Welcome to Rome, Italy: The Eternal City

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Rome, facts and travel tips

Rome is without doubt one the most beautiful cities in the world; every year millions of tourists come from around the world to admire the treasures and masterpieces of Roman art and architecture.

Rome is an enchanting city where you'll discover a romantic blend of culture and history spiced up with a vibrant street and nightlife. Add in to the mix delicious gastronomy and excellent Italian wines, and you have an inspiring and beautiful destination that our Rome travel guide will help you make the most of.

The beauties of Rome sprawl across its landscape and are a compelling blend of the ancient with the Renaissance. Classically imposing are the Colosseum and the Roman Forum while the austere exterior of the Pantheon belies its stunning interior. St Peter's Square and Basilica are Renaissance masterpieces while gloriously ornate fountains and statues greet you at every twist and turn of the city's streets.

The most iconic example is Salvi's Trevi Fountain. Dominating the small cobbled avenue in which it sits, this fountain is an outrageous example of over-the-top Baroque sculpture, and is immediately recognisable from its appearance in classic films such as 'Three Coins in a Fountain' and Federico Fellini's screen masterpiece, 'La Dolce Vita'.

When you enter Rome's churches, cathedrals, museums, and galleries you'll find awe-inspiring paintings and sculptures that cover all the eras and great names of Western art. These range from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling to frescoes by Raphael and paintings that show the skill of Caravaggio to the glorious fountains of Bernini. A trip to Rome, though, encompasses much more than a stroll through art and architecture. Sipping a coffee or aperitif in street cafes, or enjoying a glass of beer while you take in the vistas from terraces and piazzas are just as much a part of the tourist experience in this most romantic of cities.

It's easy to while away a whole day in The Vatican City, west of the River Tiber. When you do, you're entering the world's smallest state. Cross the Tiber and pass the imposing might of the Castel Sant'Angelo before entering the Vatican along the Via Della Conciliazione. At the end, the vastness of St. Peter's Square with its grand Bernini colonnade and central obelisk opens up before you. Across the square is St. Peter's Basilica topped by the tallest dome in the world. Taking the stairs or elevator to the viewing gallery is a must for splendid views of the Eternal City.

While it's easy to fill a visit to Rome with the cultural wonders found in every guidebook, it also has a secret side. Some of the city's population of wild cats live pampered lives at the Torre Argentina excavation site, happily posing for the cameras of passers-by while the French-style gardens of Doria Pamphili near the Trastevere district are often overlooked by visitors. The final resting place of the English Romantics, Shelley and Keats is in Rome. They lie in the beautiful Protestant cemetery on Via Caio Cestio. With its grand marble monuments, it provides a peaceful respite from the city bustle.

Rome is a popular tourist destination right around the year so use our travel tips to help plan your visit. In August, many locals take their vacations and head to the coast, so although the city is quieter be prepared for some neighbourhood shops and restaurants to be closed. Easter's Holy Week is always a busy period so booking your hotel well in advance is advisable.

With most museums closed on Mondays, the Vatican museums closed on Sundays, and the city filling up with short-break visitors every weekend, be flexible with your travel plans and visit from Tuesday to Friday. Not only museums and visitor attractions, but cafes and restaurants will be slightly less crowded.

Try and avoid the summer months when temperatures rarely dip below 30°C. In contrast, the ideal months for getting the most out of Rome's cafes and terraces are April, May, September, and October. To really beat the crowds, though, think about visiting during the winter months. You'll need a warm coat and probably an umbrella, but temperatures never dip below freezing.