You won”t find any sense of unfamiliarity about Rome. No matter where you go, each sight just leaps from pages of your history book to stand in front of you.
But Rome is more than just a jungle of tourist attractions.
The city is an amazing mixture of civilisations that can only be achieved if it has been simmering in a pot for centuries.
There is just too much to pack in unless you plan to stick around for couple of weeks. The gigantic Pantheon, the enigmatic Coliseum, the Audrey Hepburn kissed Trevi fountain and Spanish Steps, and of course, the famed Fountain of Four Rivers (which lays tribute to the Ganges also!). If short on time, hire a private guide to make the sights come alive for you. The lovely thing about Rome is that all the sights are literally in a straight line so you can actually take a night tour of the sights since everything is beautifully lit up.
The Vatican is again a metro ride away. A day trip from Rome, the majestic St. Peter’s Basilica and the famous Sistine chapel rest here. Make sure you have time to see the enormous Vatican museum which ranges from marble sculptures to Mummies from Egypt. In all this hurry to see as many highlights as possible, keep some time to lounge in one of the many parks in Rome. Beautifully landscaped with flowering trees and quacking ducks, live it up by popping open a bottle of wine and just being Roman for the day.
From cozy family run trattorias and pizzerias, to fancier restaurants, the city has it all. Roman cuisine is based on simple vegetables rather than expensive cuts of meat. This is why vegetarians never go hungry unlike in some other European countries. So famous is the Italian cuisine that it is difficult to meet anyone who is not familiar with at least a dish or two. The thrill of trying your favourite pasta in the land where it was created is something simply fantastic!
Definitely try the Bruschetta and the Spaghetti Carbonara with a bottle of chilled Frascati wine. A favourite is the Pizza alla Romana, a simple white pizza brushed only with olive oil and flavoured with rosemary. A must try dessert is the Crostata di Ricotta, made from fresh ricotta. But a beloved pastime is to dip your almond flavoured Ciambelle al vino into a thick syrupy dessert wine to end a perfect meal.
Rome was meant for shopping and it is pretty serious business here. But, it is an expensive city so finding the perfect bargain is difficult. From Hermes scarves to Ferrari memorabilia, the city is a Mecca for brand hunters with flagship stores sprinkled all over town. A real find are the antique shops and other quirky second hands. Concentrated around the Porta Portese Flea market in the Trastevere district, any collectors, professional or amateur, will be lost for hours trying to find that ideal unique steal!
Now, a must buy is of course Italian leather shoes which is world renowned. Typical souvenirs cover Murano glasswork (expensive in Rome), magnets, T-shirts, models of various statues such as David and postcards but also art work hawked by vendors on almost every street corner are major tourist attraction. A definite buy!
And if you have time, visit the food markets. Filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs of every conceivable colour, shape and size, this is also a deep part of Roman history. In the bygone age of villas and servants, Romans perceived expensive food at banquets as a sign of lavish living.
From a hotel like Hotel Sole al Pantheon which began operations in the Fifteenth century to tucked away apartments capturing the magic of Roman living, Rome has it all. If you are looking for the ultimate emperor stay, look no further. Rome boasts of a list of some of the most luxurious hotels in the world which can begin at the St. Regis Grand Hotel. The restored opulence will definitely back few hundred but you live again in a golden age of excellent service and get the opportunity of breathing culture slowly moving through time.
If the St. Regis Grand Hotel is not your style, there are thousands of other hotels, guest houses and even houses to choose from. Another gem is the Casa Vacanze Rotundo. Centrally located from all sights, this apartment is just the thing for living just like the Romans do. Equipped like your own home, the apartment is great for those hunting for that honest Roman experience. Just like in the eras gone, Rome never lets an explorer go unsatisfied!
So pack in a good pair of walking shoes because that’s what Rome ordered for the traveller in you! And finally, when you”re done with everything on offer, you can walk away proudly declaring Veni, Vidi, Vici!