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For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation).
Comune di Roma
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
Coordinates 41°54′ N 12°29′ E

The Colosseum is the international symbol of Rome
Location within Italy
Location within Italy

Rome (Italian and Latin: Roma) is the capital of Italy and of its Latium region. It is located on the Tiber and Aniene rivers, near the Mediterranean Sea, at 41°54′ N 12°29′ E. The Vatican City, a sovereign enclave within Rome, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and the home of the Pope.

Rome is the largest city and comune in Italy; the comune or municipality is one of the largest in Europe with an area of 1290 square kilometers. Within the city limits, the population is 2,546,807 (2004); almost 4 million live in the general area of Rome as represented by the Province of Rome. The current mayor of Rome is Walter Veltroni.

With a GDP of €75 billion (higher than New Zealand's and equivalent to Singapore's — all three have roughly the same population of around 4 million), in the year 2001 the comune of Rome produced 6.5% of Italy's total GDP, the highest rate among all of Italy's cities.

The city's history extends nearly 2,800 years, during which time it has been the seat of ancient Rome (the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic, Roman Empire), and later the Papal States, Kingdom of Italy and Italian Republic.



Main article: History of Rome


For nearly all of Roman history, people from all over the world lived in Rome as a center of learning, trade and commerce. Many were merchants, some were slaves, some were important officials from distant colonies. The slave population was very large, and made a massive proportion were living in the city. Many of the slaves came from all over the areas Rome conquered, from Britannia to Carthage. Today, the population is very diverse, though the Italian population is still much larger than that of the immigrants. The Italian population is estimated around 80%.

Administrative subdivision of Rome

Main article: Administrative subdivision of Rome.


Today Rome has a dynamic and diversified economy, bent on innovation, technologies, communication and tertiary, which produces 6,5% of the national GDP (more than any other city in the country) and continues to grow at higher rates than that of the rest of Italy. Tourism is one of Rome's chief industries, but the city is also a center of the banking, publishing, insurance, fashion, high-tech, housing, cinematographic (built on the large Cinecittà studios, often called Hollywood on the Tiber) and aerospace industries.

Many international headquarters are located in Rome's principal business/office districts: the EUR (Esposizione Universale Roma), which is as well one of the most exclusive residential area in south-west of Rome (with government ministries, conference and trade centers, parks, an artificial lake, sports venues, museums, gardened villas and apartment complexes); the Torrino (further south from the EUR), the Magliana (with the new Toyota Italia headquarter), the Parco de' Medici-Laurentina area, the so-called "Tiburtina-valley" along the ancient Via Tiburtina etc.


A Panoramic towards the EUR district from the Torrino district.
A Panoramic towards the EUR district from the Torrino district.
A view of the Palalottomatica sports palace (formerly known as Palaeur) from the park around the artificial  lake. Rome, EUR district.
A view of the Palalottomatica sports palace (formerly known as Palaeur) from the park around the artificial lake. Rome, EUR district.

Rome has an intercontinental airport named 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.

A subway system operates in Rome called the "Metropolitana" or Rome Metro which was opened in 1955. There are 2 lines (A & B), a third (C) and a new branch of the B-line (B1) are under construction, while a fourth line (D) has been planned. The frequent archaeological findings delay underground work. Today's (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 Europe, underneath and around which exists now a lively shopping center known as the "Forum Termini" with more than 100 shops of various types). Other important 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.

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 system. The web site (translated in english) of the public transportation company (ATAC) allows a route to be calculated using the buses and subways. 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.

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 6.00 a.m to 6 p.m. (this area is officially called Zona a Traffico Limitato, Z.T.L. in short). Heavy traffic due to night-life crowds during week-ends led in recent years to the creation of other Z.T.L.s in the Trastevere and S. Lorenzo districts during the night, and to the experimentation of a new night Z.T.L. also in the city center (plans to create a night Z.T.L. 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-parkings, as new underground parkings spread throughout the city.

In spite of all these measures, traffic remains an unsolved problem, as in the rest of the world's cities.


Rome's skyline
Rome's skyline

Rome continues to be the major education and research center of Italy, with many major universities that offer degrees in all fields. Among the prestigious educational establishments in Rome is the University of Rome La Sapienza (founded 1303), which is Europe’s biggest university with almost 150,000 students. The city is also home to three other public universities: Università degli studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, more commonly called Roma 2, University of Roma Tre and the Istituto Universitario di Scienze Motorie.

Undisputed as the greatest repository of western art of the last 3,000 years of human history, Rome is home to many foreign academic institutions, as well, such as The American Academy, The British School, The French Institute, The German Archaeological Institute, The Swedish Institute, and The Finnish Institute, The Japan Foundation.

Several private universities are as well located in Rome, as:

  • LUISS University (Libera università internazionale degli studi sociali), probably the most prestigious private university in Rome;
  • Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, a renowned university in Italy;
  • John Cabot University, a private American University;
  • LUMSA University (Libera Universita Maria SS. Assunta);
  • University of Malta, an International University;
  • Libera Università di Roma "Leonardo da Vinci";
  • Libera Università Degli Studi "S. Pio V";
  • UPTER University;
  • I.S.S.A.S. University.

Still located in Rome are the Academia di Santa Cecilia - the world's oldest academy of music (founded 1584), St. John's University's Rome campus which is located at the Pontificio Oratorio San Pietro, several academies of fine arts, colleges of the church, medical and Health research instituts.

Monuments and sights

Province of Rome

Main article: Province of Rome.

Houses of worship


Rome is home to over 900 churches.


Patriarchal basilicas

Other basilicas

Other important churches

Main article: Churches of Rome

The following do not yet have Wikipedia articles, but are important nonetheless:

Non-Christian places of worship

Symbols and trivia

Rome is commonly identified by several proper symbols, including the Colosseum, the she-wolf (Lupa capitolina), the imperial eagle, and the symbols of Christianity. The famous acronym SPQR recalls the ancient age and the unity between Roman Senate and Roman people.

Rome is called "L'Urbe" (The City), "Caput mundi" (head of the world), "Città Eterna" (eternal city), and "Limen Apostolorum" (the threshold of the apostles).

The town's colors are golden yellow and red (garnet): they stand, respectively, for christian and imperial dignities.

Rome has two holidays of its own: April 21 (the founding of Rome), and June 29 (the feast of its patron saints, Peter and Paul). Other locally important dates are December 8 (the Immaculate Conception) and January 6 (Epiphany).

The Grande Raccordo Anulare (commonly shortened "Il GRA" or "Il Raccordo"), which is more than 80 km long, once encircled the city. Rome has since grown past this round motorway, with new districts well beyond it.

Some proverbs about the Eternal City:

  • When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
  • All roads lead to Rome.
  • Rome wasn't built in a day.
  • Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

During its long history, Rome has always had a scarcity of native inhabitants, so by tradition a "true" Roman is one whose family has lived in Rome for no less than 7 generations: this is the original "Romano de Roma" (in Romanesco, the local dialect of Italian).

For the autonomistic party Lega Nord, Rome is the symbol of the allegedly parasytical Italian central government, crystalized in their slogan Roma ladrona ("Thief Rome").

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:


  • Spielvogel, J. (1991) Western Civilization Volume I To 1715. West Publishing Company. ISBN 0-314-82893-1
  • Chambers, M. et al. (1991) The Western Experience Volume I To 1715, Fifth Edition. McGraw-Hill, Inc. ISBN 0-07-010625-7
  • Upshur, J. et al. (1991) World History, Combined Edition. West Publishing Company. ISBN 0-314-79265-1
  • Webster, H. (1924) Early European History, Revised Edition. D. C. Heath and Company.
  • Hughes, R (1951) The Making of Today's World. Allyn and Bacon.
  • Tenney, M. (1967) Zondervan's Pictorial Bible Dictionary. Zondervan. ISBN 0-310-23560-X

External links

Ancient Rome

Christian Rome



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