Founded by Romulus in 753 BC, from kingdom to republic, then under Caeser to empire and eventually the Roman Empire of legend – Rome has been one of Europe’s leading major cities since time immemorial.
Visitors to the city will find an incredible wealth of ancient buildings and ruins that provide a constant reminder of this city’s glory days. The great emperors lived and ruled here, ran vast commercial empires, waged wars, and staged gladiatorial tournaments and week-long orgies of excess. All of this permeates the walls of the ancient city.
La dolce vita, or the sweet life, sums up Rome perfectly. Savour gelati, pizza, frutti del mare and every variety of pasta under the sun. Treat yourself to a trip to the Colosseum or the Pantheon and immerse yourself in the city’s history.
Art, culture & events
“Una festa sui prati...” is the introduction to a hit by Adriano Celentano from 1967. Not only in Prati, a region of Rome, but all over Rome, the Italians really know how to make hay while the sun shines. During the summer months, locals and tourists alike gather on the piazze to turn night into day.
One of the many in-places and insider tips is the Monte Testaccio quarter, where late-night cafés, discos and theatres abound.
Unusual for Roman tastes is the Zoobar (Via di Monte Testaccio 22). The maze-like, colourful passages lead you into small rooms with bars, a well-stocked cocktail bar and the dance floor. The club is open Wednesdays to Sundays between 10.30 p.m. and 3 a.m.
The most popular, best-known Irish pub in Rome is the Trinity College (Via del Collegio Romano 6). Foreign students mingle with locals at the bar. There is a cosy, private side room on the top floor.
On balmy summer evenings, head down to the Bar San Calisto (Piazza San Calisto 3-5) to enjoy a get-together the Roman way, and to lose yourself in a babble of voices. Its great location and very affordable prices mean that the pretty bar (open Mondays to Thursdays between 6 and 1.30 a.m.) is frequently full to bursting!
The ultimate recommendation for wine connoisseurs: the Ferrara (Via del Moro 1A). Those not au fait with wine could soon be overwhelmed by the selection of wines, which exceeds 800. Traditional Italian cuisine as well experimental, modern food are served in the tastefully decorated restaurant, which takes up three stories.
The Checchino dal 1887 (Via Monte Testaccio 30) has been run by the Mariani family for five generations now. Apparently, it is here that several classic Roman dishes were invented – such as abbacchio alla cacciatora (braised milk lamb) and coda alla vaccinara (braised oxtail). Food is still prepared according to the original recipes today.
La Pergola (Via Alberto Cadlolo 101) offers multi award-winning meals with a view of Rome. It has a wide selection of Italian and international specialities, and doesn’t come cheap… The gourmet temple is open Tuesdays to Saturdays between 7.30 and 23.45 p.m.
Il Domiziano is located on the Piazza Navona, on a terrace surrounded by pillars. Despite its very central location, the prices of food and drink are moderate – no doubt this is one of the reasons why the restaurant is frequently invaded by swarms of tourists!
A shopping trip in Rome is always an experience, irrespective of what you are looking for: whether you wish to check out the latest clothing and shoes or simply want to window-shop along the countless designer shops in the city centre.
For the latter, the many little side streets off the Spanish Steps are interesting: a whole load of famous names such as Gucci, Armani, Bulgari, Valentino and Louis Vuitton have shops in the Via Condotti. Not far from here, in the Via Borgognona, shops from Fendi are located next to shop windows exhibiting Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Laura Biagiotti and many more.
Clothing and shoes at more affordable prices than those in the city centre shops of the top brands are available for example in the Via Nazionale, Via del Corso and the Via Cola di Rienzo. Rome’s most famous deli – Castroni – is located in Via Cola de Rienzo, number 196. On an area of 400 m2, the shop offers practically everything imaginable for the connoisseur’s delight.
Please note that boutiques and smaller shops are frequently closed for lunch between 1 and 4.30 p.m. – however, most of them are open until 8 p.m. in the summer. A further tip for the price-conscious fashion hunter: the best time to grab a bargain in Rome is in July, in the sales.