Rome, city and capital of both Italy and the Lazio region and the province of Rome, is crossed by the Tiber River, in the central part of the country, close to the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Vatican State is located on Roman municipal soil, although it has been an independent state since 1929.
Rome’s economy is fundamentally based on two activities: administrative and tourism. It is also the headquarters of many multinational companies and international organizations, such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
After World War II, Rome created a large industrial base. Its more traditional products, fabrics and tourist souvenirs, have been replaced by others, such as processed foods, printing and haute couture.
According to Cancermatters, Rome is divided into two major regions: the interior, bounded by the walls of Aurélio, built at the end of the third century AD, and the exterior, characterized by its peripheral neighborhoods. The layout of the streets reflects its long and complex history.
Today, Rome is an incomparable deposit of monuments from all eras, from the Etruscan era to modern times. Roman monuments range from the Pantheon to the impressive Colosseum (opened in 80 AD). You can see the old city walls, the arches of triumph, the beautiful squares and the numerous palaces and churches. Among them, the Roman Forum and the Imperial Forum stand out, former commercial and religious centers, the Termas de Caracalla, built around 217 AD, the catacombs and the Sant’Angelo castle, built as the mausoleum of the Roman emperor Hadrian. The basilicas of Saint John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome, Saint Paul outside the Walls, Saint Peter and Saint Mary Major. It is the seat of the largest institution of higher education in Italy, the University of Rome (1303); also important are the International Independent University of Social Studies in Rome (1945) and several universities linked to the Catholic Church. Among its art schools, the Academy of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Dance, the National Academy of Dramatic Art and the Conservatory of Music of Santa Cecília stand out. The city’s museums show all aspects of art and science and among them are the most prestigious in the world (Capitoline Museum, National Museum of Vila Giulia, National Roman Museum). There are also important collections at the Farnese palace and at the Barberini palace.
According to legend, the city was founded by Romulus in 753 BC From the 7th to the 6th century BC, the Etruscan kings dominated Rome, but around 510 BC the Republic was established when the last monarch, Tarquino, the Sovereign, was dethroned. From then on, Rome began to absorb the peripheral regions and expanded both during and after the Punic Wars (264-146 BC).
The city went through a period of instability whose peak coincided with the civil wars of the first century BC Julius Caesar became the dictator and instituted a series of reforms, concluded by Augusto. Rome quickly became the center of the Empire and from it came the road system that brought the different regions of the Empire into contact, which is why it could be considered the capital of the Mediterranean world.
The city was ransacked by German tribes in 410 and again in 455. The occupation of the Ostrogoths in the 6th century and, later, the Byzantine reoccupation contributed to precipitate the decay and the reduction of the population. In the 9th century, the situation became more serious when the Arabs attacked the city’s periphery, including papal territory. The city prospered again in the 11th century, although progress slowed down in the early 14th century, when the popes settled in Avignon. The papacy returned to Rome in 1377 and, in the second half of the 15th century, the city became the center of Renaissance culture.
The great incentive to the arts began to enrich Rome. German mercenaries plundered the city in 1527, but Rome soon recovered from the coup. During the 16th century, Michelangelo, Donato Bramante, Rafael and other artists worked for the popes and construction began on St. Peter’s Basilica. The Baroque style, which characterizes Rome after the Counter-Reformation, predominates in buildings from the 17th century. Architects and sculptors like Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini transformed the city’s landscape during this period. The buildings built in the Rococo style in the first half of the century gave way to other neoclassicals.
Napoleon’s occupation of Italy sparked a nationalist reaction and, in 1861, Italy was unified under Savoia’s house. However, Rome did not join the Kingdom of Italy until 1870. When it became the capital of unified Italy in 1871, the city underwent a period of great effervescence and new districts were built. Population (1993): 2,687,881 inhabitants.