Rome (Italian Roma) is the capital city of Italy and the Italian region Latium. It is on the Tiber River and has 2.8 million people. An estimate by the OECD put the number of people of the city area of Rome at 3.47 million. The enclave Vatican City is in the north-west.
Nothing is known for sure about the founding of Rome. The myth of Romulus and Remus is often told. They were supposedly raised by a she-wolf. Romulus killed Remus and became the first king of Rome. There is no historical evidence of this, but the story is popular.
With the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom began the Republican era. The new Roman Republic fought and conquered the people around it. In 390 BC, the town was invaded by Gauls. Between the third and second century BC, Rome fought against the rival Carthage. The Roman army captured and destroyed Carthage.
Only with Julius Caesar in the first century BC, did the city began to grow significantly, especially toward the Campo Marzio, at the north of Capitol, and its domain was extended to Britannia. Caesar was never crowned emperor, a title which, however, fell to his adopted son Octavian who took the throne under the name of Augustus. Augustus found a city of bricks and left it of marble”. Later emperors also added new monuments, temples, and triumphal arches to ancient Rome.
With the decline of the Roman Empire, the city declined in importance and fell into ruin. Pope Gregory I created major reforms for the people. The city was ruled by the pope, and soon also became the capital of a state, the Papal States, which remained active until the nineteenth century. Popes, like the emperors, became richer over the centuries. The city of monuments and churches was called the “capital of Christendom”, as the home of the Basilica di San Giovanni Lateran, the most important church of the world. The power of the Pope lessened along with its state. On 20 September 1870, Garibaldi’s army, which had the task of uniting all of Italy under the crown of Savoy, entered the city through a breach opened in the walls at Porta Pia and, the same year, Rome became the capital of the new Italian state.
Rome is a major European political and cultural center, containing the HQ headquarters of FAO. It is home of the pope and was one of the most powerful cities of antiquity (the old world). It currently contains numerous museums, basilicas, and palaces, such as the Colosseum.
ROME: Sights and Attractions
You can buy tickets online for attractions, museums, and tours at this Rome tickets website. Reserve your place and skip the waiting line.
A river cruise is also a great option to see the city easily and differently.
- Great Squares (Piazze)
Rome's squares are one of the main attractions of the Italian Capital, perhaps 'the core' of the city itself. At the Piazze you can meet each other, enjoy yourselves, and chat with friends for special events or for the daily 'happy hour'. Piazza del Campidoglio (on the Capitol Hill) houses the city council; Piazza Venezia represents the 'heart of the city'; Piazza Navona displays the spectacular Baroque triumphant architecture; Piazza di Spagna is a masterpiece of the XVIII century with its famous Spanish Steps and, last but not least, St Peter's Square which is the majestic access to St Peter's Basilica, the centre of Christianity.
- Roman basilicas and churches
Within Rome there are about 19 basilicas to be found, out of which 3 are patriarchal: St Peter's Basilica - the world's largest basilica of Christianity; St John in Lateran (San Giovanni Laterano) - former seat of the bishop’s residence and the most ancient church in the world, Santa Maria Maggiore.
- Ancient Rome sights
The hugest structure of its type in Ancient Rome, the elliptical-shaped Colosseum took about ten years to build. The centre of Ancient Rome entertainment, where the gladiatorial and animal combats were held, but, contrary to popular belief, it was not the place where Christians were put to death. The Colosseum is surely the top tourist attraction in Rome.
The central area around which Ancient Rome developed. Administrative and corporate heart of Rome.
One of the most impressive buildings of Imperial Rome. It was originally a temple dedicated to "all the gods", hence the name. A remarkable architectural feat, it remains the world’s largest unreinforced dome.
The Appian Way is an archeological park where you can soak in the sunshine while strolling past Ancient Roman tombs of patrician families. You can also visit the catacombs of St. Sebastian and Callixtus.
More ancient sights:
- Vatican Sights
The Vatican State encloses St. Peter’s Church and the Vatican Museums; the awe-inspiring late Rennaissance masterpiece was completed in over 150 years and built over a pre-existing Early Christian basilica.
Highlights include Michelangelo’s Pietà, the Vatican Gardens, climbing the winding staircase to the top of the cupola for a magnificent view, the Sistine Chapel, and Raffaello’s Rooms, both part of the Vatican Museum, the immense wind-swept square encircled by the colonnade.
More Vatican sights:
- Rome fountains
The splendid Fontana di Trevi, a towering marble facade of statues and horses which seem to stampede out of it, the Fountain of the Four Rivers on Piazza Navona, and the Tritone Fountain are unmissable and might just cool a hot day; make sure you don’t overlook their less spectacular counterparts, such as the Fontana delle Tartarughe, an exquisite smaller fountain built in 1500 with a romantic tale tied to its origins.
Fontana di Trevi, one of the top Rome attractions that is never to be missed.
A true masterpiece designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The Fountain of the Four Rivers is an outstanding monument of one of the most remarkable Rome squares, Piazza Navona.
- Other Sights
The Palatine Hill is one of the oldest inhabited parts of the city and residence to aristocratic families and emperors.
The Trajan Market is one of the most well-preserved monuments from the past. It has multiple floors of administrative offices and shops dating from ca. 100 A.D., including the famous Via Biberatica.
The subway has an X shape, with both lines meeting at the Central Railway Station, Termini.
Line A links Anagnina, in the south, with Battistini.
Line B goes from Laurentina to Rebibbia.
Line B1 goes from Laurentina to Jonio
Line C work is in progress
The metro operates from 05:30 to 23:30 (00:30 on Saturdays) every 3-4 minutes during rush hours, every 5-6 minutes during the day, and every 8-10 minutes in the early morning and late evening.
Licensed taxis are white, have an identification number, and are equipped with a taxi-meter.
A taxi can be called at the following telephone numbers: 063570, 064994, 065551.
There are two companies providing a bus service in Rome: ATAC and COTRAL.
Lines and timetables may be consulted on the following websites:
The official currency is the Euro.
Bank and exchange
Banks are open from Monday to Friday, from 08:30 to 13:30 and some of them are open again in the afternoon from 14:45 to 15:45 (afternoon opening may vary depending on the bank). Banks are closed on Saturday and Sunday.
At the beginning of September, the average temperature starts at 23°C and slowly drops until it reaches 19°C in the final few days of the month.
Voltage in Italy is mostly 220 volts - 50 Hz. Foreign appliances could require an adapter.
Service is usually included in the bill in bars and restaurants, but tips are welcome.
How to get to Rome
“All roads lead to Rome!”
How to get to Rome by plane
There are two main airports in Rome: Rome Fiumicino international airport and Rome Ciampino low cost airport. Both are located outside the city, about 45 min away from the city centre.
How to get to Rome by car
Going to/Coming from Florence or Naples: A1
Also consider Via Aurelia between Rome and Florence, the ancient consular Roman consular road for breathtaking sceneries!
Going to/Coming from the east coast: A24
How to get to Rome by train
Rome is well connected to the main Italian cities as well as less touristy and remote places throughout the country thanks to Trenitalia’s complete railway network.
Main train stations in Rome:
- Termini Station, central hub of public transport in Rome for both buses and Metros (A and B)
- Tiburtina Station (Metro B)