Rome, Italy, Europe

Founded: 753 B.C.; Unified: 1870
Location: Lazio region in Italy, Europe, on a peninsula extending from southern Europe into the Mediterranean Sea, bordering France to the northwest, Switzerland and Austria to the north, Slovenia to the northeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south
Time Zone: 11 AM = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Flag: Vertical bands of orange (left) and yellow.
Ethnic Composition: Italian; German, French, Slovenes, Albanian-Italians, Greek-Italians
Elevation: 4,336 m (14,453 ft) above sea level
Latitude and Longitude: 41°54′N, 12°30′E
Climate: Temperate, mild winters and long, dry, hot summers
Annual Mean Temperature: 7.4°C (45.3°F) in January; 25.7°C (78.3°F) in July
Average Annual Rainfall: 890 mm (35 in)
Government: Multi-party republic, headed by a president and prime minister, legislative power held by bicameral Parliament: Senate and Chamber of Deputies
Weights and Measures: Metric
Monetary Units: The euro (EUR). As of January 1, 1999, the lira became a subdivision of the Euro (conversion rate: 1,936.27 lira to one Euro; one Euro equals 100 cents.)
Telephone Area Codes: Italy country code 39; Rome city code 6

2. Getting There

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 Population Profile

Population: 2,688,000
Area: 1502 sq km (580 sq mi)
World population rank1: 115
Percentage of national population2: 4.7%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.0%


  1. The Rome metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of Italy's total population living in the Rome metropolitan area.

Bus and Railroad Service

Train is by far the most efficient means of transportation for any land journey within Italy, to or from Rome. The Italian State Railways have several levels of service, from local trains that stop at every station, to the Pendolino, a fast, luxurious first-class-only train. From the airport, the Stazione Termini direct train runs hourly. The Stazione Termini, Rome's main train station, is the hub of the urban transportation system. Beneath it is the only interchange between the city ' s two Metro lines, and directly outside, on Piazza dei Cinquecento, is the central bus terminal, a stunning twentieth-century building.

Buses run from 6:00 AM to midnight, with some services running throughout the night. The city ' s Metro service has two lines, and both go through Termini. A bus ticket is also valid for the city's subway and train services.


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 kilometer (nine miles) southeast and is used for charter flights. The national airline carrier Alitalia is 89.3 percent owned by the state.

3. Getting Around

Navigating the streets of Rome can be tricky. Often it is easiest to take advantage of the city's public transportation. Tickets for city metros, buses, and trams must be purchased before boarding.

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.


The center of Rome is compact, and wandering the ruins on foot is a great way to see the city. Street life is vibrant and constant. The architectural design is consuming, and close proximity of ancient sights make for a comfortable and convenient walk. For instance, the Colosseum is approximately one-and-a-half miles from the Spanish steps. One route travels by the Forum, Piazza Venezia, and several churches, passing through charming neighborhoods. A longer, more scenic route weaves from the Colosseum to the Vatican. Most major monuments are west of the train station. The Pantheon and Trevi Fountain are a short detour away. The Palatine Hill and the Forum are the center of ancient Rome. Via del Corso runs north from the Forum to Piazza del Popola, and Trevi Fountain is to the east. The Vatican is northwest of the Forum, across the Tiber River. Small patches of central Rome have sidewalks and streets closed to cars for use by cyclists and scooters.

Bike tours from the north to the south of the city are actually a popular way to see the sights of Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Venezia, and the Spanish Steps. Conversely, the narrow streets combined with steep hills can make cycling a bit of a challenge.

City Fact Comparison
Indicator Rome Cairo New York Beijing
(Italy) (Egypt) (United States) (China)
Population of urban area1 2,688,000 10,772,000 16,626,000 12,033,000
Date the city was founded 753 BC AD 969 1613 723 BC
Daily costs to visit the city2
Hotel (single occupancy) $172 $193 $198 $129
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) $59 $56 $44 $62
Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.) $15 $14> $26 $16
Total daily costs $246 $173 $244 $207
Major Newspapers3
Number of newspapers serving the city 20 13 10 11
Largest newspaper La Repubblica Akhbar El Yom/Al Akhbar The Wall Street Journal Renmin Ribao
Circulation of largest newspaper 754,930 1,159,339 1,740,450 3,000,000
Date largest newspaper was established 1976 1944 1889 1948
1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.
2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.
3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.

Mopeds and scooters, called Vespa or wasps in Italy because of the buzzing noise they make, are an efficient way to get around the narrow streets. Bikes and

The dome of Saint Peter's Basilica dominates the skyline of Rome. ()
mopeds can be rented from Roma Rent and Scoot-a-Long, among others.

For a gentler tour of the historic center, sightseers can hire a horse-drawn carriage. Trips can be taken for a half-hour, an hour, half-day, or a day, for up to five people. Prices for longer rides are negotiable and can be hired from Piazza di Spagna, the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter's, Via Veneto, Villa Borghese, Piazza Venezia, and Piazza Navona.

22. For Further Study


Complete directory of major United States colleges and universities. Includes study - online university - information on an online university and about student life, student statistics, history, academics, unique programs, admissions, athletics, and the local community for each online university and college.

Enjoy Rome. [Online] Available (accessed February 7, 2000).

Northern Italy. [Online] Available (accessed February 7, 2000).

Theodora. [Online] Available (accessed February 7, 2000).

Government Offices

Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura
Piazza dell' Indipendendza 6, 00185 Rome
Francesco Paolo Fulci
Ambassador to United Nations

Unione Italiana delle Camere di Commercio
Piazza Sallustio 21, 00187 Rome
Tel: (6) 47041

U. S. Embassy
Via Veneto 119A/121
Tel.: 467 41

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Dipartimento del Turismo:
Via della Ferratella in Laterano 51, 00184

Ente Nazionale Italiano per il Turisom (ENIT)
Via Marghera 2, 00185


Absalom, R. Italy since 1880: A Nation in the Balance. Harlow, 1995.

Smith, D.M. Modern Italy: A Political History. Yale University Press, 1997.