Roma (Rome), Province of Roma, Lazio

Rome (in Italian and Latin, Roma) is the capital city of Italy, located on the Tiber river, in the central part of the country near the Mediterranean Sea.

The commune covers a metropolitan area with over 3 million inhabitants, making it the largest city of the Italian peninsula. The city's history extends nearly 3,150 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. In an enclave in the heart of Rome is the smallest country in the world, Vatican City, the seat of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. (See Rome on GoogleMaps)

The face of the City

The urban form reflects the stratification of the epochs of its long history, with a wide historical center; this today contains many areas from Ancient Rome, very few areas from the Renaissance (mainly around piazza Farnese), and many churches and palaces from baroque times. The historical center is identified as within the limits of the ancient imperial walls. Some central areas were reorganised after the unification of Italy, and some important additions made during the Fascist period were the creation of Fori Imperiali and the founding of new quartieri (among which Eur, San Basilio, Garbatella, Cinecittà and, on the coast, Ostia) and the inclusion of bordering villages (Labaro, Osteria del Curato, Quarto Miglio, Capannelle, Pisana, Torrevecchia, Ottavia, Casalotti). These expansions were needed to face the huge increase of population due to the centralisation of the Italian state.

Being the capital city of Italy, Rome hosts all the principal institutions of the nation, like the Presidency of the Republic, the government and its departments, the Parliament, the main judicial Courts, and the diplomatic representatives of all the countries. Rome today is one of the most important tourist destinations of the world, due to its immense heritage of archaeological and artistic treasures, as well as for its unique traditions and the beauty of its views and its "villas" (parks). Among its resources, plenty of museums (Musei Capitolini, the Vatican Museums, Galleria Borghese), churches, historical buildings, monuments of ancient Rome, the Catacombs, hundreds of churches, among them contains the five Major Basilicas of the Catholic church: San Giovanni in Laterano (Rome's cathedral), San Pietro in Vaticano, San Paolo fuori le Mura, Santa Maria Maggiore, and San Lorenzo fuori le Mura.


  • Altitude: 20 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 2.7 million inhabitants the commune, 5 million the whole metropolitan area
  • Population Density: 2,109 per sqkm
  • Zip/postal code: from 00118 to 00199 - see the postal codes for all addresses in Rome
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 06
  • Patron Saint: Saints Peter and Paul, celebrated on 29 June.

Administrative divisions

The commune is divided according to 3 different classifications: administrative, land-use, historical.
Administrative: in May 1972 the Commune of Rome was divided into 20 Circoscrizioni, numbered I to XX; then in 1992 the XIV Circoscrizione became the Commune of Fiumicino; in 2001 the 19 Circoscrizioni turned into the present 19 Municipi:
  • I: Stazione Termini, Colosseo, Piazza di Spagna, Aventino, Trastevere;
  • II: Parioli, Via Trieste (parte), Salario;
  • III: Castro Pretorio, Via Nomentana, Via Tiburtina;
  • IV: Via Trieste (parte), Montesacro, Nuovo Salario, Fidene, Castelgiubileo;
  • V: Pietralata, Collatino, Ponte Mammolo;
  • VI: Prenestino-Labicano;
  • VII: Via Casilina, Centocelle, Alessandrino;
  • VIII: Torre Angela, Torbellamonaca, Borghesiana;
  • IX: Via Appia (parte), Via Tuscolana (parte);
  • X: Via Tuscolana (parte), Don Bosco, Quadraro, Cinecittà, Morena;
  • XI: Garbatella, Via Appia Antica, Via Ardeatina, Via Appia (parte);
  • XII: Eur, Cecchignola, Spinaceto;
  • XIII: Ostia, Acilia, Vitinia, Casal Palocco;
  • XV: Portuense (parte), Magliana, Ponte Galeria;
  • XVI: Villa Pamphilj, Portuense (parte), Gianicolense;
  • XVII: Vaticano, Prati, Della Vittoria; XVIII: Via Aurelia, Castel di Guido;
  • XIX: Balduina, Trionfale, La Storta;
  • XX: Via Flaminia, Via Cassia, Cesano

Land-use (Urbanistic): in 1977 the territory of the 20 Circoscrizioni was divided into 155 Urbanistic Zones.

Historical Division: 116 different areas, that can be identified, as follows:
  • 22 Rioni inside the Mura Aureliane, with the exception of Borgo and Prati;
  • 35 Quartieri around the Mura Aureliane;
  • 6 Suburbi;
  • 46 Zone of the Agro Romano, including also the 7 Zones presently belonging to the Commune of Fiumicino.

History - The Origins

Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill and surrounding hills approximately eighteen miles from the Tyrrhenian Sea on the south side of the Tiber, at a cross roads of traffic following the river valley and of traders traveling north and south on the west side of the peninsula. The settlements at Palatine and Quirinal were two of numerous Italic speaking communities which existed in Latium by the 1st millenium BC. In the 8th century BC these Italic tribes — Latins (in the west), Sabines (in the upper valley of the Tiber), Umbrians (in the north-east), Samnites (in the South), Oscans and others — shared the penisula with two other major ethnic groups: the Etruscans and the Greeks.

The Etruscans were settled north of Rome in Etruria (modern Tuscany); many now believe that the Etruscans evolved from an Italian non-Indo-European speaking people called the Villanovans. Greek settlers colonized about 50 poleis in Southern Italy. After 650 BC, the Etruscans became dominant in Italy and expanded into north-central Italy. They came to control Rome and perhaps all of Latium. Roman tradition claimed that Rome had been under the control of seven kings from 753 to 509 BC begining with the mythic Romulus who along with his brother Remus were said to have founded the city of Rome. Two of the last three kings were said to be Etruscan.

