We all have our favorite places for a long weekend, but if you were to narrow it down to somewhere in Europe what would you choose? The bustle and culture of London? The romance of Paris? How about the sophistication of Milan?

All reasonable ideas, with the possible exception of Paris, which can be so spectacular in its failure to live up to expectations that the Japanese have named a type of depression after it. But to get the most out of a whistlestop visit, there can be few places to rival Rome. And if it is a short visit, you can afford to push the boat out a little on some extra special experiences.

1) Dinner at the Pantheon

There is no shortage of fine restaurants in Rome, but if you want something that little bit more special, how about a gourmet wine and dinner experience at a family-run restaurant in a private cellar by the Pantheon?

The 2.5-hour experience includes a three course meal comprising local specialties, each of which is accompanied by a glass of specially selected regional wine. The dinner is limited to groups of 10 people to guarantee a personal and intimate experience.

2) Opera at Terme di Caracalla

 There are plenty of ancient spas where you can rub shoulders with thousands of other tourists, but Terme di Caracalla is something a little more exclusive. The classical ruins are impressive in their own right and date back to the third century AD, but that is only half the story. Terme di Caracalla also plays host to some incredible open air operas.

Tickets can be purchased in advance via romeoperatickets.com, where you can also take a look at exactly what is happening and when. There is typically a blend of the classic and contemporary, but whatever is on, you won’t be disappointed.

3) The Colosseum by night

Of course, you can’t miss out on Rome’s most famous attraction during your visit, but to make it really special, make it an evening affair with a VIP experience that begins at the rooftop restaurant of the nearby Hotel Forum, which has amazing views across Ancient Rome. After a gourmet meal and a couple of glasses of bubbly, you stroll over to the Colosseum for a guided tour of the arena and underground chambers. These tours are in groups of 15, and you will have the entire place to yourselves.

4) Breakfast with the Pope

We have discussed a couple of unique dinner experience, so how about something special for breakfast? OK, you can’t actually have breakfast with the Pope, but the next best thing is the Vatican VIP experience that includes a luxury breakfast followed by an exclusive tour of the museums and the Sistine Chapel before the regular tourists are allowed in. Choose from a traditional Italian breakfast of cold meats and cheeses or American favorites such as pancakes and eggs. It is well worth making the effort for the 7AM start.

Planning on attending any weddings in Rome anytime soon? To all the Best Men to be’s out there – read this article on how to be the better best man.