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  Rome (Italy)

  There's no escaping it: Rome means history. There are layers of the stuff - Etruscan(伊特鲁里亚的) tombs, Republican meeting rooms, Imperial temples, early Christian churches, medieval bell towers, Renaissance(文艺复兴) palaces and baroque basilicas(长方形基督教堂)。 In this city a phenomenal concentration of history, legend and monuments coexists(共存) with an equally phenomenal concentration of people busily going about their everyday life. It's hard to say what you'll find most breathtaking(惊人的) about the eternal city - the arrogant opulence of the Vatican(梵蒂冈)or the timelessness(永恒) of the Forum(古罗马广场)。

  Rome is halfway down Italy's western coast, about 20km inland. It's a vast city, but the historic centre is quite small. Most of the major sights are within a reasonable distance of the central railway station. It is, for instance, possible to walk from the Colosseum(罗马圆形大剧场), through the Forum, up to Piazza di Spagna(西班牙广场) and across to the Vatican in one day, but you wouldn't really want to. All the major monuments are west of the train station, but make sure you use a map. While it can be enjoyable to get off the beaten track(平坦的路) in Rome, it can also be very frustrating and time-consuming.

  Most of the budget(便宜的) places to stay are clustered around Stazione Termini; this area is rife with pickpockets(扒手) and gangs of thieving children, so beware - do your best to look like you know where you're going. It is only slightly more expensive and definitely more enjoyable to stay closer to the city centre.

  Rome's mild climate makes it visitable year-round; however, spring and autumn are without doubt the best times to visit, with generally sunny skies and mild temperatures. Unfortunately, these times are also the peak tourist season, when the tour buses pour in(川流不息的涌入) and tourists are herded around like cattle. July and August are unpleasantly hot, and Romans traditionally desert the stiflingly hot city in August, with many businesses closing; try to avoid visiting at this time. From December to February there is briskly cold weather, although it's rarely grey and gloomy.

  Events-wise, Italy's calendar bursts year-round with cultural events ranging from colourful traditional celebrations with a religious and traditional flavour, through to cultural events. Summer is definitely the best time to visit if you want to catch the best of the festivals; however, the Romaeuropa festival is now a feature of the autumn calendar, the Roma opera season runs from December until June and the classical and contemporary music scene is lively all year round.


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