Rome, known as the Eternal City, is a sprawling city with many different districts and more than 2.7 million residents. It is the capital of Italy and is best known for its ancient Roman architecture and the Vatican City.
Rome is located on the River Tiber and has been an important centre for more than 2,500 years. It was the centre of the Roman Empire and had massive influence across Europe in the past. Under papal rule in the Middle Ages it became one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance when St Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel were built. They were worked on by some of the finest artisans of that era including Michelangelo, Bernini and Raphael. Today Rome is a modern-day centre for arts and education and a centre of pilgrimage in the Roman Catholic Church.
The historic centre of Ancient Rome is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes the sites of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Markets of Trajan and the Pantheon. The more modern centre of the city has shopping, hotels and restaurants along the famous Via Veneto. It is home to the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Quirinale Palace and the Borghese Gardens as well as many museums and art galleries.
The most visited district of Rome, with over 4.2 million visitors each year, is the Vatican. St Peter's Square, the Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums are endless treasure troves of relics and priceless artworks and there are long lines to go in.
Rome is almost a year-round destination with mild winters and hot summers. The time to avoid visiting Rome is in August when the temperature peaks and even the locals shut up shop and head for the coast. Rome has two main international airports: the Leonardo da Vinci Airport, with train connections to the city, and the Ciampino International Airport to the southeast of the city which is the hub of many budget airlines. There are buses from Ciampino direct to the city centre and also connections to the metro. Getting around Rome is best done on foot, by taxi or using public transport as the roads are notoriously busy and chaotic.