City guide: Why you need to visit Rome

All roads lead to Rome, or so they say. Here's why yours should too...

Few places on earth encapsulate style, luxury, culture, good food, history and boundless romanticism in quite the same way as Rome. As a city that has spent its almost-three thousand years inspiring leaders, artists, writers and filmmakers time and time again, it is a city break like no other – so here’s our handy guide for your very own Roman Holiday, a whistle-stop tour of the Eternal City.

City guide: Why you need to visit Rome

Where should you stay in Rome?

Cut down on walking time by choosing a centrally-located boutiquey bolthole such as the Casa Montani, with rooms and suites located a stone’s throw from the Piazza del Popolo. What it may lack in certain amenities, it does make up for in hardwood floors, delicate fabrics throughout and Hermès products in the bathroom.

However, if you’re determined to experience the city in style, the Rome Cavalieri is where you want to position yourself. Not only are you given access to the City’s only Michelin three-star restaurant – La Pergola – you can also enjoy four swimming pools, a panoply of museum-worthy paintings and artefacts, and astonishing views over the capital.

City guide: Why you need to visit Rome

Where are the best places to eat?

Head away from the overpriced dishes of the city centre and into the Trastevere district with its East London vibes and good value bars. If you’re looking for traditional cucina, Da Augusto is certainly the place to go. So old-school that it hasn’t even got a website (but you can find it at 15 Piazza de’ Renzi), the menu is overflowing with beautifully-executed pasta dishes (teamed with carafes of house wine so good we couldn’t find our way back to the hotel).

To treat oneself, pay a visit to Antico Arco. With an impressive 20,000 bottles of wine inside its catacombs, the menu offers a contemporary twist on Italian classics such as homemade tortelli of tiger prawns with sautéed endive.

City guide: Why you need to visit Rome

What is there to do in Rome?

Start off at the Borghese Gallery, then walk down and grab an espresso in the Piazza di Spagna where The Talented Mr Ripley was filmed and you’ll find the Keats-Shelley House.

Continue via the Trevi Fountain, (made famous by Federico Fellinii’s La Dolce Vita and Anita Ekberg’s paddling pursuits) and down to the Colosseum to showcase your best Oliver Reed/Russell Crowe impressions. And, if you’ve still got time, no man should miss the grandeur of The Vatican museums and The Sistine Chapel.

City guide: Why you need to visit Rome

Where to shop

The Monti district is Rome’s equivalent of Portobello Market, where you’ll pick up vintage wear and second-hand designer finds, most notably from Pifebo (Via Leonina 46). Or, instead, head to OfficineRed, in the Ponti district. With its mix of independent names such as Maison Kitsune, Officine Creative and Sandqvist, you can perfect that global citizen look which the Italians work so well.

Why not head to Milan after Rome or check out our other European guide to Berlin

Further Reading