Rome Holidays & City Breaks

Rome holidays are like no other. From rooftop cocktails overlooking Palatine Hill to Gucci and Versaci shopping sprees along Via del Corso and spaghetti-stuffing in front of the Pantheon. With an exciting mixture of old meets new, one minute you’ll be admiring 70 AD structures, the next you’ll be enjoying a tipple in one of its trendy ice bars. Italy’s idyllic capital suits all tastes, whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or a refined foodie!

If one thing is for sure, Rome city breaks are bucket list-worthy. From the one-of-a-kind Colosseum, up to the Spanish Steps of Piazza di Spagna and down to the magical Trevi Fountain in search of some luck – the Eternal City will simply enchant you. Not to mention its culinary scene! The city’s hidden alleys and bohemian streets of Trastevere all celebrate the same idea: life is good if the food is! And as the famous proverb says, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, so expect to fill your face. 

Things to do and great sightseeing locations

Rome city breaks are all about hopping from one landmark to the next. Whether you’re hitting the Roman Forum, Sistine Chapel and Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II in one fell swoop or sipping glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon among Lazio’s vineyard. There are endless adventures to be had.

The Vatican

If you want to visit the smallest country in the world, then head over to Vatican City. Although surrounded by Rome, this state is very much independent from Italy and is ruled by the Pope. You can visit 54 richly decorated rooms at the Vatican Museums, including the Gallery of Maps and ceramic treasures from the Etruscan showcase. But the real highlight is the Sistine Chapel, which is regarded as Michelangelo’s masterpiece. And if there’s one direction you want to be looking, it’s up! With a ceiling full of artwork around the nine stories from Genesis, you’re bound to be captivated. 

St. Peter’s Basilica

When you’re done exploring the Sistine Chapel, you’ll find more of Michelangelo’s creations in the architectural majesty of St. Peter’s Basilica, including its iconic Dome. As one of the holiest temples in Christendom and one of the largest churches across the globe, you’re sure to get your history fix. 

Trevi Fountain

Make a pit stop at the Eternal City’s most iconic water spot dating back to 19 BC. Legend has it, if you throw one coin into the Trevi Fountain you’ll return to Rome, throw two and you’ll fall in love and if you throw a third, you’ll marry that person. But be sure to do it with your right hand and over your left shoulder! Or, just grab a gelato and admire the work of creator Giuseppe Pannini. 

Castel Sant’Angelo

If you head south, you’ll run into Castel Sant’Angelo, one of Rome’s most distinctive landmarks. This once prison, now a museum, is split into five floors. Here you’ll see the cells in which a number of historical figures were incarcerated. Alongside a weapons room from the Renaissance period. And have your camera on standby when you approach the rooftop terrace for the awe-inspiring city views that wait. 

Villa d’Este & Garden of Ninfa

If you want to witness the charm of nature, pay a visit to Villa d’Este. This 30 thousand square-metre villa is only 30 minutes away from the capital and features 50 fountains and 255 waterfalls. Don’t forget to check out the Garden of Ninfa as well. This is among Italy’s most beautiful botanical gardens – a crumbling medieval town framed by a thousand shades of plants and flowers.

Ancient History

Rome city breaks are full of surprises, but above all, lots of history. The way its ruins and archaeological sites are preserved will take you back to the city’s glory days. From its cobbled alleyways leading you to the Spanish Steps to the square of Piazza Nova which once held 20,000 spectators in 86 AD. And you’ll never get lost with the Colosseum and its 2,000 years' worth of history dominating the city centre. Rome’s gladiatorial arena is the most monumental ancient sight in the capital, taking you back to a time of fighting, exotic animal exhibitions and recreations of battles. 

You can stroll through an impressive sprawl of ruins not far from the Colosseum known as the Roman Forum. First developed in the 7th century BC, it gradually became the social, political, and commercial hub of the Roman Empire. If you head north, you’ll bump into the city’s best-preserved building from ancient times: the Pantheon. The name refers to a temple for all the gods, but the Pantheon is where the kings of Rome are buried. Don’t forget to also look up! The dome’s oculus is open to the sky. 

Vibrant nightlife

If the streets look too empty at 7 pm, don’t panic. Nightlife in Rome doesn’t kick off until around midnight. You can start your pre-drinking game at Marmo, home to some of the best mixologists in town and a live music only policy. While Baja is a cocktail venue for the Insta account. This fancy conservatory-looking structure floats on the Tiber River, and is a must-visit in summer. Voodoo is the ultimate place to unwind after a day of exploring. Think tapas spreads, Latin-American tunes and a Caribbean themed bar. But for early-hour partying, Circolo Degli Illuminati will see you dancing to Tech, House and Hip Hop until 4 am. 

