Rome Destination Guide

Filed under Destination Guides, travel

By Ute Junker


Nowhere else comes close to the glory of Rome. In a city that has played a central role in history for almost 2000 years, magnificent relics of the past demand attention at every turn. Round one corner and feel dwarfed by the towering might of the Colosseum; take a different road and find yourself face to face with a mighty baroque cathedral. Medieval houses are built atop ancient foundations; nondescript churches house masterpieces by the world’s greatest artists.

Rome doesn’t just live in the past, of course. It is also a contemporary city where al fresco cafes rub shoulders with cosy wine bars, where aromas of espresso and fresh-from-the-oven pizza drift through sunny piazzas. Best of all, it is a city that never ceases to surprise. No matter how many times you have visited before, a stroll through its tangled streets inevitably ends up taking you on a journey of discovery.

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Papal palaces and buzzing piazzas, skeleton-filled catacombs and concerts performed amid ancient ruins: Rome has so many highlights, the question is where to start. These experiences should be at the top of your to-do list.

Ancient Rome

If you think the Colosseum looks impressive from the outside, wait until you walk in the footsteps of gladiators along the tunnels that lead to the arena. Once you have marvelled at this mighty monument, visit some of the city’s other ancient glories, such as the Forum and the Pantheon.

The Vatican

It may be the world’s smallest country, but you could easily spend several days exploring the wonders of the Vatican. The Vatican Museum alone has kilometres of galleries, including the famous Raphael Rooms and Sistine Chapel. St Peters Basilica is another highlight; just avoid Wednesdays and Saturdays, when crowds flock here for papal appearances.

Square off

One of Rome’s greatest pleasures is exploring its narrow alleys and culs de sac. Open yourself to the unexpected by following a random route between the city’s liveliest piazzas, from the chic Piazza di Spagna to the buzzing Piazza Navona and the bustling Campo de’ Fiori.

Mosey around museums

Heavy hitters such as the Vatican and Capitoline Museums draw the big crowds, but Rome’s less visited institutions are also rich in masterpieces. Works by Caravaggio, Raphael and Holbein are just some of the treasures tucked into less-visited venues including Palazzo Barberini, Palazzo Massimo al Terne and Palazzo Farnese.

Enjoy an enoteca

Rome’s intimate wine bars are a great place to unwind at the end of the day. Order a platter of cheese or salume and ask the staff to recommend a wine from the bottle-laden shelves. From Piemontese nebbiolo to Sicilian nero d’avola, Italy has plenty of underrated varieties to discover.

Go to church

St Peter’s gets all the press, but there are another 900 churches in Rome, many of which contain remarkable treasures. San Luigi dei Francesi near the Piazza Navona, contains no fewer than Caravaggio canvases; at the Basilica San Clemente, you can descend beneath the church to discover the pagan temple and ancient Roman house over which it was built.

Hang in the ‘hood

Had enough of history? Then head to Rome’s most inviting neighbourhoods for a dose of contemporary lifestyle. The central neighbourhood of Monti has a bohemian reputation and is home to small studios where up-and-coming jewellers and designers sell their wares. Grittier but no less appealing is Pigneto, where the buzzy bars and restaurants are virtually tourist-free.   

Catch a concert

Rome has some magnificent concert halls, from the historic Teatro dell’Opera to the contemporary Parco della Musica, but keep an eye out for outside-the-square venues too. Concerts regularly take place in churches including the lovely Sant’Agnese in Agone, or amid ruins: the Roman opera summer season, for instance, is held inside the Baths of Caracalla.

Take an evening stroll

In fact, take two. Early evening is the time for people watching, when locals head out for pre-dinner drinks, but an after-dinner stroll can be just as lovely. Rome’s many fountains are lit up during the night, making for a magical spectacle.

Delve into the catacombs

The wonderfully creepy catacombs, where Romans once buried their dead, are the city’s spookiest attraction; the largest, the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus, has about 19km of galleries. Even more gruesome is the crypt beneath the Capuchin Church of the Immaculate Conception, which houses the bones of over 4,000 monks.


