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Rome City Holidays

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Top 5 things to see and do in the Eternal City

1. Explore Classical Rome

Be transported back in time to the days of ‘Gladiator’ when you visit Rome’s epic monuments. Go to the Colosseum and imagine what it was like standing in the arena and hearing the roar of the crowd. Or follow in Julius Caesar’s footsteps when you stroll around the magnificent marble Pantheon and Roman Forum.

2. Hang out in a piazza

Soak up the atmosphere as you sip an espresso in one of the city’s squares. Hang out in Piazza Navona and you’ll be entertained by street performers while you admire the ornate buildings and fountains. The Piazza di Spagna has the Spanish Steps at the top – the perfect place for a Roman photo op. And you can get a fantastic view of the city from Piazza Garibaldi.

3. Stroll around fountains and villas

The ornate, swirling Trevi Fountain is one of the city’s iconic sights. Its Neptune and frolicking horses are best seen lit up at night – and it’s likely to be less crowded the later you go. Throwing a coin into the fountain means you’re sure to return to Rome one day. Great escapes from the bustle of the city are the gardens of the Villa Borghese and Villa Torlonia.

4. Visit the Vatican City

The smallest state in the world is in the heart of Rome and packed with must-sees. St Peter’s Basilica and St Peter’s Square, where the Pope holds his audiences, is here. So is Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel with its fabulous frescos. You can enjoy some peace and quiet in the cool greenery of the Vatican gardens.

5. Eat gelato

What’s the difference between ice cream and gelato? Basically, gelato is made with less cream than ice cream. And lots of people think it’s much nicer. Rome is full of places selling the delicious dessert, so make sure you eat enough to judge for yourself. Gelateria Valentino and Gelateria II Dolce Sorriso are among the top picks.

Insider Tip

1) To get a feel for the real Rome, head south of the river to the maze of medieval streets in Trastevere. Bars, artists’ workshops and restaurants abound in this less touristy area and it’s perfect for a relaxed meal or quiet evening drink.

2) Take a break from the bustle of the city in Rome’s beautiful parks. The Villa Borghese is the best of the bunch, with its gorgeous fountains, monuments and even a Renaissance art gallery. Book ahead to be sure of entry as only 360 visitors are allowed to enter every two hours. The upside is that the masterworks have the space they deserve!

3) Enjoy an ice cream under the bright Roman sunshine. The city’s gelaterias are world-renowned for the inventiveness of their flavours, such as sage & raspberry, balsamic vinegar and even wasabi! Look out for genuine gelato - it will be a natural colour (real fruit is not neon!). The Fatamorgana gelateria in Travestere is one of our top picks.

4) Rome is famous for its archaeological sites, yet some of the best-preserved structures actually lie just outside the city at the ancient port of Ostia Antica. It’s a great idea for a day trip.

5) When he's in town, the Pope holds a Sunday Mass at 12pm in the Vatican. The spectacle has become a major tourist attraction.

6) It's a great idea to pre-book tickets to almost every attraction you can. It means you can jump the queues without wasting any precious time on your city break.

Food and drink

The quieter, less travelled streets of the Trastevere district offer you the opportunity to try Roman delicacies such as bruschetta and spaghetti carbonara in atmospheric surroundings. You’ll also find fine dining restaurants clustered around the Via Nazionale and Via Veneto, serving delights like the crisp white wines of Lazio and artichokes soaked in fragrant olive oil. It’s well worth visiting Monteverde Vecchio to eat like the locals too.


A classy shopping destination, Rome’s most upmarket area for fashion is the Piazza Spagna at the foot of the Spanish Steps, lined with Italian designer boutiques including Gucci, Versace and Prada. Via del Corso is also a central street featuring international brands in the historic centre of Rome. Alternatively, Campo de Fiore is the city’s oldest market, offering an array of fresh produce and souvenirs.


Walk in the footsteps of emperors, in awe of the huge milk-white columns of the Roman Forum, culminating in the captivating sight of the Colosseum. Then make your way to the spiritual setting of the Vatican City to admire the Renaissance delights of St. Peter’s Basilica and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The naturally artistic beauty of Rome continues at the rearing white stone horses of the Trevi Fountain.

Getting around

Rome’s Metropolitana system is especially well developed, and travels around all of the main attractions spread across the large city. It’s well worth considering a Roma Pass too, as this includes free admission to attractions along with access to public transport. You can also hop on the city’s electric buses, which have six different tramlines and take you through the narrow streets in the historic centre.

If you're in town...

…in July, head to Villa Ada Park for a magical night of midsummer music under the stars at Roma Incontra il Mondo. The stage overlooks an illuminated lake and the programme includes an eclectic mix of world music, showcasing everything from jazz to punk and soul to ska. Before the show, stroll round the pop-up shops in the park and browse an interesting array of food, clothing and crafts.

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Rome City

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At A Glance

  • Language

  • Currency

  • Time difference

    +1 hour
  • Travel

    11 euro for a 3-day public transport tourist ticket (approx £8.70)
  • Beer

    5 euro (approx £4.00)
  • 3-course meal

    30 to 60 euro (approx £23.50 to £47.00)
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