With its ancient ruins, narrow cobblestone streets, Baroque monuments, and boisterous trattorias, the Eternal City holds a timeless appeal. Journalist and Rome resident Laura Itzkowitz shares her official HAP city guide below.
Where to Stay:
Soho House Rome
For their first Italian hotel, British members club Soho House built a sophisticated bolthole in the artsy San Lorenzo district, a university neighborhood with indie art galleries and street art. There are plenty of amenities, including a pampering spa and cinema, but the main draw is the rooftop pool and restaurant, which feels like an art-filled oasis in the city.
This intimate boutique hotel by the team behind Rome’s beloved Hotel Vilòn is tucked away in a historic building on a side street just steps from the Trevi Fountain. The design draws inspiration from English clubs, with jewel-toned furniture and cheeky art from Stanley Gonczansky’s “Almost Classic” series. Settle in at the Don Pasquale restaurant for elegantly presented Roman dishes.
Where to Eat:
Da Enzo al 29
At this family-run Roman trattoria in Trastevere, the seasonal specials might change, but you can always count on the chef to prepare a perfectly creamy carbonara or cacio e pepe using only the best ingredients. The secret about this no-reservations spot is out, so get there early to line up for a table before it opens at 7pm.
If there’s one fine dining restaurant in Rome worth the splurge, it’s Ristorante All’Oro. Here, lauded chef Riccardo di Giacinto serves creative takes on classic dishes, like a savory tiramisu made with cod and potatoes, a pasta-less carbonara served in an egg shell, and coda alla vaccinara disguised as a Ferrero Rocher. Go for the All’Origine tasting menu, which includes all his greatest hits.
Where to Drink:
At this swanky al fresco cocktail bar in Palazzo Manfredi, renowned bartender Matteo “Zed” Zamberlan shakes and stirs creative libations that come with unparalleled views of the Colosseum. Cocktails come with gourmet bites from the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant.
Where to Visit:
Rome is home to heavy-hitting museums like the Vatican Museums and Galleria Borghese, but for a more off-the-beaten path experience, head to Centrale Montemartini in Ostiense. Housed in Rome’s first power plant, this manageably sized museum juxtaposes ancient Roman statues from the Capitoline Museum’s collections with obsolete industrial machinery for a unique take on from the Capitoline Museum’s collections with obsolete industrial machinery for a unique take on the theme of gods and machines.
Only open on Saturday mornings, this museum gives you a glimpse at how one of Rome’s oldest aristocratic families lives. You can only visit part of the palace, as the Colonna family still lives there, but it’s worth it to see the great hall that appeared as Audrey Hepburn’s palace in Roman Holiday. Strolling through the peaceful gardens, it’s hard to believe that this tranquil oasis is so close to the bustling Piazza Venezia.
Fontana dell’Acqua Paola
After you’ve tossed a coin in the Trevi Fountain, consider visiting the also impressive (and far less crowded) Fontana dell’Acqua Paola on Gianicolo Hill. Romans simply call it the fontanone (the big fountain) and just across from it you’ll find a viewpoint with panoramic views of the city. You might even recognize it from Paolo Sorrentino’s award-winning film La Grande Bellezza.
Walk and Shop your way around Monti
One of Rome’s most charming neighborhoods, Monti is spread over a series of hills just a few blocks from the Colosseum. Spend a leisurely afternoon shopping at independent boutiques like Kokoro, where a seamstress sews original designs, and Art Privé, where the jewelry is handmade and one-of-a-kind. After walking up and down the sloping streets, stop for an Aperol Spritz at one of the cafes on Piazza della Madonna dei Monti or a creative cocktail at Drink Kong, featured on the World’s 50 Best Bars list. Art lovers shouldn’t miss Michelangelo’s statue of Moses inside the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli.
Take a Vespa tour with Scooteroma
The best way to get around Rome is by Vespa, so hop on the back of one driven by one of Scooteroma’s expert guides. They offer three-hour tours with themes like street art, cinema, and twilight tours.