Rome

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”…in fact it enjoys standing as one of the oldest cities in Europe, boasting more than two and a half thousand years of history.

Constructed in 80AD the mighty Colosseum has seen everything from epic battles between gladiators and lions, to ceremonies performed by the Pope. Catholic sovereign, Vatican City is home to 1700-year-old St Peter’s Basilica and the 500-year-old Sistine Chapel – the latter of which boasts one of history’s greatest masterpieces, Michelangelo's The Last Judgment. Since its creation in 1732, an estimated 3,000 Euros have been thrown into the famous Trevi Fountain every day.

A momentous city with culture, heritage, life and activity at every corner – be it a couple sharing their morning coffee, a priest crossing the square, or a woman hurrying her children off to school – Rome is a magnificent must-visit destination.

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Time Zone GMT +2
Currency Euro (EUR €)
Population Approx. 3 million
Area 1,285.3 km2
Electricity 230v 50Hz
Languages Italian
Dining

Rome’s food culture is reason enough in itself to visit the city. Italians care passionately about what they eat, and serve traditional Roma dishes with pride.

Classics dishes – like fiora di zucca, spaghetti alla carbonara and crostata di ricotta – will win your heart and palate. Try a thin-crusted, wood fired, pizza alla Romana, brushed with olive oil and flavoured with fresh rosemary, and you will never order thick crust again.

The morning market in the lively square of Campo de Fiori is an inexpensive way to source an authentic Italian breakfast. The market stalls are packed away by early afternoon, and wine can be enjoyed standing in the square or at one of the many cafes that surround it.

A feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds, Castroni is a great lunch locale. Its largest store in Rome can be found close to the Vatican, and serves gourmet pastas, pasatas and pecorino, and coffee and cake at a standup bar.

A melting pot for artists and young families, the working-class quarter of Trastevere is a dinner hotspot. Located across the river from Campo de Fiori, the enclave features narrow cobblestone streets abuzz with bars and restaurants and large weekend crowds.

Shopping

Italy is the fashion epicentre of the world, and while Milan ranks as its numero uno shopping city, Rome comes in a close second.

The Piazza Spagna is Rome’s most famous shopping district – home to Italian designer flagship stores, aspirational window-displays and plenty of opportunity to max out your credit card. If budget dictates, give Piazza Spagna a wide berth in favour of the Castel Romano Designer Outlet. Located near Fiumicino Airport, just outside the city, the outlet sees more than the 90 stores sell high-end brands at heavily discounted prices.

Rome’s main flea market, The Porta Portese Market is tucked away in the back of the Trastevere quarter. Selling mostly pre-loved goods, the market is open on Sundays from 6:30am. For collectables such as antique books, magazines and prints, Mercato delle Stampe in Largo della Fontanella di Borghese is a go-to – open every morning except Sunday.

Just north of the Vatican, Via Cola di Rienzo is a popular weekend shopping spot boasting countless high street boutique and department store, Coin – an everything-under-one-roof shopping experience.

Shops in Rome are usually open from 9am to 1pm and 3:30pm to 7:30pm, except for Sundays and Monday mornings, when many close or operate at reduced hours. A lot of small businesses shut during the second half of August for summer holidays.