Once known as the 'caput mundi', or capital of the world, Rome is a city that combines some of Europe's most spectacular historical sites with a buzzing yet relaxed social scene. A fabulous location for a warm weekend away, we check out the what, where and when of the Italian capital.
When to go
Enjoying a typically Mediterranean climate, there is barely an off season in Rome. Summer can be extremely hot, with temperatures capable of reaching 37 degrees C, and the city can feel particularly oppressive and humid in August. However, as the natives head off to the beach at this time, it is possible to get some excellent deals on hotels and take advantage of a quieter Rome if you can handle the heat.
Winter is mild, though rain is most likely in November and December, while spring and autumn provide the best of the weather but also the busiest season in terms of tourists.
What to do
Such is the wealth of history in Rome, it's unwise to try to do it all in a weekend. Home to the Vatican City, including the Sistine Chapel, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and a dizzying array of classical, baroque and renaissance architecture, not to mention the Colosseum and the ancient city itself, anyone attempting to see the lot will likely end up with sightseeing fatigue and sore feet. Just the Roman Forum itself can take a full day of exploration.
The best idea is to pick a few of the sights that are must-sees for you personally, whether you choose to take in St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican city, the Colosseum and the Forum, or explore the best of the city's art, museums and architecture, make a plan before you go with the aid of a guidebook.
Live, eat, shop
Alongside the quite awesome culture and history of this 3,000-year-old city sit bustling markets, restaurants and shops. Well-known for their love of fashion, the Italians are well catered for in terms of haute couture, and the winding streets offer up plenty for well funded fashionistas. Most of the big names are housed in the streets around the foot of the Spanish Steps, while local designers can be found at Via del Governo Vecchio.
For a tempting array of local delicacies and gorgeous Italian cuisine, try the Via Cola di Rienzo, close to the Vatican, or the Testaccio district. Meanwhile, the market at Piazza Testaccio offers everything from quality shoes and bags to edible goodies.
Where to stay depends largely on your budget. Hotels range from the pricey Villa Spalletti Trivelli and the Portrait Suites (both around £313 per night) to more affordable options such as the Relais Palazzo Taverna or Parlamento (from around £65). Ideally you will want to be within the centro storico, and there are plenty of deals to be had so do look for online offers.
Whatever you choose to take in and sample within the Eternal City, you will undoubtedly want to go back for more, so take your time to relax and enjoy this vivacious and charming city.
What would you recommend seeing or doing in Rome? Leave your comments below...