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History is around every corner of Rome. From the Pantheon and the piazzas to Vatican City’s Sistine Chapel, the ‘Eternal City’ is one of the world’s most historically significant destinations. In Italy’s capital, you’ll discover cultural remnants of the Roman Empire, awe-inspiring Renaissance art, numerous historic landmarks as well as the culinary delights of la dolce vita - the sweet life.
Best time to visit: April-June and September-October
Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) is 26km southwest of the city centre
A city break in Rome offers countless things to see and do, buy or eat. Some of the world’s most influential art is here – both inside museums and outside in the public squares and parks. Walk among ancient ruins of the Roman Empire or drop a coin in the Trevi Fountain. Buy Italian leather goods in the market and order fresh gnocchi at dinner.
One of the most iconic images in the world is the Colosseum. When you’re in Rome, no visit would be complete without a trip to the world’s largest amphitheatre. Built in the first century, it could hold up to 80,000 people and hosted events like chariot racing and gladiator games. In more recent times, it’s been a venue for concerts and theatrical performances. One of the main hubs of Italian history is the Roman Forum. It’s been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world and is home to shrines, temples and political buildings throughout the ages.
Although the Metro is useful for getting from A to B, the best way to see Rome is definitely on foot. Take a stroll around the city to marvel at the ancient architecture and famous landmarks. Rome is a sprawling city, but it’s easy to see all the sights if you know how. Start at the Roman Forum, before exploring the Colosseum and the Pantheon. This will then give you the perfect opportunity to stop for lunch and enjoy some authentic pasta or traditional gelato. Finally, visit the Vatican and St. Peter’s Bascilia for a view of the Sistine Chapel.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, which in this case is sampling delicious, authentic food. There are hundreds of tasty restaurants in Rome, but there are some places you should make a special effort to visit. Head to Testaccio, a neighbourhood known for its delicious cuisine and rich history surrounding food. Its ancient port took deliveries of olives, grains and wine to the city, which are still firm favourites on Italy’s menu. Make sure you try some traditional thin-crust pizza by the slice, plenty of delicious pasta and leave room for gelato.
A city break in Rome isn’t complete without visiting this centre of the Catholic world. Vatican City is an area of Rome rich in romance, religion, culture and history. Home to the Pope, Vatican City has the world’s largest church and hundreds of ancient works of art. Climb up the 323 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome. Once you’ve reached the highest point, you can enjoy staggering 360 degree views across the city. For art lovers, you’ll want to visit the Sistine Chapel which is home to the world famous Creation of Adam mural by Michelangelo.
There are plenty of places to go to after sundown in Rome. The cobbled streets are full of colourful characters, all looking for a night out in the Italian capital. Head to an Irish bar, which are surprisingly popular with Italian locals. Ostiense is the place to be, packed with bars, clubs of every genre and discos. Rome is a beautiful place to be, especially in the summer, where festival events become more frequent and draw in the crowds. If you fancy something more relaxed, go for pre-dinner drinks at one of the wine bar near Campo de' Fiori.
Foodies: If you’ve had your fill of gelato, try tiramisu – a combination of cheese, chocolate and coffee.
Art enthusiasts: Marvel at the frescos lining the interior of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.
Couples: Walk through the piazzas and along the Tiber River as the sun sets.
Language: The language spoken in Rome is Italian
Currency: The currency used in Rome is the Euro (€)
Local time: Rome is 1 hour ahead of GMT/UK time
Fly: Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) is 26km southwest of the city centre
Flight time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Tourist information: Further Rome tourist information can be found at www.turismoroma.it
Visa & Health: Before your holiday to Rome, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy for recommendations and advice on visas and health.
Temperature: Average highs of 29 (°C) in summer and 13 (°C) in winter
Best time to visit: April-June and September-October
Rome’s Mediterranean heat is especially balmy in July and August. The spring and autumn months are more comfortable.
By foot: The city centre is easiest to cover on foot. Look out for mopeds and bicycles when crossing the street at busy intersections.
By tourist bus: When not walking between attractions, try one of the many hop-on/hop-off, open-top tourist buses.
By bus or metro: Buses are a reliable (but crowded) way to get round the city. A 2-3 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 meter is running. If paying by credit card, inform the driver before starting the journey.
White Night: On La Notte Bianca, the Eternal City becomes a pedestrian zone and stays open all night, offering street dances, concerts, wine tastings, museum tours and children’s activities. Rome’s ancient monuments are lit and open to the public.
Estate Romana (Roman summer): If you can bear the heat, Rome has an extraordinary cultural programme throughout the summer. Over a thousand performances, events and exhibitions are held, including an open-air cinema and pop-up shops and food stalls on the Tiber riverbank.
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.
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