Rome

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Europe; European Cities

Comune di Roma
Skyline of Comune di Roma
Flag of Comune di Roma
Flag
Official seal of Comune di Roma
Seal
Nickname(s): The Eternal City
Motto: Senātus Populusque Rōmānus ( SPQR)  (Latin)
Location of the city of Rome
Location of the city of Rome
Coordinates:
Region Lazio
Province Rome (RM)
Founded 21 April, 753 BC
Government
 -  Mayor Giovanni Alemanno
Area
 - City 1,285 km² (496.1 sq mi)
 - Urban 5,352 km² (2,066 sq mi)
Elevation +20 m (66 ft)
Population (December 2006)
 - City 2,705,603 ( 1st)
 -  Density 2,105.5/km² (4,664.8/sq mi)
 - Urban 4,013,057
 - Metro 5,493,308
Time zone CET ( UTC+1)
 - Summer ( DST) CEST ( UTC+2)
Postal codes 00121 to 00199
Area code(s) 06
Patron saints Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Website: comune.roma.it

Rome ( Italian: Roma, Latin: Roma) is the capital city of Italy and of the Lazio region, as well as the country's largest and most populous city, with more than 2.7 million residents. The metropolitan area has a population of about 4 million. It is located in the central-western portion of the Italian peninsula, where the river Aniene joins the Tiber.

Rome is known as, Caput Mundi (Capital of the world), la Città Eterna (The Eternal City), Limen Apostolorum (Threshold of the Apostles), la città dei sette colli (The city of the seven hills) or simply l'Urbe (The City), has been for centuries a centre of Western civilization, and is the seat of the Catholic Church.

The State of the Vatican City, the sovereign territory of the Holy See is an enclave of Rome.

Today, Rome is modern and cosmopolitan. It is the third most-visited tourist destination in the EU and a city of cultural and political importance. Its international airport at Fiumicino is the largest in Italy; it 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, 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.

The Mayor of Rome is Giovanni Alemanno.

Geography and climate

Satellite image of Rome, showing natural and built environment in the city
Satellite image of Rome, showing natural and built environment in the city

Location

Rome is in the Lazio region of Central Italy at the confluence of the Aniene and Tiber ( Italian: Tevere) rivers. Although the city centre is about 24 kilometers (14.9 mi) 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 13 m (43 ft) above sea level (in Piazza del Popolo) to 120 m (394 ft) above sea level (the peak of Monte Mario). The comune of Rome covers an overall area of about 1,285 km² (496 sq mi), including many green areas.

Climate

Rome enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate which characterizes the Mediterranean coasts of Italy. It is at its most comfortable from April through June, and from mid-September to October; in particular, the Roman ottobrate (the Italian word ottobrata can roughly be translated as "beautiful October day") are famously known as sunny and warm days. By August, the temperature during the heat of the day often exceeds 32 °C (90 °F); traditionally, many businesses would close during August, and Romans would abandon the city for holiday resorts, but this trend is weakening, and the city is increasingly remaining fully functional during the whole summer, in response to growing tourism as well as change in the population's work habits. The average high temperature in December is about 13 °C (57 °F), but below zero lows are not uncommon.

Weather averages for Rome
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high °C (°F) 12 (54) 13 (55) 16 (61) 19 (66) 23 (73) 27 (81) 31 (88) 31 (88) 27 (81) 22 (72) 17 (63) 13 (55)
Average low °C (°F) 2 (36) 3 (37) 4 (39) 7 (45) 11 (52) 14 (57) 17 (63) 17 (63) 14 (57) 10 (50) 6 (43) 3 (37)
Precipitation mm (inches) 83 (3.27) 76 (2.99) 68 (2.68) 68 (2.68) 48 (1.89) 40 (1.57) 22 (0.87) 35 (1.38) 76 (2.99) 106 (4.17) 119 (4.69) 91 (3.58)
Source: Weather.com 2008

History

Capitoline Wolf suckles the infant twins Romulus and Remus (Etruscan bronze, c. 500 BC-480 BC).
Capitoline Wolf suckles the infant twins Romulus and Remus (Etruscan bronze, c. 500 BC-480 BC).
Fifteenth-century miniature depicting the Sack of Rome of 410.
Fifteenth-century miniature depicting the Sack of Rome of 410.
Garibaldi defends the Roman Republic in 1849.
Garibaldi defends the Roman Republic in 1849.

