ABOUT THE CITY
Rome, no other city comes close. It is an epic, bubbling-over metropolis harboring lost empires. Rome has a glorious monumentality that it wears without reverence. Its architectural heirlooms are buzzed around by car and Vespa as if they were no more than traffic islands.
Rome is the capital city of Italy, as well as its largest and most populous city. Rome has a significant place in the story of Christianity up to the present day as the home of the Roman Catholic Church and the site of the Vatican City, an independent city-state run by the Catholic Church within as an enclave of Rome.
Here the national preoccupation with the aesthetic fuses with incredible urban scenery to make Rome a city where you feel cool just strolling through the streets, catching the sunlight on your face outside a café, or eating a long lunch. It’s a place that almost encourages you to take things easy. Don’t feel like going to a museum? What’s the need when it’s all outside on the streets, in your neighborhood?
Rome is the capital city of Italy and of the Lazio region, as well as the country’s largest and most populous comune (basic administrative unit of both provinces and regions). It is located in the central-western portion of the Italian peninsula, where the river Aniene joins the Tiber. Rome is thoroughly modern and cosmopolitan. As one of the few major European cities that escaped World War II relatively unscathed, central Rome remains essentially Renaissance and Baroque in character.
Rome is unique in its containing two other sovereign states. One is the Holy See, the political and religious entity that governs the territory of the Vatican City (a de facto enclave since 1870, officially recognized as such in 1929), as well as claiming extraterritorial rights over a few other palaces and churches, mostly in the city centre; indeed, Rome hosts foreign embassies to both Italy and the Holy See.
The founding of Rome is shrouded in legend such as the story of Romulus and Remus, but archaeological evidence supports the theory that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill and in the area of the future Roman Forum, coalescing into a city in the 8th century BC. That city developed into the capital of the Roman Kingdom (ruled by a succession of seven kings, according to tradition), Roman Republic (from 510 BC, governed by the Senate), and finally the Roman Empire (from 31 BC, ruled by an Emperor); this success depended on military conquest, commercial predominance, as well as selective assimilation of neighboring civilizations, most notably the Etruscans and Greeks. Roman dominance expanded over most of Europe and the shores of the Mediterranean sea, while its population surpassed one million inhabitants. For almost a thousand years, Rome was the most politically important, richest and largest city in the Western world, and remained so after the Empire started to decline and was split, even if it ultimately lost its capital status to Milan and then Ravenna, and was surpassed in prestige by the Eastern capital Constantinople.
Population (Jan 2005):
City: 1,285 km² (580 sq mi)
Urban: 5,352 km² (2,066 sq mi)
The definition for time zones can be written in short form as UTC±n (or GMT±n), where n is the offset in hours. Here is an example given the local time in Italy and New York City at 12:00 UTC when daylight saving time is not in effect:
Italy Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC + 1:00 hour = 2:00pm
NYC Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC – 05:00 hour = 8:00am
Italy is on Central European Time and does observe Day light Savings time.
New York City is 6 hours behind Italy.
Rome enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate which characterizes the Mediterranean coasts of Italy. It is at its most comfortable from April through June, and from mid-September to October; in particular is famously known for its sunny days and pleasant temperatures.
|Month||Avg Hi||Avg Lo||Avg Precip|
Today Rome enjoys a dynamic and diverse economy with thriving innovation, technologies, communications and service sectors. Rome’s economic growth began to surpass that of its rivals, Naples and Milan, after World War II, although a traditional rivalry persists with Milan. Tourism is inevitably one of Rome’s chief industries, with many notable museums including the Vatican Museum, the Borghese Gallery, and the Musei Capitolini. Rome is also the hub of the Italian film industry, thanks to the Cinecittà studios. The city is also a centre for banking as well as electronics and aerospace industries. Many international headquarters, government ministries, conference centers, sports venues and museums are located in Rome’s principal business districts.
