Rome (Italy), capital city of Italy and of Lazio (Latium) Region and Rome Province, on the Tiber River, in the central part of the country near the Tyrrhenian Sea. Vatican City, most of which is located in an enclave within Rome, is the seat of the papacy of the Roman Catholic church and has been recognized as an independent state by the Italian government since 1929. The majestic dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City dominates the Roman skyline.
For centuries, Rome has been called the Eternal City, a title earned through its importance as one of the great cities of Western civilization, as the capital of the Roman Empire, and as the world center of the Roman Catholic church. Since 1871 it has been the capital of united Italy.
According to tradition, Rome was founded in 753 bc on one of the Seven Hills—a term used for centuries to describe the Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, Aventine, and Palatine hills surrounding the old community. Archaeological evidence indicates, however, that human settlement here dates from at least 1000 bc. The Capitoline Hill (Monte Capitoline) was long the seat of Rome’s government, and the Palatine Hill was the site of such great structures as the Palace of the Flavians, built by the Roman emperor Domitian. As a result of construction through the centuries, most of the Seven Hills are now hardly distinguishable from the adjacent plain. Other hills of Rome include the Pincian (Pincio) and the Janiculum.