Rome (Roma, ; Roma) is the capital city of Italy and Lazio, and is Italy's largest and most populous city, with more than 2.7 million residents, and a metropolitan area of almost 4 million inhabitants. It is located in the central-western portion of the Italian peninsula, on the Tiber river.
Rome stands on top of more than two and a half thousand years of history, was once the largest city in the world and the centre of Western civilisation. Rome is still the heart of Christianity, being seat of the Roman Catholic Church which controls the Vatican City as its sovereign territory, an enclave of Rome.
Today, Rome is a modern, cosmopolitan city, and the third most-visited tourist destination in the European Union. Due to its influence in politics, media, the arts and culture, Rome has been described as a global city.
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.
As one of the few major European cities that escaped World War II relatively unscathed, central Rome remains essentially Renaissance and Baroque in character. The historic centre of Rome is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Rome's early history is shrouded in legend. According to Roman tradition, the city was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus on April 21, 753 BC. Archaeological evidence supports the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built in the area of the future Roman Forum. While some archaeologists argue that Rome was indeed founded in the middle of the 8th century BC, the date is subject to controversy. The original settlement developed into the capital of the Roman Kingdom (ruled by a succession of seven kings, according to tradition), and then the Roman Republic (from 510 BC, governed by the Senate), and finally the Roman Empire (from 27 BC, ruled by an Emperor). This success depended on military conquest, commercial predominance, as well as selective assimilation of neighbouring civilizations, most notably the Etruscans and Greeks. From its foundation Rome, although losing occasional battles, had been undefeated in war until 386 BC, when it was briefly occupied by the Gauls. According to the legend, the Gauls offered to deliver Rome back to its people for a thousand pounds of gold, but the Romans refused, preferring to take back their city by force of arms rather than ever admitting defeat, after which the Romans recovered the city in the same year.
Roman dominance expanded over most of Europe and the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, while its population surpassed one million inhabitants. For almost a thousand years, Rome was the most politically important, richest and largest city in the Western world, and remained so after the Empire started to decline and was split, even if it ultimately lost its capital status to Milan and then Ravenna, and was surpassed in prestige by the Eastern capital Constantinople.
With the reign of Constantine I, the Bishop of Rome gained political as well as religious importance, eventually becoming known as the Pope and establishing Rome as the centre of the Catholic Church. After the Sack of Rome in 410 AD by Alaric I and the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, Rome alternated between Byzantine and plundering by Germanic barbarians. Its population declined to a mere 20,000 during the Early Middle Ages, reducing the sprawling city to groups of inhabited buildings interspersed among large areas of ruins and vegetation. Rome remained nominally part of the Byzantine Empire rule until 751 AD when the Lombards finally abolished the Exarchate of Ravenna. In 756, Pepin the Short gave the pope temporal jurisdiction over Rome and surrounding areas, thus creating the Papal States.
Rome remained the capital of the Papal States until its annexation into the Kingdom of Italy in 1870; the city became a major pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages and the focus of struggles between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire starting with Charlemagne, who was crowned its first emperor in Rome in 800 by Pope Leo III. Apart from brief periods as an independent city during the Middle Ages, Rome kept its status of Papal capital and "holy city" for centuries, even when the Pope briefly relocated to Avignon (1309–1377).
The period was also infamous for papal corruption with many popes fathering children, and engaging in nepotism and simony. The corruption of the Popes and the extravagance of their building projects led, in part, to the Reformation and, in turn, the Counter-reformation.
Italy became caught up in the nationalistic turmoils of the 19th century and twice gained and lost a short-lived independence. Rome became the focus of hopes of Italian reunification when the rest of Italy was reunited under the Kingdom of Italy with a temporary capital at Florence. In 1861 Rome was declared the capital of Italy even though it was still under the control of the Pope. During the 1860s the last vestiges of the Papal states were under French protection. And it was only when this was lifted in 1870, owing to the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, that Italian troops were able to capture Rome.
Rome grew momentously after the war, as one of the driving forces behind the "Italian economic miracle" of post-war reconstruction and modernisation. It became a fashionable city in the 1950s and early 1960s, the years of la dolce vita ("the sweet life"), and a new rising trend in population continued till the mid-1980s, when the comune had more than 2,800,000 residents; after that, population started to slowly decline as more residents moved to nearby suburbs.
