One of the most well-known cities throughout human history has been the city of Rome in Italy. Students around the world learn of Rome during their early school years; and the city is a top tourist destination from around the world. As well-known as the city of Rome is, there is a great deal about this international capital that many people do not know.
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Rome serves as the capital city of Italy and is also the largest city in the nation with a population of roughly 2.7 million residents. The city enjoys a prime location on the West coast of Italy along the Mediterranean Sea and is bordered on the inland side by the Tiber River. Rome is not only the capital of Italy, but also serves as the capital city of the region of Lazio within which it is located.
The city serves as the beating heart of many governmental organizations, both local and national. The city is split up as such to promote a decentralization of governance within the capital. In addition to local government offices, Rome is home to national governmental institutions as well. The city is the home of the official residences of both the Prime Minister of Italy and the President of the Italian Republic. Both houses of the Italian Parliament, the Italian Constitutional Court, and several state ministries also call Rome home.
Unlike other cities in Italy, such as Milan, Rome lacks a heavy industrial base. Instead, Romeâ€™s economy is defined by a large service sector with high-tech companies, construction, commercial, banking, and tourism also playing a large role in Romeâ€™s economy. Were Rome an independent nation, its GDP of â‚¬94.37 billion ($121.5 billion) would make it the 52nd richest country in the world ahead of nations like Egypt.
One of the most important roles Rome plays within Italy, and even internationally, is that of a cultural icon. The cityâ€™s history stretches back over 2,500 years, and that history can be observed and experienced firsthand by visitors and residents alike. Romeâ€™s cultural significance has drawn many important institutions to the city such as Vatican City (the seat of the Catholic religion), the American Institute, the British School, the World Food Programme, and the NATO Defence College. As of 2008, Rome was considered the 15th most important city globally.
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Two factors in Rome contribute to its important position within the global community, its culture and its history. Italian culture plays a big part in a number of trends around the globe, but Romeâ€™s contribution comes in the form of entertainment. Rome has a very large music and film scene. The cityâ€™s rich musical history stretches back hundreds of years to the first Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia which was held in 1585. The Italian film industry is centered in Rome, with the Cinecitta studio operating within the city since the 1930s.
Above all else though are Romeâ€™s historical contributions to the world. Visitors flock to the city by the millions to see the architectural feats of the Roman Empire that have stood the test of time. Rome hosts seven to 10 million tourists each year, making it the third most visited city in Europe behind London and Paris. Romeâ€™s architectural heritage stretches from ancient accomplishments, such as the Colosseum, to Renaissance and Baroque era buildings. The Colosseum and Vatican Museum each attract an average of four million tourists a year to the city.
Rome is truly one of the most important historical cities in the world. While it is not the longest occupied city in human history, it may in fact be the most important city in human history. It has served as the heart of an empire, and continues to serve as the capital of a nation and a hub of international activities.