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As a result, I practically have these bits of the country’s most popular tourist destination to myself.

For the first 200 years of the Colosseum’s existence, the only women allowed in were the Vestal Virgins, and these powerful ladies got to watch the proceedings with the Emperor himself (I personally find the ticket prices – a life of chastity – a bit high). Around 200AD, women were allowed to view the battles from the top galleries.

Though decrepit, I’m stunned by how much of the Colosseum is intact. At other ruins, I’ll try to visualise an entire palace from a few pieces of stone.

This is different, as are the other ancient remnants dotted about Rome, taking the place of the skyscrapers of most modern cities. I can’t help but marvel that Rome is so unchanged. Battle on, soldier.

Eat, Sleep, Drink

Eat

Budget:
Finding reasonably priced bites near the Colosseum is no easy feat, which is what makes Made in Sud a saving grace. Cheap eats and Neapolitan pizza by the slice make it a winner. (Via di San Giovanni in Laterano, tel. +39 06 7045 4900)

Midrange: Hostaria da Pietro dishes up excellent hand-cut pastas and swank cuts of beef in a little eatery tucked away in a side street near Piazza del Popolo. From £11.

Luxury:
The faultless food at Il Convivio di Troiani (so named for the brothers that run it) is worth a splurge. The menu is classical Italian, with a few modern twists (guinea fowl served in a truffle pistachio sauce is pure decadence).

The place oozes elegance, and the food’s all whipped up from scratch. Mains from £30.

Drink

Budget:
Though compact, Cul de Sac has 1500 wines on offer. This adorable wine bar has been in business since 1977, and has never wavered in popularity.

The place gets packed out with oenophiles most nights of the week, many who opt for the limited number of outside tables (advice: come early). Drinks from £2.

Midrange: Villaggio Globale makes the most of its warehouse vibe and churns out great dancehall reggae.

It’s housed in an ex-slaughterhouse, where the walls are now covered in graffiti. The beers are a cheapish £4.

Luxury: Bar del Fico is delightfully unpretentious. Patrons sip basil martinis over a game of table football while soul music croons through the speakers. Definitely one for a mellow night out. Drinks from £6.

Sleep

Budget: Beehive is a hostel with flair. Run by a Californian couple who’ve lovingly decorated the place in original art and funky furniture, the place is unique, as well as good value. Plus there’s a veggie café. Dorm beds from £20pn. 

Midrange: A former cardinal’s residence, Teatropace 33 is central and well-priced. There are 23 rooms, each harkening back to the Baroque era (think parquet floors and thick, wood-beamed ceilings).

In lieu of an elevator, there is an antique spiral staircase; unlucky if you have a room on the fourth floor. Rooms from £54pn. 

Luxury: The Rome Cavalieri was the first Waldorf Astoria to grace Europe, and today houses the city’s only three-star Michelin restaurant, La Pergola.

One can glimpse the Vatican on the drive up, and rooms overlook the stunning Olympic-sized pool. Well worth busting the budget. Doubles from £145pn.

 

Getting There

Monarch has launched flights to Rome from London Luton with fares, including taxes, starting from £64.99 one way, or £126.99 return. Daisy's trip was hosted by Monarch.

Gladiator training from £78pp gsr-roma.com

 

Photos: Daisy Carrington, Thinkstock, Getty, OMINO71/CC


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