Above: A Charming room at the Hotel Vilòn in Rome

Rome is a glorious mess. Its patched and tangled urban fabric reflects its millennia of history: A 16th-century palace caps the 2,000-year-old Theatre of Marcellus, and the nearby church of San Nicola in Carcere incorporates columns from the Temple of Janus. Even modern apartment buildings occasionally have chunks of ancient masonry protruding from them. Rome may have been a capital of the classical era, but it is hardly a classical city. After being sacked and rebuilt and reconfigured numerous times, untidy Rome is a place for romantics. I find it irresistible.

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