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Throughout its 3,000-year history, the city of Rome has been both a key administrative center and the scene of notable artistic achievements. In the ancient world, it was the capital of the vast Roman empire and was the largest, most architecturally sophisticated city of antiquity. Reaching a size of 1 million inhabitants who were supported by an elaborate infrastructure, Rome became one of the first great metropolises of history. Although the city's size declined in the Middle Ages, its influence on Western civilization continued unabated as the seat of the popes and the headquarters of the Catholic Church. During the Renaissance and baroque periods, Rome was physically transformed by the work of great architects and artists such as Michelangelo, Bramante, Raphael, and Bernini. During the ...

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