The most theatrical city in the world. From exquisite food & wine to spectacular Roman ruins, indulge in La Dolce Vita.
Live like a local
Rome is lovely all year round but Spring and Autumn are the best time to enjoy warm long days. It is highly touristic so you won't avoid the crowds but you can still feel like a local with the right tips.
To live like a local and avoid silly hotel rates, rent a flat in Trastevere (the most charming and residential neighbourhood in Rome) via Airbnb. There are some lovely refurbished ones. This one belongs to a friends and has been newly refurbished. Another option is the luxury B&B Buonanotte Garibaldi.
If you like a good workout in the morning, go running from Ponte Sisto until Villa Borghese on Lungotevere (the road along the Tiber river). Then go to Bar San Calisto for a coffee and a juice with the locals.
For aperitif / drinks, Trastevere is full of bars but I prefer hot spots Caffe della Pace and Etabli near Piazza Navona
Eating & Drinking
Dining options are infinite in Rome but a good preparation will save you time and disappointment.
Start with a coffee at Sant’Eustachio, the institution where tourists and locals alike enjoy the famous 'gran caffe'- the house cappuccino, or a 'moretto'. This is one of the best coffee in the world!
For a light lunch at your doorstep, enjoy tapas at bar Pianostrada, a ‘laboratorio di cucina’ run by a feminine team. Try the bollite miste, an Italian vegetarian speciality and the fresh bread that is baked every day.
For a more substantial and ‘gourmand’ lunch, go to Da Francesco close to Piazza Navona. Their thin crusted pizzas and artichokes 'alla giudia' are amazing.
Roscioli is one of my favourite restaurants in Rome. It is great for lunch or dinner. Cheeses, charcuteries, caponata, …. Amarone wine. Everything is delightful. Make sure you book ahead.
La Buvette (via Vittoria) is great for coffee and biscuits in the afternoon, breakfast or lunch when you are in the Piazza di Spagna area. I love the mix of trendy design and genuine Italian spirit.
Try Da Felice a Testaccio for its good and authentic fare and that 'tornarelli cacio e pepe'!
For dinner, Enoteca Ferrara in Trastevere offers several experiences: a high end restaurant, a tavern and wine bar corner, ‘La Mescita’, which I loved for the good wine and tasty free tapas for aperitivo. I really want to try the restaurant on my next visit.
From ancient masters to contemporary art
Art and Architecture are everywhere. I like to visit a mix of ancient and modern places from the churches containing some of the Western world’s most recognisable masterpieces to contemporary art museums.
Villa Farnesina is a Renaissance villa (located in the Trastevere), which now bears the name and preserves the memory of the Farnese family. It houses paintings of scenes from the life of Alexander the Great, and the fresco decoration of the villa was commissioned and done by artists such as Raphael.
Palazzo Spada hosts the Galleria Spada, the Cardinal Spada’s collection, which includes four galleries of 16th and 17th-century paintings by Andrea del Sarto, Guido Reni, Titian, Rubens, Caravaggio and more.
Basilica San Clemente houses spectacular mosaics and an underground pagan temple from the 1st century (Mitra).
The opulent baroque chiesa San Luigi dei Francesi is home to a celebrated trio of Caravaggio paintings.
Maxxi museum is a national museum of contemporary art and architecture in the Flaminio quartiere designed by Zaha Hadid.
I did not have the time to visit Centrale Montemartini, but will on my next trip.
The best walks
On a sunny day, walking in Rome is the best way to discover it.
A visit of Villa Borghese gardens, home to the Galoppatoio is a must. Within the gardens is Villa Medici which houses the French Academy. Book ahead a guided tour.
Walk through the Roman Forum until the Colosseum at sunset and get transported back in time.
I also find the view of the Palatine Hill from Circo Massimo (ancient Rome’s largest chariot racetrack) very moving. Walk your way up to the Avelino. Make a stop at Giardini dei Arancini which offer one of the best views of the city. Next to it is Piazza dei cavaliere de Malta which is not to be missed. You will understand why once there!
Accommodation & local lifestyle
Rent a flat in Trastevere / Run on Lungotevere from Trastevere up to Villa Borghese / Morning coffee at Bar San Calisto / Aperitif at Bar della Pace
Food & Drink
Sant'Eustachio / Pianostrada / Da Francesco / Roscioli / Da Felice / La Buvette / Enoteca Ferrara
Art & Architecture
Villa Farnesina / Palazzo Spada / Basilica San Clemente / San Luigi dei Francesi / Maxxi Museum / Centrale Montemartini
Villa Borghese gardens / Roman Forum ./ Colosseum / Circo Massimo / Giardini dei Arancini / Piazza dei cavaliere de Malta
Be aware of the pickpockets and watch your belongings.