Large, comfortable flat in the Vatican area, just two metro stops away from the Vatican Museums and St.Peter?s Square. The flat can host up to five people, three in the bedroom with a double and a single bed and two in the sofa bed in the living room. more info...
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Visitors to Rome are often overwhelmed by its heady mix of beauty, brashness, charisma and chaos. Its eternal popularity comes from the fact that as well as offering probably the highest quotient of art and history of any city in the world, it is also an undeniably modern capital. Among its sun-drenched piazzas, cobble-stoned streets and russet-coloured palazzi visitors will find a vast array of traditional and trendy shopping, drinking and dining options, and, of course, the Romans themselves, with their maniacal driving habits and impassioned gesticulating ways. Over the past few years Rome’s public services have greatly improved, its squares and streets undergone major beautification and reorganisation work, and its historic sites and museums been restored, reopened, and their opening hours lengthened.
The oldest visible part of Rome are the Fora, where Roman life began and where all commercial, legal, bureaucratic and religious goings on were centred. Some of the monuments, such as Trajan’s markets (an ancient shopping mall in the Imperial Fora) are startlingly intact. Not far away is the Colosseum, the massive amphitheatre built to house gory gladiatorial spectacles. In the so-called centro storico (historic centre) must-see sights include: the mid-17th century oval-shaped Piazza Navona; the Pantheon, Rome’s best-preserved monument; Campo de’ Fiori, the site of a bustling daily market and a happening nightlife and cruising scene; and behind that the refined elegance of the Michelangelo-designed Palazzo Farnese in the piazza of the same name. The maze of medieval streets surrounding these two squares are crammed with art galleries, artisan’s boutiques, design stores and antique shops. For clothes-shopping head instead to the well-heeled fashion triangle which fans out from Piazza di Spagna and includes Via dei Condotti and Via di Borgognona for the most exclusive names in Italian and international high fashion.
For a more everyday perspective on Rome, some of its ‘real’ neighbourhoods in and around the centre, are worth visiting. The oldest and smallest, the so-called Jewish Ghetto, makes no effort to lure tourists but offers some of the city centre’s most atmospheric restaurants, delis and bakeries. Trastevere, across the river from the city centre, had different customs, traditions, and even another dialect for centuries and still today is a city within a city. Trawl its narrow picturesque streets for great bars, boutiques and a slice of Roman life. Testaccio, south-east of Trastevere, was built up with orderly rows of case popolari (council houses) in the 19th century for resident workers - this is where to head for a major dose of Roman nightlife in its many bars, discos and live music venues.
Despite some very unusual weather in the last few years (snow and hail in July, heatwaves in May) Rome can still be said to have a classic Mediterranean climate: mild-ish winters and very hot long summers. July and August are traditionally the hottest and most humid months. During lunchtime hours it is advisable to stay indoors. In July and August many Romans go on holiday (especially around the feast of the assumption on the 15th of August) but for the past few years the city council has put on an incredible range of outdoor world-class concerts and other cultural events from June to September and the city gets less deserted than it used to.
Rome is served by two airports, Fiumicino airport 30kms southwest of the centre and the far smaller, predominantly military, airport, Ciampino, which lies15kms to the southeast of Rome. All low-cost flights (Ryanair, Easyjet) leave from the latter. There is a service from the airports to the main train station Termini and this is also where the city’s two metro lines meet and its main bus terminal is located. Buses in Rome are frequent and efficient in the city centre. Small electrical mini-buses wind their way past all the major sights and are allowed on streets where regular cars aren’t. Whilst there is a small Metro system, not all areas are covered so check first.
Romans are greater fans of spectator sports than the real thing and a visit to the Stadio Olimpico on a Sunday afternoon to see either of Rome’s football clubs (who are both in the top division) play, or even better play each other, is akin to a religious experience. Otherwise Villa Borghese is the place to head to for jogging, horse-riding and even boat-rowing on its small lake. You can also rent bikes, tricycles and in-line skates here. In the summer an outdoor pool makes a great way to pass the day. The luxury hotels (ES, Aldrovandi Palace, Cavalieri Hilton) have the most beautiful rooftop or landscaped pools in the city, but are expensive for non-guests. Otherwise the Olympic-sized Piscina delle Rose in the EUR district south of the city is a good alternative. Once you’re there you could just venture that little bit further south to Ostia, Rome’s closest beach. Don’t expect limpid waters but there’s plenty of atmosphere and nightlife here, and on the stretch called Castelporziano between Ostia and Torvaianica, there are beautiful sand dunes too. Another cooling summer option are Rome’s outlying lakes (Bracciano, Nemi, Martignano).