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Roma (Italian)
Roma Capitale
ColosseumPantheon, RomeTrevi FountainPonte Sant'AngeloSt. Peter's BasilicaCastel Sant'Angelo
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Clockwise from top: the Colosseum; St. Peter's Basilica; Castel Sant'Angelo; Ponte Sant'Angelo; Trevi Fountain; and the Pantheon.
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The Eternal City

The Capital of the world

Throne of St. Peter
Rome is located in Europe
Location within Europe
Coordinates: 41°53′36″N 12°28′58″E / 41.89333°N 12.48278°E / 41.89333; 12.48278
CAP code(s)
00100; 00118 to 00199
Area code06
Official nameHistoric Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura
Inscription1980 (4th Session)
Area1,431 ha (3,540 acres)
Rome City Centre
  Metro station, use fullscreen to show Termini
  Point of interest

Rome (

Metropolitan City of Rome, and a special comune named Comune di Roma Capitale. With 2,860,009 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi),[2] Rome is the country's most populated comune and the third most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. The Metropolitan City of Rome, with a population of 4,355,725 residents, is the most populous metropolitan city in Italy.[3] Its metropolitan area is the third-most populous within Italy.[4] Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. Vatican City (the smallest country in the world)[5] is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city. Rome is often referred to as the City of Seven Hills due to its geographic location, and also as the "Eternal City".[6] Rome is generally considered to be the "cradle of Western civilization and Christian culture", and the centre of the Catholic Church.[7][8][9]

Papacy, and in the 8th century, it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance, almost all popes since Nicholas V (1447–1455) pursued a coherent architectural and urban programme over four hundred years, aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world.[14] In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Renaissance,[15] and then the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters, sculptors, and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city. In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy
, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic.

In 2019, Rome was the 14th most visited city in the world, with 8.6 million tourists, the third most visited in the

Academy Award–winning movies.[19]


Roman representation of the god Tiberinus, Capitoline Hill
in Rome

According to the Ancient Romans'

However, it is possible that the name Romulus was actually derived from Rome itself.[21] As early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain:[22]

  • From Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn is supposedly related to the Greek verb ῥέω (rhéō) 'to flow, stream' and the Latin verb ruō 'to hurry, rush';[b]
  • From the Etruscan word 𐌓𐌖𐌌𐌀 (ruma), whose root is *rum- "teat", with possible reference either to the totem wolf that adopted and suckled the cognately named twins Romulus and Remus, or to the shape of the Palatine and Aventine Hills;
  • From the Greek word ῥώμη (rhṓmē), which means strength.[c]


Earliest history

While there have been discoveries of archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from approximately 14,000 years ago, the dense layer of much younger debris obscures

tertiary activities. These, in turn, boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy (mainly Ischia and Cumae).[23] These developments, which according to archaeological evidence took place during the mid-eighth century BC, can be considered as the "birth" of the city.[23] Despite recent excavations at the Palatine hill, the view that Rome was founded deliberately in the middle of the eighth century BC, as the legend of Romulus suggests, remains a fringe hypothesis.[24]

Legend of the founding of Rome

Capitoline Wolf, a sculpture of the mythical she-wolf suckling the infant twins Romulus and Remus

Traditional stories handed down by the

annalists, this happened on 21 April 753 BC.[25] This legend had to be reconciled with a dual tradition, set earlier in time, that had the Trojan refugee Aeneas escape to Italy and found the line of Romans through his son Iulus, the namesake of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.[26]
This was accomplished by the Roman poet
Evander. Strabo also writes that Lucius Coelius Antipater believed that Rome was founded by Greeks.[27][28]

Monarchy and republic

After the foundation by Romulus according to a legend,

The Ancient-Imperial-Roman palaces of the Palatine, a series of palaces located in the Palatine Hill
, express power and wealth of emperors from Augustus until the 4th century.

In 509 BC, the Romans expelled the last king from their city and established an

Italian peninsula, from the central area up to Magna Graecia.[30]

The third and second century BC saw the establishment of Roman hegemony over the

From the beginning of the 2nd century BC, power was contested between two groups of aristocrats: the

plebs (urban lower class) to gain power. In the same period, the bankruptcy of the small farmers and the establishment of large slave estates caused large-scale migration to the city. The continuous warfare led to the establishment of a professional army, which turned out to be more loyal to its generals than to the republic. Because of this, in the second half of the second century and during the first century BC there were conflicts both abroad and internally: after the failed attempt of social reform of the populares Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus,[33] and the war against Jugurtha,[33] there was a civil war from which the general Sulla emerged victorious.[33] A major slave revolt under Spartacus followed,[34][34] and then the establishment of the first Triumvirate with Caesar, Pompey and Crassus.[34]

The Imperial fora belong to a series of monumental fora (public squares) constructed in Rome by the emperors. Also seen in the image is Trajan's Market

The conquest of

another civil war between Octavian and Antony.[35]


In 27 BC, Octavian became

Jesus Christ in Judea in the first half of the first century (under Tiberius) and popularised by his apostles through the empire and beyond.[41] The Antonine age is considered the zenith of the Empire, whose territory ranged from the Atlantic Ocean to the Euphrates and from Britain to Egypt.[40]

