Glamour and history seep from Rome's core, which has been set in stone for almost 3,000 years. It is a constant simmer of hustle and bustle, moped murmurs and tailored chaos, alongside a refreshingly authentic air of family-run artisanal stores and restaurants, despite its status as a bustling tourist destination. With baroque wonders at every turn, Rome is also a photographer's paradise. La dolce vita, indeed.
When to Go
Visit in May for a meander through the Rome Rose Gardens, a taste of the Nemi Strawberry Festival, and to see the Spanish Steps in bloom with 600 vases of pink azaleas. Go in October for golden lighting and the olive oil and chestnut festivals.
It's all about food in Italy, so what better way to experience the local culture than by mingling with the locals and trying signature regional dishes at the official Lazio farmers food festivals? Autumn is great for olive oil, truffles, lentils, chestnuts, and wine, and the spring celebrates asparagus, artichokes, and mini wild berries, as well as many flower festivals.
What to Eat
Don't miss the Fiori di zucca (fried zucchini flowers stuffed with anchovies and mozzarella); carbonara (a Roman classic made with egg, cheese, and guanciale); cacio e pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper); carciofi alla giudia, Roman-Jewish-style artichokes seasoned with salt and pepper and deep fried in olive oil; and fragoline di bosco, the wild mini strawberries of the Roman forests.
Souvenir to Take Home
Save room in your suitcase for coffee and traditional Italian delicacies from Castroni on Via Cola di Rienzo, Made in Italy sandals, a tailored linen suit, and handmade Italian ceramics around the Pantheon and Spanish Steps.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Sustainable Travel Tip
Rome boasts more than 2,000 public fountains supplying a constant flow of fresh spring water - look out for the nasoni on every block, so-called because of their nose-shaped taps. Bring your own refillable bottle or buy one of Rome's official eco-water bottles promoted by the Department of Environment and Tourism, available for €2 at museums throughout the capital. For a pollution-free way to whizz around town, use the official Ecooltra electric scooter sharing service or the o-bike official bicycle-sharing scheme.
Michelangelo's Campidoglio square on the Capitoline Hill overlooking the Roman forums at sunrise or sunset offers a breathtaking panorama of the ancient city and Colosseum. From Piazza Campidoglio, take Via del Campidoglio toward Via Monte Tarpeo to the lookout point. The secret keyhole of Rome hidden behind Rome's Rose Gardens, on the gate of the estate belonging to the Knights of Malta on Rome's Aventine Hill, offers a dramatic tree-lined boulevard view of Michelangelo's dome of St. Peter's Basilica.