Last week, with little fanfare and under heavy security, an historic meeting took place in Rome which marked a turning point in interfaith relations. Inside the 16th century Casina Pio IV villa, home to the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences, seven clerics representing over five billion people overcame lingering traditions of suspicion to commit to the eradication of modern day slavery by the year 2020.
The Italians may have a chequered political history, a national debt second only to Greece and high levels of unemployment but if they do one thing really well, it is luxury hotels. Italian luxury hotels are acknowledged worldwide as among the best for style, service and food: they are the standard bearers that others try to follow.
The Palazzo Venezia is home to the Rome Biennale. The palazzo is only partially obscured by the fair and its magnificence creeps out at the corners and when you look up the ceilings. The history of any building in Rome is a tapestry of information but this building is both an erstwhile papal residence and was also used by Mussolini, whose presence can be felt everywhere.
With so many great reasons to visit Rome, it's a task in itself to narrow down the must-see attractions. With more than 900 churches alone - that's more than two church visits every day for a year - it's unlikely that you will fit everything into one visit. So, don't try and rush around the city to see every ruin or piazza - save it for your next holiday to Rome!
Start at Rialto Bridge to re-live heated conversations from The Merchant of Venice and experience the views this tourist trap offers over the city's canals. Take a trip to the area known as the 'Jewish Ghetto' and see one of the city's stunning synagogues, like the Levantine Synagogue, where Al Pacino prayed in the role of Shylock in the 2004 film.
Friday 4th October 2013 will be an historic day. I know this because it cannot not be. In some ways it's just simple predictive history, in others it's a stirring, a surge or the tremors that result in a tsunami. Either way, it will be an historic day. For on this day that thing will happen that pushes a wedge of change, whether it be in the corridors or power or in the thoughts of the individual.
This weekend saw the UK host two of the largest Gay Pride festivals in Liverpool and Brighton, celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life. Both cities will hold a parade and open air festival, featuring stages and street stalls accompanied by various arts and cultural events throughout the cities.