One of the most seductive and alluring cities in the world, Italy’s capital is a heady mix of eerie ruins, breathtaking art, and vivacious street life.
Rome’s cityscape is a breathtaking sight, the product of three thousand years of haphazard urban expansion. While monumental basilicas recount its past as the seat of the Catholic Church, ancient symbols like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon recall the city’s heyday as the caput mundi (capital of the world). St. Peter’s Basilica, which dominates the skyline and towers over the Vatican, is a testament to the ambition of the Renaissance popes of Rome and the brilliance of its ground-breaking architects. A baroque flourish is added to the city’s attractive streets elsewhere by elaborate piazzas and flashy fountains.
Rome’s astounding artistic past is unmatched by many other places. The city has played a major role in major Western art movements throughout history, attracting prominent artists and motivating them to push the bounds of artistic achievement. As a result, the city is overflowing with priceless treasures. World-class museums feature ancient sculptures; churches with a wealth of artwork feature Byzantine mosaics and Renaissance frescoes; and baroque façade line mediaeval piazzas. You will unavoidably stumble across works by the greats of European art as you stroll through the centre, including sculptures by Michelangelo, paintings by Caravaggio, frescoes by Raphael, and fountains by Bernini.
As much as it is about indulging in art and culture, a trip to Rome is also about soaking in the dolce vita way of life. Roman life revolves around lazing around charming streets, spending hours at sidewalk cafes, and people-watching in charming piazzas. The pace picks up in the evening when chic drinkers visit the city’s pubs and cafes for a convivial aperitivo (drink and small bites), and trattorias bustle with activity. In other areas, happy crowds mill around well-known locations before moving on to trendy cocktail bars and late-night clubs.
One of Rome’s greatest joys is dining out, and the combination of beautiful outdoor locations and excellent cuisine ensures a pleasant time. There are numerous elegant restaurants offering modern fine cuisine and wine of the highest calibre, but for a dinner that is really Roman, visit a raucous pizza or a friendly neighbourhood trattoria. Locals travel there to indulge in their love of cheap pasta dishes, thin, crispy pizzas, and cool white wines from the surrounding Castelli Romani hills. What could possibly top a scoop of world-class gelato and a slug of coffee to round out the meal?