You'll probably come across the age old saying that Rome wasn't built in a day. Which is why you be hard pressed to experience this beautiful city over a long weekend, however, we gave it our best shot and these are our recommended highlights, which incidentally didn't come cheap...
Where to stay
A plethora of top-class hotels adorn the capital of Italy. However, there are a few which stand out from the crowd, especially if you want to indulge in that pure Italian opulence and live like a proper Roman for your stay.
Le Meridien Visconti
Perfectly situated between the main tourist's attractions like the Spanish steps and Vatican city, this business like hotel serves as a great base to explore what this historic city has to offer.
Benefiting from a slightly more tranquil setting, but not too far away from the hustle and bustle, this chic hotel boasts contemporary guest rooms and a charming rooftop terrace that serves up some very classy cocktails. However, don't rely too much upon on free wi-fi access, it's slower than a Skoda loaded with elephants going uphill.
This prestigious hotel will set you back a few pounds, but there is no other way to live like a Roman without staying here. Created in 1963, The Hotel Raphaël is a real museum of art: paintings, lithographs, sculptures, antiquarian artifacts, with the added attraction of a valuable collection of Picasso ceramics and Mayan art throughout its lobby.
More importantly, if you're more of a herbivorous explorer, you'll find one of the best vegetarian rooftop restaurants in Europe, serving up creative, bio and vegetarian cuisine, their food is inspired by art, tradition and environmental sense. The excellent cuisine favours produce which is in season, keeping intact their fragrance and freshness for your culinary delights, and with there jaw-dropping rooftop view, it might just make you drop down on one knee and propose.
Where to eat
Ok, so Italians love their food and believe me, there is literally so much choice with cafes and restaurants dotted all around this fantastic city. However, if you would like to stay away from all the fresh pizzas and Pasta available and keep things a little more, let's say, animal-friendly, then here's our selection of Italian vegetarian grub to gorge on...
A modern alternative restaurant & gallery serving creative vegetarian twists on Roman menu classics. You don't have to be vegetarian to appreciate the dishes on offer here. Rotating art installations complement the space, but the food takes centre stage. Making for a solid location without the tourist traffic, highly recommended.
Veg & Wine è la prima Taverna vegetariana di Roma
Veg & Wine is the first vegetarian tavern in Rome. Situated near The Vatican city, this charming little Tavern will serve up some of the best homecooked vegetarian Italian food for a decent price. All of the ingredients are carefully selected and are tasty and digestible, and if you're a health freak too they always cook in the oven and never fry a thing!
Ristorante Giuda Ballerino
For a more expensive meal out, whilst embracing vegetarianism with its great selection of herbivorous offerings, this Michelin star restaurants caters for both carnivores and vegetarians under one great rooftop terrace. The tasting menu is the best way to sample what celebrity chef Andrea Fusco has created if you are stuck on what to order. Giuda Ballerino is where comic book heroes and black & white furniture collide and are distinctive features of this high-end restaurant.
Gelateria La Romana
Ok, this is not a restaurant, it's basically the best place in all of Rome to get Gelato (Ice Cream). Recommended by the locals, you'll end up with 'Diabetic Hypo' with all the luscious flavours on offer. You'll find Gelateria La Romana dotted all around the city as it's a chain, but don't let that put you off. Once you have tasted the White Chocolate and Hazelnut ice cream, a flake 99 won't ever taste the same again.
Where to drink
The bar scene in Rome is thriving with some of the best rooftop bars in Italy that all serve up a decent Aperol Spritz. The Italians love to drink and eat, so this is serious business here. With so many choices, we have narrowed this down to some of our favourites.
Les Etoiles Rooftop Cocktail Bar
This rooftop bar serves up some of the most beautiful views of the Romes skyline with a mean Martini to match. Sought after by film and TV production companies, this is a quaint rooftop bar that is situated at the top of The Atlante Star Hotel. Again, it may not be cheap at 12 euros a cocktail, but money simply can't buy the view on offer here. Our suggestion is to visit at sunset, the reds and orange hues across the Rome's skyline will have you back here in no time.
The Jerry Thomas Project
Now, this was undoubtedly one of the highlights when it comes to drinking dens in Rome. Known as a "Speakeasy" bar, you have a few rules you will need to follow here if you don't want to be kicked out. This is a predominantly a members bars, but with membership at 5 euros for the year, this shouldn't cause any issues. To gain access to this bar, you will need to find out the password which is hidden within the homepage of its website.
Situated behind a secret normal looking door you delve into a dark and cosy 1920's bar space that serves no vodka or beer. Once in, you can't use your phone, speak loudly, get extremely drunk and speaking about religion and politics is a strict no-no. Trust me, even with all these rules in place, you'll end up having a great time with your companion without any of the usual interruptions of everyday life.
Located at the top of the Spanish steps, this rooftop bar serves as a well-deserved rest point when exploring all of the amazing tourist attractions around this historical city. Once you have climbed the 135 Spanish Steps and taken in more skyline views, Il Palazzetto has a great selection of beers, martinis and cocktails for you to sip on while tourist spotting down below. Modestly priced too, you be able to save a few pennies for the high-end designer stores that greet you once you make your way back down.
Where to shop
Now where to shop depends on your budget. When you are in Italy, you feel that everyone has just come off the catwalk, I mean, fashion is taken very seriously here, no matter who you are. I remember having a conversation with the Taxi driver on the way back to the airport and saying that there are so many beautiful and good-looking people here that all seem to have impeccable dress sense.
His response was that this is just the way of life here, style and substance is second nature to Italians, where else The British seem to have no mirrors or seem to get dressed in the dark, cheeky git!
Piazza di Spagna
If you haven't spent all your money visiting all of the bars and restaurants in this guide, then the most prestigious shopping area in Rome will surely milk you of your last pounds. Here you will find everything from Chanel, Dolce Gabbana to Tiffanys and Louis Vitton. All high end, it provides dreamers with an excellent window shopping experience with all of the ingenious displays they have when walking down Piazza di Spagna. Recommended if you're a baller.
Via Cola di Rienzo
Not too far from Piazza di Spagna, you find a shopping district that caters more to the working class but still has good quality fashion for decent prices. This is a popular shopping destination for Romans as it's not as busy (or as expensive) as some of the other shopping districts. Its sidewalks are quite large, so many people and families take a stroll on this street, especially on weekends.
Via del Corso
Hectic is Via del Corso's middle name, busy and lined with lots of small shops and bars, this place can become a little stifling if the sun is out. The quality of clothes here can be a little hit or miss, but if you look closely enough, there will be a bargain to be had. This district seems to sell fashion for the younger at heart with good prices to match so be sure to check it out and don't be fooled, not everything there is made in Italy.
Castel Romano Designer Outlet
Ok so this is not in Rome, but more on the outskirts. A 40-minute taxi ride (there are shuttle buses but we couldn't seem to find one that arrived on time) will relieve you of 60 euros but will drop you off right outside Castel Romano Designer Outlet where there are many bargains to be had.
If you want to wear expensive designer names but don't want to pay the designer price tags, then this is the place for you. Hugo Boss, Versace, Dolce Gabbana all have outlet stores here as well as well-known sporting brands like Nike and Addidas. There's surely something here for everyone and when you end up paying 72 euros for a 435 euro Hugo Boss sample sale blazer, that 60 euro taxi ride becomes slightly easier to swallow.