Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. Rome is the Eternal City, with political capital, a religious centre, and a memorial to the creative imagination of the past. After being at the epicenter of much of Europe, Asia and Africa during the Roman Empire, Rome later became the religious capital of the world as the “headquarters” of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the fourth-most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.
The Roman countryside, the Campagna, was one of the last areas of central Italy to be settled in antiquity. The ancient center of Rome is divided into 22 districts. Rome is also known for its culinary traditions, with dishes such as “Carbonara” and “Amatriciana” which are now served around the world. Rome is considered to be one of the founding cities of the western civilization. The two and a half thousand years since Rome’s foundation haven’t passed without leaving a trace. Monuments like the Sistine Chapel, Coliseum, the Pantheon, Villa Borghese and many others make Rome the 10th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy.