This is the quintessential European summer vacation we all dream of. Walking along cobblestone streets while eating melted ice cream may have been a COVID-induced fantasy for the past two and a half years, but now is the time to make those dreams come true.
Rome has long been considered an obligatory stop when booking a Euro trip, and for good reason. Renaissance architecture, the wealth of flavors of a taglio pizza and a glass of aperol spritz at sunset, it’s hard to stay away. It is therefore not surprising that according to World Data, Rome recorded 10.3 million tourists in 2019, placing the city in the top 100 of the most popular destinations in the world.
If you can’t wait to land in town and do this post-pandemic madness, we’ve compiled a list of where to eat, sleep and what to see in the Italian capital.
Where to stay
NH Collection Rome Fori Imperiali
Awarded as one of the Top 10 Hotels in Rome by the Condé Nast Readers Choice Awards, the NH Collection puts you in the middle of everything Rome has to offer. The Hotel Fori Imperiali was recently built and bathes in modern luxury, with a lounge bar, a roof terrace with bar and a concierge service.
Exuding charm and romance, this hotel is located on the edge of the historic site of the Imperial Forums. You can sip a drink at sunset while admiring the view of the ancient Roman ruins.
Prices for this hotel start at A$526 per night.
Set behind an unassuming facade, Hotel Maalot is a peaceful retreat to escape the hustle and bustle of the city after a long day. The hotel’s eclectic interiors feature modern artwork, vintage decor, and green draperies, illuminated by ornate chandeliers and skylights. The hotel was designed by the eminent design studio RPM and its creative interiors and architecture ensure a truly luxurious stay.
Boasting a five-star rating, this hotel is minutes from all of Rome’s must-sees on the list, including the Trevi Fountain and the Via Condotti shopping district. Relax in sumptuous interiors with top-notch 24-hour service and genuine Italian hospitality.
Prices for this hotel start at AUD 838 per night.
Where to eat
La Pergola has established itself as an unparalleled Italian dining experience, boasting a three-star Michelin rating. Acclaimed chef Heinz Beck leads the kitchen at La Pergola, promising a memorable experience for the palette, with options ranging from amberjack tartare with buttermilk sauce to tortellini stuffed with artichoke and truffle.
Wine lovers will be pampered by award-winning sommelier Marco Reitano. The drinks menu features some of the best vintages available, currently including a 1922 Château Lafite Rothschild and a 1945 Pétrus.
First opened in 1967, Colline Emiliane has cemented its legacy as one of Rome’s finest regional Italian cuisines. Every morning the dough is rolled out and the pasta is made by hand from selected raw materials.
With such an extensive menu, several dishes are a must. Why not start with meatballs in broth and continue with homemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta, spinach and buttered sage. To end the evening gently, a lemon meringue pie is offered or a classic chocolate cake.
Acquaroof Terrazza Molinari
Take a break from sightseeing and sip a cocktail while enjoying panoramic views of the city skyline from the rooftop of Terrazza Molinari, located inside the First Roma Arte hotel. The interior is decorated with contemporary artwork and upscale decor. Meanwhile, the menu is a selection of Mediterranean products and perfectly matched drinks.
What to do
Vespa sidecar tour
Grab your headsets and get ready for your movie time as you watch the Fontana Di Trevi, St. Peter’s Square and the Pantheon pass by. This Vespa tour will show you 12 of Rome’s most iconic sights from the comfort of a sidecar.
Expert drivers will put you in good hands and an audio tour will keep you informed of all the monuments you pass. The tour includes breakfast with a cappuccino and cornetto, for a real Italian treat.
This tour costs 277 Australian dollars per person.
Shopping district Via Condotti
Known as Rome’s hottest shopping district, Via Condotti is home to all the big names in luxury fashion. Choose from Prada, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton or a host of independent boutiques, all located on streets dating back to ancient Rome.
The historic district is located just minutes from the Spanish Steps so you can start shopping after a day of sightseeing.
Private Colosseum Tour
The grandeur of the Colosseum in Rome is one that must be seen to be believed. The site itself is the largest ancient amphitheater in the world and was originally built under Emperor Vespasian, built by teams of Roman builders, engineers, artists, painters and decorators.
This private tour of the Colosseum will take you on a guided tour, touching on the monument’s 3,000-year history. You will pass through the Colosseum itself, the Arena, the Roman Forum, the Imperial Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Pizza Venezia and Navona.
This private tour is priced at A$295.
Early access to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel
Beat the tourist crowds and enter the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel 1.5 hours before it opens to the public.
Home to the Pope, a cache of iconic art and architecture, Vatican City is the pinnacle of Italy’s rich history and culture. Entering the maze that is the Sistine Chapel is often a feat in itself, where queues can reach up to four hours during peak tourist season.
This tour will grant you early access so you can brush your elbows and twist your neck to soak up the work of Michelangelo, whose art spans the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel since he was commissioned in 1508 .
This tour is priced at AUD 93.55 per person.
If you’re looking for your next destination after Rome, check out our guide on how to spend 72 hours in Paris, or for something different, check out our tips for traveling to Japan.