The Eternal City
Throne of St. Peter
Location within Europe
00100; 00118 to 00199
|Official name||Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura|
|Inscription||1980 (4th Session)|
|Area||1,431 ha (3,540 acres)|
In 2019, Rome was the 14th most visited city in the world, with 8.6 million tourists, the third most visited in the
According to the Ancient Romans'
However, it is possible that the name Romulus was actually derived from Rome itself. 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:
- 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]
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
Legend of the founding of Rome
Traditional stories handed down by the
Monarchy and republic
After the foundation by Romulus according to a legend,
In 509 BC, the Romans expelled the last king from their city and established an
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
The conquest of
In 27 BC, Octavian became
After the end of the Severan Dynasty in 235, the Empire entered into a 50-year period known as the
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.
Christianity in the form of the Nicene Creed became the official religion of the empire in 380, via the
Rome, which had lost its central role in the administration of the empire,
The Bishop of Rome, called the
In 846, Muslim Arabs
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
Early modern history
In 1418, the
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
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.
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 (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.
Beginning with the
This was another nepotistic age; the new aristocratic families (
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.
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. 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.
Soon after World War I in late 1922 Rome witnessed the rise of
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.
Rome constitutes a comune speciale, named "Roma Capitale", 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). 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, and in 2013, their number was reduced to 15.
Rome is also divided into differing types of non-administrative units. The historic centre is divided into 22
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
Rome is the national capital of Italy and is the seat of the
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
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.
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.
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,
Rome has a
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).
|Climate data for Rome Urbe Airport (altitude: 24 m sl, 7 km north from Colosseum satellite view)|
|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 (1971–2000)|
In 550 BC, Rome was the second largest city in Italy, with Tarentum being the largest. 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. When the Republic was founded in 509 BC the census recorded a population of 130,000. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.[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%. The current[when?] birth rate of Rome is 9.10 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.
The urban area of Rome extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 3.9 million. Between 3.2 and 4.2 million people live in the Rome metropolitan area.
According to the latest statistics conducted by ISTAT, 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).
Much like the rest of Italy, Rome is predominantly
Despite the fact that Rome is home to the
Since the end of the
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
Rome has been a major
Pilgrimages to Rome can involve visits to many sites, both within Vatican City and in Italian territory. A popular stopping point is the
Traditionally, pilgrims in Rome (as well as devout Romans) visit the
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. 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.
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
Renaissance and Baroque
Rome was a major world centre of the
Rome's major libraries include: the
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
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.
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 –
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, and The Swedish Institute at Rome. Rome contains numerous ancient sites, including the Forum Romanum, Trajan's Market, Trajan's Forum, 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.
Rome contains a vast and impressive collection of art, sculpture,