The capital of Italy, Rome makes an ideal holiday destination as it offers a perfect blend of culture, cuisine and contemporary entertainment. It’s a feast for the eyes, with every corner offering beauty and, quite often, an ancient story to accompany it.
When to visit
Most Romans escape the heat of the city for a beach break during the summer months, but this is also the time when the capital becomes overrun with tourists. For a peaceful visit with agreeable weather, try to plan your trip between the months of January and March. After this time, the run-up to the Easter holiday period brings a flood of visitors, especially to the Vatican.
May and October are also great months to visit as it’s not too busy but you can still expect very pleasant weather.
Where to stay
Rome has beautiful mix of older buildings and newer boutique hotels. We recommend the five-star Hotel Hassler, next to the Spanish Steps, and the Jumeirah Grand Hotel Via Veneto, located right in the city centre.
What to see
The phrase ‘so little time, so much to do’ rings true in Rome, which offers endless attractions. Places that you simply must visit include the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps; the Pantheon, Colosseum and Forum are all must-see ancient sites.
There are also hundreds of beautiful churches around the city you can visit, including the most famous of all, St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, a tiny independent state in its own right. St Peter’s is a spectacular sight that everyone can appreciate, and if you visit on Sunday you may even see the Pope himself leading mass.
Where to dine
For the ultimate in fine dining, book a table at Glass Hostaria on Vicolo del Cinque and La Rosetta on Via della Rosetta.
For those with a sweet tooth, the city is blessed with a huge choice of gelaterie (gelato shops). Our favourites include Gelateria Fatamorgana on Via Lago di Lesina and San Crispino, which has branches across the city – the perfect places to stop for an after-dinner treat.
Where to shop
Rome’s main shopping streets can be found around Piazza di Spagna. Key streets you should visit include Via dei Condotti, Via Frattina and Via Borgognona, where you can find the flagship stores of all the biggest Italian brands, including Bulgari, Prada, Tod’s, Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci, to name but a few.
Stores on the main shopping streets tend to open between the hours of 9am and 7.30pm from Monday to Saturday, but they may close for lunch between 1pm and 3.30pm.
The city is also home to many squares where you can pick up handmade trinkets from local artists; the most popular by far is Piazza Navona, located a short walk away from the Pantheon.
Top tips to remember
Avoid the Spanish Steps on a Saturday – the teenagers of Rome like to spend their weekends catching up and they congregate en masse at the famous monument.
Wear comfortable shoes – the best and easiest way to explore the city is on foot, so be sure to bring footwear you know you can walk long distances in.
Visit the Vatican museums on the last Sunday of the month, when entry is free. Try to get there as close to the opening time as you can, however, to avoid the long queues.