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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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