As the capital of Italy and the seat of the ancient Roman Empire, Rome attracts millions of visitors every year—and for good reason. Historically, Rome has never ceased being influential. It was the heart of the Roman Empire, which lasted for 1,500 years (and a few hundred years at its peak of power) and had a profound effect on shaping the culture, philosophy, and progress of the rest of the world. In that time, it has been a source of both historical preservation and forward progress in a country known for its artistry, culture, and attractions.

But what is it, specifically, that makes Rome so appealing?

Top Motivations for Visiting

You won’t have any trouble finding things to do in Rome. On every street, there are dozens of markets, shops, and restaurants begging to be tried. There are visual spectacles and vast, open countryside scenes.

So what’s going to motivate your visit?

1. The culture. First, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in Roman culture, which reflects the values of Italian culture overall. If you’re coming from the United States, you’ll note that the people there tend to take their time, and interact more casually. They’re friendly, and place a great deal of emphasis on family. They dress well and speak fluidly, and have a very different way of seeing the world. You can’t find that rich culture anywhere else.

2. The history. You can’t walk anywhere in Rome without seeing the remnants of the history that shaped it. You’ll see the vestiges of the Roman Empire, like the Colosseum, architectural accomplishments from the height of the Renaissance period, and modern buildings to accent and complement their age. If you’re a history buff, you’ll love learning more about such an important and influential city.

3. The food. How could you go to Rome without trying some of the food that continues to support Italy’s influence around the world? In the United States, we think of “Italian” food as pasta, pizza, and various dishes centered around garlic and tomato sauce. You’ll find some of that overseas, but you’ll also find fresh seafood from the Mediterranean, and hearty, home-cooked meals that truly can’t be replicated elsewhere.

4. The natural scenery. What’s your ideal natural scenery? Do you like the enormity of mountain ranges? The immersive aspects of the sea? Endless beaches? Countryside plains? You’ll find a little of everything in Italy, never far from Rome, which sits near the center of the country.

5. The artistry. Art is everywhere in Rome, and if you’re interested in it, you’ll find multiple museums and galleries within city limits. These include the Museum of the Ara Pacis, the Altare della Patria, and the Castel Sant’Angelo.

6. The location. Rome is located in the center-west of Italy, and Italy is near the center-south of Europe. That makes Rome a highly accessible city, offering convenient travel to other major cities and countries in Europe if you’re interested in a continental trip.

7. The perspective. Ultimately, you’ll walk away from Rome with a new perspective on the world. You’ll get to experience different food, dress, mannerisms, art, and architecture from a culture that’s both similar and distinct from ours. You’ll see the world through the eyes of an entirely different population, and you’ll return to find new appreciations for things both common and uncommon in your life.

Fall Is the Perfect Time

So why fall? Rome has a moderate climate throughout the year, but it can get a little hot in the summer. Plus, in the summer, you’ll contend with millions of tourists and families trying to make the most of their summer vacations. In fall, the scenery changes, the temperatures mellow out, and the entire city is a little less dense. Start planning your trip now; you won’t regret it.