Walking through Rome is like walking through time: Perhaps nowhere else in Europe is the continuity of culture and civilization so imposing and unforgettable. With over three millennia of history, the marble-built city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church (Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica), a national capital, and an ancient center of learning and culture whose art collections and architecture are unrivaled -- the Colosseum and the sculpture-filled Trevi Fountain are highlights. But Rome is no sleepy museum; it’s also a traffic-clogged, high-spirited modern city, inhabited by stylish, self-possessed descendants of Roman forebears who still consider their city the center of the world.
Historians pinpoint Rome's origins somewhere around 750 B.C., and its heyday as the center of the Western world lasted till A.D. 476. But even in the 15-plus centuries following, the city hasn't lost its vitality or its significance. It's still a vast, hectic, unconquerable city, full of passionate people and constant action.Rome is about the architecture and the food, but you can get lost alone, so if you like to seek out off-the-beaten-path secrets, consider a guided walking tour. If you have just a little time, hit the obvious landmarks: the Coliseum, Piazza Navona, Piazza Colonna, the Borghese Gallery and Museums, Castel Saint Angel, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. In fact, the Spanish Steps are one of the great meeting spots in the city, and all around it, you can find a peculiar Roman shopping idiosyncrasy: small artisan shops selling a rainbow of leather gloves world class in quality and a must-buy if you've got the souvenir budget.Of course, the main attraction in Rome is actually its own entity: Vatican City (The Holy See) is a state within a city, with only approximately 800 residents but millions of annual tourists. Many are Catholics, but you don't need a religious affiliation to appreciate the beauty of the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Square, or the Roman Necropolis.