Rome

Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy as well as the capital of the Lazio region. It is the third most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. Vatican City (the smallest country in the world) is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city; for this reason Rome has sometimes been defined as the capital of two states.

Country Italy
Region Lazio
Metropolitan cityRome
Founded753 BC
Founded byKing Romulus
Government
 • TypeStrong Mayor–Council
 • MayorVirginia Raggi (M5S)
 • LegislatureCapitoline Assembly
Area
 • Total1,285 km2 (496.3 sq mi)
Elevation21 m (69 ft)
Population (31 December 2019)
 • Rank1st in Italy (3rd in the EU)
 • Density2,236/km2 (5,790/sq mi)
 • Comune2,860,009
 • Metropolitan City4,342,212
Demonym(s)Italianromano (masculine), romana (feminine)
English: Roman
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)

The city’s early population originated from a mix of Latins, Etruscans, and Sabines. Eventually, the city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and is regarded by many as the first ever Imperial city and metropolis

Rome in 4K

Rome is also called “Caput Mundi” (Capital of the World). Rome became first one of the major centres of the Renaissance and then the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters, sculptors and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city. In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic.

The Imperial fora belong to a series of monumental fora (public squares) constructed in Rome by the emperors. Also seen in the image is Trajan’s Market.

Its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city also hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean15 as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p.A., and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL. Rome’s EUR business district is the home of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and financial services. The presence of renowned international brands in the city have made Rome an important centre of fashion and design, and the Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies.

Legend of the founding of Rome

Traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves explain the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and myth. The most familiar of these myths, and perhaps the most famous of all Roman myths, is the story of Romulus and Remus, the twins who were suckled by a she-wolf.

Capitoline Wolf, a sculpture of the mythical she-wolf suckling the infant twins Romulus and Remus.

They decided to build a city, but after an argument, Romulus killed his brother and the city took his name.

Government

Local government

Rome constitutes a comune speciale, named “Roma Capitale”,and is the largest both in terms of land area and population among the 8,101 comuni of Italy. It is governed by a mayor and a city council. The seat of the comune is the Palazzo Senatorio on the Capitoline Hill, the historic seat of the city government. The local administration in Rome is commonly referred to as “Campidoglio”, the Italian name of the hill.

Administrative and historical subdivisions

Since 1972, the city has been divided into administrative areas, called municipi (sing. municipio). Each municipio is governed by a president and a council of twenty-five members who are elected by its residents every five years. The municipi frequently cross the boundaries of the traditional, non-administrative divisions of the city.

Rome is also divided into differing types of non-administrative units. The historic centre is divided into 22 rioni, all of which are located within the Aurelian Walls except Prati and Borgo.

Metropolitan and regional government

Rome is the principal town of the Metropolitan City of Rome, operative since 1 January 2015. The Metropolitan City replaced the old provincia di Roma, which included the city’s metropolitan area and extends further north until Civitavecchia. The Metropolitan City of Rome is the largest by area in Italy. At 5,352 square kilometres (2,066 sq mi), its dimensions are comparable to the region of Liguria. Moreover, the city is also the capital of the Lazio region.

National government

The Palazzo del Quirinale, now seat of the President of the Italian Republic
Rome is the national capital of Italy and is the seat of the Italian Government. The official residences of the President of the Italian Republic and the Italian Prime Minister, the seats of both houses of the Italian Parliament and that of the Italian Constitutional Court are located in the historic centre. The state ministries are spread out around the city; these include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is located in Palazzo della Farnesina near the Olympic stadium.

Geography

Rome is in the Lazio region of central Italy on the Tiber (Italian: Tevere) river. The original settlement developed on hills that faced onto a ford beside the Tiber Island, the only natural ford of the river in this area. The Rome of the Kings was built on seven hills: the Aventine Hill, the Caelian Hill, the Capitoline Hill, the Esquiline Hill, the Palatine Hill, the Quirinal Hill, and the Viminal Hill. Modern Rome is also crossed by another river, the Aniene, which flows into the Tiber north of the historic centre.

The Pantheon, built as a temple dedicated to “all the gods of the past, present and future”

Climate

Rome has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, humid winters.

Its average annual temperature is above 21 °C (70 °F) during the day and 9 °C (48 °F) at night. In the warmest month, August, the average temperature is 31.7 °C (89.1 °F) during the day and 17.3 °C (63.1 °F) at night.

December, January and February are the coldest months, with a daily mean temperature of approximately 8 °C (46 °F). Snowfall is rare but not unheard of, with light snow or flurries occurring on some winters, generally without accumulation, and major snowfalls on a very rare occurrence.

