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Veni, Vidi, Vici

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We go on holiday for different reasons at different times of the year to recharge our batteries and escape the daily routine.

Some want to get away as far as possible where the sun always shines; others seek adventure and extreme sports, while many want to immerse themselves in a foreign culture.

They say that travel broadens the mind – although many go on vacation expecting to find the same creature comforts from home.

Most would argue that Cyprus has it all – climate, culture, weather, food – so why would you want to leave?

Of course, travelling to anywhere from Cyprus comes with a price tag, especially if your circumstances dictate that you can only holiday when the rest of the world takes a summer break.

If you can’t afford to jet off to an exotic island in the Indian Ocean or find your inner self on a retreat in the Himalayas, short European breaks have much to offer.

Travelling seems more complicated than it used to be, and the post-COVID boom has made flying an endurance more than a pleasure.

Arguably, Cyprus is better connected now than ever, with more destination choices and easier flight connections.

One route where you can now fly directly to is Rome – home of world-famous landmarks, monuments, and food to entice you off any diet.

Rome feels comfortable with mass tourism in a way Cyprus could not cope with.

Authorities say they want more visitors to boost the economy, but could Cyprus handle two more million tourists than it receives today?

It would severely test our tolerance levels, hospitality, and standard of service.

Cyprus has to think out of the box to attract more tourists, giving its ancient culture and niche agro-tourism the hard sell.

But Rome is a world city with the awe-inspiring colosseum – a universal wonder – it is also home to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel.

The Colosseum is an impressive fete of human ingenuity and still stands after 1,900 years as the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built.

Famous for its gladiator slaves and feeding Christians to lions is not dwelled upon, more its architectural endurance.

Don’t just turn up and hope to get inside; book tickets in advance because everyone wants the ‘full experience’ of one of the seven wonders.

Nearly everywhere in Rome that’s a tourist site or museum requires buying a ticket.

Nearby is the Roman Forum, the centre of the ancient city where walking among the ruins feels spiritual.

Vatican

Other popular sites, such as the Vatican Museum and Saint Peter’s Square, always have long queues.

It is worth navigating the sea of people to behold Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel paintings while the basilica resonates with religious significance.

The fresco of the Creation of Adam is the focal point of the chapel and one of the most reproduced images in the world, but no pictures or videos are allowed.

St Peter’s Basilica is free to enter for a priceless experience.

Other must-visit landmarks are the baroque Trevi Fountain, where the tradition is to throw a coin and make a wish, but retrieving coins is illegal.

There are huge crowds during the day, so the later you go, the better when the fountain is lit up.

A short walk from the impressive Trevi is the Spanish Steps.

It has 12 ramps and 135 travertine steps, considered Europe’s widest and longest staircase.

In case you get tired, don’t sit down, it’s prohibited, and there are step police to keep you from doing so.

There are so many places of interest and inspiration that you can walk around Rome for a week and still find new discoveries.

Another worthwhile climb is walking up the Altar of the Fatherland for a great view of Piazza Venezia.

The large national monument was built between 1885 and 1935 to honour Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy.

Italy’s capital city is packed with enchanting piazzas like Navona, with bars and restaurants offering a welcome break from the day’s adventures.

Rome embraces its tourists and makes them feel welcome as long as they are passionate about food, football and fashion.

You can’t go wrong with Italian cuisine, but after several days of eating pasta, pizzas, and delicious Italian ice cream, a detox is needed.