Rome – Italy, Europe
Rome (Italian: Roma; Latin: Rōma) is the capital of Italy and the country’slargest and most populated city and comune,with over 2.7 million residents in 1,285.3 km2 (496.3 sq mi). The city islocated in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River withinthe Lazio region of Italy.
Rome’s history spans two and a halfthousand years. It was the capital city of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic andthe Roman Empire, which was the dominant power in Western Europe andthe lands bordering the Mediterranean for over seven hundred years from the 1stcentury BC until the 7th century AD. Since the 1st century AD Rome has been theseat of the Papacy and, after the end of Byzantine domination,in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. In 1871 Rome became thecapital of the Kingdom of Italy,and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic.
After the Middle Ages, Rome was ruled by popes such as Alexander VI and Leo X, who transformed the city into one of the major centersof the Italian Renaissance, along with Florence. Thecurrent version of St Peter’s Basilica was built and theSistine Chapel waspainted by Michelangelo. Famous artists and architects, such as Bramante, Bernini and Raphael resided for some time in Rome,contributing to its Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
Rome has been ranked by GaWC in 2010 as a beta+ world city, aswell as the 28th most important global city. In2007, Rome was the 11th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction inItaly. The city is one ofEurope’s and the world’s most successful city “brands”, both in termsof reputation and assets. Itshistoric centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums andthe Colosseum are amongst the world’s 50 mostvisited tourist destinations (the Vatican Museums receiving4.2 million tourists and the Colosseum receiving 4 million tourists everyyear). Rome hosted the 1960 Summer Olympics and is currentlybidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Rome is in the Lazio regionof central Italy on the Tiber river. The original settlement developed onhills that faced onto a ford beside the Tiber island, the only natural ford ofthe 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 byanother river the Aniene whichjoins the Tiber north of the historic centre.
Although the city center is about 24 kilometres (15 mi)inland from the Tyrrhenian Sea, thecity territory extends to the shore, where the south-western district of Ostia is located. The altitude of thecentral part of Rome ranges from 13 metres (43 ft) above sea level (at the base of the Pantheon) to 139 metres(456 ft) above sea level (the peak of Monte Mario). TheCommune of Rome covers an overall area of about 1,285 square kilometres(496 sq mi), including many green areas.
Rome enjoys a Mediterraneanclimate, typical of the Mediterranean coasts of Italy. Spring and autumn aremild to warm, and the Romansottobrate (“beautifulOctober days”) are known as being sunny and warm. By August, the maximumdiurnal temperature often exceeds 30°C (86 °F). Traditionally,many businesses were accustomed to closing during August, while Romans visitedholiday resorts. In more recent years, however, in response to growing tourismand changing work habits, the city has been staying open for the whole summer.The average high temperature in January is about 12.9 °C (55.2 °F), but in hot periods itcan be higher, while subzero lows are not uncommon. Snowfalls can occur inDecember, January and February. Within the last four decades they have beenrare in Rome: the most recent snowfall with accumulation was in February 2010, the first since 1986 (in someperipheral areas since 1991); between 1986 and 2010 snow fell four times,without significant traces on the ground.
Generally – summer’s season lasts about 6 months, from May toOctober. Two months (April and November) are transitional, sometimes there aretemperature above 20 °C (68 °F). December, January,February and March are the coldest months, with average temperatures (of thesefour months) over 13.1 °C (55.6 °F) near the city centre (13.9 °C (57.0 °F) near sea) during the day and 3.7 °C (38.7 °F) near the city centre (4.7 °C (40.5 °F) near sea) at night. The average relative humidity is 74.8%, varying from 72% in July to77% in November and December.
Rometoday is one of the most important tourist destinations of the world, due to theincalculable immensity of its archaeological and artistic treasures, as well asfor the charm of its unique traditions, the beauty of its panoramic views, andthe majesty of its magnificent “villas” (parks). Among the mostsignificant resources are the many museums – (Musei Capitolini, the VaticanMuseums, Galleria Borghese, including those dedicated to modern andcontemporary art and great many others) – aqueducts, fountains,churches, palaces,historical buildings, the monuments and ruins of the Roman Forum, and the Catacombs.Rome is the 3rd most visited city in the EU, after London and Paris, andreceives an average of 7–10 million tourists a year, which sometimesdoubles on holy years. The Colosseum(4 milliontourists) and the Vatican Museums (4.2 milliontourists) are the 39th and 37th (respectively) most visited places in theworld, according to a recent study.
Theoriginal language of Rome was Latin,which evolved during the Middle Ages into Italian. Thelatter emerged as the confluence of various regional dialects, among which the Tuscan dialect predominated, but thepopulation of Rome also developed its own dialect, the Romanesco.The ancient Romanesco, used during the Middle Ages, was a southern Italian dialect, very close to the Neapolitan. The influence of the Florentine culture during the renaissance, and, above all, the immigration to Rome of manyFlorentines, amongst them the two Medici Popes (Leo X and Clement VII) and their suite, caused a major shift in thedialect, which began to resemble more the Tuscan varieties. This remainedlargely confined to Rome until the 19th century, but then expanded to otherzones of Lazio (Civitavecchia, Latina), from the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to therising population of Rome and to better transportation systems. As aconsequence, Romanesco abandoned itstraditional forms to mutate into the dialect spoken within the city, which ismore like standard Italian, although it remains distinct from the otherRomanesco-influenced local dialects of Lazio. Dialectal literature in thetraditional form Romanesco includes the works ofsuch authors as GiuseppeGioachino Belli, Trilussa,and Cesare Pascarella. Contemporary Romanesco is mainly representedby popular actors such as Aldo Fabrizi, Alberto Sordi, Nino Manfredi, Anna Magnani,Gigi Proietti, Enrico Montesano, and Carlo Verdone.