General Information About Rome
Rome, Caput Mundi during the Roman Empire, capital of Italy since 1870, home of the Catholic Church and the Italian government, is placed on the banks of the Tiber, there where the river, running weakly among the seven hills, creates vast meanders which originate little plains.
With its 2,459,776 inhabitants (2001), Rome is today the biggest and most populous city of Italy.
Located in the middle of the Italian peninsula, the city is easily accessible from most important places both in Italy and abroad. Fiumicino airport (also called Leonardo da Vinci), 26-km south-west of Rome, is the airport for both international and domestic air services.
Non- stop trains run from Stazione Termini every half hour from about 07.00 to 21.15 and metropolitan trains every 15 minutes from Stazione Roma Tiburtina via Ostienze and Transtevere from about 05.00 to 23.00.
There are also night bus services between Stazione Tiburtina and the airport.
Ciampino airport, 13-Km south-east of Rome, is a subsidiary airport used mainly for domestic flights and international charter flights. Rome can be reached via Eurostar train and by an efficient railway line that link it with the most important Italian and international cities.
A network of motorways approaches Rome, including the A1 from northern Italy (Milan, Florence), this joins the busy Rome ring-road (Grande accordo Anulare) at settebagni, from which there are well sign-posted exists to all districts of the city.
The city is well served by two underground railway system besides the fairly efficient bus and tram services. The climate is temperate, with breezy winters and hot summers.
Traditionally founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, Rome began its great development beginning from the 10 century BC till it became first a Republic and then the centre of a great empire, the Roman Empire.
The Eternal City was Caput Mundi (Head of the World) in the Roman era, and from its law and liberal arts and sciences radiated to the confines of the vast Empire, which covered the whole of the known western world. After its fall, in 476 AC, the city underwent a slow decline and was invaded by barbarians.
In 754, by the defeat of the Franks, began the temporal power of the Popes over the State of the Church. On Christmas D 800, Charlemagne was crowned as Augustus and Emperor. With him began the period of the Holy Roman Empire, during which the city reduced to a little, corrupted town with a purely symbolic role.
The fortune of the city during the centuries was distinguished by ups and downs. To an increasing power of the Church corresponded a decline of the city self, field of fights among the noble roman families. As in other large Italian town during the 12th century the Commune of Rome strengthened its administrative position, soon to be annihilated again by the power of the popes and their domination over central Italy, known as Papal States.
Artistically, Rome underwent a period of great rebirth during the Renaissance and the Baroque periods, but politically it freed itself from the domination of the temporal power only in 1871, when it became capital of Italy. The event that marked the rebellion against the popes is known as breach of Porta Pia, and was leaded by the national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi.
In this century, Rome restored its role of the first importance in European history. Seat of the Italian government, seat of the Christianity for the presence of the Vatican, and one of the most important cultural and artistic centre of the world, the city attracts every year millions of tourists with its imposing rests of the past and some of the greatest works of art of the Renaissance and the Baroque.
ART AND CULTURE
Rome contains an exceptional artistic patrimony, glorious testimony to its great past. Besides the imposing rests of its magnificent history through out all the period of the Roman Empire, Renaissance artists such as Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo were at work here under the papal patronage, along with Masolino in San Clemente, Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Perugino, Luca Signorelli.
The works of the architects Borromini and Bernini, masters of the Baroque, left an indelible and representative sign to the city, embellished by a great numbers of palaces, villas, and fountains. Many works of art by the greatest artists of Italy and the world are gathered in the famous museums of the city and of the Vatican.
Rome is the most important bibliographical centre of Italy. Its numerous libraries, such as the Biblioteca dell'Accademia dei Lincei, the Biblioteca Angelica, the Biblioteca Casanatense, the Biblioteca musicale di San Cecilia, and the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele II, gather the richest collection of books of all Italy.
Among the state Universities, the most important is the Sapienza, along with the University of Tor Vergata and the III University. Among the private ones are the Cattolica, the Libera Università degli studi sociali (LUISS), and the pontifical universities.