Panoramic view of Piazza del Campidoglio, with a copy of the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

Parks and gardens

Public parks and nature reserves cover a large area in Rome, and the city has one of the largest areas of green space among European capitals.

The most notable part of this green space is represented by the large number of villas and landscaped gardens created by the Italian aristocracy. The most notable of these are the Villa Borghese, Villa Ada, and Villa Doria Pamphili.

In the nearby area of Trastevere, the Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden) is a cool and shady green space. The old Roman hippodrome (Circus Maximus) is another large green space: it has few trees but is overlooked by the Palatine and the Rose Garden (‘roseto comunale’). Nearby is the lush Villa Celimontana, close to the gardens surrounding the Baths of Caracalla. The Villa Borghese garden is the best known large green space in Rome, with famous art galleries among its shaded walks. Overlooking Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps are the gardens of Pincio and Villa Medici. There is also a notable pine wood at Castelfusano, near Ostia. Rome also has a number of regional parks of much more recent origin, including the Pineto Regional Park and the Appian Way Regional Park. There are also nature reserves at Marcigliana and at Tenuta di Castelporziano.

Fountains and aqueducts

The Trevi Fountain. Construction began during the time of Ancient Rome and was completed in 1762 by a design of Nicola Salvi.
Rome is a city famous for its numerous fountains, built-in all different styles, from Classical and Medieval, to Baroque and Neoclassical. The city has had fountains for more than two thousand years, and they have provided drinking water and decorated the piazzas of Rome.

The Trevi Fountain. Construction began during the time of Ancient Rome and was completed in 1762 by a design of Nicola Salvi.

Statues

Rome is well known for its statues but, in particular, the talking statues of Rome. These are usually ancient statues which have become popular soapboxes for political and social discussion, and places for people to (often satirically) voice their opinions. There are two main talking statues: the Pasquino and the Marforio, yet there are four other noted ones: il Babuino, Madama Lucrezia, il Facchino and Abbot Luigi.

Obelisks and columns

The city hosts eight ancient Egyptian and five ancient Roman obelisks, together with a number of more modern obelisks; there was also formerly (until 2005) an ancient Ethiopian obelisk in Rome. The city contains some of obelisks in piazzas, such as in Piazza Navona, St Peter’s Square, Piazza Montecitorio, and Piazza del Popolo, and others in villas, thermae parks and gardens, such as in Villa Celimontana, the Baths of Diocletian, and the Pincian Hill. Moreover, the centre of Rome hosts also Trajan’s and Antonine Column, two ancient Roman columns with spiral relief. The Column of Marcus Aurelius is located in Piazza Colonna and it was built around 180 AD by Commodus in memory of his parents. The Column of Marcus Aurelius was inspired by Trajan’s Column at Trajan’s Forum, which is part of the Imperial Fora.

Bridges

The city of Rome contains numerous famous bridges which cross the Tiber. The only bridge to remain unaltered until today from the classical age is Ponte dei Quattro Capi, which connects the Isola Tiberina with the left bank. The other surviving – albeit modified – ancient Roman bridges crossing the Tiber are Ponte Cestio, Ponte Sant’Angelo and Ponte Milvio. Considering Ponte Nomentano, also built during ancient Rome, which crosses the Aniene, currently there are five ancient Roman bridges still remaining in the city.

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the finest ancient bridge remaining in Rome is the Ponte Sant’Angelo, which was completed in 135 AD, and was decorated with ten statues of the angels, designed by Bernini in 1688.

Catacombs

Rome has an extensive amount of ancient catacombs, or underground burial places under or near the city, of which there are at least forty, some discovered only in recent decades. Though most famous for Christian burials, they include pagan and Jewish burials, either in separate catacombs or mixed together. The first large-scale catacombs were excavated from the 2nd century onwards. Originally they were carved through tuff, a soft volcanic rock, outside the boundaries of the city, because

Economy

As the capital of Italy, Rome hosts all the principal institutions of the nation, including the Presidency of the Republic, the government (and its single Ministeri), the Parliament, the main judicial Courts, and the diplomatic representatives of all the countries for the states of Italy and Vatican City.

Panoramic view of the EUR business distric

Many international institutions are located in Rome, notably cultural and scientific ones, such as the American Institute, the British School, the French Academy, the Scandinavian Institutes, and the German Archaeological Institute.