Rome’s best hotels spoil their guests with romantic rooftop bars and chic interiors, grand lobbies and historic exteriors. Whether you prefer to sleep in the shadow of the Spanish Steps or base yourself near the buzzing Piazza Navona, try these lodgings on for size.

La Griffe Roma Mgallery Collection

Many travellers are drawn by La Griffe’s accessible location, near Termini train station and within walking distance of some major sights. Inside, the bold colour scheme is a pleasant surprise, but it is the rooftop deck, with its city panorama, that is the real highlight.

Boscolo Hotel Exedra

If you are hankering for a touch of old-school grandeur, the Boscolo Hotel Exedra fits the bill. This white marble palazzo perched on the Piazza della Repubblica is resolutely old-school, apart from one modern touch: that inviting rooftop swimming pool.

Corso 281 Luxury Suites

Indulge your live-like-a-Roman fantasies at this five-star property on the Via del Corso. This is a collection of suites, rather than a hotel, so beyond an in-room breakfast and the helpful concierge, you’re on your own: but in this inviting city, what more do you need?

Hotel Indigo Rome St George

Rome’s upscale hotels tend to cluster together around the Piazza di Spagna. One welcome exception is the St George, tucked between Piazza Navona and the river. The location is terrific both for sightseeing and for enjoying the best of Rome’s nightlife.

Hotel Bernini Bristol

They don’t think small at the Hotel Bernini Bristol, where the flagship suite comes not just with a Turkish bath, but with its own gym and pool. The rest of the accommodation is also enticing, with some rooms featuring historic frescoes.

Aleph Hotel Rome

Some people are attracted by looks; others are more interested in personality. The stylish Aleph Hotel has both. Its eye-catching décor has a heaven and hell theme, with the public areas and restaurant done up in an infernal red, while the spa features heavenly blue tones.

Sofitel Villa Borghese

Every building in Rome has a story to tell; in the case of Sofitel Villa Borghese, it’s a humdinger. Its breakfast room was once a stables where the painter Caravaggio slept. These days the accommodation is much more luxurious, with marble bathrooms equipped with Hermes toiletries.

Marcella Royal Hotel

Having a good rooftop is a point of pride for any Roman hotel, but few can compete with the floral extravaganza atop the Marcella Royal Hotel which is the property’s biggest attraction. More than the perfect place for breakfast, it is also a splendid place for an evening aperitivo.

Principessa Isabella Hotel

If your Roman fantasies are fuelled by Fellini’s film, La Dolce Vita, you will love the Principessa Isabella’s location hard by the glamorous Via Veneto. The high-end shops, classy cafes and restaurants right outside your door are a serious temptation, as is the lovely Villa Borghese park, a short stroll away.

The Telegraph Suites

Contemporary chic is what Telegraph Suites is all about, and few Roman properties do it better. These sophisticated suites also have excellent soundproofing; although you are in the middle of the action near the Via del Corso, you can still enjoy a sound night’s sleep.


One of the great pleasures of any Roman holiday is the superb food. Whether you opt for a chic bistro or an old-school trattoria, settle in for a long lunch or grab a piping-hot slice of piazza bianca, there is a feast of options to choose from.


Skip the biscotti and the fresh-baked loaves, tempting as they are; the hottest item – literally – at this 200 year old bakery is piazza bianca. This is Rome’s favourite snack food, soft slices of pizza served without toppings, and the best way to eat it is fresh from the oven.  

Primo al Pigneto

Everything about Primo – from its waiters’ stripey tops and its warehouse vibe in the hip Pigneto neighbourhood – is seriously cool. Fortunately, so is the food: think soups of black cabbage and mussels, or bonito teamed with feta, tomatoes and hazelnuts.  

