Rome overview

The hub of ancient empire is also one of Europe's greatest living cities

Rome overview Fontana del Moro at Piazza Navona, Rome - © iStockphoto.com/Hedda Gjerpen
By Anne Hanley

Romans are great moaners: they moan if their streets are full of holes and if their route is blocked by road works; they moan if their administration is complacent and if weekends and summer months are log-jammed with crowd-drawing, city-sponsored events; they moan if the glorious palazzi that adorn their city fall into disrepair, but inevitably find any fresh lick of paint to be the wrong colour.

To listen to them, you'd think that your chosen holiday destination was beyond redemption. But this incorrigible complaining is a foil. In actual fact, Romans share an unbounded passion for their city.

History has left them much to be proud of. First of all, there are the vestiges of 500 years as caput mundi, hub of the ancient world's greatest empire. Considering the ravages that followed the fall of the Roman Empire – brought about by barbarian marauders, by the passage of time and by Romans themselves, on the look-out for handy building materials in times of hardship – it's a miracle that anything remains, let alone monuments of the magnificence of the Colosseum or the Pantheon.

Then, there is the heritage of the great popes of the Renaissance and Baroque. We've concentrated on their antics in particular. Sybaritic and nepotistic, arrogant and irascible, grasping and corrupt – these towering figures endowed Rome with an artistic and architectural wealth that few cities can match. Their motives were far from pure. Much of the papal treasure trove was subsequently carted off, by imperial troops after the devastating Sack of Rome in 1527 and by Napoleonic troops when that imperious Frenchman swept into this metropolis almost 14 centuries after the fall of the earlier Empire. But despite this, today we're still left gasping in awe in front of what remains of the fruits of papal mismanagement.

Romans grow up in the midst of this. Little wonder, then, that they develop an innate sense of their city's superiority. When city luminaries announce year-on-year growth in tourist arrivals, they do so not so much in triumph, but rather bemused that anyone would not want to visit. In past decades, this self-satisfaction led to a complacency that meant that visitors were expected to accept the city, warts and all... even without the traditional Roman steam-letting activity of moaning about its drawbacks.

These days, however, the Rome of the visitor is a far more streamlined affair, with long-running museums polished up and a swathe of new ones to keep the most demanding of frequent visitors happy.

Not that these latter would find themselves at a loose end anyway. There's something about Rome that gets under the skin of some people, enticing them back again and again, whatever its drawbacks. As they will tell you, there's always something to be discovered, and, above all, always something to sit and observe in this marvellous city where contemporary life weaves itself so effortlessly and beguilingly into the magnificent historical backdrop.

In fact, the only thing that might disturb them is that Rome is now trying a little too hard. It's laudable, certainly, that city hall is striving to iron out some of the Eternal City's eternal chaos. If they manage to make the traffic run smoothly, to provide a public transit system suitable for three million people, to cut red tape and bureaucratic headaches, then our hearty congratulations to them. But what sets Rome apart and gives it its unique charm is its eccentricity, its crankiness and, of course, its ramshackle loveliness. Is there a danger that in a headlong rush towards modernity, Rome will cancel its own unique identity? We hope not. We draw comfort from the fact that Rome wasn't built – and nor will it be redeveloped – in a day.

Explore Rome

Share your thoughts

  • or log in into My Time Out
  • *
  • *
* Mandatory fields for leaving a comment

Comments

By ltj8hrox8s7 - Jan 31 2014

歌曲国内旅行帆水玉模様届ける呼び出す相合傘泣かされる入口序に蓄膿症純粋培養仲がよい遠泳ダラダラうまい力任せに痣山登ウクライナ何でもいい巡り合う数匹数カ月圧、項垂れるオヤジ赤木独身貴族撫子除雪車圧制むしゃくしゃリーディング戯事誘引草紙女心と秋の空天理内宮疑心暗鬼妬ける勝ち馬断念先生方速読平常心三日月関白大師堂徳沢争覇不一歳児無力ジャーナルテイ延伸即効うつつを抜かす進んで緑黄色燦々車両学院外遊猪口借地浦和大葉埋め込む逃げ道野菜を作る理工掟、

http://www.kulan.net/bild/shoe/jpbalance=salasp-p30.html ニューバランス mr1040
http://www.kulan.net/bild/shoe/jpbalance=salasp-p35.html ニューバランス kids
http://www.kulan.net/bild/shoe/jpbalance=salasp-p32.html new balance 定番

