The people of Rome live among the architectural achievements of over 2,000 years of the city’s history.
Rome’s most important industry is tourism as the city abounds in art, museums and libraries. However, other industries such as high fashion clothing, printing, electronics, engineering, chemicals and food processing are also significant. These are to be found mostly on the south and east of the city, which is also an important center of banking and commerce.
The curving Spanish Steps, designed by Francesco de Sanctis in 1723, are famous for their elegance and for the colorful markets at their feet. The Castel Sant’Angelo, a huge imperial mausoleum, was built by the Emperor Hadrian in AD 135; today it is a state museum. The Arch of Titus stands at the entrance to the Roman Forum; it was built in AD 81 to commemorate the emperor’s capture of Jerusalem. St Peter’s Basilica is arguably the most famous church in the world. Completed in 1615, it is the scene of papal ceremonies and is a place of pilgrimage for the world’s Roman Catholics
The Leonardo da Vinci airport at Fiumicino provides international air links and many major roads and railways converge on the city. Rome has a bad traffic problem but efforts are being made to free the heart of the city of traffic by new schemes such as the extension of the Metropolitana subway and the building of enormous underground car parks. The rapid growth of Rome during the last century has led to housing shortages and congestion but public services are modern and efficient.
The population of the city is now about 2,700,000