Long the cradle of Western civilization, a place of Biblical importance and a center of the Renaissance, Italy's capital remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The walled enclave of the Vatican, located within Rome's borders, makes the city the center of the global Catholic Church. You could spend a lifetime immersing yourself in Rome's historical attractions, from the Coliseum to St. Peter's Basilica to the Spanish Steps.
But don't worry about your modern sensibilities going unfulfilled. Rome mixes past and present like no other city in Europe, making it an ideal destination for you and your private jet. From the chicest of bars and restaurants within sight of the city's historic ruins to modern shopping and state-of-the-art sports stadiums, Rome has something for everyone. After a day exploring, head out for a meal at one of the city's world-class restaurants followed by a night on the town - you won't be disappointed.
Must see: No one attraction defines Rome, simply because it's filled with ancient ruins and magnificent Classical architecture. Budget plenty of time for the historical city center, where the majority of the city's most famous ruins are located.
Lodging: The Inn at the Roman Forum - This luxury boutique hotel is located in the heart of Rome's old city, just steps away from the Roman Forum and the Coliseum. The inn's other major attraction is the Cryptoporticus, a small ruin of indeterminate purpose that is at least 2,000 years old.
Cuisine: Coda alla vaccinara, a kind of oxtail stew, is a traditional Roman dish served throughout the city. The meat is slow-cooked with celery, carrots, onions and a variety of spices and flavorings to yield a rich, often sweet-and-sour, stew.
Ground Transportation: The best way to see the city is either by walking - the city center is relatively small - or by bus. Many double-decker hop-on/hop-off buses operate in the city, and most provide commentary as they pass Rome's sights.
Packing Tips: Bring sturdy, comfortable shoes for walking, as that's the easiest way to get around the city center, and many of the streets are cobbled or otherwise uneven.
Recommended Books: The poet Virgil's epic Aeneid, composed between 29 and 19 BC, tells the mythic story of the founding of Rome nearly a millenium earlier by the Trojan warrior Aeneas. The poem was commissioned by Emperor Augustus and is considered to be one of the most important works of literature in the Western world.
Currency: The Euro is the local currency.
Calling Code Italy: 39
Best Travel Dates: There's not really a bad time to visit Rome, though summer, especially August (when many residents leave the city for vacation), tends to be crowded with tourists. Spring or fall may be less crowded.