ROME: Cheap Hotels in Rome
The ‘Eternal City’, capital of the Roman Empire, and Catholic Church HQ has stood the test of time and, although a shadow of its former great self, it is still sublime and boasts many fine hotels right in the center of the action and near Vatican City.
Thousands of years of history and some of the most jaw-dropping landmarks in the world set Rome apart from most places. This living museum has such iconic structures as the Colosseum, Pantheon, and the Vatican, as well as retaining the romance of a small town even amid its downtown. The world’s greatest empire certainly left its mark and it is ready to be explored, thankfully minus the risk of being thrown into the path of a pack of hungry lions in the arena!
The Colosseum in the ancient Colosseo district is the highlight for many. Still standing, though minus the temporary floor that was used for the gory gladiatorial battles, it continues to evoke amazement and wonderment to whomever enters. Nearby are the remains of the once all-powerful Roman Forum, too, while another of the ancient reminders is the intact Pantheon. Visitors can also easily walk to the Trevi Fountain and the spectacular Spanish Steps from here. Vatican City—the state within a city—should also be high on the sightseer’s agenda. Get there by Metro.
The nightlife is a bit staid for a major European city, but there are places for fun, including the Ostiense and Testaccio areas. There are several prominent theaters, though most acts are typically in Italian—the Auditorium, near the river and old town, is best. Food is king anywhere in Italy and none more so than in its capital. There are pizzerias and cafés everywhere, the latter often featuring a bar and good for an evening’s entertainment. Head around the Pantheon, such as to Piazza Navona, for excellent choices.
High fashion is most apparent in Rome, along with art and jewelry, though it is mostly boutiques and smaller shops in the downtown area, with larger stores and malls in the suburbs. Rome is especially into its designer labels, with expensive and glitzy places all along Via del Corso, the main shopping street in town that passes near the Trevi Fountain. Also be sure to take in vias Condotti, Borgognona, and Frattina. Arts, crafts, and antiques are best had at the markets, including at Campo de’ Fiori.
With a car, you can get out to the Catacombs to the southwest of downtown—beyond which are golf courses—or to ancient Frascati near the Parco Regionale dei Castelli Romani for its wine and slow pace. The ancient port of Ostia Antica is just 30 minutes toward the coast and reveals its stark ruins, although a trip to Mount Vesuvius and the burnt out town of Pompeii is a real treat, a two-hour, 30-minute trip to the south. Visitors can also access the glorious Tuscany countryside from the capital.
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