A city that requires no introduction, Rome is a place that evokes romance, glamour, history and excitement at every turn. The Italian capital buzzes with activity, and there are fewer better places in Europe to visit for a 2019 city holiday. Take a journey through the ancient Roman Empire, witnessing the Fontana de Trevi, Coliseum and Pantheon to name but a few. See the Vatican City, a country in its own right, the birthplace of Catholicism and home to Popes throughout the ages, with an incredible architectural heritage. Feast on proper Italian cuisine and take a break from the midday sun with some of the finest gelato you’re ever likely to taste. Holidays in Rome are the very epitome of a city break, both for couples and families alike. Explore all that they have to offer with loveholidays.com.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 3h 5m
When to go
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The appeal of Rome undoubtedly lies in its history, as the birthplace of the Roman Empire that spread across the whole of Europe for generations. Take a journey through the ancient Vatican City and stop to gaze upon the Sistine Chapel, its famed interior ceiling painted by the artist Michelangelo. Marvel at the Fontana de Trevi, an incredible Baroque fountain in the heart of the city. Look up in amazement at the Coliseum, the old arena famed for epic gladiatorial duels. Art lovers will enjoy the delights of the national gallery of contemporary and modern art, or the more historic Galeria Doria Pamphilj, a breathtaking tour of opulent 18th century artistic apartments. Visit the Pantheon with its historic tombs and magnificent church interior, or stop for a coffee and pastry in the Piazza Navona. For a taste of Roman horticulture, wander round the Villa Borghese gardens surrounding this grand 17th century house and witness ornate statues, perfectly kept vegetation and sculptured lawns.
Some of Europe’s, if not the world’s, finest food and drink is to be found on a holiday in Rome. In addition to Italian staples such as pasta and pizza, the city is also known for its legendary gelato, that most wonderful of ice cream like frozen treats. Traditional dishes are given a sensational twist in Rome. Try a white pizza, or pizza bianca, from one of the city’s many bakeries – La Ranella or Roscioli come highly recommended – or relax in the sunshine with a fritti, such as fried zucchini flowers, salt cod or arancini. Carbonara is the staple pasta sauce of the Rome region, with its wholesome combination of bacon, eggs and cream, with places such as Da Danilo serving up some of the best. And then more adventurous palates can be catered for with dishes such as tripe cooked with a hearty tomato sauce. Wine is celebrated throughout the region, with bold reds being the order of the day. Try a Chianti or Frascati.
Whilst holidays in Rome don’t immediately appear to be the most child friendly of adventures, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, ancient attractions such as the Coliseum and Pantheon may lack visually engaging video walk throughs and interactive displays for younger ones, however the sights on offer are sure to evoke the imagination of children, particularly in light of their history class curriculum and the chance to see it all in the flesh. Italians love children, and they’ll be welcomed with open arms at the city’s hotels and restaurants, with waiters renowned for their charm and ease of keeping children entertained at dinner time. On weekends you can enjoy puppet shows at Gianicolo hill, or escape from the Roman heat to the catacombs at Domitilla, home to an incredible underground church. And then, of course, there’s Tiber island, which becomes transformed in the summertime into a floating array of cafés, restaurants and an open air cinema, a great place for families.
Action & Adventure
It’s at nighttime that many of Rome’s incredible monuments and attractions come to life, their vastness lending them a real sense of adventure after dark. You can take a guided tour of the Coliseum at night, meandering through its spooky cells and hidden chambers. The sight of the main auditorium after dark, where hundreds of gladiators met their fate, is truly one to behold. Venture up the Tiber River on the boat Baja-Roma, feeling the Roman wind in your hair as you enjoy food and drink, or for something a little more macabre, the Capuchin Crypt is the place to go for a spot of ghoulish action. Walk amongst the bones of the 4,000 monks who died here between 1528 and 1870, and read chilling inscriptions such as ‘we were once like you, you will be like us’.
A holiday in Rome is very much about the joys of the city, however its closest beaches are a mere 45 minutes away. Summer in the city can get incredibly hot and stifling, so many Romans take their weekends down by the Mediterranean. Italian beaches tend to be private, charging a small fee for the day, meaning that you can expect great standards of cleanliness, attention to detail, and friendly staff to bring you food and drinks. The pretty town of Sperlonga is home to one such beach, with clear and calm waters, and the beautiful whitewashed buildings behind it. It’s about an hour and a half away via public transport, or a little less by hire car, from the centre of Rome.
If it’s a beach with added nightlife you’re looking for, head to Fregene for beach bars, alfresco drinking and a unique, welcoming party atmosphere. Families should go to Santa Marinella as it’s the closest beach to Rome – 50 minutes by train from Rome central station – and is home to some great seafood restaurants, the ideal place to introduce young children to the freshest produce from the Mediterranean.
After dark activities begin pretty late in Rome, with dinner usually enjoyed amongst friends at around 10pm. A lengthy discussion will then develop about where to head for a night out. For such a historic city, Rome boasts an incredible collection of cocktail bars, nightclubs and discos, however the true atmosphere of the city at nighttime reveals itself from being outdoors. Pretty much every square turns into one big outdoor bar, with the bars around Piazza Navona being especially chic. Via della Pace is one to be discovered, the area being home to a labyrinth of backstreets, wine bars and late night cafés. Testaccio is the neighbourhood to check out for clubs, and whilst Romans aren’t renowned for being big drinkers, their fondness for conversation, laughter and most importantly dancing is not to be underestimated.
Rome’s history, elegance and charm are tailor made for couples. Alongside the romance of its churches, artistic heritage and architecture, there’s hundreds of hidden garden bars, restaurants and squares in which to relax together and take it all in. Walking around Rome is romantic in itself and the Trevi fountain is a pretty good place to start, where you can toss a coin into the water and make a wish or two. St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most romantic churches in the world, where you can take a walk around and gaze up at its incredible artwork and architecture. The Piazza della Spagna creates an intimate setting for couples, made even more so at night when it’s lit up by pretty lights. A sunset dinner on the banks of the Tiber, over a good bottle of wine, candlelight and carbonara, is the ideal couples’ dinner arrangement. Try Cuccurucu for one such setting.
The culture you’ll experience on your Roman holiday is unrivalled in Western Europe, encompassing the arts, religion, food and language. The Museum of Roman civilization is a good place to start in terms of getting a grasp on the life and times of ancient Rome, whilst the opulence of Roman finery can be witnessed at the Galleria Borghese. Rome contains a vast, impressive array of art, ranging from sculptures and mosaics, to ceilings painted from side to side at the Sistine Chapel. Cinecitta film studios, just outside the city centre, are the second largest outside of Hollywood with films such as Passion of the Christ and Gangs of New York having been filmed there. In regards to food, Rome is influenced heavily by Jewish culture, not least in its heavy use of artichokes in cooking. Typical Roman culture can be enjoyed with a plate of simple food, glass of wine and a view out over one of its many piazzas.