Rome, known as the Eternal city, is one of the world’s greatest art and historical centres with monuments, museums and churches from different epochs spread all over the city. Situated at the centre of the Italian Peninsula on the Tyrrenean coast, with the Tiber River running through it, Rome is the Capital of Italy and, with the Vatican City within its boundaries, the focal point of the Roman Catholic Church.
There are many ancient churches that were built on the sites of martyr’s tombs such as St. Peter’s in the Vatican City, San Giovanni in Laterano, San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura and San Paolo Fuori le Mura. Classical monuments such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Roman Forum are the reminder of its great ancient past. The Renaissance produced not only outstanding buildings such as St. Peter’s Basilica but also the paintings and sculptures of artists like Michelangelo and Raphael, and tourists from all over the world come every year to admire their unique works of art. Walking in Rome is amazing with the monuments that seem familiar from the pictures seen in books and films appearing suddenly in front of your nose. Trevi’s Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo are all famous spots that can get very crowded. The ideal time to visit Rome is in spring and autumn, when the weather is pleasant and the sites are not crowded.
The Italian Film Industry is centred in Rome. Many important Italian movies were filmed in the famous Cinecitta’ studios, which are open to visitors and make an interesting change to all that history and art.
It is impossible to visit Rome in a hurry, you’ll need to take your time and plan ahead, some people say a lifetime is not enough to get to know this fantastic city, however with careful planning you can see all the sites that interest you.
Events in Rome every year
Celebration of spring with a colourful flower show from Piazza di Spagna on the steps up to the Church of Trinita dei Monti.
International Horse Show
Taking place at the end of April in Piazza di Siena this event features Italian and international riders. The closing ceremony is a historical tournament with Carabinieri on horseback.
Woman Under the Stars
Fashion show in Piazza di Spagna
Antique furniture Week
The antique show sponsored by Rome Tourist Board takes place in Via dei Coronari.
New roses exhibition end competition taking place at the rose garden of Valle Murgia. Opening date depends on seasonal blooms.
Italian Open of Tennis Master Series
Clay court tennis tournament.
June – July
San Giovanni Festival
Celebrations in honour of San Giovanni with meals of snails in tomato sauce, suckling pig, a fair, and fireworks display. The event is held on Piazza di Porta San Giovanni.
Arts and crafts, food and wine, music and fireworks along the Tiber.
July – August
Opera, concerts, drama and films in parks, at the Caracalla Baths, by the Tiber and in Ostia Antica.
Our Lady of Snow Festival
This festival, held in early August, is the re-enactment of the legendary 4th century snowfall with showers of white flower petals.
Harvest festival held in early September with grapes selling at bargain prices. The event also features many forms of folkloristic entertainment.
National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art
Via delle Belle Arti 131
Opening hours: Tuesday to saturday 9-19; Sunday 9-20
Piazza Capo di Ferro 13 (Palazzo Spada)
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9-19; Sunday 9-13
Piazza del Campidoglio
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9-19
The Vatican Museums and Galleries
Opening hours: 8-16.45 (summer); 8-13 (winter); Saturday 8.45-13.45; Sunday closed
Palazzo Colonna, Via della Pilotta 17
Opening hours: everyday 10-13.30
Piazza Scipione Borghese
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9-22; Sunday and holidays 9-20
Museo del Risorgimento
Altare della Patria, Via San Pietro in Carcere
Opening hours: 9.30-13.30
Castel Sant’Angelo Museum
Lungotevere Castello 50
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9-21; Sunday and holidays 9-20
Roman Civilizations Museum
Piazza G. Agnelli
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9-19; Sunday and holidays 9-13
Via della Lungara 230
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9-13
Food and drink
Traditional flavours in the cuisine from Lazio come from the land, the famous “abbacchio”, suckling baby lamb and artichokes cooked in many different ways, roman lettuce as well as chestnuts, hazelnuts and olives.
Roman cuisine is deeply influenced by the surrounding regions. Recipes such as “bucatini all’amatriciana” from Amatrice in Abruzzo, pasta with a bacon based tomato sauce, penne all’arrabbiata, spaghetti alla puttanesca and spaghetti carbonara from Umbria are some of the most popular first courses in Rome. Second courses are a mix of fish and meat dishes, famous the “saltimbocca alla romana”, slow cooked veal escalopes rolled and filled with ham, pancetta and sage, tripe, beans with pork rind and the “abbacchio”, baby lamb served with artichokes.
Famous for the cheese, this region produces the good pecorino romano and ricotta romana.
Sights you cannot miss
Rome is probably the richest city in the world in terms of architecture, historical heritage and monuments. The Coliseum is one of if seats was famously used for gladiator battles between men and beasts as a form of entertainment for the aristocracy and the emperor. Rome is famous for its beautiful fountains, the most famous of all is certainly the Trevi Fountain, which is highly symbolic and is appreciated not only for the never stopping water flow and the Baroque architecture, but also for the legend according to which anybody who throws a coin into the fountain will return to Rome.
Saint Peter Basilica in the Vatican, delimited by 284 columns set in 4 rows and a central aisle of 218 metres is truly impressive. Its dome, designed by Michelangelo, is the largest in the world.
The Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s masterpiece ceiling must not be missed. The Pantheon is the best preserved Roman ancient building that was initially built like a Roman Temple and then consecrated as a Catholic Church at later date. It has a hemispheric dome with the opening at the top being the only source of light.
Rome has some of the most beautiful squares in the world, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo and Piazza del Campidoglio, which, designed by Michelangelo, was once a sacred place while today is the see of the Town Hall. Piazza di Spagna (The Spanish Steps) is one of the most enchanting examples of Baroque architecture. The steps built in the 18th century by Francesco de Sanctis consist of twelve flights of different width leading up to the church of Trinita’ dei Monti dating back to 1503.
Other interesting places are the Caracalla Baths, some of the better preserved ancient thermal baths, and Castel Sant’Angelo that was originally built by the emperor Adriano and is particularly famous for the long tunnel that links it with the Vatican. The tunnel was built in 1277 as an escape route for the Pope in case of danger. The dungeons, which are still open to visitors, were terrible for their size and accessibility.
From the Airport
Leonardo da Vinci Airport (Fiumicino), Rome’s main airport, is located 26 km southwest of the City. The best way to get to the city is by taking the shuttle train to Roma Termini that runs every 30 minutes; the journey last roughly half hour and costs 9.50 Euros. There is also a train to the stations of Trastevere, Ostiense and Tiburtina proceeding north towards Magliano Sabina.
At night there is a bus linking the airport with the Tiburtina station.
By Taxi the cost is what is on the metre plus an additional airport supplement of 7.23 Euros and 1.03 Euros per each luggage. The total cost should be around 40/50 Euros.
Ciampino Airport, the airport where the majority of charters fly to, is about 20 km southeast of the city. There is a bus linking Ciampino Airport with Rome near the Line A of the Underground and another direct bus to Termini Railway Station. A taxi from Ciampino to Rome should cost around 30/40 Euros.
Rome’s main railway stations are Termini Station and Tiburtina Station. Both of them are linked to the Underground system and to a bus network covering all directions from outside the stations.
Coaches to other Italian cities and abroad leave from the square outside Tiburtina Station. Tickets can be purchased from various shops on the square.
Moving around Rome
In Rome there are two underground lines, A and B, which cross over at Termini Station. The service runs from 5.30am to 23.30 and to half past midnight on Saturdays.
There are over 200 bus routes in Rome. Orange and blue public buses that run from 5.30am to midnight. The green buses, called the Express Line, cover long routes. There is also a Night Bus service from midnight to 5.30 as well as a bus service for the disabled.