The Eternal City
The history of Rome is one of the oldest and most renowned histories of Western civilization and its prominence dates back to ancient times. Probably more than any other city in the West, possibly more than any other in the world, it is a city whose history continues to shape nearly every aspect of its being but, at the same time, whose contemporary consciousness of that history projects it into the very core of modern life. For well over a millennium, Rome controlled the destiny of all civilization known to Europe, then fell into dissolution and disrepair. Physically mutilated, economically paralyzed, politically senile, and militarily impotent by the late Middle Ages, Rome nevertheless remained a world power.
In the 20th century and after World War I, Rome saw rise to Italian fascism under Benito Mussolini in 1922, who allied Italy with Nazi Germany. After Mussolini was executed at the end of the war, a 1946 referendum abolished the monarchy in favour of the Italian Republic. Rome grew rapidly and became the directive centre of the reconstruction and modernization of Italy.