigners coming from Romania, The Philippines, Poland, Albania, Peru, Bangladesh, and Ukraine.[1]


The Religio Romana constituted the major religion of the city in antiquity. However, other religions remained represented within its ever-changing boundaries, and by the 4th century Christianity was widespread alongside the ancient cults.

During his reign, Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianity. However, it was Theodosius II who made it the official religion of the Roman Empire, allowing a rapid spread of the religion which similarly continued to spread thereafter. Rome was established as the center of the Catholic Church. Consequently, a great number of some of the most important religious buildings of Christianity were erected in the city.

Across the river Tiber from the old Roman Forum and its centers of pre-Christian worship is the Vatican City, an autonomous country inside the city and the center of Catholicism. There are currently over 900 churches in Rome, including many world famous locations, housing a wide collection of masterpieces of religious art.

In Rome there is also the largest mosque in Europe, designed by the Italian achitect Paolo Portoghesi and inaugurated on June 21st, 1995.


Panorama over Rome

Ancient Rome

The Colosseum in Rome

One of the symbols of Rome is the Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire. Originally capable of seating 50,000 spectators, it was used for gladiatorial combat. It was built in the 70s and completed in 80. The great complex of the Imperial Forums consist of a series of monumental fora (public squares), constructed in Rome over a period of one and half centuries, between 46 BC and AD 113. The forums were the heart of the late Roman Republic and of the Roman Empire. The list of the very important monuments of ancient Rome includes the Roman Forum, the Domus Aurea, the Pantheon, the Trajan's Column, the Trajan's Market, the Catacombs of Rome, the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla, the Arch of Constantine, the Pyramid of Cestius, the Bocca della Verità. Moreover, the archeological site of Ostia preserves intact a whole ancient roman town.

The Renaissance and the Baroque

Rome was the major world center of the Renaissance, and that left a profound mark on the city. The most impressive masterpiece of Renaissance in Rome is the Piazza del Campidoglio by Michelangelo, with the Palazzo Senatorio, seat of city govt. In this period the great aristocratic families of Rome used to build opulent dwellings as the Palazzo del Quirinale, now seat of the President of the Republic, the Palazzo Venezia, the Palazzo Farnese, the Palazzo Barberini, the Palazzo Chigi, now seat of the Prime Minister of Italy, the Palazzo Spada, the Palazzo della Cancelleria, the Villa Farnesina. Rome is also famous for her huge and majestic squares, often adorned with obelisks, many of those built in the XVII century. The principal squares are Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, Campo de' Fiori, Piazza Esedra, Piazza Venezia, Piazza Farnese, Piazza Minerva. One of the most emblematic examples of the baroque art is the Fontanta di Trevi by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Other notable baroque palaces of XVII century are the Palazzo Madama, now seat of theItalian Senate and the Palazzo Montecitorio, now seat of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy.


In 1870, Rome became capital city of the new Kingdom of Italy. And neoclassicism, a building style influenced by architecture during the late 800s, became a predominant style in Roman buildings. In this period many great palaces in neoclassical styles were built to host ministries, embassies and other governing agencies. One of the best-known symbol of Roman neoclassicism is the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II or "Altar of Fatherland", where the grave of the Unknown Soldier, that represents the 650,000 Italian fallen in World War I, is located.

The Fascist Architecture


The Fascist regime that ruled in Italy between 1922 and 1943 developed an original architectural style, characterized by feast and the resarch of a link with ancient Rome architecture. The most important fascist style site in Rome is the E.U.R. district, acronym for Esposizione Universale Roma, built in 1935. It was originally conceived for the 1942 world exhibition, and was called "E.42" ("Esposizione 42"). However, the world exhibition never took place due to Italy entering the Second World War in 1940. The most representative building of the Fascist style at E.U.R. is the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (1938-1943), the iconic design of which has been labeled the cubic or Square Colosseum. After World War II, the Roman authorities found that they already had a germ of an off-centre business district that other capitals were still planning (London Docklands and La Defense in Paris). Also the Palazzo della Farnesina, the actual seat of Italian Foreign Ministry, was designed in 1935 in fascist style.