Il Pagliaccio

It is worth forking out for the multi-course tasting menus at this foodies’ favourite near the Campo de’ Fiori to you get a sense for chef Anthony Genovese’s range, from scallops with teriyaki beef to pasta filled with onion, tapioca and redcurrant in saffron broth.

La Pergola

Shh, don’t tell, but the best chef in Rome is actually (gasp!) German. Actually, the secret is well and truly out, given that Heinz Beck has presided over La Pergola, the only Roman eatery with three Michelin stars, for more than two decades. Sign up for six or nine courses and leave room for dessert: they are spectacular.

Glass Hostaria

Chef Cristina Bowerman does things differently, as is clear the moment you step inside her Michelin-starred restaurant. Its industrial aesthetic is miles away from the usual Roman restaurant vibe, as are her inventive dishes, which might team fish tartare with radish and shiso leaf.  

Emilio Volpetti & Co

If you want to buy up big on Italian produce – or just savour the aromas – Volpetti is the place to go. The shelves are laden with everything from aged prosciutto to pear-infused pecorino cheese, as well as sleek Italian kitchenware.

Flavio al Velavevodetto

Behind this trattoria’s glass wall are the ancient Roman pottery shards that lie beneath all the buildings in the Testaccio area: a fascinating glimpse into the past. Need another reason to visit? Their cacio e pepe – the classic Roman pasta with cheese and pepper – makes the trip worthwhile.

Ristorante Giggetto

Much of Rome’s cuisine has been shaped by its Jewish population, which makes a trip to one of its Jewish restaurants a must for foodies. Giggetto dishes up classics including the more-ish carciofi alla giuda, deep-fried artichokes that both looks and taste divine.

Gelateria del Teatro

Rome has no end of excellent gelaterie, but Gelateria del Teatro gets our vote for its ever-surprising seasonal flavours on offer, from lavender and white peach to cheese, fig and almond. Even better, this under-the-radar gem doesn’t suffer from the crowds you see at the more famous names.

Trattoria Lilli

Not every restaurant near the major sights is a tourist trap: witness this family-run favourite. Its position hard by the Piazza Navona – albeit tucked into a cul de sac – makes it a perfect place to refuel after a hard day’s sightseeing. The oxtail stew and osso buco are recommended.


A strong shot of espresso, a bubbling glass of prosecco, a warming glass of nero d’avola: to make the perfect Roman moment even better, just add your favourite beverage.

Antica Enoteca

You haven’t been to Rome until you’ve spent an evening in one of its atmospheric wine bars, nibbling on salume while cradling a glass of rich red wine. Antica Enoteca, still going strong after 250 years, fits the bill with its wooden ceilings and arched doorways.

Canova Tadolini

File this one under Only in Rome: where else can you enjoy a drink in the workshop of a master sculptor? At Canova Tadolini, the drinks are served amid huge statues, a reminder of the days when sculptors including Antonio Canova carved their masterpieces in this atelier.

Il Caffe Sant’eustachio

There is nothing fancy about this small café near the Pantheon, but there is a reason Sant’eustachio sells thousands of coffees a day: they serve some of the best coffee in town. The owners travel to Brazil to source their beans, which they roast themselves.

Club Derriere

Rome loves a speakeasy and Club Derriere, near the Pantheon, is one of the most charming. Enter via a secret door and you will find live music, classy cocktails, and an eclectic décor featuring a suit of armour. The toilets are hidden behind a bookcase.

Freni e Frizioni

A slice of hipster heaven in Trastevere, Freni e Frizioni is housed in an old garage cluttered with vintage furniture. On balmy nights the crowd flows out into the riverside square. Come around 7pm to enjoy the complimentary aperitivo buffet.

La Terrazza, Hotel Raphael

Rome’s rooftops are one of the most seductive things about this city, and Hotel Raphael’s rooftop is one of the best. Overlooking most of the city’s landmarks, from the Pantheon to St Peter’s, this is a great spot to kick back with a martini.

Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa’

You won’t find a better selection of beers than in this intimate Trastevere bar, which imports beers from – amongst others – Germany, Belgium and the UK, as well as showcasing Italian microbrews. The knowledgeable bartenders delight in introducin you to something new.


Located in the Prati district, away from central Rome, Madeleine feels even more far-flung: its gorgeous Belle Epoque interiors are straight out of Paris. Come in the afternoon for a superb afternoon tea, or in the evening for a glass of prosecco or one of the superior cocktails.

Barnum Café

Italian cafes are traditionally drink-and-go venues, which frustrates visitors who want to sink back into a sofa to savour their café latte. Barnum is the solution, with its vintage couches, mood lighting, and tasty snacks to accompany the coffee.

Chiostro del Bramante Caffè

Several cuts above the usual museum café, this atmospheric outlet is tucked away on the first floor of Bramante’s elegant Renaissance cloister. The outdoor tables overlooking the central courtyard are a great place for a refreshing beverage during a busy day sightseeing.


What’s your shopping style? Whether you love up-and-coming designers or traditional leatherworking studios, high-end labels or historic arcades, Rome has you covered.

Leather goods

It doesn’t take long to realise they take their leather seriously in Rome. From high-flying Italian designers to small family-run shops, there are endless outlets to choose from. Try Sermoneta for gloves, or splash out on artisanal bags from Federico Polidori, Sirni Pelletteria or Braccialini.


You will find entranced tourists wandering through the Campo de’ Fiori market most days, but there are plenty of other markets scattered around the city. Foodies should make a beeline for the Testaccio Market, while flea market fans should try the Porta Portese Market on Sundays.

Piazza di Spagna

The prices may be sky-high but to see Italian fashion at its most drop-dead glamorous, the streets around Piazza di Spagna are the place to go, with big names such as Dolce e Gabbana, Gucci and Prada arrayed on the Via Borgognona and Via Condotti.


There is an appealing bohemian feel to the cobblestoned neighbourhood of Monti, which may be why so many young designers set up shop here. Look for gorgeous glassware at Silice, limited-edition fashion at Tina Sondergaard, and striking jewellery at Per Lei.

Galleria Alberto Sordi

Rome’s loveliest shopping arcade, the art deco Galleria Alberto Sordi, is worth a visit even if you’re not in spending mode. Browse Rome’s favourite department store, La Rinascente, and the chic boutiques before treating yourself to your favourite beverage at one of the welcoming cafes.

About Corner Bookshop

It’s not just the ranks upon ranks of books that are so inviting in this English-language bookshop in Trastevere; the shop’s owner, Irishman Dermot O’Connell, is a charming local character who is always ready to recommend a good read.

Via del Governo Vecchio

Some people find Rome’s endless layers of history a trifle overwhelming. The quickest way to send yourself back to the 21st century is a stroll down the funky Via del Governo Vecchio, which has more cool boutiques per square metre than anywhere else in town.


Letter writers and lovers of handmade paper will want to stock up at the elegant Cartoleria Pantheon del 1910 and Il Papiro, two outlets specialising in old-school stationery. From leather journals to traditionally-made paper, the range at both outlets is totally tempting.

Ai Monasteri

This city has been the capital of Christendom for 2000 years, so where else would you expect to find a store like AI Monasteri? This charming shop specialises in goods made by nuns and monks across Italy, from herbal teas and cookies to fragrances.

Via dei Coronari

Take your camera when you stroll down this elegant street: it’s so full of scenic corners, it deserves a tourist brochure of its own. But you may not notice, given the gorgeous shop windows stuffed full of antique furniture, art and other priceless treasures.


The best way to get active in Rome is to take a walk, but if you are looking to elevate your heartrate, there are some options; you may, however, have to travel a bit further afield.

Jog the Villa Borghese

This lovely park offers 60 hectares of green space, with winding paths that lead you past various galleries and a lake. Start your run from the Piazza del Popolo or the Spanish Steps. The experience is just as lovely if you walk rather than run.  

