09:00 - Culture vulture
Make sure you buy a Rome Card and Omnia Vatican Card before you fly. Valid for three days, it gives you free access to your choice of two out of six top Rome attractions, along with free bus tour, guidebook, travel card and a host of discounts. Included is free entry to the Vatican Museums (a must), home to the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms. Described as ‘the largest, richest, most compelling and perhaps most exhausting museum complex in the world’, it is worth devoting a whole morning to. And don’t forget the dress code – knees and shoulders must be covered.
13:30 - Refuel like a Roman
When in Rome, eat where the Romans eat. Try Dal Toscano on Via Germanico for giant Tuscan T-bone steaks and chunky homemade spaghetti. About €12 to €15 for mains.
14.30 - Roman delights
The world's largest church and the centre of the Roman Catholic faith, St Peter’s Basilica is also one for art connoisseurs who will appreciate the handiwork of the great creatives of the Roman Renaissance and Baroque period. Make sure you climb up to the awe-inspiring dome, designed by Michelangelo.
16:30 - A historic stroll
Head for the Centro Storico (historic centre), where you can shop till you drop at the same time as gawping at yet more ancient sights. Stop by the Pantheon, Rome’s best-preserved ancient monument, and admire the ornate fountains of the Piazza Navona, before mooching around the boutiques on Via del Governo Vecchio.
18:30 - Candle-lit dinner
Lunch is often a bigger affair than dinner – Italians thoroughly embrace an apertivo and tend to only order one or two dishes for dinner. Casa Coppelle, on Piazza delle Coppelle near the Pantheon, serves a variety of pastas, with a focus on meat dishes, in an intimate setting – think exposed brick walls and mood lighting.
20:30 - Night crawler
Take a stroll across the Tiber river to the district of Trastevere to soak up the heady nightlife and after dinner cocktails. Freni e Frizioni at Via del Politeama and Meccanismo at Piazza Trilussa are both crowd pleasers. Although, the ancient, winding streets will always lead you to the bustling Piazza Santa Maria eventually.