Rome is an expansive and complex city, an open-air museum if you will, of historical monuments and ancient ruins that define its beauty. Antiquity, combined with modernity creates an intoxicating and gritty mix, which is difficult to resist. With a mild climate year round—except in summer, natch—Rome is a great place to spend time outdoors. You’ll often find Romans gathered around landmarks and architectural jewels, chatting with one another before heading to a spot to enjoy an aperitif at sunset.
Explore The Eternal CIty by foot and you will be rewarded: ancient alleyways give way to romantic squares and you’ll find domes and bell towers rising to the sky nearly everywhere you look. Get up early to enjoy the city at its most calm. Walk along the Lungotevere, which is crisscrossed with bridges offering breathtaking views. Hip neighborhoods such as San Lorenzo or Pigneto are always lively and far enough from the historic center to make you feel less like a tourist and more like a local. Before leaving town, throw a coin in the Trevi fountain: legend has it that this will ensure you return once again.
Despite its frenetic pace, Romans don’t deny themselves their daily cappuccino and croissant. They quickly order the dynamic duo and consume it at the bar counter. Savor the breakfast at Sant’Eustachio, a historic bar and roasting house that has been serving perfect espressos since 1938. Take home a choice of blends or their legendary coffee liqueur! A stone’s throw from the Pantheon, Sant’Eustachio will not disappoint except for the wait time: The bar is a Roman institution!
For lunch you shouldn’t miss the artichoke alla giudia at Sora Margherita. This small trattoria, in the heart of the ancient quarter, offers typical Roman dishes, with generous portions and handmade fresh pasta, including the famous cacio e pepe (pasta with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and fresh pepper). The walls of the restaurant are covered with old newspapers articles, handwritten notes and photos of famous Italian celebrities who’ve mingled with the regulars in the rustic environs.
When the sun turns the alleys of the Monti district red, head to Ai Tre Scalini for an aperitif, glass of wine or a spritz. This cozy and lively wine bar offers a wide choice of vino and a delicious menu featuring everything from pork sausages with truffles to sweet and sour eggplant caponata.
If another cocktail is on order, savor one at Freni e Frizioni, a bar in the heart of Trastevere that is famous for its happy hour. The drinks are pretty damn good, especially the mojito, and it’s a great place to socialize. Expect to see regulars stop and chat with each in the front of the bar.
What to do in Rome? Well, we’re here to tell you there are more than just tourist attractions in Rome. Immerse yourself in art without spending a penny! As previously mentioned, Rome is an open-air museum so leave that wallet at home. Start your journey into Roman culture with a tour through the glories of antiquity. Head to the Fori Imperiali, the most important archaeological area of the city. Admire the Trajan Markets, the administrative seat during the Roman Empire. Head to Palatine Hill, which offers a stunning panorama of ancient temples and the remains of imperial palaces. You might even spy a seagull or two resting on the columns as if they are posing for a photo. End your tour through the past at the Colosseum. Built in 72 AD, it needs no introduction but you might have to jostle with the crowds to get a good snap.
Catholicism and Rome go hand in hand so a visit to San Pietro in Vincoli, in the Monti district, is a must. Admire the mighty statue of Moses sculpted by Michelangelo for the tomb of Pope Julius II. Visit the small church of Santa Maria della Vittoria near the Piazza della Repubblica, which features the Ecstasy of Santa Teresa by Bernini, a masterwork that showcases the saint transformed by a vision of the divine.
The works of hometown icons Bernini, Borromini and Caravaggio can be viewed throughout the city. Admire Bernini’s genius at the Fontana dei Fiumi in Piazza Navona, which is steps away from the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, part of which was crafted by Borromini. Caravaggio’s paintings are on display at the nearby Church of San Luigi dei Francesi.
To get a taste of 20th-century Rome, head to the Coppedè district, which was named after the famous architect responsible for many of its buildings. Enter via Dora, cross the stone arch, and discover Piazza Mincio, with its frog fountain, the Palazzo del Ragno and the Villini delle Fate. A mix of Medieval, ancient Greek, Art Nouveau, neoclassical and Baroque styles, it gives off a fairytale atmosphere.
Visit the Priory of the Knights of Malta and peep through the keyhole for an original, panoramic view of San Pietro, the symbol of the city. You will leave a changed person.
Colosseum Forum apartment
When in Rome, do as the Romans do! Stay in this large apartment, which is in the heart of the Monti district and close to area attractions such as the Colosseum. Expect all the comforts of home including an inviting living space, free Wi-Fi and spots to relax and dine in the morning. Green walls and furnishings dot the bedroom, which has a comfortable double bed and a green velvet chair for makeup application. An extra sofa bed is on hand for children. The bathroom features a shower as well as a bidet. Vintage furniture, a gas range and spacious wardrobes complete the space, which is ideal for short or long stays.
iRooms Central Station
Close to Termini station, this boutique hotel, part of the large iRooms chain, affords guests ultra-modern rooms, some with a space-age vibe (we particularly love the spa cave). For a splurge and some fun, opt for one the jacuzzi suites. You might be lucky enough to get a sunken hot tub near your bed. Savor your breakfast then take a dip or a chromotherapy shower. Each room is equipped with an iPad with lighting control and a free minibar. You can also book a romantic package and enjoy your stay with prosecco, fruit and chocolates!