Rome, Italian Roma, historic city and capital of Roma provincia (province), of Lazio regione (region), and of the country of Italy. Rome is located in the central portion of the Italian peninsula, on the Tiber River about 15 miles (24 km) inland from the Tyrrhenian Sea. Once the capital of an ancient republic and empire whose armies and polity defined the Western world in antiquity and left seemingly indelible imprints thereafter, the spiritual and physical seat of the Roman Catholic Church, and the site of major pinnacles of artistic and intellectual achievement, Rome is the Eternal City, remaining today a political capital, a religious centre, and a memorial to the creative imagination of the past.
Divided into two regions, the sprawling outer city is changing with suburban growth. 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.
Italy is bound to the north by Switzerland and Austria, to the east by Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea, to the south by the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, and Ligurian seas, and to the west by France. It covers 301,308 square kilometers (116,335 square miles), and Rome is located about halfway down Italy's western coast.
Driving to and around Rome can be challenging. The main road linking Rome to the north and south of Italy is the Autostrade del sole, which connects with the ring road circling the city. The 13-kilometer (8-mile) Mount Frejus highway tunnel, integrating France and Italy through the Alps, opened in 1980. The legal age for an auto rental is 21 years of age. There are several rental car agencies at both airports and a few at Termini Stazione.
Rome is serviced by two international airports. Leonardo da Vinci, commonly known as Fiumicino, handles most scheduled flights and is about 29 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of the city. Ciampino is about 14 kilometers (nine miles) southeast and is used for charter flights. The national airline carrier Alitalia is 89.3 percent owned by the state.
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.