At times, Rome feels like the world's biggest open-air museum. Its jaw-dropping historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to ancient architectural icons like the impressively intact Colosseum and the resplendent Roman Forum. Then of course there's St Peter's Basilica, the world's largest church and a preeminent masterpiece of Italian Renaissance architecture.

    But the ostentatious Italian capital is in no way stuck in the past. On the contrary, it's a cosmopolitan modern metropolis, with edgy contemporary galleries, eclectic nightlife and a trailblazing fashion scene. Of course, it's also a gourmand's paradise, where you can feast on crispy wood-fired pizzas and creamy homemade gelato to your heart's content.

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    A Rome city break immerses visitors in history and culture. Book a Rome hotel to explore a fabled past and vibrant present of ancient Rome’s ivy-clad ruins, glittering baroque palaces and modern art galleries.

    Get your bearings

    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 center 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.

    Roman dining

    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 specialty in the Ghetto district, on the north side of a bend on the River Tiber by Tiberina Island.

    Three thousand years of history

    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 center 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.

    Stylish shopping

    Fashion-conscious Romans trawl the boutique-lined streets around the Spanish Steps in the east of the historic center. 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.

    Romance in Rome

    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 cozy up in candlelit restaurants in the center's medieval backstreets, and throw coins in the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return visit to Rome.

    Family fun

    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. 

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