From founding to Empire

According to a legend, the city of Rome was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus on April 21, 753 BC, and archaeological evidence supports the theory that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built in the area of the future Roman Forum, coalescing into a city in the 8th century BC. The city developed into the capital of the Roman Kingdom (ruled by a succession of seven kings, according to tradition), Roman Republic (from 510 BC, governed by the Senate), but 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 neighboring civilizations, most notably the Etruscans and Greece">Greeks. From the foundation of Rome in 753 BC, the City of Rome was undefeated militarily (though losing occasional battles), until 386 BC, when Rome was occupied by the Celts (one of the three main Gallic tribes), and then recovered by Romans in the same year. Livy, Book 5. According to the history, 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.

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.

Fall of the Empire and Middle Ages

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 AD 410 by Alaric I and the fall of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476, 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 AD 751 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 on Christmas 800 AD 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 (1309–1337). While no longer politically powerful, as tragically shown by the brutal sack of 1527, the city flourished as a hub of cultural and artistic activity during the Renaissance and the Baroque, under the patronage of the Papal court.

17–19th century

Population rose again and reached 100,000 during the 17th century, but Rome ultimately lagged behind the rest of the European capitals over the subsequent centuries, being largely busy in the Counter-Reformation process. Caught up in the nationalistic turmoils of the 19th century and having twice gained and lost a short-lived independence, Rome became the focus of the hopes for Italian unification, as propelled by the Kingdom of Italy ruled by King Vittorio Emanuele II; after the French protection was lifted in 1870, royal troops stormed the city, and Rome was declared capital of the newly unified Italy in 1871.

20th century

After a victorious World War I, Rome witnessed the rise to power of Italian fascism guided by Benito Mussolini, who marched on the city in 1922, eventually declared a new Empire and allied Italy with Nazi Germany. This was a period of rapid growth in population, from the 212,000 people at the time of unification to more than 1,000,000, but this trend was halted by World War II, during which Rome was damaged by both Allied forces bombing and Nazi occupation; after the execution of Mussolini and the end of the war, a 1946 referendum abolished the monarchy in favour of the Italian Republic.

Rome grew momentously after the war, as one of the driving forces behind the "Italian economic miracle" of post-war reconstruction and modernization. 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 comuni.

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Architecture, landmarks and city layouts

Column of Marcus Aurelius
Column of Marcus Aurelius
Piazza del Campidoglio
Piazza del Campidoglio
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo
The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps
Ponte Sant'Angelo
Ponte Sant'Angelo
Remains of the Appian Way in Rome, near Quarto Miglio
Remains of the Appian Way in Rome, near Quarto Miglio
Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City.
Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City.
Villa Borghese: the 19th century "Temple of Aesculapius" built purely as a landscape feature, influenced by the lake at Stourhead, Wiltshire, England
Villa Borghese: the 19th century "Temple of Aesculapius" built purely as a landscape feature, influenced by the lake at Stourhead, Wiltshire, England

Ancient Rome

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 several catacombs area, 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.

Medieval

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 second 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.

Renaissance and Baroque

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 Republic), the Palazzo Venezia, the Palazzo Farnese, the Palazzo Barberini, the Palazzo Chigi (now seat of the 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.

Neoclassicism

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.

Fascist architecture

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 labeled 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.

City centre

The historical centre ville is dominated by the traditional " Seven hills of Rome": the Capitoline, Palatine, Viminal, Quirinal, Esquiline, Caelian, and Aventine hills. The Tiber flows south through Rome, with the city centre located where the midstream Tiber Island facilitated crossing.

Large parts of the ancient city walls remain. The Servian Wall was built twelve years after Gauls' sack of the city in 390 BC; it 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 270 AD, when Aurelian began building the Aurelian Walls. These were almost 19 kilometers (12 mi) long, and were still the walls the troops of the Kingdom of Italy had to breach to enter the city in 1870.