The Roman Empire at its greatest extent in 117 AD, approximately 6.5×10^6 km2 (2.5×10^6 sq mi)[42]
of land surface
The Roman Forum are the remains of those buildings that during most of Ancient Rome's time represented the political, legal, religious and economic centre of the city and the neuralgic centre of all the Roman civilisation.[43]
Trajan's Column, triumphal column and place where the relics of Emperor Trajan
are placed

After the end of the Severan Dynasty in 235, the Empire entered into a 50-year period known as the

Germanic tribes along the Rhine and north of the Balkans made serious, uncoordinated incursions from the 250s-280s that were more like giant raiding parties rather than attempts to settle. The Persian Empire invaded from the east several times during the 230s to 260s but were eventually defeated.[44]
Emperor Diocletian (284) undertook the restoration of the State. He ended the Principate and introduced the Tetrarchy which sought to increase state power. The most marked feature was the unprecedented intervention of the State down to the city level: whereas the State had submitted a tax demand to a city and allowed it to allocate the charges, from his reign the State did this down to the village level. In a vain attempt to control inflation, he imposed price controls which did not last. He or Constantine regionalised the administration of the empire which fundamentally changed the way it was governed by creating regional dioceses (the consensus seems to have shifted from 297 to 313/14 as the date of creation due to the argument of Constantin Zuckerman in 2002 "Sur la liste de Verone et la province de grande armenie, Melanges Gilber Dagron). The existence of regional fiscal units from 286 served as the model for this unprecedented innovation. The emperor quickened the process of removing military command from governors. Henceforth, civilian administration and military command would be separate. He gave governors more fiscal duties and placed them in charge of the army logistical support system as an attempt to control it by removing the support system from its control. Diocletian ruled the eastern half, residing in Nicomedia. In 296, he elevated Maximian to Augustus of the western half, where he ruled mostly from Mediolanum when not on the move.[44] In 292, he created two 'junior' emperors, the Caesars, one for each Augustus, Constantius for Britain, Gaul, and Spain whose seat of power was in Trier and Galerius in Sirmium in the Balkans. The appointment of a Caesar was not unknown: Diocletian tried to turn into a system of non-dynastic succession. Upon abdication in 305, the Caesars succeeded and they, in turn, appointed two colleagues for themselves.[44]

After the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian in 305 and a series of civil wars between rival claimants to imperial power, during the years 306–313, the Tetrarchy was abandoned. Constantine the Great undertook a major reform of the bureaucracy, not by changing the structure but by rationalising the competencies of the several ministries during the years 325–330, after he defeated Licinius, emperor in the East, at the end of 324. The so-called Edict of Milan of 313, actually a fragment of a letter from Licinius to the governors of the eastern provinces, granted freedom of worship to everyone, including Christians, and ordered the restoration of confiscated church properties upon petition to the newly created vicars of dioceses. He funded the building of several churches and allowed clergy to act as arbitrators in civil suits (a measure that did not outlast him but which was restored in part much later). He transformed the town of Byzantium into his new residence, which, however, was not officially anything more than an imperial residence like Milan or Trier or Nicomedia until given a city prefect in May 359 by Constantius II; Constantinople.[45]

Christianity in the form of the Nicene Creed became the official religion of the empire in 380, via the

an eastern part. The seat of government in the Western Roman Empire was transferred to Ravenna in 408, but from 450 the emperors mostly resided in the capital city, Rome.[46]

Rome, which had lost its central role in the administration of the empire,

Romulus Augustus on 22 August 476, which marked the end of the Western Roman Empire and, for many historians, the beginning of the Middle Ages.[45] The decline of the city's population was caused by the loss of grain shipments from North Africa, from 440 onward, and the unwillingness of the senatorial class to maintain donations to support a population that was too large for the resources available. Even so, strenuous efforts were made to maintain the monumental centre, the palatine, and the largest baths, which continued to function until the Gothic siege of 537. The large baths of Constantine on the Quirinale were even repaired in 443, and the extent of the damage exaggerated and dramatised.[49] However, the city gave an appearance overall of shabbiness and decay because of the large abandoned areas due to population decline. The population declined to 500,000 by 452 and 100,000 by 500 AD (perhaps larger, though no certain figure can be known). After the Gothic siege of 537, the population dropped to 30,000 but had risen to 90,000 by the papacy of Gregory the Great.[50] The population decline coincided with the general collapse of urban life in the West in the fifth and sixth centuries, with few exceptions. Subsidized state grain distributions to the poorer members of society continued right through the sixth century and probably prevented the population from falling further.[51] The figure of 450,000–500,000 is based on the amount of pork, 3,629,000 lbs. distributed to poorer Romans during five winter months at the rate of five Roman lbs per person per month, enough for 145,000 persons or 1/4 or 1/3 of the total population.[52]
Grain distribution to 80,000 ticket holders at the same time suggests 400,000 (Augustus set the number at 200,000 or one-fifth of the population).

