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At the time of Emperor Augustus, Rome was the largest city in the world, and probably the largest ever built until the nineteenth century. Estimates of its peak population range from 450,000 to over 3.5 million people with 1 to 2 million being most popular with historians. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city's population may have been less than 50,000, and continued to stagnate or shrink until the Renaissance. When the Kingdom of Italy annexed Rome in 1870, it had a population of about 200,000, which rapidly increased to 600,000 by the end of the 19th century. The fascist regime of Mussolini tried to block an excessive demographic growth of the city, but failed to prevent it from reaching one million people by 1931.

After World War II, Rome continued to expand, with the creation of new quartieri and suburbs during the '50s and '60s. Today the official population stands at 2.7 million; the Urban Area of Rome is home to about 4 million of which 156,833 residents in this area are of foreign nationality, representing 6.2% of total residents.

Tourism is inevitably one of Rome's chief industries, with numerous notable museums including the Vatican Museum, the Borghese Gallery, and the Musei Capitolini. Rome is also the hub of the Italian film industry, thanks to the Cinecittą studios. The city is also a center for banking as well as electronics and aerospace industries. Numerous international headquarters, government ministries, conference centres, sports venues and museums are located in Rome's principal business districts.

Rome is served by three airports, of which the main two are owned by Aeroporti di Roma. The intercontinental Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport is Italy's chief airport; it is more commonly known as Fiumicino Airport, as it is located within the territory of the nearby comune of Fiumicino, south-west of Rome. The older Rome Ciampino Airport is a joint civilian and military airport; it is more commonly referred to as Ciampino Airport, as it is located within Roman territory near the border with the comune of Ciampino, south-east of Rome.

A third airport, the Aeroporto dell'Urbe, is a small, low-traffic airport located about 6 km north of the city centre, which handles most helicopter and private flights. A fourth airport in the eastern part of the city, the Aeroporto di Centocelle, which is dedicated to Francesco Baracca, is no longer open to flights; it hosts the Comando di Squadra Aerea that coordinates the activities of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana and the Comando Operativo di Vertice Interforze which coordinate all Italian military activities, although large parts of the airport are being redeveloped for a public park.

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