Fascinating, Captivating, Enchanting and Stylish
Although it was once the largest city in the world, the capital of the greatest empire in the world and now the centre of the Christian world, Rome is a relatively compact city by modern standards. This is great news for the visitor as the majority of its most famous sites are within walking distance of each other.
There was a time, not long ago at all, when there wasn’t much more to Rome than its distant past. Visitors came here just for that (and often, if truth be told, had a hard time approaching it, what with museums endlessly in restauro and wildcat strikes keeping the gates of archaeological sites firmly locked),
But, as any long-term resident will tell you, it’s a far more accessible, liveable city than ever before. It’s also a more organised city, as the efficient welcome extended to the millions who flocked here after the death of Pope John Paul II has proven.
Known as the ‘Eternal City’ there’s really only one way to find out why, and that’s to visit it. It’s fascinating, captivating, enchanting and stylish; if it’s history and religion, shopping and food, or just a break away from it all, Rome fits the bill nicely.
In former days there were few choices in the dining experience in Rome – posh restaurants, humble trattorias or no-frills pizzerias - while today there are wine bars, salad bars, gastropubs, designer restaurants and deli-diners.
The traditional categories have broadened: posh restaurants are going minimalist, new trattorias are creative rather than humble and the unchanging pizzeria has been shaken up – take, for example, the Dar Poeta.
Eating in Rome used to be a bargain, however, inflation and opportunism in general have put paid to this, though the bill will still compare favourably with a similar dining experience in Dublin.
While the Italians do not treat their alcohol like we do, bar (or café) life is very much a part of life in Rome.
There is a scarcity of shopping malls and department stores in Rome but for very expensive chic merchandise head for Via Borgognona and Via Condotti, both close to Piazza di Spagna.
Via del Corso is where you’ll find threads and styles aimed at the younger consumer while close-by on Via Francesco Crispi you should find unusual and less expensive gifts. Between these two streets is Via Frattina where part of the street is closed to traffic and the concentration of shops is densest.
Leonardo da Vinci Airport, better known as Fiumicino, is the main airport in Rome.
Two train services link Fiumicino with central Rome, one leaves every hours and arrives at the central Stazione Termini while the other leaves every 20 minutes and links Fiumicino with Trastevere, Ostiense and Tiburtina stations.
A Taxi service from Fiumicino to the city centre is available.