Middle Ages

15th-century illustration depicting the Sack of Rome (410) by the Visigothic king Alaric I

After the

fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, Rome was first under the control of Odoacer and then became part of the Ostrogothic Kingdom before returning to East Roman control after the Gothic War, which devastated the city in 546 and 550. Its population declined from more than a million in 210 AD to 500,000 in 273[53] to 35,000 after the Gothic War (535–554),[54] reducing the sprawling city to groups of inhabited buildings interspersed among large areas of ruins, vegetation, vineyards and market gardens.[55] It is generally thought the population of the city until 300 AD was 1 million (estimates range from 2 million to 750,000) declining to 750–800,000 in 400 AD, 450–500,000 in 450 AD and down to 80–100,000 in 500 AD (though it may have been twice this).[56]

The Bishop of Rome, called the

Paul there. The Bishops of Rome were also seen (and still are seen by Catholics) as the successors of Peter, who is considered the first Bishop of Rome. The city thus became of increasing importance as the centre of the Catholic Church

After the

Lombard invasion of Italy (569–572), the city remained nominally Byzantine, but in reality, the popes pursued a policy of equilibrium between the Byzantines, the Franks, and the Lombards.[57] In 729, the Lombard king Liutprand donated the north Latium town of Sutri to the Church, starting its temporal power.[57] In 756, Pepin the Short, after having defeated the Lombards, gave the Pope temporal jurisdiction over the Roman Duchy and the Exarchate of Ravenna, thus creating the Papal States.[57] Since this period, three powers tried to rule the city: the pope, the nobility (together with the chiefs of militias, the judges, the Senate and the populace), and the Frankish king, as king of the Lombards, patricius, and Emperor.[57] These three parties (theocratic, republican, and imperial) were a characteristic of Roman life during the entire Middle Ages.[57] On Christmas night of 800, Charlemagne was crowned in Rome as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Leo III: on that occasion, the city hosted for the first time the two powers whose struggle for control was to be a constant of the Middle Ages.[57]

Old Saint Peter's Basilica
, on 25 December 800

In 846, Muslim Arabs

Ildebrando da Soana, who once elected pope under the name of Gregory VII became involved into the Investiture Controversy against Emperor Henry IV.[59] Subsequently, Rome was sacked and burned by the Normans under Robert Guiscard who had entered the city in support of the Pope, then besieged in Castel Sant'Angelo.[59]

During this period, the city was autonomously ruled by a senatore or patrizio. In the 12th century, this administration, like other European cities, evolved into the

Adrianus IV, which marked the end of the commune's autonomy.[60] Under Pope Innocent III, whose reign marked the apogee of the papacy, the commune liquidated the senate, and replaced it with a Senatore, who was subject to the pope.[60]

In this period, the papacy played a role of secular importance in Western Europe, often acting as arbitrators between Christian monarchs and exercising additional political powers.[61][62][63]

In 1266,

Conti, nested in their fortresses built above ancient Roman edifices, fought each other to control the papacy.[60]

Gregory XI.[64] The return of the pope to Rome in that year unleashed the Western Schism (1377–1418), and for the next forty years, the city was affected by the divisions which rocked the Church.[64]

Early modern history

Almost 500 years old, this map of Rome by Mario Cartaro
(from 1575) shows the city's primary monuments.

In 1418, the

Martin V, was elected.[64]
This brought to Rome a century of internal peace, which marked the beginning of the
Leo X, who gave his name to this period ("the century of Leo X"), all devoted their energy to the greatness and the beauty of the Eternal City and to the patronage of the arts.[64]

During those years, the centre of the Italian Renaissance moved to Rome from Florence. Majestic works, as the new Saint Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and Ponte Sisto (the first bridge to be built across the Tiber since antiquity, although on Roman foundations) were created. To accomplish that, the Popes engaged the best artists of the time, including Michelangelo, Perugino, Raphael, Ghirlandaio, Luca Signorelli, Botticelli, and Cosimo Rosselli.

The period was also infamous for papal corruption, with many Popes fathering children, and engaging in

Reformation and, in turn, the Counter-Reformation
. Under extravagant and rich popes, Rome was transformed into a centre of art, poetry, music, literature, education and culture. Rome became able to compete with other major European cities of the time in terms of wealth, grandeur, the arts, learning and architecture.

The Renaissance period changed the face of Rome dramatically, with works like the Pietà by Michelangelo and the frescoes of the Borgia Apartments. Rome reached the highest point of splendour under Pope Julius II (1503–1513) and his successors Leo X and Clement VII, both members of the Medici family.

A View of the Piazza Navona, Rome, Hendrik Frans van Lint
, c. 1730

In this twenty-year period, Rome became one of the greatest centres of art in the world. The old St. Peter's Basilica built by Emperor Constantine the Great[65] (which by then was in a dilapidated state) was demolished and a new one begun. The city hosted artists like Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Botticelli and Bramante, who built the temple of San Pietro in Montorio and planned a great project to renovate the Vatican. Raphael, who in Rome became one of the most famous painters of Italy, created frescoes in the Villa Farnesina, the Raphael's Rooms, plus many other famous paintings. Michelangelo started the decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and executed the famous statue of the Moses for the tomb of Julius II.

