Epic architecture, classic art and sunny piazzas set the scene in Italy’s revered capital.
Rome is home to more than 2.8 million residents, many of whom will happily tell you about the city’s best pizzeria or their favorite soccer team. The only time the pace here slows is in the early afternoon, when some locals still take the time for a post-lunch nap.
Rome, city of seven hills, is divided into neighborhoods often named for the key attractions in each area. It’s split by the Tiber River and linked by cobbled streets and boulevards. Grab a map while exploring, especially if you’re visiting some of the older districts where addresses and streets can be confusing. Walking is the best way to get around the narrow, windy roads at many of the historical sites. Buses are the most practical option for public transportation.
Losing your way, however, is part of Rome’s charm. You may wind up at a hidden treasure like an underground bakery with cornetti fresh from the oven, or an archeological dig taking place in the center of a busy street.
No visit to Rome is complete without experiencing its architectural and artistic landmarks. There are Renaissance wonders like the Palazzo Senatorio and the Sistine Chapel within Vatican City. Baroque masterpieces, including magnificent St. Peter's Basilica, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain are also must-see destinations. Step back further in time and stroll through the history of the Roman Empire at the Roman Forum, which ends at the awe-inspiring Colosseum. In between outings, sit back and enjoy a coffee in one of the old town squares like the Piazza Navona.
Along with opera and other music, soccer and architecture, Romans adore food and wine, and you can easily eat your way around the capital. All over Rome there is Italian cuisine and "vino" aplenty. Spaghetti carbonara is a classic dish, however true Roman cuisine is much more than pasta. It’s simple, delicious food based on what’s available that season.
Once you’ve ticked off the essential landmarks each day, make like the locals do. Find a spot with your gelato and watch the late afternoon skies turn pink as you embrace the Roman ideal of "il dolce far niente," or "the sweet doing nothing."