Everyone has their ideal holiday – a city they want to see, a procession they’d like to witness, even a sporting event. This can be one that’s highly personal or one that’s more obvious.
People who are connoisseurs of unusual holiday destinations might fancy a break in North Korea. And, assuming they’re OK with the million questions they’ll face at passport control going home, that’s fine.
If we’re talking classics, the ultimate destination should be a center of classical civilization. Nowhere is more qualified for this title than the Eternal City – Rome. If we agree that it is history that defines a city, then you’ll be hard pushed to find a better destination.
The great thing about Rome, though, is that you don’t have to be a historian to find something wonderful about it. It’s where much of Western civilization was born.
The political institutions of Ancient Rome inform a lot of what we know as democracy today (though that was invented in Greece). And it is the modern capital city of Italy – so clearly, it’s got food, entertainment, and nightlife.
However, the sights of this great city are, for the most part, icons of art and religious history.
Of course, you can’t talk about Rome without referring to its famous historic buildings.
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The Colosseum is indisputably one of the most noted structures in the world today. In Ancient Rome, it was the place where people went to see the gladiators do battle. Today, it is an unmissable tourist experience – although gladiatorial battle has long been outlawed.
St Peter’s Basilica is another location you’ll need to pencil in on your dream vacation. In the heart of the Vatican, construction on it started in 1506. Even for the non-religious, it is worth the trip.
The Sistine Chapel, too, is somewhere that will be recognizable to historians and anyone with an interest in world affairs. It is here that the election of a new Pope takes place, and where he gives his Papal addresses. Many people head straight here after climbing off Rome airport transfers.
For those who have had their fill of historic buildings, modern Rome has a lot to recommend it too. The MAXXI modern art gallery is a sight worth seeing for anyone with a thirst for art or architecture.
In a city where ancient religious buildings are so significant, you should still leave some space in your camera roll for a new one. The Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso is a unique religious building in a city where that is tough to achieve.
So which Roman attraction is most exciting to you?