The city of Rome serves as the country's capital. It is also the regional capital of Lazio, the administrative centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, and the site of a special comune known as the Comune di Roma Capitale. Rome is the most populous in Italy, with 2,860,009 inhabitants spread over 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi). It is also the third most populous city in the European Union, measured by population inside city boundaries. The Metropolitan City of Rome is the most populous metropolitan city in Italy, with a population of 4,355,725 people. It is also the country's capital. Its metropolitan region is the third-most populated in all of Italy, behind Rome and Milan. Rome is situated along the banks of the Tiber River in the central-western region of the Italian Peninsula, inside the province of Lazio (Latium). Due to its status as an independent nation inside the city limits of Rome, Vatican City (the world's smallest country) is frequently referred to as the "capital of two states." As a result, Rome has been referred to as the "capital of two states." Because of its physical position, Rome is commonly referred to as the "City of Seven Hills," and it is also known as the "Eternal City." Rome is often regarded as the "cradle of Western Christian culture and civilisation," as well as the spiritual and administrative heart of the Catholic Church.
Rome's history spans 28 centuries, yet it is still going strong. Even though the city of Rome was founded in 753 BC according to Roman mythology, the site has been inhabited for far longer, making it a significant human settlement for over three millennia and one of the oldest continuously populated towns in Europe. Romans, Etruscans, and Sabines were among the people that settled in the area throughout the city's early history. Eventually, the city was designated as the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire, and it is often considered as the world's first imperial city and metropolis. The phrase "Eternal City" (Latin: Urbs Aeterna; Italian: La Città Eterna) was coined by the Roman poet Tibullus in the first century BC, and it was later used by other writers such as Ovid, Virgil, and Livy to refer to the city. Rome is frequently referred to as "Caput Mundi" (Capital of the World). Following the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome gradually came under the political rule of the Papacy, and in the 8th century, it was designated as the seat of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870, when it was abolished. Beginning with the Renaissance, practically all popes since Nicholas V (1447–1455) have followed a coordinated architectural and urban programme over four hundred years, with the goal of making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the globe, a goal that has been accomplished. So, Rome became first and foremost one of the key centres of the Renaissance, and later the origin of the Baroque and Neoclassical styles, as well as the capital of the Italian Renaissance. Famous artists, painters, sculptors, and architects chose Rome as the location for their work, resulting in masterpieces that can be seen throughout the city. Rome was designated as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy in 1871, and it became the capital of the Italian Republic in 1946.
10.1 million visitors visited Rome in 2019, making it the 11th most visited city in the world and the third most visited city in the European Union, as well as the most popular tourist attraction in the country. The historic centre of a town has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rome, the host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, is also the headquarters of several United Nations specialised agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), as well as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Rome is also the capital of the Italian Republic (IFAD). In addition, the city is home to the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), as well as the headquarters of many international corporations, including Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p.A., and national and international banks, including Unicredit and BNL, as well as the European Commission. The EUR business area in Rome is home to several enterprises in the oil sector, the pharmaceutical industry, and the financial services industry. As a result of the presence of internationally recognised companies in the city, Rome has emerged as a major centre for fashion and design, and the Cinecittà Studios have served as the setting for several Academy Award–winning films.