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Romantic Things to Do in Rome

Whether you're looking for love or hoping to rekindle the romance, there's no better place to do so than the Eternal City. Ah yes, it certainly seems that love lurks behind every street corner, park bench, and monument. And if you don't find the abundance of public displays of affection off-putting, you'll be sure to find scores of places to steal both that first and ultimo bacio.

The hopeless romantics should start their rendezvous through Rome with a horse-drawn carriage ride that begins at the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna) and continues through the streets of the centro storico. Make a stop for some aphrodisiacal treats, such as the decadent, mouthwatering chocolates made by Moriondo e Gariglio (Via Piè di Marmo 21), off the central Corso near Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.

When you're through, ask the driver to drop you off at the famous Villa Borghese park. Whether it's a picnic in the park, a cruise on the lake, or just a hand-in-hand stroll up to the Pincio—the park's terrace that boasts the city's most breathtaking views—you will find amore everywhere.

If the hopelessly romantic can spare the time, a trip up to Tivoli's Villa D'Este (a half hour outside Rome via bus) is definitely worth it. Its seductive garden and endless array of fountains (about 500 of them) is the perfect setting to put you in the mood for love, and it won't be long before you hear Frank Sinatra warble "Three Coins in the Fountain" in your head. For extra brownie points, during the summer months, take her or him to the Villa D'Este at night for a spectacular candlelit setting.

That's your cue to return to Rome and make a beeline for the luminous Trevi Fountain, even more enchanting at night than in the daytime. Make sure you and that special someone throw a coin into the fountain, for good luck. For your wish to come true, you must toss the coin over your shoulder with your back to the fountain, left hand over right shoulder (or vice versa). Legend has it that those who do so are guaranteed a return trip back to Rome.

A great way to lift the curtain on a night of romance is a serenaded dinner cruise along the Tiber, where dessert includes views of some of Rome's jewels by night: Castel Sant'Angelo, St. Peter's, and the Janiculum (Gianicolo) hill. See www.battellidiroma.it for more details.

If you prefer to stay on terra ferma, at sundown head to the Hotel Hassler and its rooftop-garden restaurant, Imàgo, perched just over the Spanish Steps, for unforgettable views of the city's greatest landmarks, best viewed through a glass of Prosecco. Dinner here will set you back a pretty euro-cent, but you may get to rub shoulders with celebs and VIPs at this exclusive locale, whose past visitors included Princess Diana and Hollywood diva Audrey Hepburn.

For an after-dinner stroll, head to north Rome and wander over to the illuminated Ponte Milvio bridge, known as "Lovers Lane" in Roman circles. Inspired by a scene in a popular Italian movie, Ho Voglia Di Te (I Really Want You), prove your eternal love to your inammorata by padlocking him or her to one of the bridge's chains—the city specifically erected 24 columns with chains here so that lovers can do just that. Remember that part of the charm is throwing the key into the river!

Updated: 2013-10-17

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