<p>Photo: Diners near Pantheon</p>

Diners enjoy the evening scene with alfresco seating by the Pantheon, on Piazza della Rotonda.

Photograph by Bob Krist

The Eternal City is one of Europe’s most ancient urban centers, dating back almost 3,000 years. Rome’s early inhabitants left behind a trove of architectural masterpieces, including the massive Colosseum. The Italian capital also boasts an unparalleled concentration of world-class art, from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel to the baroque Trevi Fountain, and teems with restaurants, trattorie, osterie, pizzerie, enoteche, cafés, bars, and gelaterie. It is home to the animated, good-humored Romans, who live to eat, drink wine (and espresso), and hold forth on everything from politics to soccer, fashion, food, and films. Rome also encompasses the Catholic Church’s independent city-state, the Vatican, which is home to the imposing St. Peter’s Basilica—and the Pope.

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