Known as the Eternal City, Rome, the enigmatic capital of Italy, bears the hallmarks of its place at the heart of the ancient Roman Empire. One of the preeminent UNESCO-designated heritage sites, Rome is blessed with outstanding architecture, amazing Italian cuisine and some of the best museums on the planet. Whether you have always wanted to visit the Vatican enclave within Rome’s walls, or are just craving some classic homemade pasta, live “La Dolce Vita,” and check out what Rome has to offer.
Rome's history officially began close to 3,000 years ago, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that some of the Roman capital's most incredible landmarks and attractions are truly ancient. The Arch of Constantine was erected in the fourth century, and parts of the Roman Forum are over 2,000 years old. The Mercati di Traiano is so old that it actually helps prevent the famous Quirinal Hill from eroding away or collapsing. Also worth seeing in person is the Colosseum, officially known as the Flavian Amphitheatre and still capable of holding more than 50,000 people at a time.
As home to the Catholic Church, Rome boasts an incredible collection of cathedrals that number well over 900. None can compare, however, to the Papal state, Vatican City. Start with St. Peter's Basilica, and be sure to get a glimpse of the remarkable Sistine Chapel within, which was painted by Michelangelo himself. Other attractions within Vatican City include the Vatican Museums, the Castel Sant'Angelo that was built in 139 AD, and the colorful Renaissance-era clothing worn by the Swiss Guard.
Rome has long been considered a treasure trove of art, with its dozens of spectacular museums confirming its status as the European capital of culture. Art lovers will appreciate the magnificent collection in the Galleria Borghese, the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, which is better known as simply the MAXXI, and the National Gallery of Modern Art that houses works by Cézanne, Van Gogh and even Jackson Pollock. History buffs might gravitate toward the Museo della Civiltà Romana, home to a fascinating miniature replica of Imperial Rome.
The historic center of Rome is where you'll find the majority of Rome hotels. For a touch of bohemian lifestyle, the Trastevere neighborhood is ideal. Visitors on a budget can stay at hotels in the Nomentano area, near the Termini train station. This is also a great place for college-aged visitors and those looking to check out Rome's nightlife. If you're looking for Rome hotels located among the popular attractions, check out the districts of Old Rome, the Modern Center or Colosseo.
One of the easiest ways to get to Rome is to fly into one of the city's two international airports. The larger Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO) is 30 minutes away from the city center by train or bus, but the smaller G.B. Pastine Airport (CIA), used often by budget airlines, is about 45 minutes away by rail. Public transportation is available everywhere in Rome, including taxis, the metro, trams and buses. You can also walk along the pedestrian-friendly streets. Most lodging options are within minutes of a tram stop, metro station or train station, which makes getting around a breeze.
Rome's Mediterranean climate means that there is no wrong time to visit. Even during the winter, temperatures rarely ever dip to freezing. Spring and fall are cool, comfortable and often ideal for outdoor sightseeing. Summers bring crowds, so despite the sunny climate it might be best to choose another time of year if you want to enjoy shorter lines at attractions and the best rates on flights and Rome hotels.