Rome holidays & city breaks
Rome is Europe’s most gloriously cinematic city, spectacularly beautiful and humming with life. Audrey Hepburn whizzed around it on a scooter in Roman Holiday and Anita Ekberg waded seductively in the Trevi Fountain in La Dolce Vita. With such an extraordinary backdrop – ancient monuments, extravagant Baroque palaces, cobbled streets and pavement cafés – it’s easy to feel like you’re starring in your own movie. While Rome’s long history is evident at every turn, this is no museum city living on its past, but a restless, exciting and thoroughly contemporary capital that is constantly re-inventing itself, a fantastic city break. Romantic, glamorous, and steeped in history, a holiday in Rome is an experience you’ll never forget.
Most popular hotels in Rome
The Church Palace
Hotel San Paolo Roma
Ostia Antica Park Hotel
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Italian
- Time Zone: GMT +1
- Average flight time: 2h 25m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
It’s impossible to miss Rome’s biggest attraction: the Colosseum. Built two thousand years ago, it was the largest amphitheatre in the entire Roman Empire and survives staggeringly intact. The scene of gladiatorial combats, public executions and even mock sea battles, it could accommodate 80,000 spectators – more than Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, home to local football teams AS Roma and SS Lazio. Rome wasn’t just the epicentre of the ancient world; it would become the heart of Christendom. The Vatican City attracts millions of pilgrims and visitors every year, and is home to St Peter’s Basilica, the enormous Vatican Museums (which contain more than 70,000 artworks), and, most famously of all, the Sistine Chapel, with its dazzling ceiling frescoes by Michelangelo.
Culture vultures will have plenty more to get their teeth into during a city break in Rome, from superb museums, such as the Borghese Gallery and the MAXXI Museum of Contemporary Art, to extravagant Baroque palaces and squares and, of course, the most impressive collection of ancient Roman monuments anywhere. You can tour Europe’s biggest film studios, amble down the Appian Way, gaze up at the vast dome of the Pantheon, and take a breather in the leafy Borghese Park. Best of all, pull up a chair at a pavement café on a gorgeous Baroque square to enjoy a front row seat at Rome’s greatest attraction of all: its colourful, energetic street life.
Wine and Dine
Food and drink will be a highlight of your Rome holiday. As well as restaurants serving traditional Roman dishes, you’ll be able to eat your way all down the length of ‘the boot’ with restaurants serving cuisine from every region of Italy. Wine has been produced around Rome for two millennia, so you’ll have plenty of choice: try them out at an enoteca. The most popular local wine is Frascati, a refreshing white that the Romans called ‘The Golden Wine’.
Whether you want to splash out on a Michelin-starred dinner or tuck into some of the best pizza in Italy around the Piazza Navona or within sight of the Colosseum, Rome has restaurants to suit every budget. To eat like a Roman, you should join the locals at a bar for a coffee and a cornetto (croissant) for breakfast, enjoy a leisurely lunch on a sunny piazza, perhaps stop off for an aperitivo and some nibbles before moving on to late dinner. For dessert, choose your favourite flavour of gelato at one of the city’s celebrated ice-cream parlours.
Romans love children and your kids will love Rome. They can pretend to be legionaries or gladiators among the ancient ruins, blow off steam in the beautiful parks, and cool off at the beach or one of the big waterparks on the edge of the city. They can throw some coins into the Trevi Fountain and make a wish, stick their hand in the Bocca della verità (mouth of truth), and the bravest might want to visit the catacombs to see the grisly displays of bones or explore the dungeons and secret passages in the Castel Sant’Angelo. Teenagers will enjoy the shopping and nightlife, as well as the contemporary art museums, MACRO and MAXXI. Restaurants are very accommodating to families, and no holiday in Rome would be complete without a visit (or several) to one of its famous ice-cream parlours for a taste of the fantastic Italian gelato.
Action and Adventure
There’s plenty of action in Rome: for a start, you can call ‘Action!’ on your own movie at Cinecittà World, a fun theme park linked to the famous Roman film studios. Be a gladiator or Roman legionary for the day. Take a tour of the city in a vintage 3-wheeler Ape. Raft down the River Tiber, or ride a horse along the Appian Way. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, you can even parachute over the coast just south of the city, or get a bird’s-eye-view of Rome’s stunning skyline from a helicopter. Your holiday in Rome is sure to be thrilling!
Life's a Beach
Rome is packed with so many attractions that it’s easy to forget that it also boasts a clutch of wonderful beaches and seaside towns within easy reach. Most famous of these is Ostia, where half the city comes to cool off in the summer months, and which also boasts one of Italy’s best preserved ancient Roman towns. Prettiest is Santa Marinella, a charming resort known for its seafood restaurants. Both of these are less than an hour by train from the city centre. Fregene is great for nightlife, and neighbouring Maccarese is sleepier, while further afield, there are crystalline waters to be found along the Lazio coast, such as the beaches at Anzio.
Italy’s exciting capital city, located at the heart of the Lazio region of Italy, is packed with a huge range of nightlife options. Bars and clubs come in every shape and size, catering to every imaginable whim. Whether you want to dance till dawn in a mega-club or simply join the throngs on one of the city’s beautiful squares after sunset, Rome has something for everyone. Testaccio has perhaps the greatest concentration of bars and clubs, with some fancy restaurant-nightclubs rubbing shoulders with salsa clubs, cocktails bars, and discos, many of them carved right into the hill. Bohemian Trastevere is a little more low-key, an ideal place to find a romantic wine bar for a chilled night out. The students hang out in San Lorenzo, where there are scores of lively nightspots that keep buzzing until dawn, and the Campo de’ Fiori area attracts a mixed crowd of tourists and locals, who flock to the neighbourhood’s crowded bars and pretty squares. In summer, the party moves to the beach, and you can dance on the sand at one of Ostia’s many open-air clubs.
Rome and romance are made for each other. The gorgeous Piazza Navona is a good place to start and cobbled lanes provide the perfect backdrop for romantic strolls, and you can dine by candle-light on charming squares, replay the famous scenes from Roman Holiday by hiring a scooter for two, and watch the sun set over the city from the viewing point on top of the Giancolo Hill. You might like to follow in the footsteps of the Romantic poets, who knew a thing or two about love, and visit the Keats-Shelley House, wander through the orange gardens in the Aventino neighbourhood, or visit the market on the enchanting Campo de’ Fiori square to pick up armfuls of fresh flowers. In Rome, the possibilities for romance are truly endless. The awe inspiring sights of Rome - including the Sistine Chapel, much of the Vatican City and the stunning Pantheon - are all bound to inspire love.
Few cities pack Rome’s cultural punch: from ancient ruins that have stood for two millennia to exciting contemporary art, this is a city that has long inspired writers, artists and film-makers. You can retrace the footsteps of the ancient Romans by visiting the forum, the Colosseum and the Pantheon, and gaze at the extraordinary artworks held at the Vatican Museums and the Borghese Gallery. Marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel, or check out the contemporary art in the MAXXI and Macro museums. With sumptuous villas set in luxuriant gardens and breathtaking Baroque architecture at every turn, Rome truly is a city that exudes beauty and culture.