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Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated municipality (central area), with over 2.7 million residents in 1,285.3 km2 (496.3 sq mi), while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 3.46 million. The metropolitan area of Rome is estimated by OECD to have a population of 3.7 million. It is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber river within the Lazio region of Italy. The city has been one of history's most powerful and important centres, being the home of the emperor during the Roman Empire and the Italian government. The city also has a significant place in Christianity and is the present day home of the Roman Catholic Church and the site of the Vatican City, an independent city-state run by the Catholic Church. Due to this, the city has often been nicknamed "Caput Mundi" (Latin for "Capital of the World") and "The Eternal City". Also, Rome is widely regarded as one of the world's most beautiful ancient cities.
Rome's history as a city spans over two and a half thousand years, as one of the founding and most powerful cities of Western Civilisation. It was the centre of the Roman Empire, which dominated Europe, North Africa and the Middle East for over four hundred years from the 1st Century BC until the 4th Century AD, and during the Ancient Roman era, the city was the most powerful in Europe. During the Middle-Ages, Rome was home to some of the most powerful popes, such as Alexander VI and Leo X, who transformed the city into a modern centre of the arts and one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, along with Florence. The current-day version of St Peter's Basilica was built and the Sistine Chapel's ceiling was painted by artist Michelangelo. Famous artists and architects, such as Bramante, Leonardo da Vinci, Bernini and Raphael resided for some time in Rome, contributing to its impressive Renaissance and Baroque architecture. As a modern city, it has been capital of the unified Italy since 1870, and grew mainly in two periods either side of World War II. As it is one of the few major European cities that escaped the war relatively unscathed, central Rome remains essentially Renaissance and Baroque in character. Rome has had an immense historic influence to the world and modern society over the ages, particularly during ancient times, mainly in subjects such as architecture, art, culture, politics, literature, law, philosophy and religion.
Modern Rome is a bustling cosmopolitan metropolis, and is Italy's capital of politics, economy, and media. Rome is a city rich in history, art and culture, and the vastity of its priceless monuments and treasures lead it to have many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Its modern and ancient global influence in politics, literature, culture, music, religion, education, fashion, cinema and cuisine lead it to being an Alpha- world city, according to Loughborough University and GaWC in 2008, and, is the only Alpha global city in Italy, except Milan. The city is home to the Cinecittà Studios, which are the largest film and television production facilities in continental Europe, and famous classic films, such as "La Dolce Vita" and "Ben Hur" have been filmed in the city. Currently, and since the 1957 Treaty of Rome, the metropolis serves as one of Europe's major political centres, with worldwide organizations such as FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFT), and the NATO Defence College being headquartered in the city. Rome is also Italy's capital of business and finance, along with Milan. The Rome metropolitan area has a GDP of €109 billion, and according to a 2008 study, the city is the world's 35th richest city by purchasing power, with a GDP of €94.376 billion ($121.5 billion), and is the world's 18th most expensive city (in 2009). Italian mega-companies, such as Eni, Enel, Telecom Italia, Agip and Alitalia, are headquartered in the city. Were Rome a country, it would be the world's 52nd biggest economy, and would have a GDP near the size of that of Egypt. The city, also had, in 2003, Italy's 2nd highest GDP per capita (after Milan), that of €29,622 (US 37,412), which is 134.1% of the EU GDP per capita average.
Rome is the third-most-visited tourist destination in the European Union, and its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are amongst the world's 50 most visited tourist destinations (the Vatican Museums receiving 4.2 million tourists and the Colosseum receiving 4 million tourists every year). (source Wikipedia)
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