HISTORICAL AND ARCHITECTURAL RICHES
Rome is the city with the highest concentration of historical
and architectural riches in the world. Its historical centre,
outlined by the enclosing Aurelian Walls, layering nearly three
thousand years of antiquity, is an invaluable testimony to the
European western world’s cultural, artistic and historical
legacy and in 1980 it was, together with the Holy See’s
property beyond the confines of the Vatican State as well as the
Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, were added to UNESCO’s
World Heritage List .
Rome, the heart of Catholic Christianity, is the only city in
the world to host an entire foreign state within its confines,
the enclave of the Vatican City, and it is for this very reason
that it is often referred to as the capital of two States.
Over 16% of the world’s cultural treasures are located in
Rome (70% in all of Italy).
THE GREEN AREAS
With around 52 thousand hectares of agricultural land, Rome
is Europe’s greenest city. As well as its public parks,
Rome boasts a great deal more greenery, as well as agriculture
on its outskirts. The protected zones cover 40 thousand hectares.
Rome is Europe’s largest agricultural municipality with
517 square metres of agriculture accounting for 40% of its total
In addition to the municipal emblem, there is the Capitoline
wolf, the bronze statue depicting the legendary she-wolf suckling
the twins Romulus and Remus; the Colosseum, ancient Rome’s
largest amphitheatre, which was also listed in 2007 as one of
the seven wonders of the modern world (the only one in Europe);
the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, dominating
the entire city and symbolizing Christianity. The symbol of
the city in antiquity was the military effigy of an imperial
eagle, while in the Middle Ages it was a lion, denoting supremacy.
* URBE : in ancient times the word Urbs was automatically used
to mean Rome itself.
* CAPUT MUNDI : capital of the world
* URBE AETERNA : The Eternal City
THE “SEVEN HILLS”
Traditionally, Rome was built on seven hills, the names of which
were lost over the passing of time, leaving historians slightly
in doubt. However the city’s ancient heart is comprised
of the historical seven hills: Palatine, Aventine, Capitoline,
Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline and Caelian.
THE “BLOND TIBER”
The Blond Tiber is the river god once referred to in the elegies
of ancient Rome, a god demanding respect and love which is indeed
how, in a certain sense, it has remained in the minds of Romans.
Over time however, they have lost contact with the river flowing
through the city between the left bank, the historic centre,
and the right, which was one time called the suburbs.
21st April, Rome’s Christmas,
celebrating, in costume, with cultural events and festivities,
the date traditionally believed to be when Romulus founded
the city (753 A.D.).
1st May, Labour Day. The
three main unions together organize a free concert in Piazza
Porta San Giovanni which annually attracts an audience of
hundreds of thousands (1,000,000 in 2008).
The territory of Vatican City is part of the Mons Vaticanus
(Vatican Hill), and of the adjacent former Vatican Fields, where
St. Peter's Basilica, the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel,
and museums were built, along with various other buildings.
The area was part of the Roman rione of Borgo until 1929. Being
separated from the city on the west bank of the Tiber river,
the area was an outcrop of the city that was protected by being
included within the walls of Leo IV, later expanded by the current
fortification walls of Paul III/Pius IV/Urban VIII.
When the Lateran Treaty of 1929 that gave the state its present
form was being prepared, the boundaries of the proposed territory
was influenced by the fact that much of it was all but enclosed
by this loop. For some tracts of the frontier, there was no
wall, but the line of certain buildings supplied part of the
boundary, and for a small part of the frontier a modern wall
The territory includes Saint Peter's Square, separated from
the territory of Italy only by a white line along the limit
of the square, where it touches Piazza Pio XII. St. Peter's
Square is reached through the Via della Conciliazione, which
runs from the Tiber River to St. Peter's. This grand approach
was constructed byBenito Mussolini after the conclusion of the
Lateran Treaty. According to the Lateran Treaty, certain properties
of the Holy See that are located in Italian territory, most
notably the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo and the major basilicas,
enjoy extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies.