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Rome Travel & Italy Vacations
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Rome is the largest city and comune in Italy; the comune or municipality is one of the largest in Europe with an area of 1290 square kilometers. Within the city limits, the population is 2.553.873 (31 December 2004); almost 4.3 million live in the general area of Rome as represented by the province of Rome.

The city's history extends nearly 2,800 years, during which time it has been the seat of ancient Rome (the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic, Roman Empire), and later the Papal States, Kingdom of Italy and Italian Republic. Rome is also called "the Eternal City."

Partying in Rome is a pretty easy thing to do. Given a heart for exploration, Testaccio is the place to wander. Head down there around 11pm and listen for music. The outsides of the clubs will give you NO idea what the insides are like. There are usually loads of people simply walking through the street or looking for parking. Be brave, walk in, meet some wonderful Romans, but never buy them drinks unless you are looking for sex (in this case, better to be sure you are inviting the right person). This area is best in the summer when the dancing moves outside. In the winter, most clubs close.

The Fontana di Trevi is the 'Three Coins in the Fountain' fountain, the one that drenched Anita Ekberg in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita. Among those who are unaware that the "three coins' were thrown by three individuals, a current legend is reported that it is lucky to throw coins with one's right hand over one's right shoulder into the Trevi Fountain. Throwing one coin in will ensure that the thrower will return to Rome. Throwing two coins ensures that the thrower will fall in love with a beautiful Roman girl (or handsome boy), and throwing three coins now ensures that the thrower will marry that girl or boy in Rome.

Italy is a developed democracy with a modern economy.  The Holy See is a sovereign entity that serves as the ecclesiastical, governmental and administrative capital of the Roman Catholic Church, physically located within the State of the Vatican City inside Rome, with a unique, non-traditional economy.  San Marino is a developed, constitutional democratic republic, also independent of Italy, with a modern economy.  Tourist facilities are widely available.

Italy remains largely free of terrorist incidents.  However, like other countries in the Schengen area, Italy’s open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity.

Italy has a moderate rate of violent crime, some of which is directed towards tourists, principally for motives of theft.  Some travelers have been victims of rape and beatings.  There have also been incidents of drinks laced with drugs being used by criminals to rob, and in some cases, assault tourists.  Many of these incidents have occurred in the vicinity of Rome’s Termini train station and at major tourist centers such as Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona, as well as in Florence and Naples.  Criminals using this tactic “befriend” a traveler at a train station, bus stop, restaurant, café or bar in tourist areas, then eventually offer a drink laced with a sleeping drug.  When the tourist falls asleep, criminals steal the traveler’s valuables.  There have also been instances where the victim was assaulted, either physically or sexually.

Petty crimes such as pick pocketing, theft from parked cars, and purse snatching are serious problems, especially in large cities.  Pickpockets sometimes dress like businessmen so tourists should not be lulled into a false sense of security by believing that well-dressed individuals are not potential pickpockets or thieves.  Most reported thefts occur at crowded tourist sites, on public buses or trains, or at the major railway stations: Rome's Termini; Milan's Centrale; Florence's Santa Maria Novella; and Naples' Centrale and Piazza Garibaldi.  Travelers should also be alert to theft in Milan’s Malpensa Airport, particularly at car rental agencies.  Clients of Internet cafes in major cities have been targeted.  Tourists who have tried to resist petty thieves on motor scooters have suffered broken arms and collarbones.
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