Rome is also divided into differing types of non-administrative divisions. The historic centre is divided into 22 rioni, all of which are located within the Aurelian walls except Prati and Borgo. After the designation of the newest and last rione, Prati, newer districts of the city were designated as quarters. There are 35 of these and they go all the way to the sea at Ostia, where they are called marine quarters. Rome also has six officially designated suburban zones and 52 agricultural zones. Many of the latter, however, have actuality been subject to considerable development.
Although the city centre is about inland from the Tyrrhenian Sea, the city territory extends to the very shore, where the south-western Ostia district is located. The altitude of the central part of Rome ranges from above sea level (at the base of the Pantheon) to above sea level (the peak of Monte Mario). The comune of Rome covers an overall area of about , including many green areas.
Historically, the urban limits of Rome were considered to be the area within the city walls. Originally, these were the Servian Wall which was built twelve years after Gauls' sack of the city in 390 BC. This contained most of the Esquiline and Caelian hills, as well as the whole of the other five. Rome grew out of the Servian Wall, but no more walls were constructed until almost 700 years later, when in 270 AD Emperor Aurelian began building the Aurelian Walls. These were almost long, and were still the walls the troops of the Kingdom of Italy had to breach to enter the city in 1870. Modern Romans frequently consider the city's urban area to be delimited by its ring-road, the Grande Raccordo Anulare, which circles the city center at a distance of about 10km.
The Comune of Rome, however, covers considerably more territory and extends to the sea at Ostia, the largest town in Italy not to be a comune in its own right. The comune covers an area roughly three times the total area within the Raccordo and is comparable in area to the entire provinces of Milan and Naples, and to an area six times the size of the territory of these cities. The comune also includes considerable areas of abandoned marsh land which is neither suitable for agriculture nor for urban development.
Consequently the density of the comune is not that high, the communal territory being divided between highly-urbanized areas and areas designated as parks, nature reserves, and agricultural use. The Province of Rome is the largest by area in Italy. At 5.352 km², its dimensions are comparable to the region of Liguria, and more than three times the size of the greater metropolitan area of London.
When the Kingdom of Italy annexed Rome in 1870, it had a population of about 200,000, which rapidly increased to 600,000 at the eve of World War I. The fascist regime of Mussolini tried to block an excessive demographic rise of the city, but failed to prevent it from reaching one million people by 1931. After the second world war, growth continued, helped by a post-war economic boom. A construction boom also created a large number of suburbs during the 1950s and 1960s
In 2007, there were 2,718,768 people residing in Rome (in which some 4 million live in the greater Rome area), located in the province of Rome, Lazio, of whom 47.2% were male and 52.8% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 17.00 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 20.76 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Rome resident is 43 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Rome grew by 6.54 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.56 percent. The current birth rate of Rome is 9.10 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.
One of the symbols of Rome is the Colosseum (70–80 AD), the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire. Originally capable of seating 60,000 spectators, it was used for gladiatorial combat. The list of the very important monuments of ancient Rome includes the Roman Forum, the Domus Aurea, the Pantheon, Trajan's Column, Trajan's Market, the Catacombs, the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla, Castel Sant'Angelo, the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Ara Pacis, the Arch of Constantine, the Pyramid of Cestius, and the Bocca della Verità.
Often overlooked, Rome's medieval heritage is one of the largest in Italian cities. Basilicas dating from the Paleochristian age include Santa Maria Maggiore and San Paolo Fuori le Mura (the latter largely rebuilt in the 19th century), both housing precious 4th century AD mosaics. Later notable medieval mosaic and fresco art can be also found in the churches of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santi Quattro Coronati and Santa Prassede. Lay buildings include a number of towers, the largest being the Torre delle Milizie and the Torre dei Conti, both next the Roman Forum, and the huge staircase leading to the basilica of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli.
Rome was a major world centre of the Renaissance, second only to Florence, and was profoundly affected by the movement. The most impressive masterpiece of Renaissance architecture in Rome is the Piazza del Campidoglio by Michelangelo, along with the Palazzo Senatorio, seat of the city government. During 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 Italian Republic), the Palazzo Venezia, the Palazzo Farnese, the Palazzo Barberini, the Palazzo Chigi (now seat of the Italian Prime Minister), the Palazzo Spada, the Palazzo della Cancelleria, and the Villa Farnesina.
