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Thursday, May 4, 2006
Describing Rome is almost impossible. It's 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 every day sayings — "Rome wasn't built in a day", "When in Rome do as the Romans do", "All roads lead to Rome" — and of course, spelt backwards it is "amor", meaning "love". The seven hills surrounding Rome have been continuously inhabited for more than 3000 years.

Romans enjoy long weekends, starting on Saturday afternoon and lasting until Monday afternoon. Most shops are closed during that period, and visitors need to fit in with the flow and rhythm of the locals.

Nowhere else will you experience such a density of amazing things. There are as many as 913 churches, many housing superb art, museums, monuments, theatres, fountains, baths, plus the magnificent Pantheon, a 27BC Marcus Agrippa temple and, in Piazza Navona, the baroque masterpiece of the 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 virtually every corner there is a treasure to behold. Early Romans preserved much of the Greek culture and blended it with their own traditions. Their military conquests took an empire to Rome which surpassed even that of Alexander the Great, and while not the first great empire, for almost a thousand years all roads did lead to Rome and from a small village on the Tiber River it grew to the greatest empire the world has ever known and left behind a rich legacy for all who followed.

It is a city of high fashion and the 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 all that 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!


Paris, the capital of France

For further information

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

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