The Eternal City isn't just a throwaway title – Rome's nickname was coined 3,000 years ago; testament to its genuinely universal appeal.
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.
Arriving at Rome Leonardo da Vinci International Airport
Flights from London City Airport go to Rome Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO – also known as Rome Fuimcino). The airport which has an easy direct train (the Leonardo Express) to Rome's central station, Termini. Tickets cost €14 (don't forget to stamp your ticket on the platform before you board!) and the journey takes around 35 minutes. As Rome's main transport hub, you'll find a network of metro and bus services leaving from Termini, so you should find it easy to get to your hotel in Rome from there.
You'll also find buses leaving for the city centre at the stops opposite arrival terminals 2 and 3. These have varying stop-points in the city, so choose the service that gets you closest to your accommodation. Most services leave every 30 minutes, and you can buy tickets on board.
If you'd prefer the no-fuss option of a taxi, Rome's official white taxis wait outside the terminal 1 and 3 arrival areas. Fares are a fixed €48 to the city centre, giving you the peace of mind of knowing exactly what the journey will cost.
You can hire a car in advance and collect it at the airport. Booking your car in advance will give you the best choice.
There'll be no mistaking the fact that you've arrived in amorous Italy when you spy the Kiss&Go area, which gives 15 minutes' parking time for anyone picking you up. If you've organised a pick-up through your hotel, this is the service they're likely to use.
Relatively modest from the outside, the interior of the Sistine Chapel is a complete assault on the eyes. There's so much going on here that you'll struggle to decide where to look first, but the ceiling by Michelangelo and frescos by other Italian renaissance greats, including Botticelli, are a good place to start.
Probably Rome's most famous landmark, the Colosseum is an absolute must-see for any visitor. Handily located near the crumbling Roman Forum ruins, this 2,000-year-old structure, which is the largest amphitheatre in the world, looms imposingly over the crowds craning to look up at it. If you want to see inside, expect to queue (unless you don’t mind paying an extra €18 to skip the line). Full price tickets cost €12, with concessions available.
If history and religion aren't necessarily your thing, Rome has a more modern ace up its sleeve to tempt you – fashion. Via Condotti is one of the city's most exclusive designer shopping streets, with Italian names such as Gucci and Prada lining the smart avenue. This entire area is a maze of criss-crossing boutique-lined streets, with some high-street favourites and vintage stores thrown in. A must for those who love to shop.
If you've energy to spare after shopping, head to the Spanish Steps, which sit at the end of Via Condotti. The 135 steps lead from the Piazza di Spagna at the bottom, to the Piazza Trinita dei Monti (complete with gleaming white church) at the top, and climbing them is something of a city tradition.
Throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain is possibly the most touristy thing to do in Rome, but there's something magical about the ritual all the same. This elegant fountain dominates the surprisingly small square that it sits on (Piazza di Trevi), and the surrounding streets are a rabbit warren of white and ochre buildings, pavement caves and traditional gelato parlours.