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Rome

Updated: March 23, 2012 02:28 PM EDT
Two of Rome's many famous sites of antiquity: the Coliseum and Constantine's Arch. (photo courtesy of APT Roma) Two of Rome's many famous sites of antiquity: the Coliseum and Constantine's Arch. (photo courtesy of APT Roma)
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By Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince,

If Rome is the Eternal City, it is also a city with no end of ruins. It's impossible to see all of the temples and monuments from previous empires, try as you might, so begin with the Pantheon, the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica and see how far you get. But for the true flavor of Rome, make time to linger over a glass of Chianti wine. Visit its fountains in the moonlight. These experiences are as much a part of the city as the Roman Forum.

Things to Do

Rome boasts one grand tourist attraction after another, but the Roman Forum and its neighbor, the Colosseum, stay with you forever. True, most of these ancient archways, temples and aqueducts are little more than ruins, but the grandeur that was ancient Rome never fails to humble modern visitors. A very different but no less popular era of history resides within the Vatican City. Walk through the cool, imposing sanctuary of St. Peter's Basilica before admiring the masterpieces of the Vatican Museum.

Shopping

At the base of the Spanish Steps, Via Condotti is Rome's most fashionable address, and while it's possible to buy Gucci and Armani around the world, there's nothing like buying those exquisite handbags and suits in the city that originated them. For younger shoppers, Via Del Corso sells hip jeans and Italian soccer shirts near the Piazza del Popolo. If you're interested in buying Italian chocolates and wine -- and who isn't? -- you're in luck. Those items are sold throughout Rome.

Nightlife and Entertainment

After-hours entertainment doesn't get any lovelier -- or more romantic -- than wandering Rome's meandering streets after dark, when the Roman Forum, for instance, or the Trevi Fountain are bathed in moonlight. Rome has a thriving nightclub scene, but when in Rome why not do as the Romans and choose a table in a sidewalk café on the Piazza del Popolo or the Via Veneto. There locals talk long into the night over Campari or wine.

Restaurants and Dining

The Sapori del Lord Byron is romantic Italy at its finest. White lattice-work, bold colors and masses of cut flowers make this restaurant the place to pop the question, and the kitchen serves arguably the finest Italian cooking in Rome. Trattorie across Rome prepare traditional favorites like pasta and saltimbocca, but you can't beat a stop at a street market for a picnic of blood oranges, fresh bread and prosciutto. Then cap it off with a luscious gelato for dessert.

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