Artistic grandeur, cutting-edge Italian fashion and its position as gateway to the holy Vatican City has cemented Rome as the ultimate city break destination. Amongst the multitude of inspiring works of art and towering examples of human ingenuity Rome has still retained a style and alluring quality entirely its own. Whether sampling the indescribable delights of the cities many Michelin-starred restaurants, taking advantage of the exciting fashion boutiques or simply basking in the ancient charisma of Italy’s finest architecture, Rome will always have more to offer.
Rome has a hotel portfolio as copious as you’ll find anywhere, providing everything from top-tier luxury to budget digs. With the city offering so many set-piece sights, location is always a big selling point, which makes boutique finds like St Peter Guest House (Via Ottaviano 98) – sitting a short walk from the Vatican – and the impressively hip iRooms Forum & Colosseum (Via Baccina 45) highly notable options. For a far larger high-end hotel, the 116-room Jumeirah Grand Hotel Via Veneto (Via Vittorio Veneto 155) has a great rooftop terrace, as does Relais & Chateaux Hotel Raphael (Largo Febo 2).
Rome isn’t necessarily the cheapest of shopping destinations, but if you’re in search of high-quality designer goods you’ll find much to choose from. The streets around Piazza di Spagna – most notably Via Condotti – are full of fashion houses and designer boutiques. Elsewhere, Via Cola di Rienzo in the Prati district is another of the city’s prime retail streets – its Castroni store (Via Cola di Rienzo 196) is a great outlet to pick up Italian specialty foods. For market shopping, meanwhile, the Porta Portese flea market takes place each Sunday, with antiques, books, jewellery and plenty of other goods on sale.
Italian food is rightly lauded as one of the planet’s great cuisines, and if you know where to head in Rome, you’ll be treated to some genuinely world-class meals. There are some highly praised gourmet restaurants – the three-Michelin-star La Pergola (Via Alberto Cadlolo 101) being a prime example – but some of the richest rewards are to be found in lower-key, family-run trattorias. Excellent options include La Tavernaccia da Bruno (Via Panfilo Castaldi 12) and La Nuova Cantinetta (Via Basilio Brollo 7). For those with a sweet tooth, the city has some superb gelaterie (ice-cream parlours).
Standing as one of the world’s most popular marathons, Rome’s annual race takes runners past the city’s plethora of big-name sights. It begins and ends on Via dei Fori Imperiali, and for those lacking the will for the full marathon distance there’s also a 5km run.
Natale di Roma
Translating as the ‘birth of Rome’, this citywide party takes place each 21 April (the date of its founding in 753BC), with street parades, firework displays, live bands, historical re-enactments and other events. If you’re in Rome, you’ll certainly know about it.
Roma Incontra il Mondo
This music festival is as notable for its stunning setting – the stage is situated beside a lake in Villa Ada park – as it is for its often stellar line-up, drawing established world music artists to Rome from across the globe.
Held for the first time in 2002, this 10-week extravaganza features everything from dance nights and cinema festivals to literature events and drag queen performances. It takes place each summer at the Esposizione Universale Roma (almost always referred to as EUR).
An acclaimed gathering of contemporary dancers, entertainers and musicians, this performing arts festival is one of the city’s most inventive annual events, drawing a good mix of local and international acts. Various venues are used.