Image by Rome-based illustrator Marta Pantaleo

The Insider Guide to Rome

Whether you’re a romantic at heart and have seen Roman Holiday one too many times, or are drawn to the ruins of Ancient Rome, the Eternal City offers an exhilarating mix of culture, history, art and charisma that can awe any traveller. Need we mention the food?

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Ciao Roma! The Main Attractions

Your visit to the Italian capital should begin at its most remarkable monument, the Colosseum – put yourself in a gladiator’s sandals and feel the heat and dust as the crowd roars. Before you realise it’s only the clamour of the tourist crowds, make your escape – but remain immersed in the ancient Roman cityscape as you head west towards the Roman Forum. Take your time walking around the ruins and imagine the remarkable structures that once stood here. To complete the checklist of historic sights, grab a well-earned gelato and keep strolling west towards the Pantheon, a former Roman temple and now a Catholic church. The cool, dark interior offers a respite from the heat, while a steady stream of light pours in through the oculus in the centre of the ceiling – it’s open to the elements so best avoided on a rainy day. Diving deeper into Rome’s artistic heritage – think Byzantine mosaics, Renaissance frescoes and baroque facades – head due west across the Tiber to the Vatican City, where you can explore the Vatican Museums, home to masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael as well as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. If you’ve already fallen in love with the city and its vibrancy, save your pennies and head towards the Trevi Fountain. Legend has it if you throw a coin in, you’ll return to Rome, two will guarantee you return and fall in love and three, well you’ll return, fall in love and get married – what a bargain! After a long day of sightseeing, stop for a rest at the Spanish Steps and take in the atmosphere at the Piazza di Spagna. Now that you’ve seen all the main attractions, it’s time to live la dolce vita and explore Rome with a little help from our insider guides. Carve out some time to idle away in Rome’s most bohemian neighbourhood, Trastevere, visit the Keats-Shelley House to understand why the British Romantic poets were so spellbound by Rome and admire the lush gardens of Villa Borghese. People-watch from a streetside cafe, grab an aperitivo or head to a local trattoria as you plan your next move.

Neighborhoods in Rome