The old city centre contains about 300 hotels and 300 pensioni, over 200 palaces, 900 churches, eight of Rome's major parks, the residence of the President of the Italian Republic, the houses of the Parliament, offices of the city and city government, and many monuments. The old city also contains thousands of workshops, offices, bars, and restaurants. Millions of tourists visit Rome annually, making it one of the most visited cities in the world.

Peripheral layout

The ancient city within the walls covers about four percent of the modern municipality's 1,285 square kilometres (496 sq mi). The historic city center is the smallest of Rome's nineteen administrative zones. The city centre is made up of 22 rioni (districts), with one of them, ( Prati), actually lying out of the walled area. Surrounding the centre are 35 quartieri urbani (urban sectors), and within the city limits are six large suburbi ( suburbs).

The belt highway known as Grande Raccordo Anulare (G.R.A.) describes a huge circle around the capital, about six miles (10 km) out from the city centre; unlike most Italian highways, the G.R.A. is toll-free. The circular highway ties together the ancient roads that led to Rome in antiquity: the Via Flaminia, Via Aurelia, Via Salaria, Via Tiburtina, Via Casilina and Via Appia. The modern Via Appia connects the city centre to a string of towns known as Castelli Romani.

Vatican City

The city of Rome surrounds the Vatican City, the enclave of the Holy See, which is a separate sovereign state. It hosts Saint Peter's Square with the Saint Peter's Basilica. The open space before the basilica was redesigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, from 1656 to 1667, under the direction of Pope Alexander VII, as a forecourt, designed "so that the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing, either from the middle of the façade of the church or from a window in the Vatican Palace" (Norwich 1975, p. 175). In Vatican City there are also the Vatican Library, Vatican Museums with the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms and other important works of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Giotto, and Botticelli.

Museums and galleries

The most important museums and galleries of Rome include the National Museum of Rome, the Museum of Roman Civilization, the Villa Giulia National Etruscan Museum, the Capitoline Museums, the Borghese Gallery, the Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo, and the National Gallery of Modern Art.

Villas and gardens

The centre of Rome is surrounded by some large green areas and opulent ancient villas, which are the remains of the crowns of villas which encircled the papal city. Most of them were largely destroyed by real estate speculation at the end of the 19th century. The most important among the surviving ones are:

  • Villa Borghese, with a large landscape garden in the naturalistic 19th century English style, containing a number of buildings, museums (see Galleria Borghese) and attractions;
  • Villa Ada, the largest public landscaped park of Rome;
  • Villa Doria Pamphili, the second largest with an area of 1.8 square kilometers (0.7 sq mi);
  • Villa Torlonia, a splendid example of Art Nouveau mansion that was the Roman residence of Benito Mussolini;
  • Villa Albani, commissioned by Alessandro Cardinal Albani to house his collection of antiquities and Roman sculpture, which soon filled the casino that faced the Villa down a series of formal parterres.

Government

Capital status

The Quirinal Palace, house of the President of the Italian Republic
The Quirinal Palace, house of the President of the Italian Republic

Rome is the national capital of Italy and is the seat of the President of the Italian Republic, whose official residence is Quirinale Palace. Rome hosts also the Italian Parliament, Italian Prime Minister and all the ministries. The Mayor of Rome is Giovanni Alemanno of the People of Freedom coalition, elected in 2008. A political debate in Italy focuses on the opportunity of providing the city with "special powers" of local jurisdiction (the "Roma Capitale" directives), and possibly of turning either the comune or the Province of Rome into a "capital district" separate from the Lazio region, modelled after other European capital cities.

Subdivisions

The territory of the commune of Rome is divided into 19 Municipi (area subdivisions). Originally, the city was divided into 20 sub-municipalities, but the XIV, what is now the Comune di Fiumicino, voted some years ago to become a full municipality itself and eventually detached from Rome.

Other sovereign entities

FAO headquarters in Rome (former seat of the Department of Italian East Africa)
FAO headquarters in Rome (former seat of the Department of Italian East Africa)

Rome is unique in its containing two other sovereign entities. One is the Holy See, the political and religious entity that governs the territory of the Vatican City (a de facto enclave since 1870, officially recognised as such in 1929), as well as claiming extraterritorial rights over a few other palaces and churches, mostly in the city centre; indeed, Rome hosts foreign embassies to both Italy and the Holy See. The other entity is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), which took refuge in Rome in 1834 after having lost Malta to Napoleon in 1798, and thus claims no territory (leading to disputes over its actual sovereign status); SMOM too owns extraterritorial palaces in central Rome.

