Often referred to as the Eternal City, Rome draws people in and captivates the imagination of visitors with a truly rich cultural and historical heritage. With this in mind, it is easy to see why more than 4 million visitors choose the capital of Italy as their travel destination every year. Indeed, Rome has something for everyone and whether you yearn for a romantic break, a new culinary experience or a cultural and historical adventure, this energetic city offers exciting opportunities at every turn.. Furthermore, with Alitalia now flying direct from Johannesburg to Rome, a short break to the Eternal City is within easy reach. Read on to discover what wonders you can experience in just a few days in beautiful Rome.

Romance in Rome

 With beautiful views, hidden cafes and stunning architecture, Rome is the perfect setting for a romantic break any time of the year. Take a stroll through Giardino degli Aranci, or Garden of Oranges. Stroll along sun-dappled walkways and breathe in the warm air fragranced with orange blossoms. Also known as Parco Savello, these tranquil gardens boast stunning views of the many domes, rooftops and monuments of Rome. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the romance of this peaceful park.

Head for Ponte Sant’Angelo, or the Bridge of Angels which crosses the river Tiber. This pedestrian bridge provides fantastic views of Castel Sant’Angelo by day or by night. Walk along it in the evening to enjoy the calm water, the reflecting lights and the romantic vibe. Perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy romance in Rome is over a fine meal. Rome has no shortage of romantic restaurants. Beautiful locations and fantastic views provide the perfect backdrop for your romantic evening together. Enjoy a delicious Italian meal and share fine wine with your loved one for special memories together.

Exciting Culinary Experiences

Mention food in Rome and many will think pizza, pasta and wine. But Rome has so much more to offer when it comes to culinary experiences. Hire bikes and take a culinary tour through the heart of the city, making stops to explore the many hidden cafes and restaurants that offer a true taste of Italy. When you need a rest, take a break and enjoy an espresso and a gelato. Take a pasta-making course and learn to make fresh fettuccine, ravioli, gnocchi and lasagne like a native. Finish it off with a lesson in making your own tiramisu. You’ll be sure to impress your friends and family when you return home with your new-found culinary skills.

Sample the beautifully fresh and local produce in one of Rome’s fine seafood restaurants. From squid to shrimp, cod to anchovies, there is always something new to try. With the ocean only thirty miles from Rome, it’s guaranteed to be fresh and full of flavour. Learn how to pair food and wine like an expert with a sommelier. Dinner parties will never be the same again when you discover the secrets from a professional. The best part of this experience is you get to taste it all for yourself.

Italy is famous for olive oil. In fact, this staple of any Italian diet has a long history and offers many health benefits. Italy has a wide variety of types of olive oil, each offering different characteristics due to the area where it is produced and the production methods. Sign up for an oil tasting experience in the country’s capital to discover why Italians are so proud of this special product.

Cultural and Historical Adventures 

Rome has a rich culture and wealth of history to be explored. In a short break or a long weekend, you can pack a lot in to absorb the heritage of the Eternal City. For most visitors to Rome, the Colosseum is top of their list for must-see sites. Finished in 80 AD, the Colosseum is amazingly well preserved and rewards visitors with a memorable experience. Step inside and imagine the gladiatorial combats and the games that took place within its ancient walls. The Roman Forum is a huge archaeological site that transports you back in time. Walk through the ruins with a guide and picture the citizens of Ancient Rome dressed in togas passing you as they take their sacrifices to the temples.

Piazza Navona is one of the most popular public spaces in Rome. If Baroque art is your thing, this is the place to be. Visit the Museo di Roma inside the Renaissance Palazzo Braschi. The fountains, sculptures and architecture in this busy piazza add to the lively atmosphere. Cross the Tiber river and step into Trastevere for a different flavour of Rome. This area of the city has a bohemian, hip vibe. Wander through the neighbourhood and explore the many boutiques that offer handicrafts, jewellery and perfumes. At night, hang out in one of the many buzzing bars that line the streets.

Immerse yourself in local culture by shopping at one of the many markets in Rome. Buying fresh fruit and vegetables at the ‘mercato’ is a way of life for most Romans and the produce is usually very high quality. Try the ever popular market at Campo de’Fiori which bustles with vendors and buyers every morning except Sunday.

Experience Rome for Yourself

With Rome now so accessible with frequent direct Alitalia flights from Johannesburg, planning a microadventure in this captivating city is easier than ever. A short break of three to five days allows visitors to soak up the atmosphere, experience the culture and enjoy the best Rome has to offer.

So if you are looking for a new travel experience in an exciting destination, make Rome top of your list. Come and learn new culinary skills, step back in time and live like a Roman, or enjoy a truly magical romantic experience. Whatever you yearn for on your next break, Rome is likely to exceed your expectations and leave you with memories that should last a long time after you leave.

Are you thinking about visiting Rome or Italy? Please do not hesitate to contact us and we can assist you with options and travel itineraries to help you plan for the occasion!

Mark Buck is the Managing Director of United Europe Travel Services (Pty) Ltd, an online and offline travel services company based in South Africa

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