Rome Visitor information
Rome is a special comune (named Comune di Roma Capitale) and the capital of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,877,215 residents in 1,285 km2, it is also the country's largest and most populated comune and fourth-most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the center of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4.3 million residents.The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country geographically located within the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.
Rome's history spans more than 2,500 years. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at only around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. The city's early population originated from a mix of Latins, Etruscans and Sabines. Eventually, the city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and is regarded as one of the birthplaces of Western civilisation and by some as the first ever metropolis.It was first called The Eternal City (Latin: Urbs Aeterna; Italian: La Città Eterna) by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, and the expression was also taken up by Ovid, Virgil, and Livy. Rome is also called the "Caput Mundi" (Capital of the World).
There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from approximately 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites. Evidence of stone tools, pottery and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village (on the Capitol Hill, a village is attested since the end of the 14th century BC).
However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city was gradually born through the aggregation ("synoecism") of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine. This aggregation, signalling the passage from a proto-urban to an urban situation, was allowed by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities: in turn, these boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy (mainly Ischia and Cumae). All these happenings, which according to the archeological excavations took place more or less around the mid of the 8th century BC, can be considered as the "birth" of the city. Despite recent excavations at the Palatine hill, the view that Rome was founded with an act of will in the middle of the eighth century BC as the legend suggests (the date of the tradition of Romulus), remains a fringe hypothesis.