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Where do you start to summarize the history of the Eternal City? A good date might be 21 April 753 B.C. The day when Romulus is said to have founded the city after murdering his twin brother Remus. During the following centuries Rome grew into a powerful empire, peaking during the rule of Marcus Aurelius in 161-180 A.D. Just like the ancient city, today's Rome is built on seven hills: Capitolino, Palatino, Quirinale, Viminale, Esquilino, Celio and Aventino. The central area is called Campo Marzio, named after the Roman god of war, and was the ancient army’s training grounds. This is where many of the famous sights are located. Other well-known areas are Trastevere, on the other side of the Tiber river, and Monti. Little Pigneto is considered the most typically Roman neighbourhood.
Rome is one of a kind. No other city - not even Athens, Istanbul, London or New York - has as many world-class sites as Rome. Walking down Via del Fori Imperiali towards the Colosseum will impress even the most spoiled and shopping-crazed teenager. The city has so much to offer. In addition to the Roman heritage there are also Medieval neighbourhoods, well designed squares, colourful markets and of course, Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica. This Rome guide suggests a few other places that must be seen.
Rome restaurants cater to all tastes. There are American steakhouses, Lebanese meze restaurants, Vietnamese eateries, and a number of haute cuisine establishments celebrated in the Guide Michelin, but ”when in Rome, do as the Romans do” and choose the less extravagant restaurants and trattorias for a memorable dining experience. The Italian word for dinner, "cena," comes from the Latin convivum. A word which means “live together”, and that is precisely what you do. Eating is a social get-together which lasts at least three courses—often even at lunchtime. The Romans do not eat dinner until nine in the evening. The traditional Roman pasta is called Carbonara and is made from pork and whipped egg yolk with lots of parmesan and black pepper, or all’Amatriciana with bacon, tomato and onion.Vegetables are ordered as a side dish ("contorno"), accompanying the main dish, e.g. tossed spinach or chicory with garlic and pepperoncino (Spanish peppers).
Italy is a Mecca when it comes to coffee and ice cream, the Romans know exactly which cafés to visit and don’t mind going across town to reach the best.
The Romans love to meet over aperitivo around 19.30, after which they either go on to a restaurant or home for dinner. The drinks need not necessarily be alcoholic. Many bars serve light snacks which are included in the price. After 23.00 most of those looking to party head over to the Testaccio area. Named after the mountain of discarded amphoras, the area is home to many sites, ranging from small piano bars to equally small discos. Make sure you take at least a night out to experience the bar and club scene in Rome.
High fashion shopping in Rome is concentrated on two streets running parallel to each other from the Spanish Steps. Via Condotti is home to Prada, Valentino, Gucci, Armani, and Max-Mara. Over on Via Borgognona, one can find the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Gianfranco Ferré, Laura Biagiotti, and Gai Mattiolo. Closer to Piazza Navona is Via dei Giubbonari, and its street fashion stores McQueen and Liquid. Also nearby is Via del Governo Vecchio, with its elegant vintage fashion boutiques. When it comes to food, Rome has several notable spots. Volpetti, on Via Marmorata 47 in Testaccio, is as close to heaven as you can get. This bustling, high-paced place offers many deli options—Latini pasta from Osimo, salsiccia and spicy sandwich meats its speciality, however, is its cheeses, including the formaggio di fossa, matured underground. Two other delis to revel in are ancient Franchi and Castroni on Via Cola di Rienzo. Castroni offers a slightly more international selection. Campo de´Fiori is the site of a daily food market that embodies the terms picturesque and colourful. Come early when the shadows are long and the morning is at its freshest. Another nice market, with more of a food hall atmosphere is Mercato di Testaccio.
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