ROME: CIAO ITALIA

 Courtesy of Hotel de Russie

Courtesy of Hotel de Russie

It’s hard not to love Rome: the defining mix of ancient and modern, the young couples leaning against the Parthenon in deep embrace, and best of all the pizza and gelato served guilt free. The incredible “must see” sights make Rome the ultimate tourist destination, yet it’s also a great city to slow down and just enjoy La Dolce Vita. Our friend Jolie was lucky to have lived in Rome for many years and has returned often since moving to Milan. She suggests setting aside a day to just roam, soaking in all around you and feeling the rhythm of everyday life. Here’s an ideal way to do just that, thanks to Jolie.

Tripper Tips:

A unique way to start the day…running through Rome with World Triathlon champion Danilo Palmucci, a plus of staying at the Hotel de Russie. This is taking hotel personal training sessions to a whole new level.

Tired of walking, hop on a vespa to see Rome from the back of a bike with Scooteroma tours.

Want to spend more time exploring Trastevere? Eat and drink your way through the neighborhood with Eating Italy, offering both day and twilight food tours.

In the mood for a quick snack? Go to one of Rome’s best bakeries and among the city’s most historic institutions, Antico Forno Roscioli. There are a variety of pastries and breads, including pizza by the slice.

Stay:  Having lived in Rome for many years, staying in a hotel in “my city” is a new experience, and the Hotel de Russie is exactly that--an experience. Part of the Rocco Forte Group, like the Savoy in Florence, the design is chic and contemporary. You can’t beat the location just off the Piazza de Popolo, close to the Spanish Steps. I am in love with the 18th century terraced gardens, a secret oasis within the city, perfect for cocktails whether you live locally or just visiting. 

Morning: Start the day off in Piazza del Popolo where twin churches that flank the Piazza. One, Santa Maria del Polpo, has two amazing Caravaggio paintings: The Conversion on the way to Damascus and Crucifixion of St. Peter. From Piazza del Popolo walk down Via del Babuino, a fantastic shopping street.  I love almost every shop but my favorite is Gente, which has both a men’s and woman’s store, and Eleonora Boutique.  From there take a left and wander onto Via Margutta, once home to many artists and home to lovely galleries. Head to the Spanish steps and walk down via dei Condotti, the Madison Avenue of Rome.  Wander around the small streets in this area for incredible luxury shopping!  If you feel like some tourist activities walk down via del Corso to the nearby Trevi fountain.  Afterwards, visit the private museum, Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, housed in an old palace and has a wonderful collection. I would then walk over to the Pantheon ( Which could be a full day in itself!).  There is a great little street called Campo Marzio, full of wonderful small boutiques. 

Indulge: Near the Pantheon is the Best Gelato in Rome at Giolitti.

Lunch: Pierluigi is a great place to eat near Campo dei fiori. Be sure to make a reservation well in advance as it’s very popular at lunchtime. (Note: Its closed on Mondays) 

Wander: In Campo dei Fiori, meander around the small pedestrian streets.  My favorite piazza is nearby, the Piazza Farnese, home to the impressive Palazzo Farnese, now the French embassy. Linger at a café over espresso and enjoy the scenery. I love to walk up the elegant Via Guila and Via Monserrato that are full of antique shops.   

Roads less traveled: Cross the Tiber River on the romantic pedestrian bridge, Ponte Sisteo, into Trastevere. The neighborhood of Trastevere is off the tourist track and is well worth a visit.  It is wonderful to wander the small streets – make sure to visit the beautiful Byzantine church Santa Maria. With quaint buildings, cafes and family run restaurants—it feels more like a small traditional Italian town rather than part of a bustling city. From here, finish the day in the nearby Jewish Ghetto visiting the famous, ancient open-air Theatre of Marcellus.   

Cocktails: A lovely way to begin the evening is to have a drink in the beautiful courtyard of the Russie 

Dinner: End your evening, back at Piazza del Popolo at Dal Bolognese, one of my favorite places to eat in Rome. It’s always packed, ask to be seated downstairs and order the delicious pasta.



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