Of all Italy's historic cities, it is Rome that exerts the most compelling fascination. In fact, there are arguably more historical monuments here than in any other city in the world; the relics of over two thousand years of inhabitation packed into this sprawling urban area.
There has perhaps never been a better time to visit the Eternal City. Some of the finest museums (including the Borghese and the Capitoline Museum), churches and other buildings that have been 'in restoration' as long as anyone can remember have reopened, and many of the city's historic collections have been re-housed.
For the visitor, the city's classical features - most notably the Coliseum, the Forum and Palatine Hill - cannot be missed. Then there are the early Christian basilicas, Romanesque churches, Renaissance palaces and the fountains and churches of the Baroque period. Trajan's column and Michelangelo's Piazza on Capitoline Hill have been totally transformed - pure magic when lit up at night. The most central and most famous of Rome's parks is Villa Borghese, with a zoo and a children's cinema.
For a little shopping therapy, the big names are clustered on and around two parallel streets at the base of the Spanish steps, via Condotti and via Borgognona. For something a little different, head for Volpetti, a delightful deli on via Marmorata with fresh Parmesan, Mozzarella di bufala and Formaggio di fossa, all weighed, sliced and packaged with typical Italian panache.