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The Roman Colosseum
Rome (Italian and Latin, Roma) is the capital city of Italy. It is located on the Tiber river, in the central part of the country near the Tyrrhenian Sea, at 41°50'N, 12°15'E. The Vatican City, located in an enclave within Rome, is the seat of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church (see also under Roman Catholicism).
By tradition, Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BC, by Romulus, who killed in the process his twin brother named Remus. This date was the basis for the Roman calendar and the Julian calendar (Ab urbe condita). Romulus and Remus were allegedly sons of the god Mars and the priestess Rea Silvia, daughter of Numitor, king of Albalonga. The boys were abandoned to save them from the hate of Amulius, a pretender to Albalonga's throne, and taken care of by a she-wolf, even today one of the symbols of Rome. Romulus later killed Remus and became the first ruler of Rome. See also founding of RomeMoon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn (see also Roman mythology).
There is a mnemonic device used to recall the names of the seven hills: Can Queen Victoria Eat Cold Apple Pie?
The Roman civilisation developed the Latin language, its official language and one of the fundamental elements in linguistics, and the source of the Romance languages. It is to this day the official language of the Catholic Church and the Vatican.
''This is a simulated-color image of Rome
that was taken by NASA satellite Landsat 7
A picture of the Roman Colosseum
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Rome soon became the capital city of the Papal States, the territorial entity ruled by the Papacy that would last until 1870, when Italy was unified by the former king of Sardinia. During this long period Rome became the worldwide centre of Christianity and increasingly developed a relevant political role that made it one of the most important towns of the Old Continent. In art, although Florence became the center of humanism and the Rinascimento (Renaissance), Rome was the center of baroque, and architecture deeply affected its central areas.
In the 16th century a central area was delimited around Portico d'Ottavia, for the creation of the famous Roman Ghetto, an area which the Jews were forced to live in.
Some of the most famous views of Rome in the 18th century were etched by Giovanni Battista Piranesi. His grand vision of classic Rome inspired many to visit the city and examine the ruins themselves.
Map of downtown Rome during the time of the Roman Empire
The Roman urban form reflects the stratification of the succeeding epochs, with a wide historical center; this today contains many areas from Ancient Rome, very few areas from Quattrocento (mainly around piazza Farnese), and lots of churches and palaces from baroque times. The historical centre is identified as within the limits of ancient imperial walls. Some central areas were reorganised after the unification (1880-1910 - Roma Umbertina), and some important additions and adaptations made during the fascism, with the discussed creation of Fori Imperiali and the founding of new quartieri (among which Eur, San Basilio, Garbatella, Cinecittą and, on the coast, the restructuring of Ostia) and the inclusion of bordering villages (Labaro, Osteria del Curato, Quarto Miglio, Capannelle, Pisana, Torrevecchia, Ottavia, Casalotti). These expansions were needed to face the huge increase of population due to the centralisation of the Italian state.
After the war Rome continued to expand, mainly for a similar reason of increased number of inhabitants (this time due to the development of the state administrations and the progressive turning of general national economy from mainly agricultural to modern industrial schemes), with the creation of new quartieri and suburbs; the current estimated number of inhabitants is appr. 3,5 millions, but it has been estimated that in working time more than 5 million people are in the town. They were 138,000 in 1825, 244,000 in 1871, 692,000 in 1921, 1,600,000 in 1961.
Rome organised the 1960 Summer Olympics, using many ancient sites, such as the Villa Borghese and the Thermae of Caracalla as venues or surroundings.
Many of the monuments of Rome were restored by the Italian state and by the Vatican for the 2000 Jubilee.
The Grande Raccordo Anulare, the round motorway that surrounds most part of it, is more than 80 km long.
Being the capital city of Italy, Rome hosts all the principal institutions of the nation, like the Presidency of the Republic, the government (and its single Ministeri), the Parliament, the main judicial Courts, and the diplomatic representatives of all the countries for the states of Italy and the Vatican City (curiously, Rome also hosts, in the Italian part of its territory, the Embassy of Italy for the Vatican City, a unique case of an Embassy within the boundaries of its own country). Many international institutions are based in Rome, notably cultural and scientific ones, or humanitarian like the FAO.
Senatus Populusque Romanus
It is commonly identified by several proper symbols, including the Colosseum, the she-wolf (Lupa), the imperial eagle, and the symbols of Christianity. The famous acronym S.P.Q.R recalls the ancient age and the unity between Roman Senate and population.
It is called "The Urbs", "caput mundi" (head of the world), "Città Eterna" (eternal city), and "Limen Apostolorum" (the threshold of the apostles).
The town's colors are yellow and red (garnet).
Rome has two holidays of its own, April 21 (the founding of Rome), and on June 29 (the patron Saints, Peter and Paul). Other dates too are locally important, like December 8 (the Immaculate Conception) and January 6 (Epiphany).
Among the hundreds of churches, Rome contains the five Major Basilicas of the Catholic church: San Pietro in Vaticano (St. Peter's Basilica), San Paolo fuori le Mura (St. Paul outside the Walls), Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major), San Lorenzo fuori le Mura (St. Lawrence outside the Walls), and San Giovanni in Laterano (St. John Lateran), the see of Roman diocese and the spirtual centre of the entire Catholic Church. The Bishop of Rome is the Pope, helped by a vicar (usually a cardinal) for his pastoral activity.
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