Villas and gardens

The surroundings of Rome are characterized by numerous and large green areas and opulent ancient villas. The most important are: Villa Borghese, with a large landscape garden in the naturalistic English manner, containing a number of buildings, museums (see Galleria Borghese) and attractions; Villa Doria Pamphili, the largest public landscaped park of Rome with an area of 1.8 km²; Villa Torlonia, a splendid example of Art Nouveau mansion that was the roman residence of Benito Mussolini; Villa Albani, commissioned by Alessandro Cardinal Albani to house his collection of antiquities and Roman sculpture, which soon filled the casino that faced the Villa down a series of formal parterres.

Museums and galleries

The list of most important museums and galleries of Rome includes: the National Museum of Rome, the Museum of Roman Civilization, the Villa Giulia National Etruscan Museum, the Capitoline Museums, the Borghese Gallery, the Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo, the National Gallery of Modern Art.

Education and music

Rome is the greatest italian high education center, hosting the largest university in Europe, the La Sapienza University, with 150,000 students from all over the world. The city has also other two public universities, the University of Rome Tor Vergata and the Third University of Rome, and many private universities as the LUISS University of Rome, the Maria SS. Assunta University of Rome, the John Cabot University, the Motor Science University of Rome, the S. Pio V University of Rome, the Biomedical University of Rome.

Rome is also one of the world most important centers of music, hosting the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. The facilities of the Academy are now located on the premises of the new Parco della Musica in Rome, one of the largest musical venues in the world. In addiction, Rome has an opera house, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.

Administrative subdivision of Rome

The administrative subdivision of Rome consists of the 19 sub-municipalities (Municipi) of Rome's municipality. Originally, the city was divided into 20 sub-municipalities, but the XIV, what is now the Comune di Fiumicino, voted some years ago to become a full municipality itself and eventually detached from Rome.

List of Municipi

The territory of the commune of Rome is divided into 20 Municipi (area subdivisions):

Vatican City

The city of Rome surrounds the Vatican City, the enclave of the Holy See, which is a separate sovereign state. It hosts Saint Peter's Square with the Saint Peter's Basilica. The open space before the basilica was redesigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, from 1656 to 1667, under the direction of Pope Alexander VII, as an appropriate forecourt, designed "so that the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing, either from the middle of the façade of the church or from a window in the Vatican Palace" (Norwich 1975 p 175). In Vatican City there are also the prestigiuous Vatican Museums with the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms and other important works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Giotto, Botticelli.


Rome has an intercontinental airport, the Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport - FCO, but more commonly known as Fiumicino, which also is Italy's chief airport, and the Giovan Battista Pastine international airport (commonly referred to as Ciampino Airport), a joint civilian and military airport southeast of the city-center, along the Via Appia, which handles mainly charter flights and regional European flights including some low-cost airlines. A third airport, called Aeroporto dell'Urbe, is located in the north of the city along the ancient Via Salaria and handles mainly helicopters and private flights. A fourth airport, called Aeroporto di Centocelle, in the eastern part of Rome between the Via Prenestina and the Via Casilina, has been abandoned for some years now, but is currently being redeveloped as one of the largest public parks in Rome.

File:Roma-stazione termini.jpg
Termini Station, the largest railway station in Europe.

A 2-line subway system operates in Rome called the "Metropolitana" or Rome Metro. Construction works for the first branch started in the 1930s. The line had been planned to quickly connect the main train station (Termini) with the newly planned E42 area in the southern suburbs, where the 1942 World Fair was supposed to be held. The event never took place because of war. The area was later partly redesigned and renamed EUR (Esposizione Universale di Roma: Rome Universal Exhibition) in the 1950s to serve as a modern business district. The line was finally opened in 1955 and it is now part of the B Line. The A line opened in 1980 from Ottaviano to Anagnina stations, later extended in stages (1999 - 2000) to Battistini. In the 1990s an extension of the B line was opened from Termini to Rebibbia. A new branch of the B line (B1) is under construction, as is a third line, called C. A fourth line, line D, is under development. The frequent archaeological findings delay underground work.

This underground network is generally reliable (although it may become very congested at peak times and during events, especially the A line) as it is relatively short. As of 2005, total length is 38 km. The two existing lines, A & B, only intersect at one point, Termini Station, the main train station in Rome (which also is the largest train station in EuropeTemplate:Citation needed, underneath and around which now exists as a lively shopping center known as the "Forum Termini" with more than 100 shops of various types). Other stations includes: Tiburtina (second-largest, which is currently being redeveloped and enlarged to become the main high-speed train hub in the city), Ostiense, Trastevere, Tuscolana, S. Pietro, Casilina, Torricola.

