Evidence suggests a human presence in the area of Rome for at least 10,000 years. The mythology of early Rome tells us that the city was founded by Romulus who was raised in a cave with his brother Remus by a she-wolf. Apparently, the two infant boys took their nourishment from her teat (a story like that must be true, right?).
Archaeological evidence supports that Rome did in fact grow from pastoral settlements on Colle Pallatino, the future site of the Roman Forum, upon which there are several caves. Eventually, the Republic of Rome was founded in c. 510 B.C.E. The successful and wealthy Republic gave birth to the imperial Roman Empires c. 27 B.C.E., which were sprawling territories ruled by succeeding emperors.
When the empire fell in 476, and the Roman Catholic Church took power in 756, Rome continued to be both an economic and cultural powerhouse in Europe. In the mid-14th century, Florence surpassed Rome as the epicentre of the Italian Renaissance. This irked the papacy to no end so they set about spending vast amounts of money and resources, commissioning architects and artists to create masterworks in an effort to bring the focus back to Rome.
The result of this vanity driven ambition was an unmatched creative and scientific output that is still marvelled over today. It's safe to say that Rome is, historically, one of the most important cities in western history and, arguably, the world.