Rome, the city of seven hills, has a mythical beginning: its twin brothers, raised by wolves and begotten by the gods of war, are said to have founded the Eternal City.
Italy's capital Rome is also known for a history that dates back to the times of Octavian, Julius Caesar and Hadrian. While historians are somewhat skeptical of this epic entry into the world, most travelers believe there is something magical about Rome. Whether it's history, architecture or pasta dishes that pile on top of it, Roma is charming.
Many holidaymakers focus on Rome's important past, but it is also a fast-paced city with plenty of shopping and dining options. Art lovers will enjoy the art collection of the Vatican Museums, gourmets will enjoy the restaurants, not to mention the ice creams.
The best time to visit Rome is when most of the tourist crowds have disappeared and room prices are low. From May to September, you can expect warmer weather, no crowds and no humidity. Average temperatures range from the mid-70s to the low 80s, but the weather can sometimes drop below freezing, so you need a warm coat.
If you need an invoice in a restaurant, you can always ask for it at the bar or in one of the many restaurants in the city, such as Piazza della Signoria.
But asking for a check does not necessarily mean you are on the road - life in Roma is slow, and if you are in Rome, you should do the same as the Romans, or at least try to speak a little Italian. Overwhelmed by the amount of sights and activities in the Italian capital, consider this guide a crash course.
Many of Rome's small churches contain beautiful treasures, and many are free to visit, but admission is reduced. The Vatican Museums are open all year round, while many state-run attractions, such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Pantheon, are free on the first Sunday of the month.
Tight jeans and fitted shirts are the norm for men and women on the street, and men wear immaculately cut suits. Trying to look like a resident can be difficult, especially if your own wardrobe is filled with high-end designer labels.
Rome's official currency is the Euro, but since the exchange rates vary between Euro and US Dollar, you can check the current exchange rate online here.
Most restaurants and shops accept credit cards, but not all accept debit cards or other payment methods such as PayPal or MasterCard.
The official language of Rome is Italian, but most tourists are confronted with institutions, hotels and attractions in English that can be spoken by people. It is therefore advisable to learn as much as possible about the history and culture of the city, as well as its culture and tourism history. Rome's trattorias, which have been preparing family recipes for generations, and fusion restaurants that embrace the latest culinary trends. Try Nonna Betta in Rome and don't miss the artichokes, so popular that they enjoy protected status in the European Union.
Cacio e Pepe is a simple pasta dish with pecorino romano and black pepper, originally from Rome. Roman pasta dishes, carbonara, are made with smoked pork cheeks and eggs, and cacio - e - pepe, a combination of both.
Coffee is an art in Rome, so try Caffe Sant'Eustachio, founded in 1938, or try one of the best espresso drinks. Rome is bursting with wine, although the region in which it is located, Piedmont, does not produce as much wine as other parts of Italy, such as Napa Valley. Taste a glass or two in a local wine bar, such as Piazza della Repubblica in the heart of Rome's historic center.
If you want to dine in a Michelin-rated restaurant, you have a whole range of options: La Pergola, housed in the luxurious Hotel Cavalieri in Rome, has three stars, while Il Pagliaccio, which serves traditional Italian dishes in a modern way, had two stars. Visitors can also try one of Rome's most popular restaurants, such as La Piazza della Repubblica in the heart of the city's historic center. If you have limited time to Rome and are interested in some culinary crash courses, sign up for a culinary tour.
Most tours include a tasting of a variety of local shops and restaurants, and popular providers include Eat Rome, the city's official restaurant chain, as well as restaurants such as La Pergola and Il Pagliaccio.
As always, visitors should use common sense when traveling and look out for pickpockets on public transportation and at busy attractions. The US State Department advises travelers to be on high alert as the number has increased in recent years, in part because of the high number of tourists.
Rome is best circumnavigated on foot, and since many of the best sights and streets are combined, a free walk is the most sensible. Places like the Vatican, however, are in central historic neighborhoods that require the use of subways and taxis. Take the 2,500-kilometre non-stop train from Rome's Termini station to St. Peter's Basilica.
If you need to bring a car to Rome, you should leave it in the city centre car park before entering the city limits. Otherwise, there is heavy traffic, impatient drivers and pedestrians, and in some places it is practically impossible to avoid. Buses are recommended, but they are also more expensive and less reliable than the metro or taxis, especially in areas with high traffic.
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