Of Europe’s great capitals, Rome steals the show for its raw beauty and its cache of historical remains. Its very name conjures iconic images: the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Vatican... and cracker-flat pizzas. No other city in the world manages to cram as many epics of architecture into its urban fabric like Rome. Doric columns crumble next to Victorian apartment buildings and glitzy shoe stores are rammed against 2,000-year old temples.
But Rome is not averse to modern projects. In the last decade, the city embraced new projects and built modern museums and cultural centres, like Zaha Hadid’s Maxxi Museum or Richard Meier’s Ara Pacis Museum.
Of course Rome is more than just a repository of classical relics and starchitect contributions. You come here to eat as well as get lost in its maze of narrow, cobbled alleys. Pizza at Da Buffetto is not to be missed, and nor are the fried artichokes in Rome’s Jewish ghetto. Thursdays mean homemade gnocchi in every restaurant, while Fridays are a nod to biblical fasting with battered, grilled or baked salt cod dressing up every menu.
In all regards, Rome is best in the spring when the whether is mild and trees are in bloom or in the autumn when the climate cools and the harvests begin.