With a history spanning over 2,500 years, the Eternal City of Rome has seen empires come and go, the foundation of Christianity to become the world’s most prominent religion, the great cultural, scientific and artistic leap of the Renaissance and the development of Western civilisation. It’s no wonder that the city’s ancient centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site attracting millions of tourists every year. Rome’s appeal is to every visitor interest from history, art, religion, music and culture to gastronomy and romance. Rome’s museums are world-famous, and its bohemian Trastevere district’s cobbled streets are home to the city’s artistic community. The North Central district holds the Spanish Steps and Villa Borghese, and Rome’s liveliest nightlife is found in San Lorenzo around the main train station. Visitor accommodation is found all over the city, with hotels, many set in heritage buildings, found close by all the major attractions. Staying in the downtown districts at hotels such as the Napoleon Hotel puts visitors within easy walking distance of all the major sites of interest and gives a better chance of a truly romantic experience as most of the ultra-modern accommodation choices are found in the suburbs.
The city of Rome’s over two millennia of history is shown in magnificent monuments, towering churches, vast palaces and the astonishing artworks of the Italian Renaissance. A lifetime wouldn’t be long ewough to to explore them all in depth.
- St. Peter's Square and the VaticanThe heart of the city is St Peter’s Square, home to the Vatican, its breathtaking museum, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and the magnificent Basilica of St Peter. The Vatican Museum is one of the world’s great repositories of cultural wonders from ancient antiquity through to the Italian Renaissance and the splendour of St Peter’s is a breathtaking experience.
- Spanish StepsThe Spanish Steps are Rome’s favourite meeting place, leading from the Piazza di Spagna up to the 15th century Bourbon church representing the Holy See. The square holds the Barcaccia fountain, and the opulent Villa Medici and its glorious gardens are a few steps away.
- The Colosso DistrictThe Colosseo district is ancient Rome, with the Roman Colosseum, the Forum, the Arch of Constantine, the Palatine Hill with its Roman villas and two lovely squares, the Piazza del Campidoglio and the Piazza Venezia.
- TrastevereSet on the Tiber’s west bank, the bohemian district of Trastevere south of the Vatican boasts narrow, cobbled alleyways and tiny squares immortalised in the works of Roman artists. It’s still the centre of artistic life in the city, with lively little bars and eateries welcoming strangers as well as locals.
Eating and drinking and shopping nearby
Romans love to eat, and eating like a Roman by ordering traditional local dishes ensures a magical gourmet experience. Favourites include carciofi alla Romana (artichokes) and trippa alla Romana (tripe), and restaurants at all levels are found all over the city. For fine, Michelin-starred dining or international cuisine, hotels in famous Via Veneto such as the Jumeirah Grand Hotel Via Veneto or the Hotel Raphaël-Relais and Châteaux close to the Spanish Steps are the places to head for, and for a romantic dinner, the charming restaurants overlooking the River Tiber can’t be beaten. Rome is a world fashion centre celebrating up-and-coming young designers as well as the best-known names in the fashion world. Piazza di Spagna is the hub, and funkier boutiques are set around Via del Governo Vecchio. Market shopping in Trastevere’s Porta Portese and Campo de' Fiori is great for clothes, shoes, olive oil and other Roman gastronomic treats.
Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport is the main arrivals hub, with direct flights from most major European cities and from major Australian cities with a choice of carriers. Express trains run from the complex to the city’s Termini Station in just 30 minutes, and local trains, buses and taxis also operate. For local transport in the city, taxis are the most convenient but also the most expensive, with the Metro system a good alternative. Buses and trams are other options, and set fares are the same on all public transport.