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Rome, the Eternal City, is often considered to be the world’s greatest open-air museum, boasting hundreds of historic sights around every corner and in every square. There’s so much to see and do that you’d need a month to take it all in, but a week or less is enough to give you a taste of Italy’s incredible capital (if you've just got a weekend, our 48 hours in Rome guide will help you experience the best bits).
With more than 3,000 years of life, the city has long been one of the world’s leading centres of culture, and today reveals an array of diverse attractions. There are master artworks like the Sistine Chapel, numerous wine-fuelled feasts to partake in, and a raft of iconic sights, including the world’s largest amphitheatre – the Colosseum. Best of all, the majority of Rome’s attractions are within walking distance of each other, so you’ll be able to soak up the Roman way of life as you walk to the Pantheon or the Trevi Fountain. Maybe you’ll discover a hidden church with beautiful frescoes or a secret trattorie serving excellent wine from the Lazio hills. That’s when the phrase ‘when in Rome’ really comes in handy...
No visit to Rome would be complete without taking in some of the city's most iconic landmarks. Explore the Colosseum, Pantheon, Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica to name just a few. Marvel at the Roman Forum, one of Rome's most important attractions, with its collection of marble fragments, triumphal arches and temple ruins. Act out your Roman Holiday fantasies on the beautiful Spanish Steps, or simply enjoy the vibrant atmosphere surrounding this iconic area. The steps were constructed in 1725, connecting the Chiesa della Trinità dei Monti with the piazza below. Climb the 138 steps for views of the city's bustling streets and the piazza below.
After exploring Rome's historic sites, sit back and watch the world go by with a coffee or aperitivo in one of the city's bustling squares. Rome's piazzas boast impressive baroque architecture and usually contain a renowned statue and fountain, each with a story to tell. Piazza Navona is the city's most celebrated square and is home to street performers, artists and not one, but three fountains. Rome's most famous fountain is the Trevi Fountain, and tradition will have you believe that throwing a coin into its waters will ensure your return to the ancient city.
The majority of international flights arrive into Rome Fiumicino airport (FCO), which is approximately 45 minutes from the centre of Rome. Direct flights to Fiumicino are available from Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey, Leeds, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle and take approximately 2 hours 30 minutes.
Direct flights to Rome Ciampino airport (CIA), which is approximately 30 minutes from the centre of Rome, depart from London Stansted, Edinburgh, Manchester, East Midlands and Glasgow and take approximately 2 hours 30 minutes.
It's possible to visit Rome throughout the year. In July and August, the city can be crowded and the weather can get hot, but you can often find some good hotel offers during this time. Spring and autumn are popular months for visitors, with warm weather making it pleasant to wander through the city and stop for a gelato in a piazza. But winter also has its charms, with warmer weather than the UK and lower prices.
When it comes to mealtimes, Rome doesn't disappoint. Choose from high-end restaurants and family-run cafes where you'll experience real Italian cuisine. Roman food is simple, but portions are generous and the dishes are rich in flavour. Dining out can last for hours, with locals ordering at least two courses, plenty of wine and stretching the evening out further with animated conversation. Expect to find plenty of fresh vegetables, meat and delicious appetisers on menus throughout the city. Of course, a visit to Italy wouldn't be complete without trying the vast array of pasta and pizzas on offer. Don't leave Rome without trying pizza bianca (white pizza), which is a focaccia-style pizza and can be found in bakeries across the city.
Few cities in the world are steeped in myth and history quite like Rome – there’s around 2,500 years to account for, after all. Considered one of the birthplaces of Western civilisation, Rome was the capital of the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. The city was one of the centres of the Renaissance from around the 14th century, seeing both Baroque and Neoclassicism flourish. Much of this period gave Rome the breathtaking sights and art that bring millions of visitors every year, from Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio to the Trevi Fountain. Finally, in the 20th century, it settled as capital of the Italian Republic and earned its place on the UNESCO list as a World Heritage Site.
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