Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy as well as the capital of the Lazio region. The city has been a major human settlement for almost three millennia. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome and its area is the third-most populous within Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome.
Rome has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, humid winters. Rome has been a major Christian pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages. People from all over the Christian world visit Vatican City, within the city of Rome, the seat of the papacy. Rome's architecture over the centuries has greatly developed, especially from the Classical and Imperial Roman styles to modern fascist architecture.
Public parks and nature reserves cover a large area in Rome, and the city has one of the largest areas of green space among European capitals. It is a city famous for its numerous fountains, built in all different styles, from Classical and Medieval, to Baroque and Neoclassical.
The Roman countryside, the Campagna, was one of the last areas of central Italy to be settled in antiquity. Rome was built on a defensible hill that dominated the last downstream, high-banked river crossing where traverse of the Tiber was facilitated by a midstream island. This hill, Palatine Hill, was one of a group of hills, traditionally counted as seven, around which the ancient city grew. The other hills are the Capitoline, the Quirinal, the Viminal, the Esquiline, the Caelian, and the Aventine.
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