Got some time to get away? Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck and book a holiday to Rome with lastminute.com.au. You’ll be cruising around on a motor bike and climbing the Spanish Steps faster than you can say “Ciao, bella”. Explore ancient ruins, immerse yourself in world-class art and throw your low-carb diet to the birds in a cosy piazza cafe.
Located about 30km east of Italy’s central coast, it’s surrounded by natural reserves and kissed by cool breezes off the Tyrrhenian Sea—as if this town needs any more help being picturesque. The Italian capital is kind of a big deal, so you won’t waste any time finding accommodation in Rome. If Florence and Venice sound good too, book hotels in Italy’s top cities and tour Europe’s “boot” (a fine, hand-crafted leather boot, of course).
Things to Do in Rome
When you’ve got your suitcase stashed in one of the gorgeous hotels in Rome, it’s time to party like it’s 70 C.E. Just outside of Termini Station you’ll find Vatican City, home to the Pope and the Vatican Gardens. Visit the Sistine Chapel, where no one ever seems to notice the intricate tile floor. Just kidding. Look up!
Italians have a word for practically everything, including the tradition of a leisurely evening stroll: passeggiata. Make yours count with a climb to the top of Palatine Hill for sunset views over the whole city. See if you can find Lupercal Cave, where legend has it Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf who raised them and where Romulus returned to build the city. Yeah, it’s just the birthplace of the Roman Empire. No big deal.
When you’re ready to ditch the crowds for wine bars and chatting with locals, continue your walk over to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, on the west bank of the Tiber River. Hit the trattorias for some of the best food in Rome (though of course in Rome, that’s always arguable!). Specialties like carbonara—egg, cheese and bacon sauce—and amatriciana (pork, cheese and tomato sauce) over spaghetti are plentiful here, as is the lemon liqueur limoncello. We can’t prove it’ll help you digest all that food, but that’s what Italians believe, so that’s a good enough excuse for us.
Getting To & Around Rome
Book flights to Rome with lastminute.com.au and touch down at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO), located about 30km west of the city centre. You can catch a direct rail service toward downtown or take a taxi to drop off your stuff.
Once you’re free of everything but comfy shoes and your bum bag, you can mostly use your own two feet to get around, and the subway and buses have you covered if you get tired. There are night buses, but taxis are a better option for travelling late or going long distances.
You know those fairy tales with the knight in shining armour? Well, Rome has a night that shines brighter than any of those guys. The Notte Bianca (White Night) Festival takes place in early September and proves once and for all that no one goes harder than the Romans. For 24 hours straight, the museums, galleries and landmarks offer free admission, live music fills the streets and light shows fill the skies. Rome hotels near Piazza di Spagna are a good bet for being in the middle of it all.
Not so much into, you know, planning things? You’ll fit right in here, and we’ve got the festival for you. The RomaEuropa festivals runs throughout October and November, scattering music, art, theatre and dance throughout the city. Check out performances at famous landmarks like Auditorium Parco della Musica and Teatro Palladium and get some of your sightseeing done, too!
The Romans may not worship Bacchus, god of wine, any longer, but they still throw a damn good party. The current go-to neighbourhood is Testaccio, whose off-the-beaten-path location makes it that much better for those who just want to get down as the Romans do (that’s the saying, right?). Follow the crowds around Via di Monte Testaccio and Via Galvani, and you’re sure to get into some trouble…ahem, we mean, fun.
Another great place to party with the locals is Campo de Fiori, which is filled with busy market stalls by day and shenanigans by night. This famous square proves that in Rome, “the city is the party”. Pour one out at the statue of Giordano Bruno, now considered a champion of free speech, but formerly burned at the stake for heresy (what gives, Rome?). Stumble back to your Rome accommodation singing “bevilo tutto” (“drink it all!”) and you’ll be living like a local, indeed.
It may not have been built in a day, but if one day in Rome is all you have, you can at least check off the major sights in that amount of time. Follow the Latin saying "festina lente" and "make haste slowly". Get up bright and early and take in the morning with an espresso at a sidewalk cafe, in true Italian style. Queue up for the Vatican Museums before they open at 9 am (as long as it isn’t Sunday, when they are closed).
Of course, the highlight is the Sistine Chapel, but if you’re down for some weirder finds after you take in Michelangelo’s master work, there’s plenty more to see here. How about a statue of the Nile River personified, and covered in 16 babies? A fragmented torso that is considered a must-see? 120 metres of Italian maps? It’s all here.
Head over to St. Peter’s Basilica and take some snaps before heading out of Vatican City. It’s time to see the big stuff. Yes, there’s a lot to cover, but no worries, as long as you’ve got a Skip-the-Line Tour in the books. The ancient Romans practically invented the phrase “go big or go home”, as proven by the massive Colosseum, which was sometimes filled with water for naval re-enactments. You know, just because.
There’s one other Latin saying everyone knows: carpe diem. So, let’s do this. Score stellar deals on places to stay in Rome with lastminute.com.au and take off on a holiday that even the god Apollo would envy.
From the Coliseum to the Pantheon, the Sistine Chapel and Palatine Hill, Rome is home to some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks. While the impulse to rush from sight to sight is understandable, don’t sell yourself—or the city—short. Some of your best discoveries in Rome will be those you happen upon by accident; ducking into an ancient church on a side street housing a masterpiece of sacred art, stumbling upon an expansive piazza in the early morning light, and sampling the best pizza that you’ve ever tasted in your life.
Rome is the Eternal City, so approach it as if you have all the time in the world to explore. There's no need to cram everything into one visit as you'll soon fall under the city's spell, and return again and again.
'La Dolce Vita'
If you're searching for the good life, all roads lead to Rome. The city is a dizzying combination of cosmopolitan capital and ancient wonderland. The home of Catholicism, it also plays host to nightclubs that stay open until dawn.
One of the most iconic images of the city comes from the filmmaker Federico Fellini, one of Rome's most adoring fans. In La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life), Anita Ekberg frolics in the beautiful Trevi fountain after a long night's revelry. The scene is spontaneous, sexy, carefree, and a little crazy, reflecting Rome itself and the visceral impact it has on visitors. Try a romantic cruise down the Tiber River or watch the world go by from a Trastevere café and you too will believe life can't get any sweeter.
Big city charms
Rome is situated in the middle of Italy, the perfect position for the country’s capital. In some respects, however, it is set apart from the rest of the country and has a personality all of its own.
Rome is as much about frenetic traffic as chilling over cappuccino, appreciating art as appreciating gelato on a hot summer day. Hit the museums (the Vatican Museums are extraordinary, as are the Capitoline Museums and a litany of others), but then slow down and stroll through Villa Borghese, a large park well loved for picnics (and its museum the Borghese Gallery).
With its culture, art, food, and wine, a Roman holiday is like no other, distilling all that can be enjoyed in life. Hide