Rome is surprisingly compact when it comes to visiting the key points of interest. It is well worth grabbing a map and planning your own route to take in the sights. The capital city is a busting metropolis and, whilst there is a good tram system, it is worth taking in all the sights and sounds above ground. Piazzas, fountains, small hidden galleries are plentiful and it’s a pleasure to stumble across them. This together with the café culture and the street artists makes exploring so pleasurable. Of course, if walking is not an option for you, then there is a fabulous hop-on, hop-off bus that takes in all the sights and runs well in to the evening.
Rome is so beautiful but the pace of life is manic. With mopeds, trams and tourists galore, it’s nice have a little fresh air during your holiday. The outskirts of Rome are home to many public gardens and parks such as Villa Doria Pamphili Garden or Villa Borghese Park which is in the heart of Rome. Both can easily be reached by tram or bus. The grounds of impressive villas, often incorporating lakes, well-tended trees and even statues and tombs.
Rome is home to a multitude of festivals throughout the year. From classical to modern music, food and drink, film and gardening, there are always something of interest. Opera is also extremely popular in Rome with the Opera House being a stunning theatre to enjoy this spectacle. Dating back to 1880, the theatre attracts the best artists in their field and saw The Three Tenors; Pavarotti, Carreras and Domingo perform a legendary concert in 1990.
The Colosseum of Rome is the most visited landmark in Italy. Dating back to 80AD, this 50,000 seater arena is one of ancient Rome’s best preserved monuments. The oval shaped amphitheatre was built using the man power of thousands of slaves and is roughly the height of a 12 storey building. The Colosseum was home to many gladiatorial battles in ancient time with wild animals and gladiators vying for victory in the stadium. In ancient times there was no entrance fee to watch the battles, the emperors used this as a way of gaining popularity. Visitors would flock in through all 80 entrances and the cheers would have been heard for miles around. Much of the Colosseum has been destroyed over time, by both natural disasters and human mishaps but it remains prominent and a true journey back in time.
Rome’s ancient temple and an iconic building that is now a Christian church. The Pantheon has a perfect spherical shape and an impressive domed roof which is the largest of its kind in the world. At 43 metres wide and 43 metres high it is most dominating. The dome allows in natural light with the circular opening at its centre, the oculus, a feat of planning and engineering in modern day architecture, let alone in ancient Roman times. It is free to visit the Pantheon and, whilst it is ever popular with visitors, you are welcome to take your time. Audio tours or guided tours can be arranged if you’d like further information during your visit.
Another must visit place in Rome, the Trevi fountain is Rome’s largest fountain sitting at a remarkable 25 metres high. The statue of Oceanus is at the centre of the fountain with two horses which represent the extreme moods of the sea. The fountain has undergone much restoration in recent years, the latest of which added lighting to the fountain for it to be fully illuminated and enjoyed at night time. It is somewhat traditional to throw coins in to the water and make a wish. Coins are supposed to be thrown in using the right hand over the left shoulder. Up to 3,000 Euros are thought to be thrown in to the fountain every day. This is collected and used for local charitable purposes.
Rome is a melting pot of fine food, dessert and wines but Italy’s capital knows how to do a mean pasta. The art of this is simplicity and the best ingredients. The variations of pasta are seemingly endless with all shapes, sizes and colours. One of Rome’s favourites must be the Rigatoni carbonara; pasta with egg, cured pork, local Pecorino cheese and a generous twist of black pepper. Simple flavours yet divine when enjoyed in a traditional, family run trattoria, of which Rome is brimming with choice. Gelato is also firmly featured in the city with so many flavours and concoctions on offer. This ice cream is silky smooth and flavoursome and it’s easy to see why this is enjoyed by locals on even the coolest of days.
A holiday to Rome is best taken in spring when the weather is mild to warm and rainfall isn’t abundant, making it the perfect time to sightsee on foot. In summer, there is hardly any rainfall and temperatures can reach up to 30 degree.
If you are a British citizen, you don’t need a visa to enter Italy but you must have a valid passport. For the latest information on European travel regulations, visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy.
The currency in Rome is the Euro (EUR).
The main language spoken in Rome is Italian.