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When in Rome: What to do in the Eternal City

18 MARCH 2013

Rome is one of the most romantic and oldest cities in the whole of Europe. In 2012 alone, it was the setting for two fairytale celebrity weddings, those of Cat Deeley to comedian Patrick Kielty and Nick Knowles' to Jessica Rose.

And with the announcement of the new Pope Francis this week, the third most visited city in Europe is on the radar more than ever.

HELLO! Online brings you the top five not-to-be missed locations for those discovering the Italian capital.

The Colosseum

A majestic presence, never more impressive than when illuminated at night, the Colosseum is the city’s most popular tourist attraction. The best way to discover its history is with a VIP tour, available from walksofitaly.com. This gives access to the underground, top tier and arena floor, usually closed to other tourists and away from the big crowds. The special tour also offers a guide through the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

 

Colosseum Rome

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Vatican City

After climbing 320 steps to reach the Dome of St. Peter Basilica, travellers will understand why this is an obligatory stop. From the top, 448.1 ft from the floor of the basilica, you can see the whole of Rome, making it an unforgettable view.

Inside the walls of the Vatican, which is the smallest independent state in the world, you will find the Vatican Museum, filled with countless works of art and considered one of the greatest museums in the world. You can also discover the Sistine Chapel, famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo and Sandro Botticelli.

 

Vatican City



Aventine Hill

Once outside of the Vatican walls, visitors should visit Aventine Hill for another spectacular view.

At the top of the hill, the small and charming Piazza of the Knights of Malta features a wooden door that blocks the entrance to the Priory of the Knights of Malta. A look through the keyhole reveals the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, stunningly framed by the arched bushes inside the garden.

It is also here that you can see through three different countries: you will be standing on the independent territory of the Sovereign of the Knights of Malta, looking through Rome and straight at St Peter's Dome, which is inside the Vatican.

 

Order of Malta



Trevi Fountain

Almost an Italian celebrity in its own right after providing a backdrop for numerous films, including Roman Holiday, this famous and breathtaking monument nearly fills up the entire Piazza di Trevi. The fountain, which features a statue of Neptune, God of the sea , took 30 years to build.

While here, take time to toss a coin into the fountain. According to legend, if you throw one coin, you will be guaranteed a trip back to the city, a second coin leads to a new romance, and a third coin leads to marriage.

 

Trevi Fountain



Villa Borghese

Whether it's by foot or bicycle, spend a day in Rome's large landscape garden. One of its biggest attractions is the Galleria Borghese, which houses works of art by Bernini. Make the most of the Italian sunshine by enjoying an afternoon picnic or gelato while you're here.

 

Galleria Borghese



Where to stay

The St Regis Grand Rome is located in the heart of Rome, within walking distance of many historic sites including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Via Veneto. The 24-hour butler service available here will make this a five-star holiday.

Budget-conscious travellers would do well to choose Maison de Julie. Located near the central Piazza Venezia, it is just ten minutes walking distance from Piazza Spagna. Find the best places to stay with Hostelbookers.com.

Where to eat

Rome is a top gourmet destination. Don't go home without tasting the mouthwatering Pizzas from Sforno. To get there, take the Metro A to Subaugusta, the pizzeria is a five-minute walk from the station. For a delicious Risotto go to Hostaria Costanza, located on the Piazza del Paradiso. But remember to leave some space for an ice cream, or gelato in Italian. Giolitti, the oldest ice cream parlour in Rome can be found near the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.

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