Its economy was rich, with the presence of several Tuscan bankers, including Agostino Chigi, who was a friend of Raphael and a patron of arts. Before his early death, Raphael also promoted for the first time the preservation of the ancient ruins. The War of the League of Cognac caused the first plunder of the city in more than five hundred years since the previous sack; in 1527, the Landsknechts of Emperor Charles V sacked the city, bringing an abrupt end to the golden age of the Renaissance in Rome.[64]

Beginning with the

Sixtus V, Rome became the centre of a reformed Catholicism and saw the building of new monuments which celebrated the papacy.[66] The popes and cardinals of the 17th and early 18th centuries continued the movement by having the city's landscape enriched with baroque buildings.[66]

This was another nepotistic age; the new aristocratic families (

Odescalchi) were protected by their respective popes, who built huge baroque buildings for their relatives.[66] During the Age of Enlightenment, new ideas reached the Eternal City, where the papacy supported archaeological studies and improved the people's welfare.[64] But not everything went well for the Church during the Counter-Reformation. There were setbacks in the attempts to assert the Church's power, a notable example being in 1773 when Pope Clement XIV was forced by secular powers to have the Jesuit order suppressed.[64]

Late modern and contemporary

The rule of the Popes was interrupted by the short-lived Roman Republic (1798–1800), which was established under the influence of the French Revolution. The Papal States were restored in June 1800, but during Napoleon's reign Rome was annexed as a Département of the French Empire: first as Département du Tibre (1808–1810) and then as Département Rome (1810–1814). After the fall of Napoleon, the Papal States were reconstituted by a decision of the Congress of Vienna of 1814.

In 1849,

Italian unification, Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi
, fought for the short-lived republic.

Rome then became the focus of hopes of Italian reunification after the rest of Italy was united as the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 with the temporary capital in Florence. That year Rome was declared the capital of Italy even though it was still under the Pope's control. During the 1860s, the last vestiges of the Papal States were under French protection thanks to the foreign policy of Napoleon III. French troops were stationed in the region under Papal control. In 1870 the French troops were withdrawn due to the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. Italian troops were able to capture Rome entering the city through a breach near Porta Pia. Pope Pius IX declared himself a prisoner in the Vatican. In 1871 the capital of Italy was moved from Florence to Rome.[67] In 1870 the population of the city was 212,000, all of whom lived with the area circumscribed by the ancient city, and in 1920, the population was 660,000. A significant portion lived outside the walls in the north and across the Tiber in the Vatican area.

Bombardment of Rome by Allied
planes, 1943

Soon after World War I in late 1922 Rome witnessed the rise of

San Lorenzo district was subject to Allied bombing raids, resulting in about 3,000 fatalities and 11,000 injuries, of whom another 1,500 died.[69] Mussolini was arrested on 25 July 1943. On the date of the Italian Armistice 8 September 1943 the city was occupied by the Germans. The Pope declared Rome an open city
. It was liberated on 4 June 1944.

Rome developed greatly after the war as part of the "Italian economic miracle" of post-war reconstruction and modernisation in the 1950s and early 1960s. During this period, the years of la dolce vita ("the sweet life"), Rome became a fashionable city, with popular classic films such as Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, Roman Holiday and La Dolce Vita filmed in the city's iconic Cinecittà Studios. The rising trend in population growth continued until the mid-1980s when the comune had more than 2.8 million residents. After this, the population declined slowly as people began to move to nearby suburbs.


Local government

Rome constitutes a comune speciale, named "Roma Capitale",[70] and is the largest both in terms of land area and population among the 8,101 comuni of Italy. It is governed by a mayor and a city council. The seat of the comune is the Palazzo Senatorio on the Capitoline Hill, the historic seat of the city government. The local administration in Rome is commonly referred to as "Campidoglio", the Italian name of the hill.

Administrative and historical subdivisions

Since 1972, the city has been divided into administrative areas, called municipi (sing. municipio) (until 2001 named circoscrizioni).[71] They were created for administrative reasons to increase decentralisation in the city. Each municipio is governed by a president and a council of twenty-five members who are elected by its residents every five years. The municipi frequently cross the boundaries of the traditional, non-administrative divisions of the city. The municipi were originally 20, then 19,[72] and in 2013, their number was reduced to 15.[73]

Rome is also divided into differing types of non-administrative units. The historic centre is divided into 22

Sixtus V, they again reached fourteen, and their boundaries were finally defined under Pope Benedict XIV
in 1743.

A new subdivision of the city under Napoleon was ephemeral, and there were no serious changes in the organisation of the city until 1870 when Rome became the third capital of Italy. The needs of the new capital led to an explosion both in the urbanisation and in the population within and outside the Aurelian walls. In 1874, a fifteenth rione, Esquilino, was created on the newly urbanised zone of Monti. At the beginning of the 20th century other rioni were created (the last one was Prati – the only one outside the Walls of Pope Urban VIII – in 1921). Afterwards, for the new administrative subdivisions of the city, the term "quartiere" was used. Today all the rioni are part of the first Municipio, which therefore coincides completely with the historical city (Centro Storico).

Metropolitan and regional government

Rome is the principal town of the

Metropolitan City of Rome, operative since 1 January 2015. The Metropolitan City replaced the old provincia di Roma, which included the city's metropolitan area and extends further north until Civitavecchia. The Metropolitan City of Rome is the largest by area in Italy. At 5,352 km2 (2,066 sq mi), its dimensions are comparable to the region of Liguria. Moreover, the city is also the capital of the Lazio region.[75]

National government

Rome is the national capital of Italy and is the seat of the

Italian Parliament and that of the Italian Constitutional Court are located in the historic centre. The state ministries are spread out around the city; these include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is located in Palazzo della Farnesina
near the Olympic stadium.