International involvement

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 is also the seat of significant international organizations 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).

It is the place where the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was formulated.

Demographics

At the time of Emperor Augustus, Rome was the largest city in the world, and probably the largest ever built until the nineteenth century. Estimates of its peak population range from 450,000 to over 3.5 million people with 1 to 2 million being most popular with historians. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city's population may have been less than 50,000, and continued to stagnate (or shrink) until the Renaissance. 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 World War II, Rome continued to expand, with the creation of new quartieri and suburbs in '50s and '60s.

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.

As of 2006, 92.63% of the population was Italian. The largest immigrant group came from other European countries (mostly from Romania and Poland): 3.14%, East Asia (mostly Filipino): 1.28%, and the Americas (mostly from Peru): 1.09%. It is also important to note that there are tens of thousands of illegal migrants living in the Italian capital of Rome.

Economy

Eni headquarters in the EUR neighbourhood
Eni headquarters in the EUR neighbourhood

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.

Culture and society

Religion

Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the earliest symbols of Christianity in the city.
Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the earliest symbols of Christianity in the city.
The Great Synagogue of Rome
The Great Synagogue of Rome
Central mosque by Paolo Portoghesi, Rome (1974)
Central mosque by Paolo Portoghesi, Rome (1974)

The Religio Romana (literally, the "Roman Religion") constituted the major religion of the city in antiquity. The first gods held sacred by the Romans were Jupiter, the most high, and Mars, god of war, and father of Rome's twin founders, Romulus and Remus, according to tradition. The goddess Vesta became an important part of the Roman Pantheon at an early stage of the Roman Monarchy. The goddess Diana joined Roman Pantheon during the Monarchy times as the central goddess uniting worship between Rome and several of its neighbors, thus creating the basis for a coalition. The goddess Juno was imported to Rome from the ancient city of Veii, after Veii fell to the Roman military, following a long period of wars between the two cities, during the time of the Roman Republic. Other gods and goddesses were honored in Rome and added to the Pantheon throughout the Monarchy and Republic periods. See Livy, Books 1-5.

The Roman religion was largely concerned with interpreting divine messages (auguries) through natural occurrences (omens). However, Rome had no augurs of its own, and largely relied upon Etruscan augurs to interpret the divine omens. For this reason, Rome was left without any augurs during its last war with Veii, an Etruscan city, and was forced to send envoys all the way to Greece, to consult the famous Oracle at Delphi. Livy, Book 5.

Several other religions and imported mystery cults remained represented within its ever-expanding boundaries during the Roman Republic and Empire periods, including Judaism, whose presence in the city dates back from the Roman Republic and was sometimes forcibly confined to the Roman Ghetto, as well as Mithraism which was the official religion of the Roman Empire for about two centuries, until being superseded by Christianity, following the death of Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD. Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380 by Emperor Theodosius I, allowing it to spread further and eventually wholly replace Mithraism and the Roman Religion.

Rome became the pre-eminent Christian city (vis-a-vis Antioch and Alexandria, and later Constantinople and Jerusalem) based on the tradition that Saint Peter and Saint Paul were martyred in the city during the 1st century, coupled with the city's political importance. The Bishop of Rome, later known as the Pope, claimed primacy over all Bishops and therefore all Christians on the basis that he is the successor of Saint Peter, upon whom Jesus built his Church; his prestige had been enhanced since 313 through donations by Roman emperors and patricians, including the Lateran Palace and patriarchal basilicas, as well as the obviously growing influence of the Church over the failing civil imperial authority. Papal authority has been exercised over the centuries with varying degrees of success, at times triggering divisions among Christians, until the present.

