Rome is known as 'The Eternal City' because it is so old; according to legend, the city was founded by Romulus, twin brother of Remus, on 21 April 753 BC. Early Rome was ruled by Kings. The Roman Republic lasted from 510BC until 23BC, almost 500 years. Rome's most famous historical figure is Julius Caesar, the dictator who conquered Rome and then conducted many successful military campaigns. He was so famous that the month of July was named after Julius Caesar. During the Empire, Rome's population grew to almost a million and slowly declined during the Barbarian invasions. Rome was conquered by the Visigoth Odoacer and his men in AD 476. By the middle ages, only tens of thousands Romans remained. The Papal States were created in 756, with Rome as the capital. The revival of the Renaissance caused rapid urbanisation. When Pope Gregory XIII built his Papal residence on the tallest hill surrounding Rome, splendid Villas, including Villa Borghese, were built. The Papacy built extravagant churches, bridges, squares and public spaces, to equal and surpass the grandeur of other Italian cities, notably Florence. The Popes were also patrons of the arts including figures such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Botticelli - all manifesting in numerous masterpieces and things to see in Rome.
Exploring the numerous examples of historic culture is a must on Rome city breaks but make sure you take in contemporary Rome too. For example, there are numerous designer shops beyond the Spanish Steps on Via Condotti; budget shopping on Via Frattina; unique Italian shops around the Trevi Fountain and flea markets all around. There are fabulous restaurants everywhere. The Romans love the late hours for walks or spending time in the bars, clubs with live music, marketplaces, open air film events and other festivities.
Don't miss the Colosseum, the largest ampitheatre ever built during the Roman Empire. Other things to see in Rome include the Roman Forum, Pantheon, Catacombs. Make sure you also visit the St Peter's Basilica and Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel with the magnificent ceiling painted by Michelangelo.
Located in the Lazio region of central Italy on the Tiber river.
The city's diverse architecture most famously encompasses Ancient Rome. Other styles include medieval architecture with many basilicas such as the Santa Maria Maggiore; Renaissance and Baroque, which profoundly affected the city with various masterpieces such as the Piazza del Campidoglio by Michelangelo and numerous grand palazzi; Neoclassicism with the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II; Fascist architecture such as the E.U.R. district designed in 1938.
When you're deciding what to do in Rome, consider timing your trip to coincide with one of the many major annual events. Here are just a few: Rome's Independent Film Festival in February; Eurochocolate Festival in March; Rome Marathon in March; Good Friday Procession at Easter inviting all to participate in the Stations of the Cross; Painters in Via Margutta in April and November; Fashion Show at Trinità del Monti in July; Great Autumn Antique Market in October; International Rome Film Festival in October/November; Music and Fireworks in Piazza del Popolo every New Year.
With a 2-line metro system, taxis, buses and trams makes it easy to travel around to see the Rome tourist attractions. Nearby airports include the Leonardo Da Vinci, also known as Fiumicino airport, Ciampino and Roma-Urbe.