There are also specialised agencies of the United Nations, such as the FAO. Rome also hosts major international and worldwide political and cultural organisations, such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP), the NATO Defense College and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM).

Although the economy of Rome is characterised by the absence of heavy industry and it is largely dominated by services, high-technology companies (IT, aerospace, defence, telecommunications), research, construction and commercial activities (especially banking), and the huge development of tourism are very dynamic and extremely important to its economy. Rome’s international airport, Fiumicino, is the largest in Italy, and the city hosts the head offices of the vast majority of the major Italian companies, as well as the headquarters of three of the world’s 100 largest companies: Enel, Eni, and Telecom Italia.

Universities, national radio and television and the movie industry in Rome are also important parts of the economy: Rome is also the hub of the Italian film industry, thanks to the Cinecittà studios, working since the 1930s. The city is also a centre for banking and insurance as well as electronics, energy, transport, and aerospace industries. Numerous international companies and agencies 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.

Education

Rome is a nationwide and major international centre for higher education, containing numerous academies, colleges and universities. It boasts a large variety of academies and colleges, and has always been a major worldwide intellectual and educational centre, especially during Ancient Rome and the Renaissance, along with Florence. According to the City Brands Index, Rome is considered the world’s second most historically, educationally and culturally interesting and beautiful city.

Culture

Rome is an important centre for music, and it has an intense musical scene, including several prestigious music conservatories and theatres. It hosts the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (founded in 1585), for which new concert halls have been built in the new Parco della Musica, one of the largest musical venues in the world.

Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Rome also has an opera house, the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, as well as several minor musical institutions.

Tourism

Rome today is one of the most important tourist destinations of the world, due to the incalculable immensity of its archaeological and artistic treasures, as well as for the charm of its unique traditions, the beauty of its panoramic views, and the majesty of its magnificent “villas” (parks). Among the most significant resources are the many museums – Musei Capitolini, the Vatican Museums and the Galleria Borghese and others dedicated to modern and contemporary art – aqueducts, fountains, churches, palaces, historical buildings, the monuments and ruins of the Roman Forum, and the Catacombs.

Internal view of the Colosseum

Rome is the third most visited city in the EU, after London and Paris. The Colosseum, arguably one of Rome’s most iconic archaeological sites, is regarded as a wonder of the world. Rome contains numerous ancient sites, including the Forum Romanum, Trajan’s Market, Trajan’s Forum, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon, to name but a few.

Rome contains a vast and impressive collection of art, sculpture, fountains, mosaics, frescos, and paintings, from all different periods. Rome first became a major artistic centre during ancient Rome, with forms of important Roman art such as architecture, painting, sculpture and mosaic work.

Rome hosted a great number of neoclassical and rococo artists, such as Pannini and Bernardo Bellotto. Today, the city is a major artistic centre, with numerous art institutes and museums.

The National Gallery of Modern Art has works by Balla, Morandi, Pirandello, Carrà, De Chirico, De Pisis, Guttuso, Fontana, Burri, Mastroianni, Turcato, Kandisky, and Cézanne on permanent exhibition.

Known as MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts it restores a dilapidated area with striking modern architecture. Maxxi features a campus dedicated to culture, experimental research laboratories, international exchange and study and research.

Fashion

Rome is also widely recognised as a world fashion capital. Although not as important as Milan, Rome is the fourth most important centre for fashion in the world.

Major luxury fashion houses and jewellery chains, such as Valentino, Bulgari, Fendi, Laura Biagiotti, Brioni, and Renato Balestra, are headquartered or were founded in the city.

Also, other major labels, such as Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, and Versace have luxury boutiques in Rome, primarily along its prestigious and upscale Via dei Condotti.

Via dei Condotti

Cuisine

Rome’s cuisine has evolved through centuries and periods of social, cultural, and political changes. Rome became a major gastronomical centre during the ancient Age. Ancient Roman cuisine was highly influenced by Ancient Greek culture, and after, the empire’s enormous expansion exposed Romans to many new, provincial culinary habits and cooking techniques.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara, a typical Roman dish

Later, during the Renaissance, Rome became well known as a centre of high-cuisine, since some of the best chefs of the time worked for the popes.

The old-fashioned coda alla vaccinara (oxtail cooked in the way of butchers) is still one of the city’s most popular meals and is part of most of Rome’s restaurants’ menus. Lamb is also a very popular part of Roman cuisine, and is often roasted with spices and herbs.

In the modern age, the city developed its own peculiar cuisine, based on products of the nearby Campagna, as lamb and vegetables (globe artichokes are common).

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