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Rome is like a moveable feast of endless courses. No matter how much you gorge yourself on its splendours, you rarely feel you’ve made it past the antipasti. From the remains of its imperial glory days to the Renaissance and baroque riches of its historic centre, the Eternal City is a living masterpiece.
Founded upon seven hills, ancient Rome was divided into neighbourhoods with distinct personalities that have survived to this day. On the west bank of the Tiber River, Trastevere is home to countless pizzerias and restaurants. Across the water, the Basilica of Santa Sabina and the church of Sant’Alessio can be found in Aventine, one of the celebrated seven hills. A short walk away is Testaccio, where literary buffs will find the tombs of English poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
With its awe-inspiring architecture and art collection, the Vatican City is also an essential stop. Declared an independent state in 1929, it’s home to St Peter’s Basilica (said to be the largest church in Christendom), the Vatican Museum and the shining star of the Italian Renaissance – the Sistine Chapel.
Beyond the seat of Catholicism, there are the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, and Piazza Venezia, which can all be found in the historical city centre. With so many jewels of ancient Rome found on almost every corner, visitors are transported back to bygone days of chariots and gladiators.
But there’s also modern Rome where nearly 3 million inhabitants are hardly stuck in the past. You’ll find them packing out trendy bars, and enjoying Roman gastronomy in the many restaurants; Camp de’ Fiori is a notable nightlife hotspot for both tourists and locals.
During the day, catch the morning market in the same area, with vendors selling locally made limoncello, pasta and ripe produce at their stalls, or shop along the famed Via Condotti and pick out glamorous fare at Prada or Valentino.
All in all, it’s impossible to run out of things to see, smell and taste in Rome. So if you’ve ever wondered what ‘la dolce vita’ means, get ready for a thorough schooling.