Report
By outletkmxxu - Nov 25 2013

http://www.cariboupolice.org/wp-links.php - louis vuitton bags for sale metrhods http://acc2.acc.gov.kh/images/shopping.html - hermes bag mullica <a href=http://acc2.acc.gov.kh/images/sale.html>gucci on sale</a> brett's http://www.blackaces.co.za/imageEdit.cfm gucci outlet usa macintoshs http://acc2.acc.gov.kh/images/help.html louis vuitton outlet illlustrates

Report
By outletyktvq - Nov 24 2013

http://www.cariboupolice.org/wp-links.php - louis vuitton handbags for sale araw http://www.blackaces.co.za/imageEdit.cfm gucci usa online shop dran <a href=http://www.blackaces.co.za/imageEdit.cfm>gucci outlet</a> cwpbh http://www.cariboupolice.org/wp-edit.php gucci usa cushaw http://acc2.acc.gov.kh/images/shopping.html hermes bags outlet anangpal

Report
By aouzieio - Nov 2 2013

It can be challenging to location a fake Fendi bag but with this knowledge, it ought to develop into a good deal easier. Would you like a little something lower-crucial or would you fairly opt for designer encouraged handbags wholesale? <a href="http://www.floridakeysdragonboat.com/%E3%83%9F%E3%83%A5%E3%82%A6%E3%83%9F%E3%83%A5%E3%82%A6%E8%B2%A1%E5%B8%83-c-6.html">ミュウミュウ財布 公式</a> A excellent put to begin at is the stores that offer in wholesale handbags New York and wholesale scarves New York. A number of style brand names like Burberry, Gucci, Hollister, Louis Vuitton and Prada supply designer tote luggage.

Report
By suwdonuo - Nov 1 2013

Think about it for a minute, why are these handbags so well-liked? The Most Aggressive Price ranges - In a current market the position opponents is the byword for achievement, fees could be bargained for finding the absolute best offer. <a href="http://www.floridakeysdragonboat.com/%E3%83%97%E3%83%A9%E3%83%80%E8%B2%A1%E5%B8%83-c-17.html">プラダ財布 新作2013</a> Most obvious amid the fashion purses are manner designer types. Camera luggage need the final protection of your devices, even though making it possible for you to acquire that speedy snap without having loosing a moment's possibility.

Report
By lyamgbxe - Oct 31 2013

All Everki camera bag have been created to consider this in every facet of their design and style, combing security with design. We will know about how to offer and project your item in the succeeding texts. <a href="http://www.monsoonservicesinc.com/%E3%82%AF%E3%83%AD%E3%82%A8%E3%83%90%E3%83%83%E3%82%B0-c-23.html">クロエ バッグ 新作2013</a> But attempt to look at a web page or retail outlet specializing in briefcase for women and you may see how fashionable they are. There is practically nothing else that can get them emotion dropped quicker than leaving property with out a person.

Report
By hzavptyb - Oct 25 2013

There are a lot of not-so-perfectly-regarded manufacturer names that can be lovely, elegant and really practical. Take a look at Macy's on the web or your regional Macy's department retail store for availability. <a href="http://www.monsoonservicesinc.com/%E3%83%97%E3%83%A9%E3%83%80%E3%83%90%E3%83%83%E3%82%B0-c-16.html">prada バッグ 買取</a> There are a good deal of not-so-effectively-regarded brand names that can be beautiful, fashionable and fairly practical. This is one particular of the most popular way to enable the individuals know that you have a handbag small business.

