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May 2018

5 Top Travel Tips on... The Best of Rome

Our veteran Europe expert, EU Holidays Tour Manager Gary Teo 

1. Best sightseeing?

I so love looking at this city – Rome has an incredible variety of architecture styles from different periods of history. My top sights include the ancient Colosseum, the iconic Trevi Fountain – the largest Baroque fountain in the city, and Vatican City, which includes St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums, as well as gorgeous gardens that date back to medieval times. At the Colosseum, I highly recommend the guided tour with virtual reality experience. This brings alive Ancient Rome right before your eyes with incredible 3D historical reconstructions and re-enactments , including the roar of a lion and gladiator in combat!

2. Best shopping?

Piazza Navona is a beautiful square dating from the 1st century, and now a trendy haven of boutiques, pavement cafés and restaurants. You’ll find chic local Italian designs next to international labels, as well as vintage fashion and quirky accessories.

The colourful Ponte Milvio antiques market operates every first and second Sunday of the month. Stalls are set up under the trees along the banks of the Tevere (Tiber) River, offering everything from furniture, jewellery and porcelain, to vintage movie posters, postcards and toys.
And leave time to visit the Castel Romano Designer Outlet, located just south of Rome, for discounted fashion by Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, Burberry and Calvin Klein.

3. Best dining?

Some of my favourite Roman dishes include saltimbocca alla Romana (veal wrapped with prosciutto and sage), coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew), and supplì al telefono (fried rice and mozzarella balls). Of course you can’t visit Italy without sampling gelato! With gelateria (ice-cream shops) seemingly located on nearly every street corner, you’ll be spoilt for choice of flavours. Try traditional flavours, such as chocolate truffle and seasonal fruits, or go for something more unusual, such as dark sesame with orange. All are equally yummy!

For fine dining, I look for restaurants popular with the locals, such as the one-Michelin-starred AROMA at the Palazzo Manfredi Hotel with its commanding views of the Colosseum, or Imàgo – also one-Michelin-starred – near the Spanish Steps.

For an amazing variety of local snacks, pastries, cheese, prosciutto and many other traditional goodies, head to the lively Testaccio Market (open Mon–Sat, from early till 3pm).

4. Best way to explore?

Rent a bicycle and ride along the banks of Tevere River. Or walk from the Trevi Fountain to the Pantheon, then cycle along the Via del Corso - the main street of historical Rome - to Piazza Navona. I enjoy passing by the many beautiful fountains, which I have been providing drinking water to thirsty travellers since ancient times. The compact city centre is easy to access by foot or bike. Do stay alert for pickpockets if you decide to take public transport. 

5. Best time to visit?

Rome is a fantastic destination to visit most of the year, but maybe try to avoid July and August when summer temperatures can reach 40°C or more. The heat and peak season crowds can make it quite tough to get around.

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