Rome is currently the capital of the nation-state of Italy, so it is no longer the center of an empire. But I think you mean to ask if Rome did control such an empire, and the answer to this is yes. Rome was the center of one of world history's largest and most historically significant empires. At its height beginning with the "Pax Romana" in the second century B.C.E. Rome controlled a vast swath of territory that stretched from the modern border between England and Scotland to modern Saudi Arabia. The Romans built roads, aqueducts, public buildings, and other structures and, perhaps more important, their presence integrated markets that facilitated the transfer of trade goods and culture. Roman law, carried throughout the Empire, serves as the foundation for most Western European law, and Greek philosophy, science, and other knowledge spread throughout the Empire as well, influencing both Western and non-Western cultures. The Roman Empire would prove to be an agent for spreading Christianity as well. The new religion spread from one city to another within the Empire, which after around a century and a half of persecution, legalized and eventually made the religion official. So the city of Rome was, until the western-eastern split in the fourth century A.C.E., the center of a massive empire.