Rome is in the Lazio region of central Italy on the Tiber (Italian: Tevere) river. The original settlement developed on hills that faced onto a ford beside the Tiber Island, the only natural ford of the river in this area. The Rome of the Kings was built on seven hills: the Aventine Hill, the Caelian Hill, the Capitoline Hill, the Esquiline Hill, the Palatine Hill, the Quirinal Hill, and the Viminal Hill. Modern Rome is also crossed by another river, the Aniene, which flows into the Tiber north of the historic centre.

Although the city centre is about 24 km (15 mi) inland from the

above sea level (the peak of Monte Mario).[76]
The Comune of Rome covers an overall area of about 1,285 km2 (496 sq mi), including many green areas.


Throughout the history of Rome, the urban limits of the city were considered to be the area within the city's walls. Originally, these consisted of the Servian Wall, which was built twelve years after the Gaulish sack of the city in 390 BC. This contained most of the Esquiline and Caelian hills, as well as the whole of the other five. Rome outgrew the Servian Wall, but no more walls were constructed until almost 700 years later, when, in 270 AD, Emperor Aurelian began building the Aurelian Walls. These were almost 19 km (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 city's urban area is cut in two by its ring-road, the Grande Raccordo Anulare ("GRA"), finished in 1962, which circles the city centre at a distance of about 10 km (6 mi). Although when the ring was completed most parts of the inhabited area lay inside it (one of the few exceptions was the former village of Ostia, which lies along the Tyrrhenian coast), in the meantime quarters have been built which extend up to 20 km (12 mi) beyond it.[citation needed]

The comune covers an area roughly three times the total area within the Raccordo and is comparable in area to the entire metropolitan cities of Milan and Naples, and to an area six times the size of the territory of these cities. It also includes considerable areas of abandoned marshland which is suitable neither for agriculture nor for urban development.[citation needed]

As a consequence, the density of the comune is not that high, its territory being divided between highly urbanised areas and areas designated as parks,

nature reserves, and for agricultural use.[citation needed


Rome has a

with hot, dry summers and mild, humid winters.

Its average annual temperature is above 21 °C (70 °F) during the day and 9 °C (48 °F) at night. In the coldest month, January, the average temperature is 12.6 °C (54.7 °F) during the day and 2.1 °C (35.8 °F) at night. In the warmest month, August, the average temperature is 31.7 °C (89.1 °F) during the day and 17.3 °C (63.1 °F) at night.

December, January and February are the coldest months, with a daily mean temperature of approximately 8 °C (46 °F). Temperatures during these months generally vary between 10 and 15 °C (50 and 59 °F) during the day and between 3 and 5 °C (37 and 41 °F) at night, with colder or warmer spells occurring frequently. Snowfall is rare but not unheard of, with light snow or flurries occurring on some winters, generally without accumulation, and major snowfalls on a very rare occurrence (the most recent ones were in 2018, 2012 and 1986).[78][79][80]

The average

relative humidity is 75%, varying from 72% in July to 77% in November. Sea temperatures vary from a low of 13.9 °C (57.0 °F) in February to a high of 25.0 °C (77.0 °F) in August.[81]

Climate data for Rome Urbe Airport (altitude: 24 m sl, 7 km north from Colosseum satellite view)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20.2
Average high °C (°F) 12.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 7.4
Average low °C (°F) 2.1
Record low °C (°F) −9.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 69.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 7.6 7.4 7.8 8.8 5.6 4.1 2.3 3.2 5.6 7.7 9.1 8.5 77.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 120.9 132.8 167.4 201.0 263.5 285.0 331.7 297.6 237.0 195.3 129.0 111.6 2,473
Source: Servizio Meteorologico[82] (1971–2000)


Historical population
1861 194,500—    
1871 212,432+9.2%
1881 273,952+29.0%
1901 422,411+54.2%
1911 518,917+22.8%
1921 660,235+27.2%
1931 930,926+41.0%
1936 1,150,589+23.6%
1951 1,651,754+43.6%
1961 2,188,160+32.5%
1971 2,781,993+27.1%
1981 2,840,259+2.1%
1991 2,775,250−2.3%
2001 2,663,182−4.0%
2011 2,617,175−1.7%
2017 2,876,051+9.9%
, 2001

In 550 BC, Rome was the second largest city in Italy, with Tarentum being the largest.[citation needed] It had an area of about 285 ha (700 acres) and an estimated population of 35,000. Other sources suggest the population was just under 100,000 from 600 to 500 BC.[83][84] When the Republic was founded in 509 BC the census recorded a population of 130,000.[85] The republic included the city itself and the immediate surroundings. Other sources suggest a population of 150,000 in 500 BC. It surpassed 300,000 in 150 BC.[86][87][88][89][90]

