With its unparalleled history, renowned culinary scene and convivial atmosphere, Italy’s capital is amongst the world’s most charismatic cities.
Famed for its ancient ruins, magnificent architecture and historic empire, the eternal city of Rome attracts in excess of 10 million visitors every year. Sadly most tourists stay here long enough only to complete a whistle-stop tour of the major sights: The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica and The Sistine Chapel, before hopping back on the coach, train or cruise ship and heading to the next destination. Those who stay a little longer to allow the romance of Rome to wash over them, will be rewarded with a city that has a lot more to offer than iconic monuments and memories of the past.
Rome is a city that marries old and new with seemingly consummate ease. Its easy to think of this place as an open-air museum, but to dismiss its modern culture would be a huge mistake. A vibrant contemporary arts scene, fantastic food and wine, and amiable people proud of their city’s past, present and future, ensures that La Dolce Vita lives on in this cosmopolitan capital.
As Europe’s third most visited city (after London and Paris), Rome’s accommodation offer covers a broad spectrum of styles, stars and budgets. From hostels to upmarket hotels, farm stays in the Lazio countryside to charming guesthouses in the city centre, as well as an almost infinite selection of B&Bs and apartment rentals in some of the city’s colourful neighbourhoods. The luxury end of the market is stacked with converted monasteries, grand palatial buildings and contemporary boutique hotels. One of Rome’s finest - the iconic Hotel Eden - has been operational since 1889 and is characterised by an understated opulence. In an elevated position on Via Ludovisi, and offering panoramic views over the city, the Eden is renowned for its refined, stylish interiors, impeccable service and rooftop Michelin star restaurant, La Terrazza.
Dining out in Rome, as in all of Italy, is often the highlight of the day. Second only to Naples as the Italian city with most Michelin recommended restaurants, Rome’s culinary scene is an ever-evolving hotbed of creativity and innovation. From street food to fine dining, hearty regional cuisine to the city’s famous crispy Pizza al Taglio, cool, contemporary cocktails to a fragrant glass of Frascati Superiore, Rome’s vast array of restaurants and bars cater for all tastes and budgets.
Located in the luxurious Cavalieri Hotel, La Pergola is the city’s only three Michelin star establishment and a permanent fixture on lists of the country’s - and even the world’s - top eateries. With sensational views, exquisite dining and a wine cellar comprising more than 50,000 bottles, La Pergola is unsurprisingly popular with gourmet travellers and tables are often booked up months in advance. But if you’re not lucky enough to get a table here, Italy’s capital boasts 16 other Michelin star restaurants as well as numerous yet-to-be-discovered gastronomic gemstones.
Eating and drinking are not separate activities here, rather the two combine as something of a national pastime! As restaurants accompany their upmarket cuisine with equally fine wines, so too many of the capital’s bars serve small plates - or even platters - alongside the wines for which they are best known. Ai Tre Scalini - close to Piazza Navona, yet largely undiscovered by tourists - has a cosy, rustic interior, relaxed ambiance and an impressive list of wines and beers to choose from. The bar snacks here are also delicious, but it’s worth arriving early as the place, like many of the best bars in Rome, gets packed out very quickly with in-the-know locals.
So well known as a city break destination, so famed for its preservation of history, architectural heritage and world class art, it can feel as if there’s nothing new to discover in Rome. But take the time to scratch the surface here and you’ll find a dynamic, contemporary city deserving of your attention.
Via Panisperna, 251, Rome, 00184
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14, Roma, Provincia di Roma, 00186
Via di Donna Olimpia 22, Rome, Italy, 00152
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