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Thursday, October 6, 2005

Describing Rome is almost impossible. It's virtually all been said, and it is the rare individual who visits there and fails to immediately fall in love with it. Known as the Eternal City, it has been responsible for plenty of everyday sayings — "Rome wasn't built in a day"; "When in Rome do as the Romans do"; "All roads lead to Rome"; and, and of course, spelt backwards Roma is "amor", meaning love. The seven hills surrounding Rome have been continuously inhabited for more than 3000 years.

Romans enjoy weekends which start on Saturday afternoon and last until Monday afternoon. Most shops open between 9am-1pm and then from 4pm-7.30pm. The middle of the day is used for eating and relaxing, and visitors should follow the tradition.

In few other places will you experience such a density of amazing sights. There are a total of 913 churches, many housing superb art, museums, monuments, theatres, fountains, baths, the magnificent Pantheon, a 27BC Marcus Agrippa temple and in Piazza Navona, the baroque masterpiece of Fountain of the Four Rivers. There are examples of Etruscan, Christian, Renaissance, Baroque and Medieval to keep your interest running.

Rome is breathtakingly ancient and as you turn almost every corner there is a treasure to behold. Early Romans preserved much of the Greek culture and blended it with their own traditions. For almost a thousand years all roads did lead to Rome and from a small village on the Tiber River it grew into the greatest empire the world has ever known and left behind a rich legacy.

A day in Rome begins with breakfast, usually a small pastry and cappuccino taken at a café counter. Tourists are the only ones who take the time to sit at tables and chairs and, for this luxury, expect to pay more! Lunch is very important, and it is a time for pasta, meat, salad, bread, fruit and wine, followed by an afternoon siesta. This tradition is slowly changing and dinner is becoming the important meal of the day.

It is a city of high fashion, and locals' favourite pastime is passagiatta, strolling along the streets just looking at other people and in shop windows. They tend to follow one another in trend wearing variations on a theme. Via Condotti runs through Rome and is a vein of quality fashion houses.

To have access to everything this marvellous city has to offer, it's a good idea to stay close to its centre, particularly so you can scurry back to your room for an afternoon nap or swim — or just to drop off your shopping!

The Hotel Regno is moderately priced, at the same time being charming and sophisticated and having some history of its own to share. It was part of a 16th century building which was the library of the Kingdom of Italy and its owners' refurbishment has maintained its historic beauty.

Its location is perfect — right on the Via del Corso, walking distance from the Spanish Steps, Trevi, the Pantheon and Colosseum, fine dining and great shopping.


The capital of Italy


Hotel Regno rooms start at around $222 a night.

CIT Travel has accommodation in Rome from two to give stars starting at $118 a couple a night.

Flight Centre has return economy airfares to Rome valid for sale until October 31, 2005. Taxes are included and conditions apply.

Valid for travel:
Brisbane/Sydney: October 1-November 11, 2005
January 16-March 31, 2006
Melbourne: October 1-November 11, 2005
January 16-March 31, 2006
Perth/Adelaide: October 4-December 4, 2005
  • Sydney $1545
  • Brisbane $1565
  • Melbourne $1622
  • Perth $1690
  • Adelaide $1699
    To book a flight call Flight Centre 131 600

    Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

    More information

    CIT World Travel Group
    Ph: (02) 9267 1255

    Italian Government Tourist Office
    Ph: (02) 9262 1666
    Fax: (02) 9262 1677
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