In Rome there are various prestigious artistic academies, such as the Accademia of San Cecilia, the Accademia nazionale di arte drammatica, the Instituto centrale del restauro, besides many important cultural institutes -such as the Accademia dei Lincei, the Accademia di San Luca, the CNR, the Istituto per gli studi sul Medio e Estremo Oriente- and many other international academies.
Rome is the Italian centre of dramatic arts and cinema. The famous cinecittà, the "Italian Hollywood", is the prestigious set of many glorious national and international movies.
THE ECONOMYRome is the Italian administrative and political centre, and one of the most important artistic, religious, and tourist centre of the world.
The economy of the city is mainly based on the tertiary industries, which notably improved after the election of Rome as capital of Italy, in 1870.
Besides the necessary urbane development, apt to receive the administrative structures of the state, the stagnant papal economy was replaced by an economy strictly dependent on the state- administration, by great directional centers of the banks, by state-controlled enterprises, and insurance companies.
The demanding of an increasing population and tourism called for a boom of the trade, which in the last century gave birth to numerous small and very small enterprises operating in the highly developed sectors of informatics, telecommunications, and bio-technologies. These enterprises are mainly based on the research and are integrated in the national and international circuits.
Rome has also a leading role as directional and cultural centre. It is seat of the Italian government, the Constitutional Court, the Parliament, of numerous embassies, international organizations such as the FAO, and of the major banks and public corporations. Tourism and craft provide considerable sources of income.
Rome, political, cultural, and religious capital of Italy offers all along the year numerous important national and international events.
Among the most important events: Festival of the 1st May, Summer Season of the Opera, Theatre Season, Literature Festival, Tennis Masters Series, Rome Marathon, Roman Summer, Fashion shows, Museum shows, International Crafts Fair.
ROME SIGHTSEEING TOURS
Rome Open Top - Double Decker Bus Hop On Hop Off
Enjoy the views from the open top double decker bus as you see the major sights of Rome. With commentary in 6 languages, stops at 9 locations throughout the city, departures every 20 minutes and the choice of a 24 or 48 hour ticket you are free to explore the Eternal City at your own pace.
Skip the Line: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
A trip to Rome is not complete until you have visited the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Marvel at the beauty of the magnificent fresco of the Last Judgement by Michelangelo, along with works by Botticelli, Perugino and Rossellini.
Angels and Demons Tour from Rome
Based on a novel by The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, your Angels and Demons Walking Tour will help you discover the Illuminati and their secrets, while seeing some of Rome's most famous sites, such as the Pantheon, Piazza del Popolo and Castel Sant' Angelo.
Self Guided MP3 Audio Tour of Rome
The tour guide has turned pocket-sized! Giorgio my Guide is an MP3 audioguide of Rome which is light to carry and easy to use. You will be guided on an entertaining independent tour of the major attractions of Rome including churches, museums and ancient sites. Just turn it on and explore the city.
Segway tour around RomeRome Segway Tour: far easier than walking, and more unique and private than a coach tour, getting around Rome on a Segway personal transporter is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Time Elevator Rome 3-D Movie and Simulated Ride
Time Elevator Rome combines education and entertainment in such a unique way that you will not seen Rome the same again. This is an amazing multi-sensory attraction where you'll Voyage through 3000 years of Roman history, from Romolus and Remus up to the present day in just 45 minutes.
Rome Culture and History
History of Rome:
With the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age in the C10 BC, the population of central Italy was increasing. Large nucleated settlements, mostly located on hilltops, began to develop, and Rome was one of them.
The fortune of the city is bound to its good position. The Tiber river, wide and easily navigable, guaranteed to the inhabitants an important way of communication while the inland offered highly volcanic soils, natural amenities, a rich wildlife, fresh water springs and, on the hills, refugees from floods, summer heat, and animal and human predators.
The first settlements originated on the seven hills that circle the city, mostly on the Palatine and Esquiline.
Between the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Rome grew from a tiny settlement of shepherds to an emerging city. In that time two other distinct groupings emerged within central Italy as a whole (Latium): one on the north (Etruria), and one in the Apennine mountains to the east (Samnium).
Politically, the history of ancient Rome is marked by three periods.
From 753-509 BC the city developed from a village to a city ruled by kings. In the period from 509-27 BC the Romans expelled the kings and established the Roman Republic. From 27BC-AD 476 Rome flourished as the Roman Empire, stretching its domination from England to North Africa and from the Atlantic Ocean to Arabia.