Around 500 BC Rome gained independence from the Etruscans but the Etruscans left a lasting influence on Rome. The Romans learned to build temples from them, and they introduced the worship of a triad of gods — Juno, Minerva, and Jupiter — from the Etruscan gods. They transformed Rome from a pastoral communinity into a city. They also passed on elements of Greek culture they had adopted such as the Western version of the Greek alphabet. After 500 BC, Rome began to emerge as the dominant city in Latium, and by 290 BC over half of the Italian penisula was controlled by Rome. In the 3rd century BC the Greek poleis in the south were brought under Roman control as well.

History - The Roman Republic and Empire

Rome was a republic from 509 to 29 BC. By the end of the Republic, the city of Rome dominated the whole of the Mediterranean. This grandeur increased under the emperors. From the early 3rd century AD Rome formally remained capital of the empire but emperors spent less and less time there. In 330, Constantine established a second capital at Constantinople, and later western emperors ruled from Milan or Ravenna. The Empire's conversion to Christianity made the Bishop of Rome (later called the Pope) the senior religious figure in the Western Empire. The fall of the Western Roman Empire made little difference to Rome. Odoacer and then the Ostrogoths continued to rule Italy from Ravenna. Meanwhile, the Senate, even though long since stripped of wider powers, continued to administer Rome itself, and the Pope usually came from a senatorial family.

In 546, the Ostrogoths under Totila sacked the city. The Byzantine general Belisarius recaptured Rome but the Ostrogoths took it again in 549. Belisarius was replaced by Narses, who captured Rome from the Ostrogoths for good in 552. Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I (reigned 527–565) granted Rome subsidies for the maintenance of public buildings, aqueducts and bridges - though, being mostly drawn from an Italy impoverished by the recent wars, these were not always fully sufficient. In practice, local power in Rome devolved to the Pope. The reign of Justinian's nephew and successor Justin II (reigned 565–578) would see the invasion of the Lombards under Alboin (568). The armies of the Frankish King invaded the Lombard territories in 584, 585, 588 and 590.

Rome suffered badly from a disastrous flood of the Tiber in 589, followed by a plague in 590. The strong Byzantine cultural influence did not always lead to political harmony between Rome and Constantinople. In 727, Pope Gregory II refused to accept the decrees of Byzanthine Emperor Leo III, establishing iconoclasm. Leo transferred areas previously under the Pope to the Patriarch of Constantinople. This left Rome reliant purely on its own local forces. Other protectors were now needed - and finally, in 753, Pope Stephen III induced Pepin III, king of the Franks, to attack the Lombards.

History - Papal and Renaissance Rome

When Pepin III defeated the Lombards in 756, Rome became the capital city of the Papal States, a territorial entity at least nominally ruled by the Papacy. Rome became the worldwide centre of Christianity and increasingly developed a relevant political role that made it one of the most important towns of the Old Continent. In the 16th century a central area was delimited around the Porticus Octaviae, for the creation of the famous Roman Ghetto, in which the city's Jews were forced to live.

History - Modern Times

Following the unification of Italy in 1870 Rome became the capital of the new Italian state. During the Second World War Rome suffered some heavy bombings (notably at San Lorenzo fuori le Mura) and battles (Porta San Paolo, La Storta) and was considered an "open town". However, Rome was spared the wholesale destruction of cities such as Berlin or Warsaw. Rome fell to the Allies on June 4, 1944. It was the first capital of an Axis nation to fall. After the war Rome continued to expand due to Italy's growing state administration and industry, with the creation of new quartieri and suburbs.

What to see

What follows is just a list of the main monuments and points of interest in the City, information on each subject can be obtained from Wikipedia articles
  • Monuments: Amphitheatrum Castrense, Appian way, Aqueducts, Ara Pacis, Arch of Constantine, Arch of Septimius Severus, Arch of Titus, Baths of Caracalla, Baths of Diocletian, Baths of Titus, Capitoline Museums, Castel Sant'Angelo, Circus Flaminius, Circus Maximus, Cloaca Maxima, Colosseum, Curia, Domus Aurea, Esposizione Universale Roma, Forum Boarium, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Great Synagogue of Rome, Janiculum, La Bocca della Verità, (the mouth of truth), Palatino, Palazzo Farnese, Pantheon, Piazza Campo dei Fiori, Piazza Navona, Pompey's Theater, Pyramid of Cestius, Spanish Steps, Spanish Square, Tabularium, Tarpeian Rock, Tiber Island, Trajan's Column, Trastevere, Trevi Fountain, Triton Fountain, Villa Borghese
  • Basilicas: Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano (Saint John Lateran Basilica), Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano (St. Peter's Basilica), Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura (Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls), Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (Saint Mary Major Basilica), Basilica di Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura (Basilica of Saint Agnes Outside the Walls), Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura (Saint Lawrence outside the Walls), Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere (Basilica of Saint Mary in Trastevere), Basilica di San Clemente (Basilica of Saint Clement), Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem), Basilica di San Marco (Basilica of Saint Mark), Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels), Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli (Basilica of Saint Peter in Vincoli)
  • Churches: Domine Quo Vadis?, also known as "Santa Maria in Palmis", Il Gesù, Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, Sant'Andrea della Valle, Sant'Agnese in Agone (Saint Agnes in Agone), San Carlo al Corso, Sant'Ignazio, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Santa Sabina, Pantheon also known as "Santa Maria ad Martyres"
  • Temples: Great Synagogue of Rome.

Where to stay in Rome

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