U.S. Tax Information
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 920
Bensalem, PA 19020
(215) 516-2000 (not toll-free)
Phone service available from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm (EST) M-F. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office serving Italy is located in Philadelphia, and provides U.S. Federal tax assistance to Americans in Italy. The IRS Home Page has a lot of information available to answer many questions. Go to ‘Individuals’ and then ‘Overseas Taxpayers’ you will find a section of FAQ, which will take you to IRS Publication 54. Many questions of overseas taxpayers can be answered from that source. One point to remember for all overseas taxpayers is that the United States taxes its citizens on their worldwide income. Even though they may be eligible to exclude a certain amount of their earned income from their income tax computation, they must file a US tax return in order to claim that exclusion.
Driving in Rome is very difficult. If you can, it makes more sense to use public transportation. Keep in mind, that renting a scooter is only about 40 euros a day, and it can make navigating the dense streets and finding parking easier, along with helping you blend in with the locals, who buzz about their daily routines on two wheels.
The first thing to remember about driving in Italy is to keep to the right-hand side of the road and give way to traffic from the right on roundabouts and at crossroads. If you have a right-hand drive car you will find the left-hand wing mirror indispensable; it is anyway obligatory to have one. It is also obligatory to carry a warning triangle in your boot and to have your driving license and car registration documents on you at all times.
Signs are difficult to find and it can be enormously difficult to find the correct road, even with a good map. Quite often the junction is signposted only at the actual turning and not in advance, and there may be a display of 20 signs to scan through, including those for hotels, restaurants, businesses and public services. It is far from uncommon to find two signs for the same destination pointing in opposite directions.
In Rome there are only two metro lines. Converging at the central train station Termini, the lines A and B branch out in separate directions, neglecting much of the city along the way. If you need to get to anywhere near Termini, the metro has you covered, but consider that this is only a tiny part of Rome. Other important locations, for example Trastevere or Piazza Buenos Aires, are nowhere near a metro stop. Even Piazza Venezia, the bustling center of tourism and the legendary point to which all roads once led, has no stop of its own.
The city’s rich history prevents it from fully modernizing. It seems that every attempt at extending the underground is thwarted by the discovery of some archeological lost treasure. As soon as they start digging, they find themselves handing over their picks and shovels to the scientists and historians.
The Metro is the most punctual way to travel the city, but gets very crowded during rush hour.
Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport
Via of the Airport of Fiumicino 320
00050 Fiumicino (RM)
+39 (06) 659 51
Leonardo Da Vinci is Italy’s chief airport; it is more commonly known as “Fiumicino airport”, as it is located within the territory of the nearby comune of Fiumicino, 20 miles southwest of Rome’s city center. An express train leaves every 30 minutes from the airport toe the central train station in downtown Rome. There are a variety of other transportation options to get into the city itself.
A taxi ride to downtown Rome should cost around 40 Euros.
Giovan Battista Pastine International Airport is a joint civilian and military airport; it is more commonly referred to as “Ciampino Airport”, as it is located within Roman territory near the border with the comune of Ciampino, south-east of Rome. It’s actually closer to downtown than Da Vinci, but it doesn’t have direct rail access. A third airport, the Aeroporto dell’Urbe, is a small, low-traffic airport located about 6 km north of the city centre, which handles most helicopter and private flights.
Local Phone Numbers
Toll free call numbers have the prefix 147 or 800
Area code for Rome is 06
011 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of U.S.A., when placing the call in the US.
001 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of Italy, when placing the call in Italy.
39 is the international code used to dial to Italy.
|International Operator (English speaking)||176|
|Car Breakdown Assistance||116|
|Highway Police||(06) 221 01|
|Italian Red Cross||(06) 55 10|
|Embassy of the United States||+39 (06) 467 41|
|via Vittorio Veneto, 119/A|
|00187 Roma, Italy|
|Salvator Mundi International Hospital||(06) 588 961|
|Viale Mura Gianicolensi, 67|
|Rome American Hospital||(06) 0622 551|
|Via E. Longoni, 69|
|Christo Re dei Ferrovieri||(06) 4880 776|
|Brienza||(06) 3973 8186|
|piazza Risorgimento 44|
|Farmacia Internazionales Capranica||(06) 6794 680|
|Piazza Capranica 96|
|Lost Credit Cards|
|American Express||(06) 722 82|
|Visa & MasterCard||(800) 151 616|
|Diner’s Club||(800) 864 064|
The opening hours of shops in Italy may take some time to adjust to. Generally they:
Open at 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning
Close at 12:30 or 1:00 for lunch
re-open at 4.30 or 5 in the afternoon
Close at 7:30 or 8:00 in the evening.