The size of the city at the time of the Emperor Augustus is a matter of speculation, with estimates based on grain distribution, grain imports, aqueduct capacity, city limits, population density, census reports, and assumptions about the number of unreported women, children and slaves providing a very wide range. Glenn Storey estimates 450,000 people, Whitney Oates estimates 1.2 million, Neville Morely provides a rough estimate of 800,000 and excludes earlier suggestions of 2 million.[91][92][93][94] Estimates of the city's population towards and after the end of the Roman empire also vary. A.H.M. Jones estimated the population at 650,000 in the mid-fifth century. The damage caused by the sackings may have been overestimated. The population had already started to decline from the late fourth century onward, although around the middle of the fifth century it seems that Rome continued to be the most populous city of the two parts of the Empire.[95] According to Krautheimer it was still close to 800,000 in 400 AD; had declined to 500,000 by 452, and dwindled to perhaps 100,000 in 500 AD. After the Gothic Wars, 535–552, the population may have dwindled temporarily to 30,000. During the pontificate of Pope Gregory I (590–604), it may have reached 90,000, augmented by refugees.[96] Lancon estimates 500,000 based on the number of 'incisi' enrolled as eligible to receive bread, oil and wine rations; the number fell to 120,000 in the reform of 419.[97] Neil Christie, citing free rations for the poorest, estimated 500,000 in the mid-fifth century and still a quarter of a million at the end of the century.[98] Novel 36 of Emperor Valentinian III records 3.629 million pounds of pork to be distributed to the needy at 5 lbs. per month for the five winter months, sufficient for 145,000 recipients. This has been used to suggest a population of just under 500,000. Supplies of grain remained steady until the seizure of the remaining provinces of North Africa in 439 by the Vandals, and may have continued to some degree afterwards for a while. The city's population declined to less than 50,000 people in the Early Middle Ages from 700 AD onward. It continued to stagnate or shrink until the Renaissance.[99]

When the Kingdom of Italy annexed Rome in 1870, the city had a population of about 225,000. Less than half the city within the walls was built up in 1881 when the population recorded was 275,000. This increased to 600,000 by 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 the early 1930s.[citation needed][clarification needed] Population growth continued after the Second World War, helped by a post-war economic boom. A construction boom also created many suburbs during the 1950s and 1960s.

In mid-2010, there were 2,754,440 residents in the city proper, while some 4.2 million people lived in the greater Rome area (which can be approximately identified with its administrative metropolitan city, with a population density of about 800 inhabitants/km2 stretching over more than 5,000 km2 (1,900 sq mi)). Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 17.00% of the population compared to pensioners who number 20.76%. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06% (minors) and 19.94% (pensioners). The average age of a Roman 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%, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.56%.[100] The current[when?] birth rate of Rome is 9.10 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.[citation needed]

The urban area of Rome extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 3.9 million.[101] Between 3.2 and 4.2 million people live in the Rome metropolitan area.[102][103][104][105][106]

Ethnic groups

According to the latest statistics conducted by ISTAT,[107] approximately 9.5% of the population consists of non-Italians. About half of the immigrant population consists of those of various other European origins (chiefly Romanian, Polish, Ukrainian, and Albanian) numbering a combined total of 131,118 or 4.7% of the population. The remaining 4.8% are those with non-European origins, chiefly Filipinos (26,933), Bangladeshis (12,154), and Chinese (10,283).


Termini Railway Station, has evolved into a largely immigrant neighbourhood. It is perceived as Rome's Chinatown. Immigrants from more than a hundred different countries reside there. A commercial district, Esquilino contains restaurants featuring many kinds of international cuisine. There are wholesale clothes shops. Of the 1,300 or so commercial premises operating in the district 800 are Chinese-owned; around 300 are run by immigrants from other countries around the world; 200 are owned by Italians.[108]

Notable people


Much like the rest of Italy, Rome is predominantly

, otherwise known as the Pope.

Despite the fact that Rome is home to the

Church of the Gesù. There are also the ancient Catacombs of Rome underneath the city. Numerous highly important religious educational institutions are also in Rome, such as the Pontifical Lateran University, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Pontifical Gregorian University, and Pontifical Oriental Institute

Since the end of the

Jewish community,[109] which was once based in Trastevere, and later in the Roman Ghetto. There lies also the major synagogue in Rome, the Tempio Maggiore

Vatican City

The territory of Vatican City is part of the Mons Vaticanus (Vatican Hill), and of the adjacent former Vatican Fields, where St. Peter's Basilica, the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, and museums were built, along with various other buildings. The area was part of the Roman rione of Borgo until 1929. Being separated from the city on the west bank of the Tiber, the area was a suburb that was protected by being included within the walls of Leo IV, later expanded by the current fortification walls of Paul III, Pius IV, and Urban VIII.

When the Lateran Treaty of 1929 that created the Vatican state was being prepared, the boundaries of the proposed territory were influenced by the fact that much of it was all but enclosed by this loop. For some parts of the border, there was no wall, but the line of certain buildings supplied part of the boundary, and for a small part a new wall was constructed.

The territory includes

major basilicas, enjoy extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies


St. Peter's Basilica at night from Via della Conciliazione
in Rome

Rome has been a major

(1309–1377). Catholics believe that the Vatican is the last resting place of St. Peter.

Pilgrimages to Rome can involve visits to many sites, both within Vatican City and in Italian territory. A popular stopping point is the

Churches of Jesus and Sant'Ignazio.

Traditionally, pilgrims in Rome (as well as devout Romans) visit the

Helena, the mother of Constantine, which hosts fragments of wood attributed to the holy cross) and San Sebastiano fuori le mura (which lies on the Appian Way and is built above the Catacombs of San Sebastiano



Rome's architecture over the centuries has greatly developed, especially from the Classical and Imperial Roman styles to modern fascist architecture. Rome was for a period one of the world's main epicentres of classical architecture, developing new forms such as the arch, the dome and the vault.[112] The Romanesque style in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries was also widely used in Roman architecture, and later the city became one of the main centres of Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassical architecture.[112]

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. Important monuments and sites of ancient Rome include the Roman Forum, the Domus Aurea, the Pantheon, Trajan's Column, Trajan's Market, the Catacombs, 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.


