Rome, the Eternal City, needs little introduction. Always a good time, the Italian capital offers culture, fun, and great food in abundance.
When they say all roads lead to Rome, it’s true. There are multiple ways, all of which are pretty convenient, to get into the city. There are two main airports located on the outskirts of the city – Ciampino and Fiumicino airports – which are easily reachable from the centre by regional train. If you are doing a tour of Italy, then there is no better method of transport than the train. Italian trains are cheap and pretty reliable (even though Italians love to complain about them) and assure panoramic routes, no matter where you are coming from or going to. For those keen to drive about in something chic and miniature, it’s worth noting that Rome is a very busy city and the traffic is not for the faint-hearted, due to the Italians’ exuberance behind the wheel. Still, once acclimatised, it’s actually pretty easy to drive around.
With so much to see, do, and eat, choosing what takes priority is close to impossible. So, when it comes to Rome, you’ll find it best to tell yourself that this trip is the first of many more to come. So take your time and really lean into la dolce vita.
Nestled on top of one of Rome’s seven hills, the Rome Cavalieri is the perfect hideaway for those who want to explore the capital without the stress of being in a big city. Located in a residential area, away from the crowds, the hotel offers tranquility in spades – not to mention, incredible view of the city from the top floors. The cherry on top: the hotel’s incredible spa. After a day spent hitting the pavements, retreat to the hotel’s massive indoor and outdoor pools, before making best use of the spacious hammam, which comprises a cold pool, a steam room, and a jacuzzi just on the other side of the glass.
The Hoxton, Rome
The Hoxton, Rome is ideally located next to the calm and elegant Parioli neighbourhood, situated just eight minutes away from Villa Borghese and Galleria Borghese. The hotel boasts a whooping 192 rooms, all delightfully designed, plus a lovely outdoor terrace, two restaurants, and plenty of space to work (if needed). When hunger (and a need for home comforts) calls, head to The Beverly, an American restaurant with a Californian ethos, offering vegan burritos, chicken, and waffles and tacos. For something more, well, Italian, try Cugino – though, take note, it is not open for dinner. With a convenient location, fabulous breakfast, and sleek surrounds, which are synonymous with The Hoxton group, make this Roman address a fantastic base from which to explore the city.
Mama Shelter Rome
The French group Mama Shelter has chosen Rome as the location for their first Italian property. At Mama Roma, guests can expect to find the signature Mama Shelter traits – friendly and helpful staff, delicious local food, comfortable beds, and organic toiletries, to name a few – but also additional amenities never seen before at the group’s other hotels. Mama Roma is the first hotel of the group to boast a spa, complete with an indoor pool, a sauna, and a hammam. The spa is a puzzle of pink, white, and yellow tiles, with striped sofas flanking each side and inflatables in the pool. It’s a lot of fun. The rooftop has a gorgeous tropical vibe and a surreal view of the city, and offers delicious cocktails and mouth-watering tapas – the aubergine croquettes being an absolute must try.
EAT + DRINK
Freni e Frizioni
One of the coolest cocktail bars in Rome, Freni e Frizioni is a must visit if you want to experience the city like a local. The name’s literal translation is “breaks and clutches”, because the location used to be a mechanics shop. If you ask them, the friendly staff will tell you all about the history of this now iconic cocktail bar. Cocktails are taken very seriously here. On the menu you’ll find a medley of classic drinks, alongside a selection house cocktails created by FeF’s talented bartenders. Come aperitivo time, the bar puts on impressive spread of Italian delicacies – an experience not to be missed.
Da Enzo al 29
Da Enzo al 29 is a victim of its own success – it is one of those places you have to queue at for a while to get a table at lunch, but it’s 100% worth it. If you are on the hunt for simple, traditional, and well-executed local food, there is no better place than this little eatery, tucked away on a small street next to the river, to dine. To order: opt for their mouth-watering pasta dishes – carbonara, gricia, and cacio e pepe are highly recommended – the fried artichoke, and polish things off with their decadent tiramisù, which hides a heart of Nutella.
In the lively neighbourhood of Trastevere, this little seafood restaurant offers simple yet delicious food, paired with local wines. Choose from a selection of seafood – think tuna tataki with pistachio and fresh oysters alongside fried calamari and even sushi. Small and cosy, the vibe is casual and the staff are always friendly and helpful. The wine selection is impressive for such a petite place. An ideal place to start your night in Trastevere with a delicious aperitivo or an informal dinner.
Visit Chiostro del Bramante
In Rome, every street has a beauty to discover and every corner is a piece of history to learn – effectively, the whole city is an open air museum. There are, of course, the iconic museums and attractions that tourists try to tick off during their first visit to the Italian capital, like the Vatican, the Colosseum, or the Catacombs but there are many smaller venues that are worth a visit and which are usually forgotten by tourists. One of them is Chiostro del Bramante, a cultural space hosted in a 1500 building which houses a bookshop, café, a bistro, and a small museum – which is currently hosting a show by Banksy.
Take a break in Villa Borghese
Rome is home to many gardens, parks, and green spaces, but the most famous of them all is Villa Borghese. The third-biggest garden in the city, after Villa Doria Pamphili and Villa Ada, Villa Borghese is home to a number of museums, buildings, and attractions. It would take the whole day to properly explore this incredible place but there are a few things that should be prioritised during an afternoon here, namely, Galleria Borghese. This small but extremely beautiful museum contains pieces by Italian masters such as Caravaggio, Raffaello, and Tiziano. The museum also organises contemporary art exhibitions, mixing their Baroque and Renaissance collection with modern pieces for a stunning cultural experience.
Explore the hidden beauty underneath the Trevi Fountain
There is more than meets the eye at the famous Trevi Fountain. Everyone knows where the fountain is and every tourist, on visiting Rome, has taken a picture at its feet, but not many people know that underneath the fountain itself there’s something to see. A few metres away from the touristy centre point, there is a hidden archeological site called Vicus Caprarius, also known as the City of Water. The site includes the remains of a Roman house and the aqueduct that brings water to the Trevi Fountain. The ticket only costs €4 and queues are a rarity.