Rome is also famous for her huge and majestic squares (often adorned with obelisks), many of which were built in the 17th century. The principal squares are Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, Campo de' Fiori, Piazza Venezia, Piazza Farnese and Piazza della Minerva. One of the most emblematic examples of the baroque art is the Fontana di Trevi by Nicola Salvi. Other notable baroque palaces of 17th century are the Palazzo Madama, now seat of the Italian 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. During this time, neoclassicism, a building style influenced by the architecture of antiquity, became a predominant influence in Roman architecture. 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 Italians that fell in World War I, is located.
The Fascist regime that ruled in Italy between 1922 and 1943 developed an architectural style which was characterized by its links with ancient Roman architecture. The most important fascist site in Rome is the E.U.R. district, designed in 1938 by Marcello Piacentini. It was originally conceived for the 1942 world exhibition, and was called "E.42" ("Esposizione 42"). The world exhibition, however, never took place because Italy entered 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 labelled the cubic or Square Colosseum.
After World War II, the Roman authorities found that they already had the seed 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 current seat of Italian Foreign Ministry, was designed in 1935 in fascist style.
Public parks and nature reserves cover a large area in Rome, and the city has one of the largest areas of green space amongst 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. While many villas were destroyed during the building boom of the late 19th century, a great many nonetheless remain. The most notable of these are Villa Borghese, Villa Ada, and Villa Doria Pamphili.
Rome 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.
Modern day Rome has a dynamic and diverse economy with thriving 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 in comparison to any other city in the rest of the country. Following World War II Rome's economic growth began to overtake its rivals, Naples and Milan, although a traditional rivalry persists with Milan today. Tourism is inevitably one of Rome's chief industries, with numerous notable museums including the Vatican Museum, the Borghese Gallery, and the Musei Capitolini. Rome is also the hub of the Italian film industry, thanks to the Cinecittà studios. The city is also a centre for banking as well as electronics and aerospace industries. Numerous 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.
Rome hosts the Cinecittà Studios, the largest film and television production facility in continental Europe and the centre of the Italian cinema, where a large number of today's biggest box office hits are filmed. The 99 acre (40 ha) studio complex is 5.6 miles (9 km) from the centre of Rome and is part of one of the biggest production communities in the world, second only to Hollywood, with well over 5,000 professionals — from period costume makers to visual effects specialists. More than 3,000 productions have been made on its lot, from recent features like The Passion of the Christ, Gangs of New York, HBO’s Rome, The Life Aquatic and Dino De Laurentiis’ Decameron, to such cinema classics as Ben Hur, Cleopatra and the films of Federico Fellini.
Founded in 1937 by Benito Mussolini, the studios were bombed by the Western Allies during World War II. In the 1950s, Cinecittà was the filming location for several large American film productions, and subsequently became the studio most closely associated with Federico Fellini. Today Cinecittà is the only studio in the world with pre-production, production and full post-production facilities on one lot, allowing directors and producers to walk in with their script and "walk out" with a completed film.
See also List of radio stations in Rome.
|A.S. Roma||Football (soccer)||1927||Serie A||Stadio Olimpico||Luciano Spalletti|
|S.S. Lazio||Football (soccer)||1900||Serie A||Stadio Olimpico||Delio Rossi|
|A.S. Cisco Roma||Football (soccer)||1972||Serie C2||Stadio Flaminio||Fabio Fratena|
|Pallacanestro Virtus Roma||Basketball||1960||Serie A||PalaLottomatica||Jasmin Repeša|
|M. Roma Volley||Volleyball||2006||A 1||Palazzetto dello Sport||Roberto Serniotti|
|Unione Rugby Capitolina||Rugby union||1996||Super 10||Stadio Flaminio||Massimo Mascioletti|
Football is the most popular sport in Rome, as in the rest of the country. The Olympic Stadium hosted the final game of the 1990 FIFA World Cup; it is also the home stadium for local Serie A clubs A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio, whose rivalry has become a staple of Roman sports culture. Indeed, famous footballers who play for these teams and are also born in the city tend to become especially popular, as has been the case with players such as Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi (both for A.S. Roma).
While far from being as popular as football, Rugby union is gaining wider acceptance. The Stadio Flaminio is the home stadium for the Italy national rugby union team, which has been playing in the Six Nations Championship since 2000, albeit with less than satisfactory performances, as they have never won the championship so far. Rome is home to local rugby teams, such as Unione Rugby Capitolina, Rugby Roma, and S.S. Lazio.
