Historical architecture that will blow your mind and possibly the best cuisine in Europe to commit carbocide for: follow our top tips to achieve the greatest ‘when in Rome’ moments with our Rome travel guide.
Like any grand old European metropolis, Rome is meant to be see on foot. Stroll along the wide grand boulevards and duck into the ancient little allies. Just get lost and soak it up. But for a more amusing way to see the city, rent a scooter or take a scooter tour. It may be touristy but it will certainly be an experience. Italians barely recognize street signs and signals…
Some of our favorite sights include:
–The Pantheon– Built by Hadrian (more about him later), 2000 years after it was built it is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome
-The Colosseum (pre book tickets for entry, trust us)
-The Spanish Steps-Absolutely nothing to do here but people watch so squeeze into the historic Caffe Greco for ‘un caffè’ which is basically an espresso.
–Trevi Fountain-Thanks to the Fendi family, this iconic fountain was recently restored. While during the day it is teaming with selfie sticks and loud school kids, swing by after dinner and see it lit up, a bit quieter and a lot more romantic.
If you have the time, a day trip to Tivioli gardens and Hadrian’s Villa is a must. During the Roman Empire, Emperor Hadrian’s built this vast complex of villas, baths, stables and even a hotel of sorts. It was abandoned and left to ruin and is now a UNESCO heritage site. Ogle at the scale as well as the remarkably intact mosaics and sculpture. Not far from the villa is the Renaissance palace of Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este. He cleared away parts of the village in order to build some of the grandest gardens, fountains and grottos in Europe. We bought tickets here and the tour was on time and very thorough.
Spend the morning in Monti. Situated less then five minutes walk from the hotel, this small area is best known for its interior stores and café culture. For truly original restored homeware and furniture, head to Nora.P on Via Panisperna. The selection of mid-nineteenth century chairs will make you want to strap one to your back to get it home.
Our favorite Italian brand for formalwear is Brioni. Since undergoing a huge rebrand, the label have sharpened and updated their silhouettes and tailoring, and the results will elevate you to a sartorial high. Also, don’t miss the Stone Island store on Via del Babuino for the Italian brand’s cult outerwear.
For the best souvenir of your time in Rome, stop into Gammarelli and buy a pair of red silk socks, the same one’s the Pope wears. This shop has been catering to the Pope as well as other members of the church since 1798.
If you are a fan of stationary, journals and leather crafts, Il Papiro is a must stop. Pick up a marbleized picture frame or even a leather bound photo album to fill up with your wine soaked memories.
EAT & DRINK
Fast feasting plus wine? Sign us up. Litro is a little gem that is one of the few places that doesn’t close mid-day so sit a spell and order their incredible bruschetta and a local wine for lunch.
For dinner, cross the river to the bohemian district of Trastevere, where you’ll find Antico Arco. Refreshingly unpretentious, this intimate eatery sources quality ingredients to offer a taste tour of Italy, region by region and the wine is outstanding.
End the day with a memorable cocktail at Freni e Frizioni. This former car workshop is one of the coolest hang-outs in Trastevere and its young, creative patrons are known to spill out onto the street after dark.
Check in at the ES Hotel. The sharp and contemporary interior of this design hotel boasts a wealth of curved Modernist lines and a Robinson Crusoe-inspired raft design which fuses the shower, bed, sink and wardrobe together as one. Minimalists will rejoice. Eating breakfast at the rooftop restaurant is the perfect way to start the day – take in the views and as much fresh fruit and pastries as you can eat.
If you are really on a budget be damned holiday, check into a real live palaces and live like a prince at the Residenza Ruspoli Bonaparte. Still owned by the gracious Princess Pia, (who welcomed us upon arrival), there are only three suites available and a decadent breakfast spread is wheeled into your room every morning. Beware of falling into an Instagram-hole. Every room is palatial.
Rome skyline credit: silverjohn/123rf.com