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It's hard to describe Rome in a few words; a city so vast and rich in art, monuments and exquisite views, a historic city, which has preserved its charm and independence throughout the centuries. Rome's history can be read in every monument, and palazzo; in fact, each and every stone bears witness to the periods of splendour, decay, wars, and numerous architectural styles. The city could be described as a gigantic open-air museum, visited each year by millions of tourists, scholars and pilgrims from all over the world.

It is hard to believe that Roman civilization began with a small settlement of shepherds and farmers near the Tevere river, on Palatino (one of the seven hills on which Rome was built and where most of the Roman archaeological treasures were found), tradition dictates that this is where Romulus founded the city and where Augustus, the first Emperor, built his house, which is now widely (and incorrectly) known as the house of Livia, this wife.

The city extended over six other hills: Quirinale, Viminale, Esquilino, Celio, Aventino and Capitolino.

Rome has spread outwards in a rather haphazard manner, without much regard to town planning; many fields were acquired by the local authorities and transformed into new neighborhoods. North of Rome, near the Vatican are the Aurelio, Prati and Mazzini neighborhoods, which are more commercial and residential, as well as the elegant quarters of Parioli and Nomentano, home to many foreign embassies. Further south are Prenestino and Tiburtino, more populated areas, due to the fact that they are university areas, full of students, who can also be found in the nearby S.Lorenzo, a charming district with a wide variety of pizzerias and bars. Trastevere is undoubtedly one of the most charming areas of the city; it is also one of the most crowded areas too, especially on summer evenings. Many people (foreigners and Romans alike) want to live in this highly desirable district. Finally, the Eur is one of the most modern neighborhoods, a centre for offices and administration centres.

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