Rome is one of the most illustrious cities of the world, if not the most famous, at least as far as the tourist is concerned. By ten am in the morning the avid tourist is on the street, fighting crowds and traffic as as they get from Renaissance palaces and ornate buildings to the famous ruins of the distant past. In fact it is true that Rome often seems to have two populations: one of Romans and the other of tourists. In the summer, the city plays host to crowds of countless sightseers who converge on it with guidebooks and cameras in hand. Every one of them, Americans, Europeans, Japanese, is given a warm welcome. Rome extends a warm and friendly welcome, wining, dining, and entertaining them in its inimitable fashion. This is actually true throughout the year, as if you visit in August you might see only tourists, not Romans, because the natives flee the summer heat of the city.

Rome is a city of cherished images, and sounds that are rarely, if ever forgotten. Images that captivate, like the view of the city's profile from Janiculum Hill at first light, or the collection of broken marble columns and ruins of temples of the Roman Forum. Then there is the St. Peter's dome against a pink-and-red sunset, crowning a magnificently ornamented basilica. And the sounds of Rome, beginning early in the morning with the ringing of church bells calling the faithful to Mass. As the city awakens and comes to life, the sounds increase and combine into a kind of urban symphony. The streets fill with cars, taxis, and motor scooters, all blaring their horns as they weave in and out of traffic; the sidewalks become swarming with sleepy office workers hurrying to their workplaces, but first pushing into crowded cafes for the first cappuccino of the day. Then there are the shops by the streets opening for business by raising their protective metal grilles as noisily as possible. None of these noisemakers are surly disturbers of the peace, but instead they seem to delight in their contribution to the general din. Before long, fruit and vegetable stands come alive with bustle as homemakers, maids, cooks, and others arrive to purchase their day's supply of fresh produce, ever quibbling over the prices and fussing over the quality.

Long before the city has fully awakened, the daily traffic will have filled the streets and from then till almost mid-night, and even later, it is one mad rush of tourist and resident, all having some urgency that has to be taken care of. Rome is also known as Tangentopoli or the Bribe city. Being the capital of the city, it is also the centre of major political scandals and corruption.

Notwithstanding all this chaos or maybe because of it, Romans still know how to enjoy themselves. Once you have finished wandering through the Colosseum and being overwhelmed by the Pantheon and after you've ploded through St. Peter's Basilica and thrown a coin in the Trevi Fountain, you can start to experience the charisma of the Roman evening. Find a cafe at summer twilight and watch the shades of pink turn to gold and copper before night finally falls. This is when a completely different Rome emerges, restaurants and cafes become alive, especially those on ancient hidden piazzas or along a narrow alley in Trastevere. After dinner relax over a gelato or maybe an espresso in the winter, you can stroll by the fountains or through Piazza Navona, do anything you wish . because the night is yours

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