The best way to see as much of Rome as possible is on an organised tour, taking in the major attractions like St. Peter's Square, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Give yourself time to explore the shopping districts, visit the many museums and galleries and sample the sidewalk cafés.
Like many Mediterranean cities, Rome has varying trading hours. Apart from the large downtown stores, most shops close from 1pm to 3:30pm. The larger supermarkets are open all day, many on Sundays as well. There are districts containing 'shopping streets' which concentrate on particular retail sectors. For example, Via dei Condotti is one of the best streets for high fashion, the Via Borgognona does clothes, shoes and leather products, the Via Margutta focuses on antiques & restaurants and the Via dei Coronari is about art & antiques. For something less upmarket, the Porta Portese is one of Europe's famous flea markets and open every Sunday of the month. There's nothing you won't find here.
Although the region's cuisine is unpretentious, Rome's restaurants compare favourably with those of the other major cities. Roman chefs tend to borrow, and often improve on, cuisine from other regions. Apart from the obvious pasta dishes, there is a variety and choice of cuisine based on fresh ingredients from the local markets. Many restaurants make a specialty of the 'fritto misto' (literally "mixed fried") consisting of whatever vegetables are in season. Local cheeses are made from sheep's milk; the best-known is the aged, sharp 'pecorino Romano'. 'Ricotta' is used for a number of dishes, including desserts - look for 'torta di ricotta', the Roman version of cheesecake. For something lighter, try Italian ice cream. For many visitors the first taste of 'gelato' is one of the most memorable moments of their Italian trip. Almost a cross between regular ice cream and soft serve, you can find a number of 'gelaterias' in Via di Tor Millina, a street off the west side of Piazza Navona.
A typical night out for Romans usually involves a long dinner with a group of friends, starting after 9pm and continuing until after midnight. A good place to start the evening is in the centre of town, seated outside a bar, where you can sit around and people-watch until the small hours. Campo dei Fiori, the Piazza Navona area and Trastevere are some of the best places for an evening out. For nightclubs or 'discoteche' the best areas to head for are the Testaccio and Ostiense districts. As is to be expected in a city like Rome, variety is the spice of life. There are vast glittering palaces with stunning lights and sound systems, innovative alternative to the mainstream spots, rock and jazz places with a large offer of styles performed by a healthy array of local talents. In the summer many nightclubs close down, and the night-life moves to the seaside and to 'villages' around the edge of town. For a more 'cerebral' experience there is no shortage of theatres and concert halls, the most famous being 'Teatro dell'Opera', Rome's Opera House.
Rome holiday resorts
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