These are the standard opening hours from Monday to Saturday inclusive, all shops being closed on Sunday, except for fresh pasta shops which open on Sunday morning. In tourist resorts, shops stay open at all hours and on all days of the week, even on national holidays, particularly if they occur during a peak tourist season.
Cinecitta Due Centro Commerciale
Viale Palmiro Togliatti, 2
+39 (06) 722 0910
The very first large shopping centre in the city, it has an excellent mix of interesting shops and services. Romans claim that the shopping centre contains everything one could possibly desire. Always full, but never too crowded, Cinecitta Due has the comfort of air conditioning.
Piazzale del Museo Borghese
(06) 328 101 (info)
This ‘queen of all private collections’ was formed by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the most passionate and knowledgeable art collector of his day. The collection – including works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Botticelli and Raphael – and the mansion were acquired by the Italian state in 1902; a lengthy restoration took place in the 1990s.
Piazza del Campidoglio, 1
(06) 6710 2475
The Capitoline Museums are housed in two palaces that face each other. The one on the left of Michelangelo’s steps is the New Palace, which houses one of Europe’s most important collections of sculpture. It was designed by Michelangelo and became the world’s first public museum in 1734 by order of Pope Clement XII. The other palace, the ‘Conservatori,’ houses important paintings such as Caravaggio’s “St John the Baptist” and works by Titian, Veronese, Rubens and Tintoretto.
For one week, usually in May, access to all of Rome’s many historical sights is free. Of course, that means they’re very crowded, but they very often are anyway.
The Aventine Hill
Close to the center, serene and a beautiful place to visit on a sunny afternoon is the Aventine Hill, one of the seven hills on which Rome has been built. Just south of the Circus Maximus you can walk up the hill by taking the V. Valle Murcia, which shortly after becomes Via di Santa Sabina. After fifteen minutes you will find on your right hand side the entrance to a little park. Originally called the Parco Savello, this park is commonly known as the Giardini degli Aranci, or ‘Orange Gardens’. The tree-lined paths lead you to a beautiful view over the center of Rome and the Tiber river. In the summer, the park hosts theatre and musical performances. When walking further up the hill you will come across the Santa Sabina church, a fifth-century church which has essentially been unchanged from its original layout and interior. Following the Via Santa Sabina will make you end up at the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. On the right hand side of this square is the Priory of the Knights of Malta, a military order. Though the Priory is not open to the public, the ornate keyhole of the gate will offer an impressive and surprising view on the Vatican and the cupola of Saint Peter’s Basilica, which will leave only few uncharmed.
Soccer is the most popular sport in Rome, as in the rest of the country. The Stadio Olimpico hosted the final game of the 1990 FIFA World Cup; it is also the home stadium for local Serie A clubs A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio, whose rivalry has become a staple of Roman sports culture. Other notable teams in the city include Serie C2 team A.S. Cisco Roma.
Lo Stadio Olimpico
Via di Trigoria Km 3,600
(06) 501 911
The pleasures and love of Italian cuisine are known the world over. Italian cookery and recipes vary from region to region, and on the whole it is very healthy and nutritious, using natural ingredients that are in season. Cooking and eating habits can vary from region to region, even from village to village.
Each place has their own unique dishes and ingredients, and even the traditional dishes that are so popular all over Italy are cooked in different ways depending which region you go to. For example, if you eat lasagna from Naples, it doesn’t have the béchamel sauce as you would expect in the more traditional lasagna. It also has small meatballs (or polpette)as opposed to mince, and also salami and eggs. The different regional cooking depends on a number of factors, not only as to what ingredients are most abundant each region, but also historical factors. Naples, for example, was founded by the Greeks, and this had some influence on the Neapolitan way of life.
Currency & Banking
Exchange Rate Euros per US Dollar
For current exchange rate please visit
Currency is the Euro (EUR). The notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The denominations of coins are 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent. The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks and stores.
Embassy & Visa
Embassy of the United States
via Vittorio Veneto, 119/A
00187 Roma, Italy
+39 (06) 467 41
Americans staying in Italy for more than three months are considered a resident. This includes Americans who will work or transact business and persons who want to simply live in Italy.