File:Metro rome.png
Map of Rome Metro.

The Rome Metro is part of an extensive transport network made of a tramway network, several suburban and urban lines in and around the city of Rome, plus an "express line" to Fiumicino Airport. Whereas most FS-Regionale lines (Regional State Railways) do provide mostly a suburban service with more than 20 stations scattered throughout the city, the Roma-Lido (starting at Ostiense station), the Roma-Pantano (starting nearby Termini) and the Roma-Nord (starting at Flaminio station) lines offer a metro-like service. Rome also has a comprehensive bus and light rail system. The English web site of the ATAC public transportation company allows a route to be calculated using the buses, light rail and subways.[2] The Metrebus integrated fare system allows holders of tickets and integrated passes to travel on all companies vehicles, within the validity time of the ticket purchased.[3]

Chronic congestion caused by cars during the 1970s and 1980s led to the banning of unauthorized traffic from the central part of city during workdays from 6 am to 6 pm. This area is officially called Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL). Heavy traffic due to night-life crowds during weekends led in recent years to the creation of other ZTLs in the Trastevere and S. Lorenzo districts during the night, and to experimentation with a new night ZTL also in the city center (plans to create a night ZTL in the Testaccio district as well are underway). In recent years, parking spaces along the streets in wide areas of the city have been converted to pay parking, as new underground parking spread throughout the city. In spite of all these measures, traffic remains an unsolved problem, as in many of the world's cities.


  • Roma Sana April: Mediterranean Trade Fair for Natural Products with exhibitions of biological products, conferences and tasting.
  • Roman Summers, from June to September: Various events from music to theater, literary meetings and cinema. Events that take place in the most characteristic places in Rome that attract the participation of thousands of artists from all over the world.
  • Roma Europa Festival, September: Annual appointment for modern art and theatre, music and dance, with artists from of all Europe.
  • RomeFilmFest, October: Film Festival help in the Auditorium. Official website
  • Festival Romics, October: Comics and Cartoon Festival: exhibitions, cartoon film showings of designers and publishing companies.
  • Roma Jazz Festival, October: Festival of jazz music since of 1876. Italian and international artists.
  • Republic day - June, 2: Military parade on Via dei Fori Imperiali, with "Frecce Tricolori".

Cultural and religious events

  • Rome’s Good Friday Procession in April. On Good Friday, a procession lead by the pope moves from the Via Crucis, from the Colosseum and up Monte Palatino, re-enacting the 14 stations of the cross from the death of Jesus to placement of his body in the tomb.
  • Literature Festival, from May to June: Readings of works of famous contemporary writers, accompanied by music, in the setting of Basilica di Massenzio. ([4])
  • International Urban Theatre Festival: In September, the Festival Internazionale del Teatreo Urbano that transforms Rome into an urban theatrical stage.
  • Rome Jazz Festival: In October, international artists gather at various venues for the eclectic Rome Jazz Festival.
  • Roman Jewish holiday, the Mo’ed di Piombo, stems from 1793 (5553 in the Hebrew calendar). Rome’s Jewish Temple is illuminated at night as the rabbi explains the meaning underscoring the celebration.

White Night

Series of events at venues throughout Rome in September: concerts, special outdoor performances, churches and monuments open to the public at this time, museums open all night with free entrance, shops open all night. ([5])

See also

External links

Regional Capitals of Italy
L'Aquila (Abruzzo) · Aosta (Aosta Valley) · Bari(Apulia) · Potenza (Basilicata) · Catanzaro (Calabria) · Naples (Campania) · Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

Trieste (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) · Rome (Lazio) · Genoa (Liguria) · Milan (Lombardy) · Ancona (Marche) · Campobasso (Molise) · Turin (Piedmont)
Cagliari (Sardinia) · Palermo (Sicily) · Trento (Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol) · Florence (Tuscany) · Perugia (Umbria) · Venice (Veneto)

Regions of Italy
AbruzzoAosta ValleyApuliaBasilicataCalabriaCampaniaEmilia-RomagnaFriuli-Venezia GiuliaLazioLiguriaLombardyMarcheMolisePiedmontSardiniaSicilyTrentino-South TyrolTuscanyUmbriaVeneto