Rome is a city and special comune (named "Roma Capitale") in Italy. Rome is the capital of Italy and also of the Province of Rome and of the region of Lazio. With 2.9 million residents in 1,285.3 km2, it is also the country's largest and most populated comune and fourth-most populous city in the European Union.
The urban area of Rome extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 3.8 million. Between 3.2 and 4.2 million people live in Rome metropolitan area.The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of Tiber river.
Vatican City is an independent country 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 two and a half thousand years, since its legendary founding in 753 BC. Rome is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Europe. It is referred to as "The Eternal City", a central notion in ancient Roman culture. In the ancient world it was successively the capital city of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and is regarded as one of the birthplaces of Western civilization. Since the 1st century AD, Rome has been considered the seat of the Papacy and in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. In 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic.
After the Middle Ages, almost all the popes since Nicholas V (1422–55) pursued coherently along four hundred years an architectonic and urbanistic program aimed to make of the city the world`s artistic and cultural center. Due to that, Rome became first one of the major centers of the Italian Renaissance along with Florence, and then the birthplace of Baroque style. Famous artists and architects, such as Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini, made of the city the center of their activity, creating masterpieces like St Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms and St. Peter's Square.
Rome has the status of a global city. In 2011, Rome was the 18th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy. Its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are among the world's most visited tourist destinations with both locations receiving millions of tourists a year. Rome hosted the 1960 Summer Olympics and is the seat of United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).