Rome is the capital of Italy and of its Latium region. It is located across the confluence of the Tiber and Aniene rivers. 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 and it also is the largest among European capital cities, with an area of 1,290 square kilometers. The commune 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 2,669,873 (2005); almost 3.5 million live in the general area of Rome as represented by the province of Rome.
The city's history extends nearly 2,800 years, during which time it has been the seat of ancient Rome (the Roman Kingdom, Roman Repu
blic, Roman Empire), and later the Papal States, Kingdom of Italy and Italian Republic. Rome is also called "la Citti Eterna" (the Eternal City).
The civilization of ancient Rome originated in the 8th or 9th century BC, when northern tribes migrated to the Italian peninsula to settle around the River Tiber. For almost a thousand years, Rome was the most important city in the Western world and the largest city in the world (the first to reach and surpass 1,5 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 political capital of Europe for several hundred years leading up to the Renaissance. Rome remains influential today, as the capital of Italy, of the Catholic Church and as a major world class metropolis.
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 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 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.
Rome houses countless monuments and interesting remains from ancient to modern times. A partial list is given here as quick reference.
Baths of Caracalla
Baths of Diocletian
Catacombs of Rome
Medieval buildings and monuments :
Bocca della Verità
Torre dei Conti
Torre delle Milizie
Modern buildings and monuments :
Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II
Palazzo della Cancelleria
San Giovanni in Laterano (St. John in Lateran)
San Pietro in Vaticano (St. Peter's)
San Paolo fuori le Mura (St. Paul outside the Walls)
Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major)
San Lorenzo fuori le Mura (St. Lawrence outside the Walls)