Explore the Appian Way

A journey down the Via Appia Antica – one of the original seven roads leaving to Rome – is a trip back in time, lined with ancient tombs, catacombs and churches. You can walk it or cycle it, but go on a Sunday, when the road is closed to vehicular traffic.

Tee off amid the ruins

Are you easily distracted? Can you keep your eye on the ball even with ruins of a Roman aqueduct in the background? Then go ahead and test yourself at the Circolo del golf di Roma Acquasanta. Otherwise, try the course at the Castelgandolfo Country Club.

Bike the Allumiere Trail

One of the most interesting hike and cycle trails around Rome follows a disused railway line. Cyclists pass ghost train stations, ride through a tunnel and cross a bridge. The trail from Civitiavecchia to Monteromano is around 50km long; if you are hiking, choose the shorter stretch from Allumiere.

Lap it up at EUR

Tucked into the EUR district south of central Rome, the Piscina delle Rose offers more than just an Olympic size pool. With landscaped parklands, a canoeing centre, a restaurant and a wellness centre, this is a place to enjoy a full day out.

Soak in the hot springs at Tivoli

Soaking in mineral springs is known to be therapeutic, but it’s not exactly an active activity. So start your visit to Tivoli, just outside Rome, by exploring the Villa Adriano, a Roman imperial retreat, and the Renaissance Villa d’Este. By the time you are done, you will have earned your soak.  

Ride into history

Riding Ancient Rome caters to riders of all abilities, with an interesting range of tours on horseback. You can combine your ride with a gourmet meal, ride with an archaeologist to gain insights on ancient monuments that you pass, or book a romantic full moon ride.

Paddle along Lake Albano

The Castelli Romani region just outside Rome, with pretty villages nestled amid rolling hills, is a favourite with day-tripping Romans. Lake Albano, set inside an ancient volcanic crater, is one of the loveliest spots, and a great place to go canoeing.

Prepare for battle

Get a firsthand taste of what gladiatorial combat was really like with a lesson at the Roman Gladiator School Rome. Clad in the traditional gladiator’s tunic and armed with a practice sword, learn the techniques that fights used to fend off lions and other warriors.

Discover Villa Doria Pamphili

Whether you are walking or running, Rome’s largest park has plenty to catch your eye, from ornate fountains and garden mazes to an atmospheric grotto and a 17th century palace. A run around the perimeter paths alone will have you clocking up close to 10km.


To discover Rome’s arts scene, look beyond the cultural heavyweights such as the Vatican Museums and the Capitoline Museums. From grand centuries-old theatres to cutting-edge contemporary art spaces, there is a lot to explore.

Auditorium-Parco della Musica

Designed by Richard Rogers, the Parco Della Musica is Rome’s most important venue for musical performances. As well as classical concerts, the three concert halls host jazz gigs, film screenings and lectures.

Beba do Samba

If you are into world music or jazz, head to this compact San Lorenzo venue where beer kegs double as bar stools. The live performances – held almost every night – draw large crowds. Beverage of choice tends is – what else? – a caipirinha.

Casa del Cinema

The setting in the Villa Borghese gardens is old-school Rome, but the program at this arthouse cinema is anything but. Casa del Cinema screens everything from retrospectives to indie flicks in their original language; in summer, films are screened outdoors.

Casa del Jazz

This respected jazz venue has a great back story: it was the private villa of a mafia don before being confiscated by the state. Nowadays the complex contains a restaurant and book and record store as well as the performance space.

Galleria Lorcan O’Neill

If you love browsing through contemporary art galleries, this Trastevere property should be top of your list. The artists on show often include big names such as Tracey Emin and Anselm Kiefer, as well as up-and-coming artists.


Zaha Hadid’s eye-catching design for the Museum of 21st Century Arts (MAXXI) has plenty of admirers, although some complain that the collection inside is far less impressive. However, the museum has mounted some excellent exhibitions and retrospectives, so check what is on show.

