Once it ruled the Western World, and even the partial, scattered ruins of that awesome empire, of which Rome was the capital, are today among the most overpowering sights on earth. To walk the Roman Forum, to view the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Appian Way—these are among the most memorable, instructive, and illuminating experiences in all of travel. To see evidence of a once-great civilization that no longer exists is a humbling experience that everyone should have.
Thrilling, too, are the sights of Christian Rome, which speak to the long and complex domination by this city of one of the world’s major religions. As a visitor to Rome, you will be constantly reminded of this extraordinary history.
But it’s important to remember that Rome is not just a place of the past, but one that lives and breathes and buzzes with Vespas in the here and now. So take the time to get away from the tourist hordes to explore the intimate piazzas and lesser basilicas in the backstreets of Trastevere and the centro storico. Indulge in eno-gastronomic pursuits and stuff your days with cappuccinos, pizza, trattorias, wine bars, and gelato. Have a picnic in Villa Borghese, take a vigorous walk along the Gianicolo, or nap in the grass against a fallen granite column at the Baths of Caracalla. Rome is so compact, that without even planning too much, you’ll end up enjoying both its monuments and its simpler pleasures.
Walk the streets of Rome, and the city will be yours.