Rome (//; Italian: Romapronounced [ˈroːma] ( listen);Latin: Rōma) is a city and special comune (named "Roma Capitale") in Italy. Rome is the capital of Italy and also of the homonymous province and of the region ofLazio. With 2.8 million residents in 1,285.3 km2(496.3 sq mi), it is also the country's largest and most populated comune andfourth-most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. Between 3.2 and 3.8 million people live in the urban area, and 4,194,068 in Rome metropolitan area.The city is located in the central-western portion of theItalian Peninsula, on the Tiberwithin Lazio (Latium). Rome is the only city in the world to contain in its interior a whole state; the enclave of Vatican City.
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 cities in Europe. It is referred to as "The Eternal City", a notion expressed by ancient Roman poets and writers. In the ancient world it was successively the capital city of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and theRoman Empire, and is regarded as one of the birthplaces of western civilization. Since the 1st century AD, Rome has been considered the seat of thePapacy 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, Rome was ruled by popes such asAlexander VI and Leo X, who transformed the city into one of the major centers of theItalian Renaissance along with Florence. The current version of St Peter's Basilicawas built and the Sistine Chapel was painted by Michelangelo. Famous artists and architects, such asBramante, 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, as well as the 28th most important global city. In 2007, Rome was the 11th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy. The city is one of Europe's and the world's most successful city "brands", both in terms of reputation and assets. 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.