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La dolce vita

The Italian capital has had many different lives, making it one of the most varied cities in the world. At once historic, beautiful, artistic and modern – where ancient architecture and contemporary chic prevail, side by side.

Rome has weathered change – embraced it – and adapted itself to a new form. Now a fashionable city, Rome sits securely in the modern world, with a sophisticated, swaggering populace who have perfected the Italian art of idleness as a way of life. Up and coming areas dominate the bar scene, much like any capital city. Visit San Lorenzo or Monti to make the most of central Rome, you should expect plenty of well-heeled students and creatives drinking craft beer and cocktails. Yet Rome is a wonderfully ancient city, and when walking its streets you cannot help but stumble across history. From the spectacular architecture of the ancient Empire to the magnificence of Vatican City – the Catholic Church’s bastion of faith – this timeless city will bring you back again and again.

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Find out more about Rome’s neighbourhoods

Discover where to stay and what to do on your Roman holiday.

Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.

Stay in the heart of Rome, amongst the hustle and bustle of two of the city’s most popular attractions – the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, which are unmissable. Don’t forget to throw a coin in the fountain to ensure your return to Rome. This busy area will not disappoint, with its upscale shopping along Via del Corso and luxury accommodation that enjoys an exclusive address on the famous Via Vittorio Veneto – like the impressive Westin Excelsior. Explore by foot and stumble across hidden treasures like the Piazza Colonna with its towering column, and don’t miss the boutiques and trattorias nestled within the tightly packed lanes.

Termini and Repubblica.

Famed for its location rather than its beauty, Rome’s main transport hub Termini acts as a gateway into the city. The station provide easy access to some of Rome’s biggest draws, such as the stunning National Museum and Baths of Diocletian, just around the corner. Follow Via Cavour to the historic ruins of the Roman Forum and Colosseum, or take a stroll down Via Nazionale and Repubblica to peruse the shops as you head into the centre. The area also offers some unbeatable budget options, with the Palladium Palace just minutes away from the station.

Colosseum and Roman Forum.

The two wonders of Ancient Rome can be found together – alongside the Temples of Caesar and Julia – the Roman Forum and the mighty Colosseum are spectacular. Guaranteed to be busy, it is worth getting tickets in advance – and it is recommended to buy an audio guide to get the most of out of the rich history of this area. Alternatively, visit the Circus Maximus, where chariot races took place at breakneck speed. This is a beautiful green district, and is a great way to get some shade in the summer months, whilst seeing some of Rome’s best-loved attractions.

Prati and Vatican City.

On the west bank of the River Tiber, you’ll discover a slower pace than the Centro Storico, with broad boulevards and a charming atmosphere. In the Prati district there are some fantastic trattoria and bars, especially along Via Tacito. But the real draw is the world’s smallest sovereign state, Vatican City, the seat of the Catholic Church. See Michelangelo’s ceiling masterpiece at the Sistine Chapel, climb the dome of St Peter’s Basilica for the best views in Rome. It is well worth pre-booking your visit, as the queues are hours-long. Don’t miss the stunning Castel Angelo and the beautiful bridge when travelling back into central Rome.

Sant’Angelo.

Home to the infamous Castel Sant’Angelo, which has been a mausoleum, a papal refuge and a prison, respectively. It now houses a museum with military exhibits, medieval firearms and paintings. Sant’Angelo was also home to the Jewish people of Rome, who in the past lived in forced-isolation in the walled ghetto. This segregation created a sense of community, whose village atmosphere is still seen on feast days. You will find some superb kosher cuisine in Sant’Angelo, like Jewish fried artichokes, delicious seafood and even kosher pizza. Take a tour of the area to find out more about its tragic but ultimately hopeful history.

Trastevere.

The laidback lifestyle of Trastevere will enchant you with its foodie scene and local feel. A picturesque neighbourhood with a great atmosphere, you’ll find the beautiful Piazza Santa Maria here, with its 12th century church and ornamental fountain – a sight to see after dark. Take a stroll down the narrow labyrinthine streets, where washing is hung to billow between the decrepit and well-loved apartments. Alfresco dining is the thing to do in Trastevere – with many fantastic establishments serving Roman cuisine well into the night. Check out the wonderful Grand Hotel Gianicolo for stylish boutique accomodation in the area.

Monti.

Formerly the red-light district, Monti is a fashionable neighbourhood in the heart of Rome’s historic centre strangely unaffected by tourists. Sit and drink perfect cappuccinos at a café on the many piazzas, perfecting the art of dolce far niente (doing sweet nothing) watching life go by. Monti is also the perfect place for your evening aperitivo. Vintage shopping and hipster bars have popped up all over the vicinity, making clear that this is the Roman equivalent to Shoreditch or Brooklyn. You can also get a decent curry on Via dei Serpenti, which is home to many different worldwide cuisines, a rarity in Rome.

San Lorenzo.

Hidden away behind the Termini train station and next to the university, San Lorenzo is a hip place to be. One of the most bohemian and alternative districts in Rome, there are cool bars and cheap trattorias with students discussing everything from local politics to ancient literature. San Lorenzo is the perfect place to go to escape the grandeur and history of the centre, the graffiti art and quaint, affordable artisanal shops will not disappoint. That said, the Basilica Papale di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura is in the area, and considered as one of the largest and most beautiful in Rome.

Testaccio.

A working class district with a local, yet welcoming, flair Testaccio is often overlooked by tourists. This makes it a great place to visit if you are looking for an offbeat, or more Roman holiday. Check out the famous Testaccio food market, where local farmers hawk their wares – try buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, suppli (rice balls) and amazing gelato. You will find superb local osterie, places serving simple, rustic food and wine, with patrons chatting well into the night. And the neighbourhood is renowned as the place to go after dark, you will find fashionable party goers club hopping until the small hours.

When's best to visit?

Prepare for the weather before your Rome holiday

Average seasonal temperatures°C/°F
  • 11°Jan
  • 13°Feb
  • 15°Mar
  • 19°Apr
  • 23°May
  • 28°Jun
  • 30°Jul
  • 30°Aug
  • 26°Sep
  • 22°Oct
  • 16°Nov
  • 13°Dec
Average monthly rainfall (mm)
  • 71
  • 62
  • 57
  • 51
  • 46
  • 37
  • 15
  • 21
  • 63
  • 99
  • 129
  • 93
Average daily sunshine (hours)
  • 4
  • 4
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4

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