Rome, Italy

It is only in Rome where you can buy grapes at a market several centuries old, sip a good cappuccino at a café facing the magnificent Pantheon, and see the Pope – in one morning. No other tourist destination comes close to Rome’s mix of grand history, spectacular art, and lively street life.

Rome is becoming more modern

Home to around 3 million people, the Italian capital virtually busts at the seams. For decades, Rome was entirely about centro storico, where a bulk of its most fabled landmarks has stood for many centuries. Today, brimming with Baroque palaces, postcard relics, as well as luxury hotels, hip bars and clubs, international restaurants, Rome’s “Disneyfication” is under way.

Rome has improved its shopping scene

Shopaholics have more reasons to celebrate as Rome’s shopping scene has become more exuberant. In fact, three huge shopping complexes opened in the span of only two years in the city. Porta di Roma have 250 stores while Centro Commerciale Leonardo and Roma Est both have 200 stores.

Rome is now more commuter-friendly

Rome is also now a more commuter-friendly city. The Italian capital is building a third subway line to be completed in 2015. This new line will cover major parts of Rome’s historic center, including Largo Argentina and Piazza Venezia. Commuters traveling aboveground are also benefitted by ATAC’s (the city’s public bus transport company) addition of GPS monitors to track waiting times and distances.

Rome is becoming more multicultural

The Eternal City is going multi-cultural. Just visit the Esquilino neighborhood to see how diverse Rome is becoming. The neighborhood was once known for its spice market, and now it is fast transforming into a multicultural stomping ground. Finding a local shopkeeper or an authentic Roman restaurant is hard to find in this area as Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and African eateries have moved in.

Rome is going green

Importantly, the Eternal City has joined the bandwagon and is going green. In an effort to raise environmental awareness and promote a greener way of life, the city government and Italy’s Ministry for the Environment built seven new stations where bicycles, scooters, and cars run by electricity can recharge their batteries. All in all, there are now 11 recharging stations in the city. You can find them close to Rome’s historic city center: Via Appia Nuova (San Giovanni), Piazza Mastai (Trastevere), Viale Europa (EUR), adn Piazza Cola di Rienzo (St. Peter’s).