The River Tiber winds north–south through the western edge of central Rome. St Peter's Basilica and the walled Vatican City look east over the river to Rome's historic centre and famous seven hills. Piazza Navona, dramatic Trevi Fountain and landmarks of medieval and baroque Rome are directly across the river. Further east is huge Central Station, while ancient Rome's Colosseum arena and the crumbling palaces of the Palatine Hill are south-east.
Open-air restaurants overlooking Piazza Navona serve iconic Italian dishes from Rome, like creamy spaghetti carbonara and saltimbocca veal. For Roman-style gnocchi dumplings head to a local trattoria restaurant in Trastevere, south of the Vatican. Fried artichokes and other Jewish-Roman recipes are a speciality in the Ghetto district, on the north side of a bend on the River Tiber by Tiberina Island.
Peel back layers of history at every turn on a Rome city break. Visit ancient Rome's birthplace on Palatine Hill, and climb steps designed by Michelangelo from the Capitoline Hill to the ruined temples of the Roman Forum. Streets lined with Renaissance palaces lead north to the historic centre and the fountains of Piazza Navona, a former Roman stadium. Christian Rome's focus lies across the River Tiber in the Vatican City, home to the popes, and there are hundreds of churches to explore across central Rome.
Fashion-conscious Romans trawl the boutique-lined streets around the Spanish Steps in the east of the historic centre. This area is also home to treasure-filled antique shops, while Via Sannio market in the south of the city is the place to source vintage clothing. Food-lovers make a beeline for famous gourmet stores like Castroni, north of Vatican City, and the food market at Campo de' Fiori. The best flea market is held every Sunday morning at Porta Portese in Trastevere, south of the Vatican.
Rome is filled with tucked-away places for romantic moments. The streets outside your Rome hotel might lead down to the River Tiber, crossed by ancient bridges like Sant'Angelo, lined with fluttering statues of angels. Catch sunset views from the Pincio Hill terrace across Rome to St Peter's Basilica. Couples cosy up in candlelit restaurants in the centre's medieval backstreets, and throw coins in the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return visit to Rome.
A Rome city break brings history alive for children. The sheer size of the Colosseum creates a lasting impression, and a trip on the Time Elevator helps make sense of the ruins with a reconstruction of ancient Rome. Exhibits are hands-on at the Explora children's museum, and the nearby Borghese Gardens have a zoo, train and puppet shows.