Take a trip to Rome, and you will see why it's called the "Eternal City". Rome is a popular destination for any history buff. And, there are historical sites all over the city, so you will never be far from the days of Ancient Rome.
1. For a true look at history, head to Vatican City. The area is just as imposing today as it was hundreds of years ago. With all of its amazing treasures, Vatican City offers an amazing experience, even if you're not Catholic.
2. If you want to take part in one of Rome's famous superstitions, take a walk over to the Trevi Fountain, a giant fountain that is popular among locals and tourists alike. Legend has it that if you stand with your back to the fountain and throw coins into it, you will return to Rome one day.
3. Included on most lists of the world's most important ancient architectural treasures, the Pantheon has been standing strong for nearly 2000 years. Enter the structure's massive doors and allow your gaze to drift upward, just as the ancient Romans did.
4. Take an afternoon to wander through the galleries at Museo e Galleria Borghese, named after Cardinal Scipione Borghese, one of the most merciless art collectors of his time. His ruthlessness resulted in the acquisition of one of the most impressive collections in the world. You'll find treasures from the baroque and Renaissance periods, as well as some beautiful examples of neoclassical architecture. Tours must be pre-booked, so be sure to plan ahead.
5. At the end of your day, there is no better place to head than the Spanish Steps. Calling it a giant staircase doesn't really do it justice. Instead, it's more of a social scene in the middle of town where people gather to hang out with friends, listen to music, drink beer, or just people-watch. Whether you're looking for a laid-back night with your friends of a romantic evening with your sweetie, the Spanish Steps offer the perfect backdrop.
Rome is known for its intense music scene, including a number of prestigious conservatories and performance venues. The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, founded in 1585, has inspired the construction of several impressive theatres and concert halls like those found in the Parco della Musica, one of the world's largest performance theatres.
Obviously, Rome's archaeological significance cannot be overlooked, and the city remains one of the world's foremost archaeological research centres. Several cultural and research institutes call the city home, including the American Academy in Rome and the Swedish Institute. Some of the city's most famous ancient sites are the Forum Romanum, Trajan's Market, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon, just to name a few.
Art lovers flock to Rome to see the vast collection of art, sculpture, architecture, mosaics, frescos, paintings and fountains, from nearly every major artistic period. Today's Roman artists continue the capital's proud tradition of painting, sculpture, beautiful metalwork, pottery and glass.
For contemporary art, head to the National Gallery of Modern Art or Maxxi National Museum of XXIst Century Art and Architecture.
Rome is still a major international fashion capital, and several important fashion houses and designers are based there. Bulgari, Fendi, Brioni, and Laura Biagiotti have their headquarters in the city; Chanel, Prada, Armani, Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana have luxury boutiques along the upscale Via dei Condotti.
Villa Borghese: Originally built in the 17th century as a private garden for Pope Paul V's nephew, this lovely green space is the most frequently visited park in the city. Villa Borghese is set atop Pincian Hill, above Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps. Enjoy the city views, stroll along the winding paths, explore the Piazza di Siena amphitheatre, visit the zoo, or spend the afternoon floating in a rowboat on the lake.
Parco Savello: Known to the locals as Giardino degli Aranci - Orange Garden - this picturesque park was once an orange grove. Tucked away on Aventine Hill, the manicured lawns are gorgeous and are littered with fallen oranges at harvest time. The romantic Parco Savello is a popular spot for picnics and it offers romantic views of the Tiber River and the cityscape.
Villa Pamphilj: This is Rome's biggest park and offers a perfect playground for sports lovers. Runners love it here, as do sunbathers and casual footballers. The moss-covered fountains and gardens of the Casino del Bel Respiro are lovely, and there's usually an impromptu concert going on somewhere in the park.
Be sure to save your energy for Rome's famous nightlife. Whether you prefer to sip cocktails by a baroque fountain or club-hop with the student set, you won't have a hard time finding after-hours entertainment.
For many, the best way to experience Rome's nightlife is to simply wander the streets, hopping from bar to bar, restaurant to restaurant. You'll mingle with locals and tourists, and you'll perhaps discover one of the city's many hidden gems down an ancient cobblestoned side street or alleyway.
Like other major cities, Rome is divided into precincts, each with a unique character and vibe. For young club-goers, Campo de'Fiori and parts of Trastevere have become increasingly popular. Mostly, though, Romans go out only to see and be seen - you aren't likely to find the kind of cutting edge scene you'd expect in London or Berlin. Most clubs have strict dress codes and if you aren't dressed to impress you won't get in. There's usually no cover charge, but drinks can be expensive.
There is a surprisingly vibrant underground scene in Rome with the left wing centri sociali (occupied social centres). These organised squats are delightfully grungy art centres where you can usually find good live music and a more relaxed atmosphere.
For drinks, the city offers a wide variety of wine bars and pubs. You'll find everything from cheap spit-and-sawdust places to upscale bars catering for the jet set. The wine bars are for the most part very sophisticated, offering great vintages from Italy and beyond, as well as light snacks like cheeses and cold cuts. Most of the pubs are based on the British or Irish tradition and will feel very familiar.
You would be very unlucky indeed if you found a bad place to eat in Rome. The restaurants in general are very good and half the fun of a Roman holiday is sampling these and trying all the local delicacies. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of restaurants, bistros, cafes, trattorias, and hole-in-the-wall eateries, perhaps a little guidance is in order.
Sfizio Pizza is a clean, affordable bistro located at Via Giovannia Giolitti and Via Gioberti. They serve delicious pizza, pasta specials, and a great English breakfast.
Dino & Tony's is another popular spot for locals and adventurous tourists. There's very little English spoken here, and they don't have a menu, but the food is well worth the trouble.
Surprisingly, some of the best Roman food you'll find in the Eternal City comes from the eateries in the Jewish quarter. Piperno and Il Pompiere are two favourites, while Giggetto and Il Giardino are great places to dine al fresco. Even the cheap eats are authentically Roman and are not to be missed.
As one of the largest and most visited cities in Europe, you're spoilt for choice when looking for great hotels in Rome. If you're looking for a historic area to stay in, there are a variety of elegant and cheap Rome hotels within walking distance of the Coliseum. And, as an added benefit, there are lots of Rome hotels near the Trevi Fountain, which can make for a beautiful and peaceful sight right outside your window!