Rome, or Roma as it is known in Italian, has so many ancient features that it is hard to think of it as a modern city with 3 million inhabitants, visited by many millions of tourists each year.
The city is a dual capital, namely of Italy and of the Catholic Church. Rome is home to a community of two separate diplomatic corps, seminarians and religious pilgrims, scholars at foreign academies for the Classics and the Arts as well as students at national institutes for drama and music. It is also a major centre of the film industry. Although the many foreign visitors create a cosmopolitan atmosphere, the city has a unique feel to it thanks to the influence of the Romans themselves. Their vigorous antics, expressed in the way they drive, gesture and communicate bring the place to life a phenomenon often interpreted by visitors as chaotic.
The city can be quite overwhelming if you try to see too much in too short a time. If you only make time to visit the main museums and sights you will miss out on falling in love with the city. Given half a chance, its narrow and ancient streets will seduce you, delighting you as they suddenly open up to reveal beautiful piazzas or an ancient obelisk.
Rome is a very expansive and sprawling city. Despite this, most of its historic and cultural sites are concentrated in a fairly easily accessible central area. Ancient Rome was focused around the Forum, near the Palatine and Capitoline hills and this is also where the majority of the famous sites - such as the Colosseum can be found, close to the bend in the Tiber River. Almost every film made in Rome seems to feature a few seconds of traffic speeding past this massive building, which now looks like giant half-eaten cake. Although it may be true that you cannot get to know Rome properly during just a single lifetime you can certainly make a start.