River Tiber Bridge, Rome

    Rome has always been a favourite for the cultured tourist, offering a vast array of experiences that will delight and fascinate even the most passive of visitors.

    The Italian capital has a reputation for being a city full of passion, and that often extends to its sport. While it’s true that football remains top of the list of priorities for many locals, there is no doubt that the popularity of rugby has soared in recent years.

    Interest in the sport is beginning to grow massively. So much so that the national side made the decision to move from their original home at the Stadio Flamino to the Stadio Olimpico in 2012.

    Known as the Eternal City, Rome is filled with enough sights, attractions, food and culture to keep any visitor busy.

    Stadio Olimpico

    Opened in 1928, the 70,000-capacity Stadio Olimpico is primarily used as a football stadium, and is the home of Serie A sides Lazio and Roma, although it has also hosted an Olympic Games and a football World Cup final.

    Located 4km from the north of the city, the stadium has seen various redevelopments over the years, allowing it to combine a strong sense of history with truly modern facilities.

    Unlike other Six Nations grounds, the pitch at the Olimpico is separated from the stands by a running track.

    But the distance from the action does little to dampen the atmosphere, which when the home side are on form, can be up there with the best of them.

    Getting Around

    Spanish steps, Rome

    The vast majority of inter-city trains arrive at Rome’s Termini station situated in the east of the city centre. The station links the city with a number of other popular destinations, including Florence, Naples and Pisa, among others. Both of Rome's metro lines also stop here.

    The Stadio Olimpico itself is served by Rome’s Tramline 2, with the Mancini stop a short walk from the ground.

    An unlimited day ticket (Biglietto Giornaliero) can be purchased from Tabacchi shops or metro stations for just €6. These tickets are valid on the city’s metro, bus and tram network for one day. Tickets must be validated either upon entry at the metro or in the yellow machines on trams and buses.

    If you are planning an extended stay, you can opt for the three-day pass ‘biglietto per tre giorni’ for approximately €14.

    The stadium is also serviced by the local buses, with the number 32 departing from metro stop Ottaviano and arriving at Stadio Tennis, a short walk from the stadium.

    What to see

    Colosseum, Rome

    A visit to Rome really is not complete without a trip to the Colosseum; Rome’s original arena of entertainment since the year 80AD.

    Situated in the centre of the city and built from concrete and sand, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre to have even been built and is still considered one of the most impressive feats of architecture and engineering ever.

    To the west is the Roman Forum – a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of several important government buildings that were once the lynchpin of daily life in the city.

    Widely seen as the heart of ancient Rome, the Forum is regarded as the most important meeting place in the world.

    One site that continues to have a huge cultural impact for millions around the world is the Vatican, the spiritual home of the Catholic Church.

    Vatican City is technically a separate state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome – the Pope.

    Within the tiny state’s walls are a number of important sites, including St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.

    Other important sites include the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and the world-famous Trevi Fountain.

    Where to drink

    Piazza navona, Rome

    Rome’s Trastevere district is a highly popular nightlife destination, jammed full of lively restaurants, lounges, bars, boutiques, and cafés.

    When night falls there is a real party atmosphere, with many patrons often spilling out from the local bars and onto the streets.

    As rugby is not the main sport for many Romans, it can be quite hard to find a watering hole that truly embraces the game. However there are a number of establishments scattered around the city.

    The Highlander on Vicolo di San Biagio, close to Piazza del Popolo, is sure to be favourite with rugby fans, as is Irish pub The Abbey Theatre on Via del Governo Vecchiok, just off Piazza Navona. 



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