PopulationMetro: 3,970,000
The Eternal City is made for meandering—refuelling—and meandering again.

Long before we could scroll through Facebook, Instagram, blogs and websites for travel insights and inspiration, we had poets and painters, sculptors and film directors to capture the beauty, chaos and spirit of the Eternal City.

“How is it possible to say an unkind or irreverential word of Rome? The city of all time, and of all the world!” the American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne wondered.

More than a century later there’s much to be said about the city, which lands at #5 in our Promotion category. A quick search on Instagram for #VisitRome turns up thousands of posts from visitors and locals alike in the Palazzo della Sapienza, in the Colosseum, wandering the ancient city streets, eating gelato. “If I’m in Rome for only 48 hours, I would consider it a sin against God to not eat cacio e pepe, the most uniquely Roman of pastas, in some crummy little joint where Romans eat,” said the late Anthony Bourdain. “That’s Rome to me.”

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To others, it might be recreating an iconic moment from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and posting proof of the midnight swim on social media, which is exactly what some tourists did earlier in the year (paying a mighty fine for it later). The iconic Trevi Fountain is now monitored day and night to prevent tourists from behaving badly. It’s all in a day’s work in a city that ranks #9 for Google Trends, #2 for TripAdvisor Reviews and #12 for Instagram Hashtags.