Vatican City, Borgo & Prati
The Vatican, the world’s smallest sovereign state, sits over the river from Rome's historic centre. Radiating out from the domed grandeur of St Peter’s Basilica, it boasts some of Italy’s most revered artworks, many housed in the vast Vatican Museums (home of the Sistine Chapel), as well as batteries of overpriced restaurants and souvenir shops.
Trastevere & Gianicolo
With its old-world cobbled lanes, ochre palazzi, ivy-clad facades and boho vibe, ever-trendy Trastevere is one of Rome’s most vivacious and Roman neighbourhoods – its very name, ‘across the Tiber’ (tras tevere), evokes both its geographical location and sense of difference.
A tightly packed tangle of cobbled alleyways, Renaissance palaces, ancient ruins and baroque piazzas, the historic centre is the Rome many come to see. Its theatrical streets teem with boutiques, cafes, trattorias and stylish bars, while market traders and street artists work its vibrant squares.
Villa Borghese & Northern Rome
This moneyed area encompasses Rome’s most famous park (Villa Borghese) and its most expensive residential district (Parioli). Concert-goers head to the Auditorium Parco della Musica, while art-lovers can choose between contemporary installations at MAXXI, Etruscan artefacts at the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia or baroque treasures at the Museo e Galleria Borghese.
Boasting a wealth of diversions, this huge area extends to Rome’s southern limits. Glorious ancient ruins lounge amid pea-green fields and towering umbrella pines along the cobbled Via Appia Antica, one of the world's oldest roads and pot-holed with subterranean catacombs dating to the dawn of Christianity.
In a city of extraordinary beauty, Rome’s ancient heart stands out. It’s here you’ll find the great icons of the city’s past: the Colosseum; the Palatino; the forums; and the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill), the historic home of the Capitoline Museums. Touristy by day, it’s quiet at night with few after-hours attractions.