Every May, Rome hosts the ATP Masters Series tennis tournament on the clay courts of the Foro Italico. Cycling was immensely popular in the post-WWII period, although its popularity has faded in the last decades; Rome has hosted the final portion of the Giro d'Italia twice, in 1989 and 2000. Rome is also home to many other sports teams, including basketball (Virtus Roma), volleyball (M. Roma Volley), handball or waterpolo.
A third airport, the Aeroporto dell'Urbe, is a small, low-traffic airport located about 6 km north of the city centre, which handles most helicopter and private flights. A fourth airport in the eastern part of the city, the Aeroporto di Centocelle (dedicated to Francesco Baracca), is no longer open to flights; it hosts the Comando di Squadra Aerea (which coordinates the activities of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana) and the Comando Operativo di Vertice Interforze (which coordinates all Italian military activities), although large parts of the airport are being redeveloped as a public park.
Rome is at the centre of the radial network of roads which roughly follow the lines of the ancient roman roads that began at the Capitoline Hill and connected Rome with its empire. Today Rome is circled, at a distance of about 10km, by the ring-road called the Grande Raccordo Anulare.
Rome suffers from considerable traffic problems largely due to this largely radial street pattern which make it difficult for Romans to easily move from the vicinity of one the radial roads to another without going into the historic centre or using the ring-road. Problems which are not helped by limited size of Rome's metro system when compared to similarly sized cities. Chronic congestion caused by cars during the 1970s and 1980s led to restrictions being placed on vehicle access to the inner city centre during the daylight hours. Areas where these restriction apply are known as Limited Traffic Zones (Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL) in Italian). More recently, heavy night-time traffic in Trastevere and San Lorenzo has led to the creation of night-time ZTLs in those districts. And there are also plans to create another night-time ZTL in Testaccio.
Rome has 21 taxis for every 10,000 inhabitants — far below other major European cities.
Due to its location in the centre of the Italian peninsula, Rome is a principal railway node for central Italy. Rome main train station, Termini is one of the biggest train stations in Europe and the most trafficked in Italy with around 400 thousand daily travellers. The second largest station in the city, Roma Tiburtina, is currently being redeveloped as high-speed rail terminus.. Other significant main line station are Roma Ostiense, Roma Trastevere and Roma Tuscolana.
Above ground public transport in Rome is made up of a bus and tram network. This network is run by Trambus S.p.A. under the auspices of ATAC S.p.A. (which originally stood for the Bus and Tram Agency of the Comune, Azienda Tranvie ed Autobus del Comune in Italian). The bus network is currently made up of in excess of 350 bus lines and over 8 thousand bus stops. Whilst the limited tram system currently has 39 km of track and 192 stops.
A 2-line metro system called the Metropolitana operates in Rome. Construction on the first branch started in the 1930s. The line had been planned to quickly connect the main train station 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. 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, its total length is . The two existing lines, A & B, intersect at Roma Termini station. A new branch of the B line (B1) is under construction with an estimated cost of 482,900,000 Euro. It is scheduled to open in 2010. B1 will connect to line B at Piazza Bologna and will have 4 stations over a distance of .
A third line, line C, is under construction with an estimated cost of 3,000,000,000 Euro and will have 30 stations over a distance of . It will partly replace the existing Rail Road line, Termini-Pantano. It will feature full automated, driverless trains. The first section is due to open in 2011 and the final sections in 2015, but archaeological findings often delay underground construction work. A fourth line, line D, is under development. It will have 22 stations over a distance of . The first section is projected to open in 2015 and the final sections before 2035.
Rome has one sister city, and a number of partner cities:
Rome is unique in having a sovereign state located entirely within its city limits, the Vatican City. The Vatican is a enclave of Rome and a sovereign possession of the Holy See the supreme government of the Roman Catholic Church. Rome hosts foreign embassies to both Italy and the Holy See, although frequently the same ambassador is accredited to both.
Another body the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) took refuge in Rome in 1834 after having lost Malta to Napoleon. It is sometimes classified as having sovereignty but doesn't claim any territory in Rome or anywhere else, hence leading to dispute over its actual sovereign status.
Rome is also the seat of significant international organisations of the United Nations, such as the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Rome has traditionally been heavily involved in the process of European political integration. In 1957, the city hosted the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (predecessor to the European Union), and also played host to the official signing of the proposed European constitution in July 2004.
Rome was also where the Statute of the International Criminal Court was formulated.