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Rome's Colosseum at night

Compare the best Rome city breaks

Rome is known as the 'Eternal City' and enjoys a uniquely iconic status among great European cities. With a perfect mix of metropolitan style and historical sites, it is a great place to visit at almost any time of year.

Why go?

Rome is the capital of Italy and, being almost in the centre of the peninsula, it a great place to use as a base to see the rest of the country....

There is also enough in the city, though, to make it a perfect place to visit in its own right. Whether you love food, history, art or sport, you can find something to thrill and delight you in Rome.

There are two and half millennia of history to explore for a start, along with some of the most thrilling and iconic architectural delights in Europe. The Coliseum is still an imposing and awe-inspiring stadium and it is easy to imagine it full of roaring crowds during the height of the Roman Empire. No Rome city breaks can ever be complete without a trip to see this monument.

Rome's original Forum, or town square, can also be visited and though much of it is ruins it is still an impressive sight. Other landmarks include the famous Trevi Fountain as well as the Spanish Steps and these really are sights that every visitor to Rome should make sure that they see. If touring all these historical locations makes you want some fresh air then you may want to see the park at the Villa Borghese. Rome's largest municipal park, this former vineyard contains several museums and monuments as well as having much green space.

For many people, the Vatican City will be a real highlight of their trip. There are a number of places where you can book tours of the Pope's home city. Most of these tours begin and end at St Peter's Basilica, which is another religious landmark which is well worth a visit.

Travelling further afield from the city, there are many delightful places to see. Umbria and Assisi can be reached either by car or public transport. If you want to visit the beach, then Ostia Lido and Pistia are ideal. Exploring Italy's rich culinary heritage is often best done in the delightful rural villages that you will find when driving into the countryside. Taking city breaks to Rome does not mean that you have to stay in the city all the time and getting away from the busy streets for a time can be refreshing and relaxing.

Rome is a great city to visit at any time of year, thanks to its climate and the sheer range of attractions that are on offer to visitors. Obviously, it is busier at times of high tourist activity, such as the months of high summer, but it is still a thrilling and interesting place, even when busy.

The best places to stay in Rome are in its plentiful city-centre hotels. That way, you can make the most of the good public-transport links to explore the city and enjoy what the local restaurants and bars can offer in terms of entertainment both during the day time and at night.

From Rome's Fiumicino Airport, hop aboard regular trains or use the Leonardo Express, which runs every 30 minutes and takes 35 minutes to reach the central Termini station. Ciampino Airport is connected to the city by a combined bus and train service, with journey times of five minutes for the bus and another 15 minutes for the train.

Bus services run from both airports, as do official taxis which can be found at the airport ranks and charge a fixed price to central destinations - make sure you know this figure and don't get overcharged.

Getting around is easy in Rome. Use public transport such as buses, the metro lines and trams. Look out for day, three-day and week passes if you're planning to do a lot of travelling.

Alternatively, get walking. Rome wasn't built in a day and the city is huge, but many central sights are easy to reach on foot. There's beauty on every corner in Rome, so walking is a great way to get around to really see the best of the Eternal City.

When to go?

Rome is great to visit at any time of the year and often has excellent weather in much of the winter months too...

Rome has a hot, dry, Mediterranean climate. Its mild, humid winters make it pleasant to visit at any time of year, although most people prefer the warm days of spring and autumn when the soft light is at its best on the stone and marble buildings. It is at its hottest in July and August, when temperatures can regularly reach highs of 30°C plus.

What's on?

As the home to the Vatican, there is always something on related to the church. Plus there are festivals and events all year round...

Important religious festivals are frequent and can shut the whole city down for several days.

The Festa di Santa Francesca Romana; March 9: This is an interesting festival devoted to a nun who could reportedly be simultaneously in several places at once. Italian car manufacturers made her their patron saint and motorists can get their vehicles blessed at her church on March 9 each year.

The Settimana della Cultura; Spring: Lovers of history and culture will enjoy the Settimana della Cultura. This is when museums and other state-owned properties and monuments open their doors to the public for free.

Gay Village celebration; late June to September: This 10-week celebration is one of Italy's most colourful. The venue and precise nature of the events are usually confirmed close to the festival's starting date.

The Festa de Noantril; July: This is, at least nominally, dedicated to the Madonna del Carmine, but in actual fact more closely resembles a celebration of the area's working-class origins. A fortnight of cultural events and celebrations usually concludes with a firework display.

Cinema Festa Internazionale di Roma; October: Rome is famous as a city with a rich heritage of cinema, and this festival, established in 2006, has helped to boost the Italian film industry.

What to do?

For some other great things to do, why not try some of our recommendations?

Romance: There are plenty of beautiful spots that are certain to get the romance flowing in Rome. The Spanish Steps are perfect for lovers in need of a break, while the gorgeous frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, particularly Michelangelo's, will have you craning your neck skywards while admiring the view hand in hand.

Free & cheap: For the cost of three coins (it doesn't matter how small) you can wish for luck at the wonderfully ornate Trevi Fountain.

Families: Bag cheap tickets to see the Colisseum if you have little ones in your party, plus anyone under 25 or those aged over 65. Even if you don't qualify for the European citizen discount, a ticket will only set you back the cost of a few drinks. It's well worth the entrance fee to see the iconic place where Roman gladiators went toe to toe to amuse the locals. Young imaginations can run wild in this historic landmark.

Active types: Rome is known as the City of the Seven Hills. Reaching some of the peaks can be quite the physical challenge, but views of the city skyline from the top are just rewards.

Shopping: The Piazza di Spagna, at the foot of the Spanish Steps, is always buzzing with label-hungry shoppers looking to stock up on designer accessories.