I've been to Rome three times in my life.
The funny thing is, only once did I go on purpose.
But it seems that the Eternal City's seven hills have a magnetic pull for those who are drawn to Europe. And it also seems that it gets better every time-the more you visit, the more you find there is to discover.
The first time I visited was also the first time I went abroad. It was one of the highlights of a tour that included Spain and France as well as Italy. I saw it in a whirlwind on a coach bus during a day trip; I was there only long enough to see the highlight reel in ten hours. After the tour, I didn't think I needed to go back but threw Euros in the Trevi Fountain anyway…because when in Rome, right?
Well, it seems that trick works, because reasons to return popped up more easily than I'd have thought.
The second time, it was because Civitavecchia was the ending port to a cruise through the Greek Isles and the Amalfi Coast. In fact, that was part of why we chose that itinerary so that we could easily book a post-cruise stay through Travel Impressions and be spoiled for choice.
Many of our customers do that, and I highly recommend adding a land portion to any cruise to catch your breath. After a fast pace through places that all begin to blur together, it's a relief to put your feet up in a nice hotel … or put them to the pavement on your schedule.
It was on this journey that I realized just how much of the city we missed by limiting the famous capital to a day trip. I had thought that, after seeing the most well-known sights, I was well sated.
But staying in the city proved me wrong.
During my two nights at the Hotel Veneto, a four-star property conveniently one mile from the Termini Railway Station and practically on top of the Spanish Steps, I saw a whole other side of Rome.
In the posh Via Veneto area, history and luxury blended together-from the architecture and storefronts on the main street to the steps-away Villa Borghese, the park grounds which might boast some of the finest views of the city.
From that vantage point, it was a remarkable insight into how the other half lived: on top of the world. And while at Hotel Veneto, so were we. Its romantic frescoed rooms, antique accents, and traditional Italian design and materials left no question that we were calling home the heart of an empire.
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The last time was just months ago on my first-ever family vacation.
Because my parents were entrepreneurs, we didn't travel at all when I was younger. To them, like many others, the idea of going to Italy was a wistful dream-something to fantasize about but not necessarily expect.
Especially since the cost of a trip to Italy is often overestimated.
Needless to say, our party of eight was dazzled to find that not only could everyone afford it-from my Millennial brother to my non-profit sector sister to my now-retired parents-but we could afford it in luxury and style through Travel Impressions.
Flexible room set-ups at Romanico Palace made it easy to coordinate and share space in the center of the city. The uniqueness of each of them-also individually frescoed and authentically decorated-added to the appeal of bouncing around to one another's accommodations.
After spending four beautiful days realizing that, even with my second visit, I'd left many an ancient stone unturned, I was adamant about our group partaking in that Trevi Fountain tradition. Thinking about a return seemed the perfect bookend to an adventure that began in Milan, continued to Venice and ended in Rome.
Then again, if serendipity and convenience already brought me back thrice-and each time for longer than the one before-the old saying might actually be true: All roads lead back to Rome.
And each route is an even better version of the city.
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