Most people’s idea of Rome involves a mixture of mythology, romance and historical fact. From the fantastical stories of its founders, Romulus and Remus, raised by wolves on the shores of the Tiber, to the spectacular presence of the Colosseum and the Pantheon, Rome stirs the imagination of all who visit. Long at the forefront of world and European culture, art and politics – does Rome’s heritage still hold the same appeal for modern travellers?
Rome’s extravagant imperial past is on show throughout the city – and attractions like the Colosseum reveal spectacular feats of engineering. Visitors can explore ‘behind the scenes’ of the huge amphitheatre and see exactly how thousands of Rome’s citizens were entertained by bouts of gladiatorial combat. Alongside the Colosseum, remnants of the Empire remain beautifully preserved amongst the hustle and bustle of the modern world. You’ll spot eye-catching landmarks, like the Arch of Titus on Via Sacra, the statue of Emperor Augustus on Via del Fori Imperiali or The Forum, the political and commercial heart of the ancient city, sharing a skyline with a bustling urban environment.
The city’s fame isn’t limited to its history – as Rome grew, it won a reputation as one of the greatest cultural and commercial centres in Europe. Rome’s streets are lined with Europe’s biggest names: Bulgari, Fendi, Prada and Chanel all have luxury boutiques in the city – and many of the greatest designers in the world use it as their headquarters. Shopping spots include the historic Spanish Steps, Via Borgognona and Via Frattina – where a metropolitan atmosphere mixes cutting-edge style with the historically laid-back Italian lifestyle.
The cultural heritage of Rome is proud: the city bursts with art and architecture dating from the ancient world, through to the Baroque, Renaissance and Modern periods. Contemporary artistic movements include a healthy cinema industry, and include the Cinecittà Studios, which produces hundreds of feature films and television shows each year.
No city would be complete without a thriving food scene – and Rome is no exception, with dining options ranging from quiet sidewalk cafes to stylish restaurants. Discovering the food and drink of the city represents another chance to look back in time – as traditional dishes, perfected over centuries, mix with the latest creations of some of the most talented chefs in the world. Don’t miss local pasta specialities, such as the famous ‘Alfredo’. Modern delicacies also vie for space on menus: espresso coffees, delicious baked fresh-baked breads and mouth-watering cheesecakes contribute to a vast culinary experience and ensure that when you’ve finished your explorations of this fascinating city – you still have plenty to look forward to!
If you would like to find out more about Rome, why not have a look at Titan Travel’s blog post on Rome and Italy in 2013?