THE SEVEN KINGS
According to tradition the foundation of Rome dates back to 753 BC, when Romulus (a son of the god Mars and a descendent of the Trojan prince Aeneas) killed his twin Remus and became the first king of the city.
Even if this is only a fascinating legend Rome is very proud of its mythic origins. In fact, the symbol of the city is still the she-wolf, the mythic animal that found and suckled the two abandoned twins.
To guarantee the population of his city, Romulus is told to have organized the famous "rape of the Sabine women".
The second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius (715-673 BC), was a Sabine regarded as especially just and devoted to religion. One of the religious traditions that he instituted is the selection of vergins to be priestesses of the goddess Vesta. Under the third king, Tullus Hostilius (672-641 BC) the Romans began to expand with the conquest of nearby cities like Alba Longa.
After he contracted the plague the Romans deposed him, thinking it was a punishment for the neglect of the gods, and named Ancus Marcius as their fourth king. Marcius , who reigned from 640- 617 BC, founded the port of Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber.
The last thre kings of Rome were three Etruscan wealthy men. Lucius Tarquinus Priscus (616-579 BC) was said to have drained the marshes between the hills and paved an area destined to became the market place (the future Roman Forum). Servius Tullius (578-535BC) organized the Roman army into groups of 100 men called centuries and was said to have built a new wall around the city.
The seventh king, Lucius Tarquinus Suberbus was expelled in 510 BC after his son cruelly raped Lucretia, a virtuous roman matron and wife of his kinsman Collatius.
With the deposition of the last Etruscan king ends not only the monarchy as form of government, but also the great and deep influence that the Etruscans have had since than on all the aspects of the early Roman life.
The Roman EmpireThe murder of Caesar was followed by a decade of civil war that ended with the birth of the Roman Empire. In 43 BC, Octavian joined forces with Mark Antony, Caesar's deputy, and MarcusAemilius Lepidus form the Second Triumvirate.
Together they defeated Brutus and Cassius at the battle of Philippi in northern Greece and then started a program to attend the neglected provinces and resettle the veterans.
While Antony took on the administrative reorganization of the wealthy eastern provinces, where he also began a love affair with Cleopatra, Octavian confiscated land in Italy for the resettlement of the army. Soon jealousy and ambition led to mutual suspicion among the three men. After the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra in a sea battle near Actium, in 31 BC, Octavian became the unchallenged master of Rome and the entire Mediterranean.
On January 13 of 27 Bc, the Senate awarded Octavian the name of Augustus establishing the imperial monarchy that would endure for five centuries. It was the end of the Roman Republic (509-27 BC).
The emeror Augustus reigned from 27 BC to AD 14 with absolute power.
He re-established political and social stability and launched two centuries of prosperity called the Roman Peace (Pax Romana). During the first two centuries Ad the empire flourished and added new territories as ancient Britain, Arabia, and Dacia (present-day Romania). People from the provinces streamed to Rome and became soldiers, bureaucrats, senators, and even emperors.
Rome developed into the social, economic, cultural capital of the Mediterranean world. Most emperors ruled sensibly and competently till military and economic disasters brought on the political instability of the 3rd century AD.
The Empire guaranteed the fruitful cohabitation and melting of different cultures such as the Greek, the Jewish, the Babylonian, the new religion of the Christians, and cultural elements from Persia, Egypt, and other eastern civilizations.
The Romans supplied their own peculiar talents for government, law, architecture, and spread the Latin language. They created the Greco-Roman synthesis, the rich combination of cultural elements that for two millennia has shaped the Western tradition.
The religious phenomenon of the Counter-Reformation, in the 17th century, was artistically expressed by the dramatic Baroque style. Rome owes its Baroque aspect of today to the 17th–century popes Urban VIII, Innocent X, and Alexander VII, who became patrons of the greatest exponents of this style, such as Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini.
