Rome

The Eternal City isn't just a throwaway title – Rome's nickname was coined 3,000 years ago; testament to its genuinely universal appeal.

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The city has more A-list attractions than most whole countries, but there's much to it than tourist hotspots – the pasta alone is worth the trip.

Getting active

Rome was famously built across seven hills, presenting plenty of opportunity for activity if you fancy a strenuous walk with extra-special views. From the Roman Forum you can climb Palatine Hill, the most central, which boasts some impressive ancient Roman ruins of its own. From there you can see nearby Capitoline Hill, which is famous for its elegant palaces, which now house important collections of art and architecture.

If you want to get higher than Rome's seven hills will allow, Gianicolo Hill offers the highest peak, and the most incredible views across the rooftops of the Centro Storico, Vatican City and Trastevere.

Excursions

Vatican City

You don't have to go far to visit this separate city-state, but it does have a decidedly different feel from Rome – and plenty to fill a morning or afternoon. Tick off St Peter's Square and its domed basilica, the Vatican museums stuffed with Renaissance treasures, the incredible Sistine Chapel, the sombre necropolis, and the Pope's palace. You can even take a guided tour of the gardens.

Tivoli

Tivoli sits around 20 miles (33km) from Rome and provides a refreshing breather from the city crowds. Its collection of beautiful villas and their romantic gardens are the main attraction, but you can also see fountains, castles and temples as you explore.

Orvieto

This clifftop medieval town can be reached by train from Rome Termini in an hour and 15 minutes. Its gothic cathedral is the most photo-worthy landmark, thanks to its colourful frescos, but the historic underground caves also make an interesting break from the elements.