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Rome vacations

Piazzas, pizzas and pieces of history

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Take an epic holiday in the eternal city

Make Rome the centre of your world for a few days. Its reputation as a cultural heavyweight is enhanced by its glittering alter ego as an outstanding holiday destination. It’s the perfect setting for a weekend away, plus if you book your flights and hotel together you’ll save with our great value package holidays to Rome.

Whether you're visiting for pleasure, pilgrimage, weekend trip or Grand Tour, you can make the city your own. On a Rome family holiday, give kids a homework-free history lesson at the Castel D’Angelo. For a romantic holiday, take to the Trastevere neighbourhood. Away from the main piazzas there are little streets with vine-clad trattorias, hole-in the-wall wine bars and restaurants that claim to be the cradle of carbonara, the city’s signature pasta dish. Salivating? No need to wait. For a gelato-meltingly hot holiday, book your flights to Rome with British Airways.

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Best hotels in Rome for all types of traveller

Stay at the Morgana, right in the centre of the city or return to a hotel that looks out over ancient ruins: the charming Kolbe Rome. Stay at the atmospheric Inn At The Roman Forum: it’s not just near the historic sites, it is one. There are also some amazing luxury hotels – like the jaw-dropping Palazzo Naiadi. If you're looking for a boutique establishment with a lovely terrace you'll love DOM Hotel, handpicked by Mr & Mrs Smith.

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Rome holiday FAQs

Make the most of your Rome holiday

Rome is a fantastic place for a weekend break – you can squeeze the top things to do into 48 hours if you’re feeling energetic. Roman architecture, Renaissance sculpture, Italian opera and modern art all thrive in the city.

What are the best things to do in Rome?

1. Step off the Metro at Colosseo and it’s right there in front of you: enormous and almost suspiciously well-preserved – the biggest amphitheatre ever built. The Colosseum has several areas you shouldn’t miss, including the panoramic upper levels of the stands, the arena floor, and the hypogeum (where wild animals were kept before being lifted up to arena level). Many Colosseum tickets include access to the Roman Forum, and you should allow enough time to walk this amazing archaeological park.

2. Once inside The Vatican you shouldn’t miss the formidable art collection: follow signs to the Pinacoteca – a treasure trove of Da Vinci, Raphael and Caravaggio canvases (look out for famous sculptures, too, like one of Laocoon wrestling some fearsome serpents). When you’re ready, get ushered into the Sistine Chapel. In this extraordinary sacred space, let the art do the talking. The guards ensure that everyone keeps to an awed silence as they stare up at Michelangelo’s spectacular painted ceiling – featuring depictions of the nine books of Genesis, including the creation of Adam right in the middle.

3. The famous Trevi Fountain, a Baroque tangle of gods, animals and waterjets, was built when Pope Urban VIII declared that the current fountain that stood in Piazza di Trevi wasn’t dramatic enough. The Trevi Fountain was duly built by the architect Nicola Salvi, who died before it was finished in 1762. The legend goes that if you throw a coin (tossed over your left shoulder with your right hand) and it lands in the fountain, then you will one day return to Rome. The jettisoned change is all scooped up at the end of the day to help the local homeless – so be generous. Book a panoramic tour of Rome by night – ending up at the fountain for an atmospheric dinner.

4. St Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world, but its still nearly dwarfed by the enormous colonnades that flank it and encircle the enormous St Peter’s Square. If you were looking for an audience with the Pope, you would have the best chance here. Many people make special pilgrimages to this spot from all over the world. It’s free to enter the cathedral, though there’s often a queue – and there’s a charge if you want to be adventurous and climb the cramped staircase up into its capacious dome. Don’t miss a chance to poke around the grottos, where many of the past Popes have been buried – it’s said that Saint Peter himself is buried below the High Altar.

5. Behold, the Pantheon, Rome – evidence that Rome’s ancient engineers really might have been a bunch of geniuses. Just walk through the enormous open door of this church (which was once a Roman temple) and look up. You’ll see a gigantic freestanding dome soaring above you. The walls are a massive 6.4 metres thick in places, and an oculus in the roof provides the only source of light. The Pantheon was the largest freestanding dome in the world for 1,000 years – right up until 1496, and never fails to impress; its echoing, cloche-like interior giving a real feeling of space. It’s now a church – meaning its name, of Greek origin and meaning ‘for all the Gods’, is a little less fitting than it used to be.

Which holiday type in Rome is right for me?

Rome’s five star hotels will really put the razzmatazz in your Roman holiday. If you’re after the high life, there’s plenty of choice. Stay at the Gran Melia Rome, an urban resort with an impressive outdoor pool. If you want traditional glamour, the magnificent St. Regis Rome has received a multi-million pound facelift and has very special butler service. Once you’ve seen to your suitcases, head out to the boutiques on Via dei Condotti, followed by cocktails around Tridente. Crank up the romance by staying at the boutique H'All Tailor Suite, where you can raise your glass to your other half at Champagne breakfasts and dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant.

With its winning combination of gelato and gladiators, Rome is a great place for a family holiday. Your little ones will love learning about the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (and some places in the city even offer ‘gladiator lessons’). Dare older kids to descend into Rome’s catacombs, or to place their hand in the ‘Mouth of Truth’ in the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church. Hop-on, hop-off bus tours can help save little legs – and after a day of city adventures everyone can cool off in the pool at Crowne Plaza St Peter’s Hotel.

Where is the best area to stay in Rome?

For hotels in rome city centre, Municipio I, the historic centre of Rome is known as its Centro Storico. Here the monuments are many and the crowds are big. Nearby is the famous Via del Corso which is one of Rome’s main shopping streets and the Spanish Steps, a wide, sweeping staircase where people meet, sit and watch the world go by. Book a room at Hassler Roma and you’ll find yourself staying at the very top of the staircase.

Trastevere will enchant you. This picturesque neighbourhood has a great atmosphere, and its local feel and foodie scene have garnered plenty of fans. Stroll down the narrow labyrinthine streets, where washing is hung to billow between the decrepit and well-loved apartments. Take the opportunity to dine alfresco – it’s the done thing here, and many fantastic establishments serve Roman cuisine well into the night. If you don’t want a long walk back to your hotel, stay at Villa Agrippina Gran Melia, which is a strollable distance from the 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. 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. Stay at the Rome Times Hotel and you’ll be in a good position to explore the area at your leisure.

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 street art and affordable artisanal shops will not disappoint. Stay at NH Collection Roma Palazzo Cinquecento, which is set in a grand building, and handily located at Rome’s main station.

What are the best multi-centre breaks from Rome?

Drive south from Rome and in just two and a half hours you’ll be descending down into the glittering gulf of Naples. Whilst the gritty city is renowned for great pizza, the surrounding area offers even more tempting prospects: brooding Mount Versuvius, the Roman ruins at Pompeii and the cliffs and coves of the startlingly pretty Amalfi Coast. You can also reach Naples in just an hour and a half – by direct train.

Beautiful Florence is a gem of a destination. Once the political rival to Rome, this smaller city is a veritable Tuscan treasure trove. It’s famous for Renaissance masterpieces in the Uffizi and elaborate marble buildings – like its magnificent, candy-striped basilica. Art lovers can combine Rome and Florence for a comprehensive tour of the Italian Renaissance. The cities are connected by a direct train which takes less than an hour and a half, otherwise, hire a car and drive up in just over three.

Swap Italy’s cultural capital for its fashion capital. Thanks to its fashion week and its historic shopping emporiums, Milan is a well-heeled city where the residents known their Fendi from their Gucci. You can travel from Rome to Milan with ease by train or by car. It’s a direct, three-hour train ride, or a six-hour drive north, and its cooler climes and buzzing industry make a pleasing contrast to Rome’s lazy, sunny vibe. The city’s highlights include its amazing cathedral and the bar-lined canals of the relaxed Navigli district.

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