The work of the two baroque architects was to give a large contribute to the outlook of the city, notably embellished by precious fountains, palaces, villas, parks, and other important constructions. In particular, Bernini designed many elegant fountains, the most elaborate of which is located in Piazza Navona. Borromini built the courtyard of Palazzo della Sapienza, San Carlo alle quattro Fontane, the church and Dome of Sant'Ivo, Sant'Agnese in Agone, and the Oratorio dei Filippini.
The flamboyant staircase beneath Trinità dei Monti, the Spanish Steps, and the famous Fontana di Trevi date back to the 18th century, characterized by the Grand Tour of the wealthy young men from Britain, who came to Rome to complete their education by admiring Roman's classical remains. Though it counted only 150,000 inhabitants, at this time Rome came to be regarded as a centre of European culture.
During the 19th century Rome underwent a period of great changes. In 1798 the French enetered the city, captured the Pope Pius VI, and proclaimed a republic. In 1809 Napoleon annexed the States of the Church, already diminished, to the French Empire. In 1810 the French Senate proclaimed Rome as second capital, and in 1811 Napoleon conferred the title of King of Rome to his newborn son. The invasion of Napoleon, in 1797, notably damaged lots of cities in Italy, not only politically but also from an artistic point of view because he used to appropriate many art treasures and bring them to France. Even Rome was artistically sacked by Napoleon and suffered the loss of many works of art. During the reign of Napoleon, the popes lost their political power, rescued again only after the Congress of Vienna, in 1815.
The congress of Vienna had fostered the return to the pre-existing political situation before the Empire of Napoleon. This meant for Rome the restoration of the papal supremacy. In 1815 Pius VII returned to Rome and restored, together with the works of art that had been removed by the emperor, his temporal power over the city. From this date Rome became papal again, but this situation was not to last still long. In fact, the occupation of Napoleon had stimulated and provoked the rebirth of an Italian patriotism that eventually led to a series of nationalist reactions ended in 1861 with the complete unification of Italy under the house of Savoy. The city of Rome took an active part in the agitated period of the Risorgimento, the political renaissance of Italy, and shared with the rest of Europe the revolutionary ideals of liberty and independence. Under the guidance of Giuseppe Mazzini, an elected assembly proclaimed a republic in Rome, while the pope fled to Gaeta. When the French sent an army in support of the pope, in 1849, the defense of the city was entrusted to Guseppe Garibaldi, who made a heroic stand against the foreigners on the Janiculum Hill. In 1867, he tried again to rouse the romans against the papal government with the help of the Cairoli brothers, killed in the same year. The French garrison who had occupied Castel Sant'Angelo since 1849, escaped the city in 1849, fostering the entrance of the Italian army, leaded by Cadorna, through the breach in one of the Roman walls, Porta Pia. The papal headquarters in Rome were taken with the force by the kingdom of Italy in 1870 and the pope declared himself as "prisoner of the Vatican". This happening marked the end of the papal rule of the city and Rome, still contained within the Aurelian Walls, was proclaimed the capital of the united Italy in 1871.
After the declaration of Rome as the Italian capital, the city underwent a feverish growth. The new status and the increase of the population called for to the construction of whole new quarters. By the beginning of the 20th century the entire area within the ancient wall had been built up, and the city began to expand outward. Besides a great work of modernization, along the river Tiber were built high embankments in order to prevent floods. The dictatorship of Mussolini (1922-1943) was marked by the destruction of old quarters and the realization of very pompous projects as via dell'Impero (now via dei Fori Imperiali), and Via del Teatro di Marcello, that were to celebrate the dictatorship self. Beyond the Tiber, the old medieval district of the Borgo was transformed by the building of Via della Conciliazione, which altered irrevocably the dramatic effect of Bernini's piazza in front of Saint Peter's. The district of EUR and the Foro Italico are typical of the grandiose conception of Fascist Rome.
In 1940, Italy entered the Second World War on the German side. By the end of the war, the fascist regime was overthrown and Mussolini killed. The year 1944 is dramatically known for the happening at the fosse Ardeatine, where 335 civilians were shot by Nazi troops as a reprisal for the killing of 32 Germans soldiers in Rome. After the landings at Anzio and Netuno, the American army entered the capital in 1944. In 1946 Vittorio Emanuele abdicated, and less than a month later a referendum approved the establishment of a republic, with an elected president. In 1947 the constituent assembly passed the new republican constitution.
