Rome, whose crest is the Capitoline she-wolf (after the bronze statue portraying the legendary animal feeding the twins Romolus and Remus, founders of Rome), is the capital of the Italian Republic. It is the most densely populated city in Italy and among the main European capitals for territorial extension.
Rome is also the city with the world highest concentration of historical and architectural goods. Its centre, circumscribed by the perimeter of the Aurelian walls, which materialize and document an overlap of almost three thousands years of history, is the unique expression of an enormous historical, artistic and cultural heritage whose influence has spread all over the world; in 1980, together with the extraterritorial properties of the “Holy See” inside the city and San Paolo’s Basilica “outside the walls”, it has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage. Rome, heart of Catholic Christianity, is the only city in the world to host a foreign State within its territory – the Vatican City’s enclave: for this reason it is often defined as capital of two States. More than 16% of world cultural goods are located in Rome (70% of the whole Italian territory).
With its 52,000 hectares of rural areas, Rome is also the “greenest” city in Europe. Beside the historical villas, there are many other green areas, and many cultivated plots of land in the outskirts. Protected areas covers an overall surface of 40,000 hectares, and with a surface of 517 square kilometers destined to agricultural use (about 40% of the total municipal territory) Rome is also the biggest agricultural municipality in Europe.
Today Rome is one of the most important tourist destinations of the world, due to the incalculable number of archaeological and artistic treasures, its peculiar traditions, the lyrical beauty of its panoramic views, and the majesty of its parks. Visitors and resident can enjoy plenty of museums (Capitoline Museums, National Gallery of Modern Art, the Vatican Museums, Galleria Borghese, and many others) historical buildings, churches, palaces, the monuments and ruins of the Roman Forum and the Catacombs. Roman fountains and its imposing acqueducts (water system) are also very distinctive elements of the city.
Rome is the third most visited city in the European Union, after London and Paris, and receives an average of 7-10 million tourists a year, which can double on holy years. The Colosseum (4 million tourists) and the Vatican Museums (4.2 million tourists) are respectively the 39th and 37th most visited places in the world. In 2005 the city registered 19.5 million of global visitors, up of 22.1% from 2001, and in 2006 Rome has been visited by 6.03 million of international tourists, reaching the 8th place in the ranking of the world’s 150 most visited cities. Rome has also been nominated 2007’s fourth most desirable city to visit in the world after Florence, Buenos Aires, and Bangkok.