Rome, Italy

Parts of the city are perfectly mediaeval; Renaissance and Baroque buildings soar skyward, and breathtaking sculpture sits on every corner. With the Vatican in town, Easter and Christmas are highlights on Rome’s calendar, but pilgrims of an artistic persuasion flock to the tiny city state all year to adore Raphael and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes. Rome is also about the art of life – food, fashion and fun are enjoyed with religious zeal in this most sensual of capitals. Live la dolce vita as the locals do: colonise a café in the Campo de’ Fiori; linger longer over rustic pasta in a traditional trattoria; let your feet wander and your eyes roam.

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When to go

In summer, the city gets sweaty; you may prefer spring or autumn, but winter is the quietest. Any time of year, one of the pleasures of a visit to the Eternal City is to simply dive off the busy tourist routes and explore its countless lesser-known treasures at random. Rome’s museums are often surprisingly uncrowded.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Rome is served by two airports: Fiumicino and Ciampino (www.adr.it). A cab from Fiumicino into the city will set you back €60 (it should be less on the way back from Rome though). From Ciampino, the 15km taxi ride to the city centre costs €30; a public bus departs for Anagnina metro station at least once an hour (30 minutes from central Rome) for a couple of euros.
  • Trains

    Stazione Termini is the main station, providing express connections (www.trenitalia.it) to other Italian cities, including Florence. The Leonardo Express to Fiumicino airport departs every half an hour and takes 35 minutes and costs around €10.
  • Automobiles

    Driving in Rome is not for the nervous, and unless you want to venture further, a car will be more of a pain than a pleasure. You can park in blue zones for €1 an hour; the daily rate for carparks is around €25. Cars with foreign plates are not allowed in the historical centre.
  • Taxis

    You can hail them everywhere, and taxi ranks display numbers to call. Avoid the many unofficial and unlicensed taxis, especially for airport rides – if in doubt, ask your hotel to arrange transport.

Margutta 54

Margutta 54

Hotel
Wrap up your cinema paradiso trip with your very own Roman holiday. Spend four nights in your own stylish, almost-self-catering apartment just around the corner from the Spanish Steps at Margutta 54 – an address just down the street from Gregory Peck's character's tiny flat in Roman Holiday – and live like a local in the Eternal City.

Worth getting out of bed for
– Cruise around town on a Vespa
– Visit Illuminati sights like St Peter's Basilica and the Fontana dei Quatro Fiumi
– Tour the iconic Cinecittà film studios

 

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JK Place Roma

JK Place Roma

Hotel
Wrao up your artistic jaunt with four nights in Rome, at the city's former school of architecture, now transformed by designer Michele Bönan's expert hand into the stylish JK Place Roma boutique hotel. That the city's most famous sights – including the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon and Villa Borghese – are all within throwing distance is just an added bonus.

Worth getting out of bed for
– Take a private tour of the Vatican and its art collection
– Zoom around town in a Fiat 500 on a guided tour
– Visit the Galleria Borghese, in the Villa Borghese gardens

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GO BACK IN TIME

GO BACK IN TIME

Like a side of history with your summer sunshine? Italy's portions are generous. Get an education in Renaissance art by strolling round Florence's glorious galleries, then skip forward a few centuries at fashionable Fifties-fitted retreat, Portrait Firenze. Gaze at the Colosseum over red snapper steak at Hotel Palazzo's rooftop restaurant. Explore the recently restored Villa dei Misteri and the rest of Pompeii's ruins from an Amalfi Coast base like the artsy Capo la Gala. And if you're all Roman-ed out, southern Spain's colourful past has left a trove of treasures to explore. Staying in an 18th-century marble-columned palace like Seville's Palacio de Villapanés should get you in the mood. 

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Deluxe Studio (Room 2) at Portrait Suites, Rome, Italy

Deluxe Studio (Room 2) at Portrait Suites, Rome, Italy

One for the shoe fetishists (not like that), Portrait Suites is part of the Ferragamo empire (it’s even situated above the flagship store), and the effortlessly stylish interiors showcase sketches of his shoes and portaits of old-school Hollywood glamour girls. The hotel itself occupies an elegant building a boutique-bag-laden stroll from the Spanish Steps and the fashion thoroughfares of Vias Condotti, Borgognona and Frattina. The Deluxe Studio – Room 2 – is a contender for the title of Rome’s most glamorous, and features some of that famous Ferragamo attention to detail: handmade leather finishes and oriental woods. And, for the height of romance, head up to the rooftop terrace for swoon-inducing views of the Eternal City.

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