Near the banks of the Tiber River, 2,700 years ago on seven hills, the foundation of Rome was laid. It is one of the most ancient cities in Europe. Located inland about 27 kilometers (17 miles) from the Tyrrhenian Sea, Rome is the capital city of Italy. Within Rome's enclave is Vatican City. The seat of the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church, Vatican City has been recognized as an independent state by the Italian government since 1929. The majestic dome of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City dominates the Roman skyline. Once the center of the Roman Empire, Rome has been the capital of united Italy since 1871. The economy remains strong—essentially based on tourism and government operations. After World War II (1939–45), the city developed a wide base of industries; thus, the Rome of today hosts the headquarters of many multinational corporations and agencies.
The historical center is a small area, located on the eastern bank of the Tiber River and contains many monuments of Rome's past greatness. The city is an unparalleled repository of monuments from all periods in European history. The legacy of the Roman Empire is extensive, witnessed from the preservation of the Pantheon, considered one of the finest surviving temples of antiquity, to the impressive Colosseum, an amphitheater that hosted gladiatorial combat and other spectacles. Ancient city walls, triumphal arches, public meeting places, churches, and palaces are scattered throughout Rome. With an extraordinary wealth of artwork, Rome is a major world center for creative study and performing arts.
Rome is lucky to have a typical Mediterranean climate, moderate and comfortable during the spring and autumn even if it usually rains a bit in April and November.
Summer in Rome is hot, and some nights it can be quite humid. The winter is cold and a bit dry. Rome is a breezy city usually arriving from the north or south west, or from the north in the winter.
Springtime is the best time to organize your vacation in Rome. It’s the perfect temperature in the city for talking long walks and spending the day outside discovering the beautiful places in Rome!
Bus and Commuter Rail Service
The Metro system is useful and simple to master. There are two lines, A and B, which cross at Termini. Metro trains run approximately every ten minutes, from 5:30 am until 11:30 pm, 12:30 am on Saturday. Tickets for metros are valid for one single journey only. Daily and weekly travel passes are also available. For sightseers, favorite metro stops include the Spanish Steps, Spagna, Vatican Museums, Ottaviano, Colosseo, Circus Maximus, Bath of Caracalls, Circo Massimo, the Catacombs, and Colli Albani.
The main bus terminal is outside Termini Stazione. Most day buses have only a driver while night buses usually have a conductor who issues tickets. Tickets are not sold on day buses, and passengers board from the rear. There are several bus lines that run from 5:30 am until midnight. Night buses run from 1:00 am until 5:30 am. Tickets are time stamped and are valid for 90 minutes of travel.
Rome's public orange buses and handful of trams cover much of the city, but they do not travel through the narrow streets of the historic center. Several routes, however, are within a short distance of most main attractions. Communal stops include the Vatican, Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain.
Official taxis in Rome are yellow and must bear the taxi sign on the roof. An expensive venture, taxis also charge extra for baggage, late night trips, Sunday travel, or public holiday travel. The fare may begin from the telephone request, not from the point of origin.