Museo dell’Ara Pacis

One of the few contemporary structures in central Rome, the Museo dell’Ara Pacis not only showcases the magnificent 2000 year old Ara Pacis altar, but also doubles as a space for interesting contemporary art and architecture exhibitions.

Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

Blessedly free of the crowds that throng the Vatican and Capitoline Museums, this underrated collection of ancient art contains some real gems.  Top of the list are the astounding bronze statues (the one depicting a battered boxer is particularly moving) and the beautiful frescoes salvaged from ancient Roman villas.

Teatro Argentina

This is a historic landmark in its own right, the venue where operas such as The Barber of Seville were premiered. Its gorgeous interiors are as much a drawcard as its program of plays, dance and musical performances.

Teatro dell’Opera di Roma

Opera fans rave about the acoustics in this theatre; for others, it will be the ornate red and gold interiors that are the highlight. Either way, catching an opera in this historic venue is always a memorable experience.


The Roman festival calendar ramps up during the warm summer months, but there is something happening virtually all year round, from traditional celebrations such as Easter to modern events such as the popular Rome Film Fest.

March/April: Holy Week & Easter

Nowhere does Easter celebrations quite like Rome. Pilgrims flood into the city to take part in a hectic calendar of religious observances, including open-air masses at St Peter’s Square and the Colosseum. The mood shifts on Easter Monday, when Romans traditionally head out for seasonal picnics featuring dishes such as broad beans and cheese.

May: Night of the Museum

With so many marvellous museums in Rome, there is no chance you will get to them all. However, an all-night session helps you tick a few more off your list. That’s what happens every May, when not just museums but also monuments, galleries and archaeological sites throw open their doors until 2am.

June/July/August: Lungo il Tevere

It was the river Tiber that gave birth to Rome, and every summer, the Lungo il Tevere festival celebrates this storied body of water. The stretch between Ponte Sublico and Ponte Sisto becomes lined with stalls and bars, making this a great place to spend an evening.

June/July/August: Gay Village

For three months each summer, Rome’s premier gay celebration, Gay Village, helps paint the town pink. Head here on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights to join the party. With bars and dance floors, and open-air gym live music and theatrical performances, there is always something on.

June/July/August: Caracalla Summer Season

Rome’s most spectacular operatic venue is the ancient Baths of Caracalla, which doubles as an opera house each summer. It is not just opera fans who get to enjoy this magnificent experience; the program also includes performances by pop and rock performers such as Lionel Richie and Neil Young.

June/July/August: Romaeuropa

Perhaps the city’s most cutting-edge festival, Romaeuropa places an emphasis on combining culture and cutting-edge technology. The program usually features a mix of established names and new talents in a broad range of fields, including dance, music, art and theatre.

June/July/August: L’Isola del Cinema

The outdoor cinema has become a summer ritual in cities around the world. Often, the setting is as much of a draw as the films, and that is certainly the case in Rome: its Isola Del Cinema takes place on the Isola Tiberina, the island in the middle of the Tiber river.

June/July/August: Roma Incontra il Mondo

Villa Ada is one of Rome’s loveliest parks, and makes a great setting for this summer music festival. Expect to see acts from as far afield as South America and Africa, along with high-profile performers such as St Vincent. An open-air market adds to the party atmosphere.

October: Sagra dell’Uva, Marino

It’s worth taking the quick trip out of town to catch this grape harvesting festival, usually held in the small town of Marino on the first weekend of October. Some visitors come for the colourful procession, but most come for the wine which literally gushes out of the town’s favourite fountain.

October: Rome Film Fest

Like New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, Rome’s annual celebration of cinema mixes indie cred with high-profile names. The cinematic extravaganza takes place at the Auditorium Parco della Musica and features retrospectives and talks by the likes of Jude Law, Wes Anderson and Frances McDormand.


With more than 2000 years of history filled with popes and emperors, gladiators and geniuses to draw on, it is no surprise that authors and directors alike keep returning to Rome as a setting for their work. These books and films will help you see the Eternal City in a new light.