After the World War II, been spared heavy bombing in consequence of its declaration as open city, Rome continued to expand at a rapid pace. The population grew from 1.6 million to 2.1 million inhabitants, and by 1981 was around 3 million. Its exponential postwar growth included the residential developments far out the Roman countryside. Its growth is bound also to its increasing prestige after the Second World War (1939-45). It is only since then that Rome, overtaking such major cities as Milan and Naples, returned to assume the old status of Italian leading city.
History of Art of Rome
ROME is a city where the realities of the past and the present live together completely integrated. It has been the capital of the emperors the popes, and the kings.
It is one of the greatest centres of the Classical, Renaissance, and Baroque art.
The typical stratification of cultures, styles, and works of art realised during the centuries is the most specific and fascinating characteristic of the city. The history of the art in Rome is characterised by the survival of monuments dating back from the prehistory up to the present that allow us to acknowledge it following this synthetic periodical scheme:
Age of the Kings (753-509 BC)
Republican Age (509-27 BC)
Imperial Age (BC 27- AC 476)
Early Christian Rome (IV – VIII century)
Medieval Rome (VII – XIV century)
Renaissance Rome (XV – XVI century)
Baroque Rome (XVII century)
Modern Rome (XVIII - XIX century)
he State of the Vatican City is a walled enclave which is situated in Italy's capital, Rome. It's the smallest country in the world by both population and area. Its walls are 3.2 km long and they enclose a territory of about 0.44 square kilometers.
piazza san pietro, the main square of the Vatican cityVatican City is the home of Popes and the Holy See. Though Holy See exists since early Christianity, Vatican City became a city-state only in 1929, after the Lateran Pacts, agreements made between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See which ended the "Roman Question".
It's interesting how Holy See and Vatican City have two different passports. The firs one, since it's not a country, has only diplomatic passports, meanwhile the second one has normal ones. Anyway the number of these passports in the world is very small.
Due to its small territory and impossibility to have all of its institutions inside the walls, some of the major basilicas and the Gandolfo Castle enjoy extraterritorial status which is similar to that of foreign embassies.
gardens in vatican cityThe Vatican City was born upon a small portion of Rome. The name "Vatican" is very ancient. It's coming from the Latin Mons Vaticanus, which means Vatican Mount. That unpopulated area saw its beginnings in the 1st century AD, when Agrippina the Elder, granddaughter of the first emperor of the Roman Empire, drained the hill and environs and built her gardens there. Then, in time, the location has been developing until it gained its first church in 326, the Constantinian basilica. For much of the time through history Vatican was not the habitual residence of the Popes.
Vatican City is organized as an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state and is ruled by the bishop of Rome–the Pope.The Pope is the head of legislative, executive and judicial power. It's interesting that the Holy See has the oldest active continuous diplomatic service in the world.
The Popes security is in hands of the Pontifical Swiss Guard which was founded by Pope Julius II on January 1506 as personal bodyguards, meanwhile the police force services are reserved for the Corpo della Gendarmeria which is responsible for public order, law enforcement, traffic control and criminal investigations in Vatican City.
It's rare to see, but Vatican City issues its own coins for its currency euro.
Upon the last population census Vatican City has about 900 citizens. Some of them live and/or work inside the Vatican's walls, others are Holy See's diplomats and work in embassies around the world. The whole citizenry consists of two groups: clergy and the Swiss Guard.
As far as concerns the official language, Vatican City doesn't have one, but Holy See often uses Latin.
Unlike other states, citizenship of Vatican City is granted iure officii, on the grounds of appointment to work in the service of the Holy See, and it usually ceases upon cessation of the appointment.
basilica di san pietro in the vatican city stateIn 1984 Vatican City became UNESCO's World Heritage Site and it is the only one to consist of an entire state.
This small portion of land has very rich cultural significance. World famous St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are both Vatican's marvels. They treasure important work of some famous Italian artists like Botticelli, Bernini, Raphael and Michelangelo. Vatican Gardens spread upon more than half of its territory and are very famous for their beauty, fountains and sculptures. Click here for more information about Vatican Museums and Vatican Museums Tickets.