Rome, the capital city of Italy is widely regarded as a major tourist destination. This Eternal City, which appears to be timeless, has been in existence for over three thousand years and is characterized with streets that are littered with ruins of its rich cultural past. These ruins date back to the Imperial times when Rome was the seat of power for the mighty Roman Empire that ruled over Europe, North Africa and the Middle East for over 400 years from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD. Today, these ruins like the Coliseum, the Roman Forum and the Pantheon are Rome’s prime historical attractions which draw thousands of tourists from all over the world.
The Vatican City, an independent city state which is the home of the Roman Catholic Church also lies within Rome’s borders and contributes to its importance on the world stage. However apart from functioning as an important tourist destination, Rome which is one of Italy’s fastest growing cities is also one of its most important centers for business.
The thriving economy of Rome is not solely dependent on tourism, for the economy of the city is also based on a strong services industry as it is home to several high-tech companies that specialize in IT, aerospace, defense and telecommunications. Further, the headquarters of some of Italy’s largest companies like the Bank of Italy which is the central bank of Italy, Enel which is an important energy producer in Europe, Eni which is Italy’s largest oil and natural gas company and Telecom Italia are all located in Rome which is often referred to as ‘the cradle of the western civilization’ as the culture of Rome has played a significant role in shaping the art, architecture, law, and language of the western world. Additionally with the opening of the futuristic Fiera Roma trade fair grounds in 2006, the city has also become an important locale for global and European congresses, meetings and trade fairs.
Rome also functions as the epicenter of the Italian film industry and it is home to the famous Cinecittà studios, which have been in business since the 1930’s. The International Rome Film Festival which debuted recently in 2007 has now become an important member of the international film festival circuit. All these factors have contributed to the growth of Rome as a well known and popular business travel destination.
In order to cater to the growing influx of business travelers the city is well served by the Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) Airport which is the largest airport in Italy. Moreover Rome is also equipped with several fine hotels like the Hassler Villa Medici which is located at the top of the prime tourist attraction of the Spanish Steps and the distinctly old-world St Regis Grand Hotel which is located near the American Embassy. Rome is also world famous for its indigenous Roman cuisine and accordingly boasts of a plethora of fine dining restaurants like La Pergola which is a Michelin three star restaurant that is touted to be the ‘best restaurant’ in Italy, Mirabelle, which is another Michelin star restaurant that is located at the Splendid Royale Hotel and the Al Foro restaurant which is located near the historic Trevi fountain and is a popular haunt of the international film fraternity
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