But there’s more to Rome than history, fine art and great food. Rome is Italy’s capital and largest city, and while history reverberates all around, modern life is lived to the full. Rome is Italy’s political and religious heartbeat and the twin presence of government and Church dominates the city. Many city-centre palazzi house government offices while over in the Vatican the dome of St Peter’s Basilica serves to remind everyone of the pope’s presence. Political intrigue is thick in the air and as tourists tuck into their pasta politicians hunker down to hatch plots over spaghetti and wine.
A trip to Rome is as much about lapping up the dolce vita lifestyle as gorging on art and culture. It's about relaxing into the city's Mediterranean rhythms and idling around the picturesque streets. Whiling away hours at streetside cafes and people-watching on pretty piazzas are an integral part of the Roman experience. The tempo rises as the heat of the day fades into the evening cool and the fashionably dressed aperitivo (aperitif) crowd descends on the city's bars and cafes. Restaurants and trattorias hum with activity and cheerful hordes mill around popular haunts before heading off to cocktail bars and late-night clubs.
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