Rome wasn’t built in a day… but it can be explored in one, as Louise Furniss discovered on her recent whirlwind tour of Northern Italy…

“The Eternal City has always held a special place in my heart, from my first visit over 20 years ago to my latest trip just last year.

Some may argue it doesn't have New York's charisma or the romance of Venice; but what it does have is over 3000 years of history and culture that combines classical ruins and early Christian places of worship with Renaissance palazzos, great neighbourhood trattorias, quirky shops and a vivacious vibe come sundown. 

One of the things I love most about Rome is that it's relatively compact, so as long as you're staying somewhere central, you can pretty much walk anywhere. And with this being my first visit as a solo traveller, I was determined to mix business with a little pleasure and enjoy it all to its fullest. 

First stops… the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

They've been on my 'must-do' list for the longest time and I wasn't disappointed. And yes, while I would say one day is nowhere near enough time to spend in such a captivating capital, if you ever find yourself here for just 24 hours or so, then these cultural hotspots are a must. 

Maximise your time by taking one of the small group tours, quite frankly it's like having your own private guide. Setting off, earpiece in place, our first guide Francesca walked and talked us through the fascinating history of the Colosseum – the apex of ancient Roman entertainment. Standing in the centre of this masterpiece is a memory I will never forget.

Next up, a 45-minute tour of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, this time with Isabella, who was equally as knowledgeable.

 Adjacent to the Colosseum, it's just as beautiful, though maybe not quite as impressive for sheer size; but with ancient ruins and a backdrop of cypress trees, it's a fab place to sit and soak up your surroundings, or wander, post-tour, to your heart's content. 

After my time in Ancient Rome, it was time to head back to the future, don my Travel Director hat and pay a visit to my old friend, the Hotel de Russie – the centrepiece in Rome's crown since opening in 2000 (and I'm happy to say, it still hasn't lost any of its magic).

Hotel de Russie

​Located between two of the city's most picturesque piazzas, the Piazza di Spagna and Piazza del Popolo and famed for its extensive terraced citrus- and pine-scented secret garden (there's no better spot in all of Rome for an aperitivo on a balmy evening), it's frequented by fashionistas, film-stars, artists, writers and luxury-lovers who all flock here for its envied position, impeccable service, sublime serenity and small but rather lovely spa (ideal if you're aching from visiting the famed designer shops just steps away). 

And if you want to splash some serious cash, the Popolo, Picasso and Nijinsky Suites are adorned with original artworks and antique furniture and boast views for days over the city's rooftops or that gorgeous secret garden.

Hotel de Ville

​Next up, Hotel de Ville – sister property to the de Russie – set in three converted historical homes atop the Spanish Steps. This has to be one of the city's most enviable addresses with blockbuster sights like the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona in easy walking distance and high-end shopping on Via dei Condotti just steps away. 

Rich fabrics and antiques carefully placed alongside eclectic collections of paintings and unusual artworks reveal a theatrical side to its more serene sibling and so far seems to be drawing in a slightly younger crowd. The vantage point is one of the very best that the city has to offer; while the hotel's own hidden gem– the rooftop Cielo Bar – is an enchanting spot with postcard-perfect views. 

​With just one night in town, more sightseeing ensued… first to toss my coins in the Trevi Fountain (ensuring another return visit!).

Evening really is the best time here – it's a truly breathtaking sight (even with 500-odd people all clambering over each other to get their selfies with their loved ones!). A 10-minute stroll to Piazza della Rotonda followed to see the famous Pantheon, the tomb of the great artist Raphael and make like part of a Dan Brown novel, after which I found a cute little trattoria and devoured a steaming bowl of pasta and a glass of wine before bed. 

​After some solid sleep (and a venti cappuccino), and with just five hours before leaving for Florence, I snuck in a three-hour tour of the Vatican (20 minutes away by taxi).

I arranged through EDEN's concierge which is definitely a much better option than just turning up for a tour. Go with the mind-set that it will be a little stop start with hordes of people making their way across this small city… but with hundreds of people surrounding you and all its papal pomp and circumstance, it's also a strangely peaceful place (and it would have been an absolute sin not to stop by)! 

Our Roman Portfolio...

  • Hotel de Russie - A Rocco Forte Hotel Rome

    Located in the heart of the exhilarating city of Rome and just a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps, stepping into the Hotel de Russie is like being transported into another world.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Hotel Eden Rome

    With its vistas over the seven hills of Rome, taking in St Peter’s and a roofscape like no other, you’ll be hard-pushed to know whether the views are better looking in or looking out at Hotel Eden.

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  • J.K. Place Roma Rome

    Eclectically decorated and packed with art, the chic, townhouse-style J.K. Place is just a short walk to the city’s highest concentration of designer boutiques, shopping and cafés (along the Via dei Condotti and Via del Corso).

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Hassler Roma Rome

    At the top of the Spanish Steps, the Hassler is almost as photographed as the famous attraction itself. Reconstructed in 1938 in time for the US army to set up its World War II HQ, today interiors recall the inter-war years' stately elegance.

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  • Fendi Private Suites Rome

    Fendi fashionistas take note! Not only can you shop ‘til you drop at the iconic Italian brand’s flagship boutique on the crossroads of Via del Corso and Via Condotti, now you can stay there too.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • The Inn at The Spanish Steps Rome

    With illustrious fashion houses and the Antico Caffé Greco for neighbours, and iconic views all around, The Inn at The Spanish Steps (one of Rome’s best-kept secrets) makes for an unforgettable urban escape.

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  • The Inn at The Roman Forum Rome

    Tucked down a medieval lane between bustling Via Nazionale and Trajan’s Forum, you may be steps from one of Rome’s most famous attractions, but this place is surprisingly peaceful.

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