The medieval popular quarters of the city, situated mainly around the Capitol, were largely demolished between the end of the 19th century and the fascist period, but many notable buildings still remain. Basilicas dating from

Santa Maria in Aracoeli

Renaissance and Baroque

Rome was a major world centre of the

Palazzo Chigi (now seat of the Italian Prime Minister), the Palazzo Spada, the Palazzo della Cancelleria, and the Villa Farnesina

Piazza del Campidoglio
, with a copy of the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

Many of the famous city's squares – some huge, majestic and often adorned with

Chamber of Deputies of Italy


In 1870, Rome became the capital city of the new

Grave of the Unknown Soldier
, who represents the 650,000 Italian soldiers who died in World War I, is located.

Fascist architecture

The Fascist regime that ruled in Italy between 1922 and 1943 had its showcase in Rome. Mussolini ordered the construction of new roads and piazzas, resulting in the destruction of older roads, houses, churches and palaces erected during papal rule. The main activities during his government were: the "isolation" of the

Teatro di Marcello; the "isolation" of the Mausoleum of Augustus, with the erection of Piazza Augusto Imperatore; and Via della Conciliazione

Architecturally, Italian Fascism favoured the most modern movements, such as Rationalism. Parallel to this, in the 1920s another style emerged, named "Stile Novecento", characterised by its links with ancient Roman architecture. Two important complexes in the latter style are the Foro Mussolini, now Foro Italico, by Enrico Del Debbio, and the Città universitaria ("University city"), by Marcello Piacentini, also author of the controversial destruction of part of the Borgo rione to open Via della Conciliazione.

The most important Fascist site in Rome is the

1942 world exhibition, and was called "E.42" ("Esposizione 42"). The most representative buildings of EUR are the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (1938–1943), and the Palazzo dei Congressi, examples of the Rationalist style. The world exhibition never took place, because Italy entered the Second World War in 1940, and the buildings were partly destroyed in 1943 in fighting between the Italian and German armies and later abandoned. The quarter was restored in the 1950s when the Roman authorities found that they already had the seed of an off-centre business district of the type that other capitals were still planning (London Docklands and La Défense in Paris). Also, the Palazzo della Farnesina, the current seat of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
, was designed in 1935 in pure Fascist style.

Parks and gardens

Public parks and nature reserves cover a large area in Rome, and the city has one of the largest areas of green space among European capitals.

Pincio and Villa Medici. There is also a notable pine wood at Castelfusano, near Ostia. Rome also has a number of regional parks of much more recent origin, including the Pineto Regional Park
and the Appian Way Regional Park. There are also nature reserves at Marcigliana and at Tenuta di Castelporziano.

Fountains and aqueducts

The Trevi Fountain. Construction began during the time of Ancient Rome and was completed in 1762 by a design of Nicola Salvi

Rome is a city known for its numerous fountains, built-in all different styles, from Classical and Medieval, to Baroque and Neoclassical. The city has had

aqueducts which fed 39 monumental fountains and 591 public basins, not counting the water supplied to the Imperial household, baths, and owners of private villas. Each of the major fountains was connected to two different aqueducts, in case one was shut down for service.[114]

During the 17th and 18th century, the Roman popes reconstructed other degraded Roman aqueducts and built new display fountains to mark their termini, launching the golden age of the Roman fountain. The fountains of Rome, like the paintings of Rubens, were expressions of the new style of Baroque art. In these fountains, sculpture became the principal element, and the water was used simply to animate and decorate the sculptures. They, like baroque gardens, were "a visual representation of confidence and power".[115]


Fontana dei Fiumi by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
, 1648

Rome is well known for its statues but, in particular, the

il Babuino, Madama Lucrezia, il Facchino and Abbot Luigi. Most of these statues are ancient Roman or classical, and most of them also depict mythical gods, ancient people or legendary figures; il Pasquino represents Menelaus, Abbot Luigi is an unknown Roman magistrate, il Babuino is supposed to be Silenus, Marforio represents Oceanus, Madama Lucrezia is a bust of Isis, and il Facchino is the only non-Roman statue, created in 1580, and not representing anyone in particular. They are often, due to their status, covered with placards or graffiti expressing political ideas and points of view. Other statues in the city, which are not related to the talking statues, include those of the Ponte Sant'Angelo, or several monuments scattered across the city, such as that to Giordano Bruno
in the Campo de'Fiori.

Obelisks and columns

The city hosts eight


The city of Rome contains numerous famous bridges which cross the

Ponte Rotto, actually the only remaining arch of the ancient Pons Aemilius, collapsed during the flood of 1598 and demolished at the end of the 19th century; and Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, a modern bridge connecting Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Borgo. Most of the city's public bridges were built in Classical or Renaissance style, but also in Baroque, Neoclassical and Modern styles. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the finest ancient bridge remaining in Rome is the Ponte Sant'Angelo, which was completed in 135 AD, and was decorated with ten statues of the angels, designed by Bernini in 1688.[119]


Rome has an extensive amount of ancient catacombs, or underground burial places under or near the city, of which there are at least forty, some discovered only in recent decades. Though most famous for Christian burials, they include pagan and Jewish burials, either in separate catacombs or mixed together. The first large-scale catacombs were excavated from the 2nd century onwards. Originally they were carved through tuff, a soft volcanic rock, outside the boundaries of the city, because Roman law forbade burial places within city limits. Currently, maintenance of the catacombs is in the hands of the Papacy which has invested in the Salesians of Don Bosco the supervision of the Catacombs of St. Callixtus on the outskirts of Rome.