M, Peter Robb

This lively biography of the artist Caravaggio is considered controversial by some in the art world, but it is never boring. It brings Caravaggio’s world vividly to life, and offers insights into the artist who created some of Rome’s most striking paintings.

Imperium, Robert Harris (2006)

If you shake your head at today’s dirty political deals and shady alliances, you will be amazed at how little has changed in 2000 years. The central figure in Harris’ political thriller, set in the late Roman republic and peopled with real figures, is Cicero, a young lawyer on the make.

Absolute Monarchs, John Julius Norwich (2011).

Acclaimed historian Norwich tackles the history of the papacy. His colourful account covers 265 popes, including Borgias and Medicis, against a backdrop of Visigoths, zealots and inquisitions. You don’t have to be interested in religion to find this a rollicking read.

I, Claudius, Robert Graves (1934)

More than eight decades after it was published, this novel, written as the autobiography of one of the most unlikely emperors, remains a riveting account of the early days of the Roman empire. Assassinations, betrayals and sex scandals keep you turning the pages.

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, Ross King (2003)

The behind-the-scenes story of how one of Rome’s greatest marvels, the Sistine Chapel, was created. It charts conflicts between Michelangelo and the powerful pope who commissioned him, as well as examining the technical challenges confronting the painter.


Gladiator (2000)

Marvel at the glory of ancient Rome in its heyday in this old-school epic, in which Russell Crowe plays the deposed general Maximus, forced to fight as a gladiator.

Roman Holiday (1953)

Take Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck and a Vespa, add in Rome at its most glorious, and you have one of the great romantic comedies of Hollywood’s golden age.

The Bicycle Thieves (1948)

One of the classics of Italian cinema, this moving story of a man and his son searching for a stolen bicycle was shot using non-professional actors.

The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon and co traipse around Italy in this classy thriller, but the tension ratchets up in the scenes filmed in the Eternal City.

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Perhaps Fellini’s most famous film, this depiction of Rome’s decadent nightlife stars a splendidly besuited Marcello Mastroianni and a seductive Anita Ekberg.


The mission: discover the best of Rome in 24 hours. The essential equipment: a good pair of walking shoes. Rome’s historic centre is best navigated on foot, and there’s an added bonus: along the way you will make some random discoveries which may well be among the highlights of your trip.


Breakfast tastes best straight from the oven, which makes Roscioli bakery a great place to start the day. Whether you are tempted by their delicious breads or by the sweet pastries, don’t be afraid to take two: you have a big day ahead of you.  


You would need several days to see all the treasures contained in the Vatican Museums; however, in a few hours you can take in some of the highlights. Once you have ticked off the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms, head for the Museo Pio-Clementino, which contains some of the most stunning statuary in Rome. When you are done with the museums, a stop at St Peter’s Basilica is a must.


Revive yourself with a meal at Il Pagliaccio, a sleek contemporary restaurant that has been awarded two Michelin stars for its clever blending of global ingredients and classic Italian dishes. It’s not a cheap meal, but great value for the quality. Desserts are a highlight, so leave plenty of room.


It is famous as the setting for blood-soaked battles between armed gladiators and wild beasts, and a visit to the Colosseum does not disappoint. Take a guided tour to get access to the underground area where animals were caged and gladiators prepared for their fights.

5.00pm Monti

Bring yourself back to the future with a stroll through Monti, one of Rome’s most appealing neighbourhoods. Streets such as Via del Boschetto and Via della Madonna dei Monti are lined with neighbourhood bars and studios where young designers sell their gear.


Early evening is aperitivo time, and one of the most popular venues is Freni e Frizioni. This Trastevere gem is one of Rome’s hippest bars, so you will need to be early if you want to grab a perch on the vintage furniture.  


Your day is not complete until you have enjoyed the classic Roman trattoria experience. Tucked away near Piazza Navona, Trattoria Lilli specialises in home-style comfort food: the osso bucco is always a favourite.

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