In order to remain in Italy more than three months and gain resident status, an American must have an entrance visa, which should be obtained at an Italian consulate before coming to Italy. This procedure will take several weeks to complete, so it is advisable to apply well in advance of the departure date.
Italy has a socialized medical system. After you arrive and get settled in you will be able to apply for your health card at your local Azienda Sanitaria. If you are employed here you will need some information from your employer as well as your passport and your permesso di soggiorno. If you are not employed, you will need your permesso di soggiorno as well as your passport and your tax records. This process is best handled through an accountant here (commercialista) and they will need to calculate your worldly income. Normally you will need to pay around €400 per year plus a small percentage on your income.
Once you have your card you will be able to visit doctors, dentists, eye doctors, hospitals, clinics, etc. You will sometimes pay a small co-payment. Prescriptions will be covered for the most part (small co-payment sometimes) and doctors will do house calls. The major drawback is if you need surgery you will have to wait until they have space for you unless it is an emergency.
Fashions and fashion design are trademarks of Italy. Therefore, in the business world, good clothes are a signature of success. Men should wear fashionable, high quality suits. Shirts may be colored or pin-striped, and they should be paired with an Italian designer tie. Women dress in quiet, expensive elegance.
Foreign businessmen/women should be punctual for business appointments, although the Italian executive may not be.
Handshakes are common for both sexes, and may include grasping the arm with the other hand.
Italians often have two different business cards, one with business credentials for formal relationships, and another with personal information for less formal relationships. Do not exchange business cards at social occasions; but it is the norm at business functions and meetings.
When writing an address for delivery within Italy, use this format:
First name – last name
Corso/Via/etc. streetname, XX
I-CAP (like a ZIP code) city name (Province)
Piazzale S. Farina, 21/6
I-10095 Grugliasco (TO)
Four things to note:
1. Insert a comma between the street name and the number
2. The CAP goes before the city name. You can tag on an I- to indicate the address is in Italy, but is not necessary unless the letter is being sent from abroad.
American Overseas School of Rome
Via Cassia, 811
00l89 Rome, Italy
+39 (06) 334-381
The American Overseas School of Rome is an independent, co-educational day school for students of all nationalities from prekindergarten through grade 13. The School was founded in 1947. The school year comprises 2 semesters extending from September 6 through January 19 and from January 22 through June 15.
The curriculum is that of U.S. general academic, college-preparatory public or private schools. The School has a strong Advanced Placement Program and also prepares students for the International Baccalaureate examinations. The School’s testing program includes the College Board’s PSAT, SAT/ACH, and Advanced Placement tests, as well as the full complement of IB tests. Instruction is in English. French, Spanish, Latin and Italian are taught as foreign languages. There is no religious instruction. The School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Rome is a nation-wide centre for higher education.
Piazzale Aldo Moro
+39 (06) 499 11
(Founded in 1303, it is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the World, with more than 150,000 students attending.
Via Orazio Raimondo,18
+39 (06) 725 91
Founded in 1982, it is the third-largest university of the capital city of Italy. These are the 6 schools in which the university is divided: Economics, Engineering, Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Law, Medicine and Surgery, and the school of Science.
To set up a new account you will need to have a legal codice fiscale. You can call and set up most things by phone. Bills normally arrive once every 2 months and you do not send off a check to pay them but instead pay at the post office or have your bank automatically pay them via a bonifico.
The company that handles electricity in Italy is ENEL. Electricity in Italy is not like in the US where you can use as much as you need and then just pay every month. Instead, here, you are allotted 3.0 kW. If you use more than this at any one time your power will shut off. That means no running of the washing machine and a hair dryer at the same time.
230 V 50 Hz C, F & L Type L plugs/outlets may have different pin spacing. The smaller and closer pins are for a rated current of 10 A, the bigger and wider pins are for a rated current of 16 A. Both kinds are currently used and comply with the relevant Italian (CEI) regulations. Some outlets have overlapping holes to accept either older or newer types.
New country, new appliances. Unfortunately this can be a big expense but it is usually much better to buy new here than to bring stuff from back home.