With the increasing chaos and disorder leading to the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476, the popes assumed more and more civil authority first in Rome and in the surrounding territories. Rome became the centre of the Catholic Church and the capital city of the Papal States; consequently, a great number of churches, convents and other religious buildings were erected in the city, sometimes above the ruins of older pre-Christian sites of worship. Churches proliferated during the Renaissance, when the Rome's most notable churches were built (this includes St. Peter's basilica on the Vatican Hill (the largest church in the world) and the city cathedral of St. John at the Lateran. The Papacy established its residence first in the Lateran Palace, then in the Quirinal Palace. When Rome was annexed by force to the newly unified Kingdom of Italy In 1870, Pope Pius IX retired to the Vatican, proclaiming himself a prisoner of the Savoy monarchy and leading to decades of conflict between the neonate state and the Catholic Church. This was resolved in 1929, when the Lateran Treaty were signed in Rome, establishing the right for the Holy See to govern the Vatican City as an independent, sovereign state. The patron saints of Rome remain Saint Peter and Saint Paul (or, as they are collectively referred to in this context, "the most holy Saints Peter and Paul"), both celebrated on June 29.

In recent years, the Islamic community has grown significantly, in great part due to immigration from North African and Middle Eastern countries into the city. As a consequence of this trend, the comune promoted the building of the largest mosque in Europe, which was designed by architect Paolo Portoghesi and inaugurated on June 21, 1995.

Language

The original language of Rome was Latin, which evolved during the Middle Ages into Italian. The latter emerged as the confluence of various regional dialects, among which the Tuscan dialect predominated, but the population of Rome also developed its own dialect, the Romanesco. The ancient romanesco, used during the Middle Ages, was a southern Italian dialect, very close to the Neapolitan. The influence of the Florentine culture during the renaissance, and, above all, the immigration to Rome of many Florentines who were among the two Medici Popes' ( Leo X and Clement VII) suite, caused a strong change of the dialect, which resembled more the Tuscan varieties (the immigration of Florentines was mainly due to the Sack of Rome in 1527 and the subsequent demographic decrease). This remained largely confined to Rome until the 19th century, but then expanded to other zones of Lazio ( Civitavecchia, Latina), from the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to the rising population of Rome and to better transportation systems. As a consequence, Romanesco abandoned its traditional forms to mutate into the dialect spoken within the city, which is more similar to standard Italian, although remaining distinct from other Romanesco-influenced local dialects of Lazio. Dialectal literature in the traditional form Romanesco includes the works of such authors as Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli, Trilussa, and Cesare Pascarella. Contemporary Romanesco is mainly represented by popular actors such as Aldo Fabrizi, Alberto Sordi, Nino Manfredi, Anna Magnani, Gigi Proietti, Enrico Montesano, and Carlo Verdone.

The statue of Minerva in La Sapienza University
The statue of Minerva in La Sapienza University

Universities

Rome is a nation-wide centre for higher education. Its first university, La Sapienza (founded in 1303), is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world, with more than 150,000 students attending. Two new public universities were founded: Tor Vergata in 1982, and Roma Tre in 1992, although the latter has now become larger than the former. Rome also contains a large number of pontifical universities and institutes, including the Pontifical Gregorian University (The oldest Jesuit university in the world, founded in 1551), the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), and many others. The city also hosts various private universities, such as the LUMSA, the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Roman centre), the LUISS, Istituto Europeo di Design,the St. John's University, the John Cabot University, the IUSM, the American University of Rome, the Scuola Lorenzo de' Medici, the Link Campus of Malta, the S. Pio V University of Rome, and the Università Campus Bio-Medico. Rome is also the location of the John Felice Rome Centre, a campus of Loyola University Chicago.

Music

Rome is an important centre for music. 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. Rome also has an opera house, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, as well as several minor musical institutions. The city also played host to the Eurovision Song Contest 1991 and the MTV Europe Music Awards 2004.

Cinema

Set of Gangs of New York in Cinecittà studios, Rome.
Set of Gangs of New York in Cinecittà studios, Rome.

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 Fascist dictator 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.

Sports


Club Sport Founded League Venue Head Coach
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

Rome hosted the 1960 Summer Olympics and is an official candidate to hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Football is the most popular sport in Rome, as in the rest of the country. The Stadio Olimpico 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. Every spring, the annual Rome marathon is considered to be the most widely attended sports event in Italy. Rome is also home to many other sports teams, including basketball ( Virtus Roma), volleyball ( M. Roma Volley), handball or waterpolo.

