It’s hard to say what you’ll find most breathtaking about the Eternal City – the arrogant opulence of the Vatican, the timelessness of the Forum, the top speed of a Fiat Bambino, the gory resonance of the Colosseum, trying to cross a major intersection, or the bill for your caffe latte.
With over two thousand years of history crammed into its ‘Centro Storico’ Rome is full of contrasts – on one hand renowned for its wealth of art and architecture, on the other a thriving modern capital with a unique and vibrant contemporary ambiance.
The main tourist season starts at Easter and runs until October; peak periods are in spring and autumn, when the tour buses pour in and tourists are herded around like cattle. Numerous outdoor festivals and concerts and the fact that Romans desert the city for the beaches and mountains, which means very light traffic and a less-crowded city centre, makes summer almost worth the heat. If you do visit in summer, try to hit the sights early, take a long lunch and a nap, and then head out again around 18:00 to take advantage of the cooler evening. Be aware some restaurants and shops close for the month of August.