As the capital of Italy, Rome hosts all the principal institutions of the nation, including the Presidency of the Republic, the government (and its single Ministeri), the Parliament, the main judicial Courts, and the diplomatic representatives of all the countries for the states of Italy and Vatican City. Many international institutions are located in Rome, notably cultural and scientific ones, such as the American Institute, the British School, the French Academy, the Scandinavian Institutes, and the German Archaeological Institute. There are also specialised agencies of the United Nations, such as the


Panoramic view of the EUR
business district

According to the GaWC study of world cities, Rome is a "Beta +" city.[120] The city was ranked in 2014 as 32nd in the Global Cities Index, the highest in Italy.[121] With a 2005 GDP of €94.376 billion (US$121.5 billion),[122][needs update] the city produces 6.7% of the national GDP (more than any other single city in Italy), and its unemployment rate, lowered from 11.1% to 6.5% between 2001 and 2005, is now one of the lowest rates of all the European Union capital cities.[122] Rome's economy grows at around 4.4% annually and continues to grow at a higher rate in comparison to any other city in the rest of the country.[122] This means that were Rome a country, it would be the world's 52nd richest country by GDP, near to the size to that of Egypt. Rome also had a 2003 GDP per capita of €29,153 (US$37,412), which was second in Italy, (after Milan), and is more than 134.1% of the EU average GDP per capita.[123][needs update] Rome, on the whole, has the highest total earnings in Italy, reaching €47,076,890,463 in 2008,[124][needs update] yet, in terms of average workers' incomes, the city places itself 9th in Italy, with €24,509.[124] On a global level, Rome's workers receive the 30th highest wages in 2009, coming three places higher than in 2008, in which the city ranked 33rd.[125][needs update] The Rome area had a GDP amounting to $167.8 billion, and $38,765 per capita.[126]

Rome chamber of commerce in the ancient Temple of Hadrian

Although the economy of Rome is characterised by the absence of heavy industry, and it is largely dominated by

Universities, national radio and television and the movie industry in Rome are also important parts of the economy: Rome is also the hub of 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


Rome is a nationwide and major international centre for higher education, containing numerous academies, colleges and universities. It boasts a large variety of academies and colleges, and has always been a major worldwide intellectual and educational centre, especially during Ancient Rome and the Renaissance, along with Florence.[128] According to the City Brands Index, Rome is considered the world's second most historically, educationally and culturally interesting and beautiful city.[129]

Rome has many universities and colleges. Its first university,

ISIA was founded in 1973 by Giulio Carlo Argan and is Italy's oldest institution in the field of industrial design

Rome contains many

priesthood at the Pontifical Universities.[136]
Examples include the .

National Central Library

Rome's major libraries include: the

Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute of Art History, a German library, often noted for excellence in the arts and sciences.[138]


Entertainment and performing arts

Rome is an important centre for music, and it has an intense musical scene, including several prestigious music conservatories and theatres. It hosts the

MTV Europe Music Awards
in 2004.

Rome has also had a major impact on music history. The Roman School was a group of composers of predominantly church music, which were active in the city during the 16th and 17th centuries, therefore spanning the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. The term also refers to the music they produced. Many of the composers had a direct connection to the Vatican and the papal chapel, though they worked at several churches; stylistically they are often contrasted with the Venetian School of composers, a concurrent movement which was much more progressive. By far the most famous composer of the Roman School is Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, whose name has been associated for four hundred years with smooth, clear, polyphonic perfection. However, there were other composers working in Rome, and in a variety of styles and forms.

Between 1960 and 1970 Rome was considered to be as a “new Hollywood” because of the many actors and directors who worked there; Via Vittorio Veneto had transformed into a glamour place where you could meet famous people.[139]


Rome today is one of the most important tourist destinations of the world, due to the incalculable immensity of its archaeological and artistic treasures, as well as for the charm of its unique traditions, the beauty of its panoramic views, and the majesty of its magnificent "villas" (parks). Among the most significant resources are the many museums –

aqueducts, fountains, churches, palaces, historical buildings, the monuments and ruins of the Roman Forum, and the Catacombs. Rome is the third most visited city in the EU, after London and Paris, and receives an average of 7–10 million tourists a year, which sometimes doubles on holy years. The Colosseum (4 million tourists) and the Vatican Museums (4.2 million tourists) are the 39th and 37th (respectively) most visited places in the world, according to a recent study.[140]

Rome is a major archaeological hub, and one of the world's main centres of archaeological research. There are numerous cultural and research institutes located in the city, such as the American Academy in Rome,[141] and The Swedish Institute at Rome.[142] Rome contains numerous ancient sites, including the Forum Romanum, Trajan's Market, Trajan's Forum,[143] the Colosseum, and the Pantheon, to name but a few. The Colosseum, arguably one of Rome's most iconic archaeological sites, is regarded as a wonder of the world.[144][145]

Rome contains a vast and impressive collection of art, sculpture,

Pannini and Bernardo Bellotto. Today, the city is a major artistic centre, with numerous art institutes[149]
and museums.

most visited art museum in the world.