Report
By FFhQDpWiJN - Oct 17 2013

http://clinicaltrialsgps.com/anx/#29473 drug test for xanax how long - xanax side effects for pregnancy

Report
By Suttonlsg - Oct 14 2013

wlhkrqtff <a href=http://www.boxingontario.com/web_pages/OaklandRaiders.php>20# Darren McFadden jersey</a> rdabekq <a href=http://www.laramie.com/flipkey/properties/coach_p2.html>coach outlet</a> jgnzglslko <a href=http://www.mljadoptions.com/css/.php/toms_p1.html>toms sale</a> nkyixhje <a href=http://fltconnections.com/weather/PhiladelphiaEagles.php>http://fltconnections.com/weather/PhiladelphiaEagles.php</a> tduuwknsp.

Report
By Suttonygg - Aug 20 2013

paaqpggin <strong><a href="http://www.tcbrmls.com>ray ban</a></strong> hvnovyx <strong><a href="http://www.shermanhealth.com/content/cl_p2.html>Christian Louboutin Outlet</a></strong> vnphyswdcz <strong><a href="http://www.unisoninteractive.com.au/anda/lv_p1.html>louis vuitton</a></strong> pzhlxbbl <strong><a href="http://shop.ghdstraightenerks.com/>ghd</a></strong> tzfdveczd.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By superman - Jun 10 2013

Rome is steeped in history therefore there are many things to do and to be visited in the eternal city. Rome is perfect for a romantic getaway, a weekend break or a trip.....Historic, modern, traditional Rome is several cities in one, hosts nearly 4 million people and is only 30 km away from the seaside (Ostia). The nice seaside town of Ostia has one of the world's longest seafront full of bathing establishments. Most of them are payable for the entrance but some are free so you will only pay for the beach umbrella, chairs if you really require them but don't forget towels since they don't sell those.
Roma has got several churches museums to explore so one certainly won't be bored. Rome has also a vibrant night life with a huge bid of shows, events, gigs and for one's late hight fun there are restaurant, pubs, discos....
Rome deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Report
By nargaimamiKip - Mar 29 2013

The key reasons why all people are absolute wrong about longchamp and consequently reasons why you really should check out this review. <a href="http://growth-management.alachua.fl.us/comprehensive_planning/gucci.html">バック</a> Creative queries about gucci answered in addition to the reasons you should definitely look into every single concept of this specific report. <a href="http://growth-management.alachua.fl.us/comprehensive_planning/saclongchamp.php">Sac longchamp soldes</a>

KubMkyWtgNso <a href="http://running-nike0.seesaa.net/">nike ランニング</a>GmpGhuUtgOum <>url=http://free-nike-nikeo.seesaa.net/]ナイキ フリーNtkIrpHvdQfa <a href="http://xn--nike-ul4c5c5fyqb.seesaa.net/">スニーカーナイキ</a>ExmPlgYijDon <a href="http://nikejapan0.seesaa.net/">スニーカーナイキ</a>IfsVdfCbiZph <a href="http://nikesneakersjp.seesaa.net/">スニーカー nike</a>JcmBqwNgxAot <a href="http://nikegolf00.seesaa.net/">ナイキ</a>JdvOdgUzzEwq <a href="http://nikeshoes00.seesaa.net/">ナイキシューズ</a>RorYlmPmkDhd <a href="http://sneaker-adidas-jp.seesaa.net/">スニーカー アディダス</a>WklCkvKqoRyn

Report
By icons set - Sep 24 2012

I am final, I am sorry, would like to offer other decision.

<a href="http://www.hpixel.com/">hpixel</a>

Report
By Graeme - Feb 20 2012

http;//www.adventuretravelshop.co.uk I'll be in Rome this Easter with my 12 year old son and his beautiful Italian mum. I can't wait - I'm a very lucky man! Thanks for all this info.

Report
By marco - May 14 2010

Ciao and welcome,
I loved the austerity and objective way of describing rome from an obviouse foreigner in love point of view.
Louise you are so right about romans and rome itself.
Me being roman from birth and who has lived a few years of his life abroad couldn t stop enjoying every trustfull word from luoise.
Well i see rome with different eyes since i came back to live in rome, Louise's eyes now i would say

THNK you Louise and thanks to all the beloved people who come and visit this amzing city, about Romans, well.....you guys tell me what you think once u have been here.
Marco

Report