Transportation

Airports

Rome is served by three airports, of which the main two are owned by Aeroporti di Roma. The intercontinental Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport is Italy's chief airport; it is more commonly known as "Fiumicino airport", as it is located within the territory of the nearby comune of Fiumicino, south-west of Rome. The older Rome Ciampino Airport is a joint civilian and military airport; it is more commonly referred to as "Ciampino Airport", as it is located within Roman territory near the border with the comune of Ciampino, south-east of Rome.

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.

Railways

With its 29 platforms and over 150 million passengers each year, Roma Termini railway station is one of the largest train stations in Europe
With its 29 platforms and over 150 million passengers each year, Roma Termini railway station is one of the largest train stations in Europe

Rome is the hub of the Italian railways.

History of Rome railroad

  • The first railroad built in Rome (and the second railway built in Italy) the Rome and Frascati Rail Road, was opened for service on July 14, 1856.
  • On April 16, 1859 the Rome and Civitavecchia Rail Road was opened for service.
  • On January 27, 1862 the Rome and Ceprano Rail Road was opened for service.
  • On April 28, 1864 the Rome and Monterotondo Rail Road was opened for service.
  • On April 29, 1894 the Rome, Capranica and Viterbo Rail Road was opened for service
  • On June 12, 1916 the Rome and Fiuggi Rail Road was opened for service.
  • On October 28, 1932 the Rome, Civita Castellana and Viterbo Rail Road was opened for service

Stations in the city

Located on the Esquiline Hill, Rome's central station, called Roma Termini, was opened in 1863, then demolished and completely rebuilt between 1939 and 1951; it is operated by Grandi Stazioni and mainly served by Trenitalia. It is the single largest station in Europe and is visited by 600,000 passengers daily; it has twenty-nine railway platforms, and also serves as a shopping centre and art gallery. The second largest station in the city is Roma Tiburtina, which is being redeveloped for high-speed rail service. Other notable stations include Roma Ostiense, Roma Trastevere, Roma Tuscolana, Roma San Pietro, Roma Nomentana and Roma Casilina.

Urban transportation

Map of Rome Metro.
Map of Rome Metro.
Map of Rome Tramway
Map of Rome Tramway
tram in Largo di Torre Argentina">Roman tram in Largo di Torre Argentina
Roman tram in Largo di Torre Argentina

Underground

A 2-line subway system operates in Rome, called the "Metropolitana" or Rome Metro. Construction on 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 (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 38 km. The two existing lines, A & B, only 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 3.9 km.

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 25.5 km. 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 20 km. The first section is projected to open in 2015 and the final sections before 2035. A fifth line, line E, is the proposed conversion of the Roma-Lido railway to a Metro line by 2011.

Overground

The Rome Metro is part of an extensive transport network made of a tramway network, 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. There is also an overground rail system with seven lines which link the hinterland of the Roman Area. One of this leads to the second Airport of the city, Ciampino.

Rome also has a comprehensive bus and light rail system. The English web site of the ATAC public transportation company allows a route to be calculated using the buses, light rail and subways. The 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.

Motor Traffic Limited Zone (ZTL)

Chronic congestion caused by cars during the 1970s and 1980s led to ban of unauthorized traffic from the central part of the city during workdays from 6 a.m. to 6 pm. This area is officially called Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL) in Italian. Heavy traffic due to night-life crowds during weekends led in recent years to the creation of other ZTLs in the Trastevere and S. Lorenzo districts during the night, and to experimentation with a new night ZTL also in the city centre (plans to create a night ZTL 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 parking, as new underground parking spread throughout the city. Rome has 21 taxis for every 10,000 inhabitants - far below other major European cities.
Despite all measures, Rome's traffic remains an unsolved problem.

International relations

Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii, iv, vi
Reference {{{ID}}}
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription {{{Year}}}  (Unknown Session)
Extensions 1990
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Rome has one sister city, and a number of partner cities:

Sister city

  • Flag of France Paris, France (French: Seule Paris est digne de Rome; seule Rome est digne de Paris; Italian: Solo Parigi è degna di Roma; solo Roma è degna di Parigi; English: Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris).

Partner cities

Documentaries

  • The Holy Cities: Rome produced by Danae Film Production, distributed by HDH Communications; 2006.

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