Food and drinks

What did we say at the beginning? Life is good if the food is! The power of a great culinary experience is also something to consider when going on a city break, especially in Rome. The capital has a strong sense of tradition and a longstanding love for eating out.

Are you a pasta lover? If yes, then you’re in the right place. Italy is the homeland of spaghetti dishes, with 350 different types to taste and try. But Rome has its own style. Make sure you try the Cacio e Pepe (a stripped-down mac and cheese) at Roscioli alongside the carbonara and amatriciana (a spicy tomato and bacon dish) at Lo Scopettaro restaurant. 

If you have a sweet tooth, you won't be disappointed to find many gelato spots dotted around the city. From your classic strawberry and chocolate flavours to scoops of Kinder Bueno and Snickers. 

If you’re feeling a little thirsty after all this food, Rome certainly knows how to help you. Stop for a drink in one of the bars along the Tiber and enjoy a refreshing Aperol Spritz. Italy is also famous for its coffee. And we’ll let you in on a little secret, if you add some sugar and it takes a moment to sink, you’re about to taste one of the city’s best brews!

More Travel Guides

We also have travel guides available for destinations, including: Amalfi | Ischia Porto | Florence | Lake Garda | Limone | Malcesine | Sant'Agnello | Sardinia  | Sicily | Sorrento | Venetian Riviera | Venice

 

Map of Rome

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Best time to visit: April to June and September to October

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Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) is 26km southwest of the city centre

Rome is best for...

Foodies: If you’ve had your fill of gelato (which seems impossible, we know!), try the tiramisu, a combination of cheese, chocolate and coffee. Slow-cooked beef dishes are also extremely popular. That’s when you’re not going crazy for the spaghetti bolognese, of course. 

Art enthusiasts: Aside from all the historical landmarks, Rome has an impressive art scene. You only have to marvel at the frescos lining the interior of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel to see that. And did you know the Galleria Borghese contains one of the largest private art collections in the world? 

Couples: If there’s one thing Italians do right (other than pizza, pasta and gelato), it’s romance. From open-air cinema dates to rooftop drinks gazing out at the Colosseum and a stroll through the Pinco Gardens.

 

Fast facts for Rome

Language: The language spoken in Rome is Italian. But you’ll find English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

Currency: The currency used in Rome is the Euro (€)

Local time: Rome is 1 hour ahead of GMT/UK time

Fly to: Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) is 26km southwest of the city centre

Flight time from the UK: 2 hours 30 minutes

Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at the official website for tourism in Rome

Visa / Health: Before you travel, check the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

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Getting around Rome

By foot: The city centre is easiest to cover on foot. For example, it takes around 20 minutes to walk from the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain. But look out for mopeds and bicycles when crossing the street at busy intersections.

By tourist bus: If you want to see Rome’s biggest allures, try one of the many hop-on/hop-off, open-top tourist buses. Stopping at big-name landmarks such as the Pantheon and Vatican City. 

By bus or metro: These are both reliable and convenient (but crowded) ways to get around the city. A two to three day Roma Pass includes all public transport, entrance fees to two attractions and discounts to many other museums.

By taxi: Taxi stands are at all the piazzas and train stations. Make sure the metre is running. If paying by credit card, inform the driver before starting the journey.

Events in Rome

White Night: On La Notte Bianca, the Eternal City becomes a pedestrian zone and stays open all night hosting street dances, concerts, wine tastings, museum tours and children’s activities. Rome’s ancient monuments are also lit up and open to the public.

Estate Romana: Rome has an extraordinary cultural programme throughout the summer. Over a thousand performances, events and exhibitions are held, including outdoor movie showings, pop-up shops and food stalls along the Tiber River.

Easter Sunday: On Pasqua, the Roman Catholic Pope gives a blessing and an Easter message from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica to everyone gathered in St Peter’s Square.

Rome weather

Temperature: Average highs of 30°C in summer and 13°C in winter

Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, the weather in Rome tends to be warm and sunny most of the year. Summer temperatures sit in the 20s between June and August but don’t be surprised if it reaches the 30s. Spring and autumn months are more comfortable for exploring at averages of 20°C. Whereas winters are relatively mild but see the most rainfall, so have your brolly on standby. 

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