Most travellers barely scrape the surface of Rome. Even with a week in the Eternal City, you’ll only just begin to get the feel of the place. The one-time heart of the Roman Empire is today the capital of Western Christendom. But newcomers to Rome are nowadays more likely to be struck by the traffic and noise than by any displays of devotion. Rome bustles 24 hours a day.
This relentlessly energetic city boasts ancient ruins, showpiece baroque architecture and some of the world’s most dazzling collections of art. The top draw is St Peter’s and the Vatican museums – technically not part of Rome at all but in Vatican City, a tiny city-state that cherishes its independence from Italy.
The main railway station is Roma Termini. While the great majority of trains to and from Rome serve Termini, a small number stop only at secondary stations such as Tiburtina or Ostiense. Metro Line B provides a useful link between all three Rome stations mentioned here (but note that the Metro station serving Ostiense is actually called Piramide). A handful of long-distance services from the north (eg. from Florence and Venice) serve Fiumicino Airport. That airport also has direct trains to Roma Termini, Tiburtina and Ostiense.
Rome is blessed with a fine range of fast trains. High-speed trains travel north to Florence, Bologna and Milan at least three times each hour. Trains to Venice and Turin leave every couple of hours. Naples is just 70 minutes away to the south. Rome is the natural jumping-off point for train journeys to the Adriatic coast, Sicily and southern Italy. There are comfortable daytime services to Palermo, Bari, Taranto and Ancona.
Rome has direct year-round overnight trains to Munich and Vienna. There is also an excellent range of domestic night trains with late evening departures from Rome to Genoa, Turin, Milan, Bolzano, Venice, Trieste, Palermo and Siracusa.
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Image credits: Bert Kaufmann