Rome is known as the Eternal City not simply for its close proximity to Vatican City, but also because it offers a never-ending supply of things to see and do. From the archaeological treasures left behind by such historic rulers as Julius Caesar and Octavian to the medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces, baroque churches and fountains, to the historic piazzas, extensive gardens, museums, and decorative arts, there is never enough time to see all that Rome has to offer.
Sightseeing and shopping on the luxurious Via Condotti or the less-well-known art district of Rione Pigna is an exhaustive journey, as is an afternoon taking in the colorful sights and smells of the city’s numerous outdoor food markets. There you’ll discover the giant globe artichokes that grow in the Roman Campagna that are used to create the city’s signature carciofi alla giudea (Jewish-style artichokes deep fried in salt) or sample the pecorino romano and ricotta cheeses you’ll savor later over a glass of Frascati, a wine that has been produced outside Rome for nearly 1,000 years.
Among the city’s many culinary pleasures is the ability to “do as the Romans do” and dine among the ruins, enjoying a local delicacy of fegato bruschette (liver bruschetta), coda di bue brasato (braised oxtail), or saltimbocco alla Romana (veal with prosciutto and sage) while surrounded by classical statues of armless nymphs, pensive muses, and stern imperial busts. It’s even the primary draw at many indoor restaurants, like Caffe Canova Tadolini, dedicated to the 19th-century sculptor Antonio Canova, whose small studio apartment — still stacked with his work — has been converted into one of Rome’s most celebrated cafés. Craving more on Rome? Visit turismoroma.it
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Clockwise from opposite page top left: a view of St. Peter’s Basilica from across the Tiber River; the Borghese Gardens are known for their fountains; homemade pastas followed by seasonal biscotti al cioccolato e arancia
(chocolate and blood orange cookies) are lunchtime favorites; a view to the Colonna di Marco Aurelio; Roman scooters; a bust of Constantine outside the Musei Capitolini; preparing homemade fegato bruschette (liver bruschetta); a pastry chef carrying newly made biscotti to the table.Naples
Walking along the narrow streets of Naples, a city whose artistic diversity and rich architectural heritage still echo images of the Greeks and Romans who conquered this southern Italian seaport in the fourth century B.C., one can’t help but notice the sound of laughter tinged with the aroma of seafood in the air. This duality of the senses is particularly palpable in front of Da Dora, a highly regarded local eatery where between courses of sardine fritte (crispy fried sardines) and linguine alla vongole (pasta with clams) the restaurant owner’s baritone sister canters a series of tongue-in-cheek songs in between encouraging diners to “mangiare, mangia!” (“eat, eat!”) Unlike the Pulcinella, the long-suffering clown mascot of Naples, the people here are known as much for their love of life and sense of humor as their favored city is for its maritime cuisine, a by-product of living on the cusp of Italy’s second most- prodigious seaport. So common are oceanic specialities like molluschi (clams), polipo (octopus), and alici (anchovies) that many of the pizzaiolos working in the city’s holy grail of restaurants — the famed Neapolitan pizzerias — feature them alongside the more traditional pizza alla Margherita (tomato, mozzarella), salsiccia (sausage), and friarielli (broccoli) varieties.
While dining is leisure time in most Italian cities, it’s more like a celebration in Naples, which makes sense considering the word holiday is said to have been invented while gazing out at the Bay of Naples toward the spectacular Amalfi Coast and the lush islands of Capri and Ischia; even the world’s first vacation home was said to be dug in the second century B.C. from the lava of Mount Vesuvius, which still dominates every view of the city. To access the splendors of Naples, visit inaples.it
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This page: statues of Naples’ most famous kings peer from the porticoes of the Palazzo Reale on the noble public square Piazza del Plebiscito; a traditional pizza alla Margherita at ristorante Da Michele; the joyous wait staff at ristorante Ciro a Mergellina; a view from the shopping Galleria Umberto I. Opposite page: local specialty linguine alla vongole (pasta with clams) at ristorante Ciro a Mergellina; lions keep watch over Piazza Trieste e Trento; Neapolitan-style pastries at the Gran Bar Riviera.