Living It Up in The Eternal City! 

In the mood for a ‘Roman holiday’? Few cities offer such variety or prompt such desire to return to like Rome, the founding city of the Roman Empire which was once caput mundi, the head of the world. The glamorous Italian capital is a year-round luxury destination, as vibrant today as it was in the heady days of the 50s.

Angela Sara West shopping in Rome. Photo courtesy of Jonathon Keymer

Angela Sara West shopping in Rome. Photo courtesy of Jonathon Keymer

Angela Sara West gives the lowdown on where to head for a lavish stay, shop and play in this magical celeb-loved city.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and has the treasures to prove it. Many beautifully preserved, the city’s a living, breathing open-air museum just waiting to be explored. With a history spanning over 2,500 years, it’s no wonder that Rome is known as the Eternal City. It’s the city of Caesars… romance… la dolce vita… Rich in heritage, the history here is unsurpassable, and, unsurprisingly, the enticing capital has lent itself as a backdrop for many a Hollywood movie. From Carey Grant, Marlon Brando, and Sophia Loren, to John Wayne, Bette Davies, and Elizabeth Taylor, countless famous faces have been spied in the city.

Dolce & Gabbana boutique by Andrea Martiradonna, courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana boutique by Andrea Martiradonna, courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

‘The City of the Soul’ (according to Lord Byron), Rome is the seat of the Italian government and the world’s center of the Roman Catholic faith. Add the endless churches, crumbling palaces and a medley of museums to the great gastronomy, superb shopping, and fountain-filled piazzas, and this sensational setting simply HAS to be seen to be believed. Blessed with a wealth of antiquities, from the remains of its Imperial glory days to the Renaissance, Rome’s also bursting with Baroque and classical riches. It’s a glorious architectural patchwork where you literally stumble across the city’s characteristic quarters’ treasures, hidden corners and wonderful viewpoints simply by strolling around.

Spanish Steps in Rome

Spanish Steps

Step back in time while embracing modern living and discover historic riches and majestic, medieval monuments, from the wonders of Ancient Rome to Renaissance gems, sprinkled with glamorous cafés, restaurants, and bars brimming with well-heeled beautiful people, highbrow hedonists, and irrepressible Latin lotharios gliding around on Vespas. Wander from one sleepy piazza to the next, eat out under the stars and enjoy open-air concerts among Roman ruins.

Piazza Navona, Rome. Photo courtesy of Phant

Piazza Navona. Photo courtesy of Phant

Sensational sightseeing delights

Sitting on seven historic hills, the ancient heart lies to the East on the left bank with the main sites to the south, while the Vatican State lies across the River Tiber to the West. In Rome, all roads seem to lead to… the Piazza Venezia, the hub of the city’s road network. Originally built as a huge jousting stadium in 86AD, Rome’s most beautiful Baroque square, Piazza Navona, features a handsome Bernini-designed fountain. Piazza di Spagna is home to the world-famous Spanish Steps – THE place to see and be seen. The Keats-Shelley Memorial House here (where Keats died in 1821), contains a charming museum commemorating the English Romantic poets.

Saint Angel Castle and bridge over the Tiber river in Rome. Photo courtesy of Sergey Borisov

Saint Angel Castle and bridge over the Tiber River. Photo courtesy of Sergey Borisov

Prepare to be awestruck on retracing the footsteps of Emperors and gladiators at the magnificent amphitheater, the mighty Colosseum. Just as impressive is the lesser-known monument to Victor Emmanuel, nicknamed ‘The Typewriter’ and ‘The Wedding Cake’. Its roof terraces afford wonderful views.

Roman Forum in Rome, Italy. Photo courtesy of Natalia Zakharova

Roman Forum. Photo courtesy of Natalia Zakharova

The famous Forum is full of dilapidated temples, basilicas and triumphant monuments celebrating the expanding Empire. Enter via the impressive 1st-century Arch of Titus on the Via Sacra and enjoy the countless gems that await. Don’t miss a visit to Julius Caesar’s cremation site, to this day adorned with love letters, poems, and flowers. Built-in 27BC, the former Roman temple the Pantheon’s now a Catholic church (Sancta Maria ad Martyres, informally known as Santa Maria Rotonda) and a mausoleum for royals and great artists, housing Raphael’s tomb, among others.

Trevi Fountain. Photo courtesy of Jonathon Keymer

Trevi Fountain. Photo courtesy of Jonathon Keymer

The largest and most celebrated in the city, you’ll hear the lavishly-sculpted Trevi fountain before you see it! Cross the ‘Bridge of Angels’ to the arresting, circular fortress Castel Sant’Angelo. Visit the Vatican, marvel at the Raphael Rooms and ‘Mr. Renaissance’ Michaelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel frescoes.

Monumental entrance to the Villa Borghese in Rome. Photo courtesy of Leonid Andronov

Monumental entrance to the Villa Borghese. Photo courtesy of Leonid Andronov

When in Rome, why not do as the Romans do and take a romantic passeggiata (traditional pre-dinner promenade) in one of the city’s parks? Dotted with tree-lined walkways, secret flower gardens, and fountains, Villa Borghese park hosts Caravaggio classics in Galleria Borghese. Or hop on a vintage Vespa and whizz around the city like Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in the romantic film, ‘Roman Holiday’.

Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere square Rome. Photo courtesy of Goran Bogicevic

Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere Square. Photo courtesy of Goran Bogicevic

Take a trip across the Tiber to one of the prettiest parts of Rome… bursting with medieval churches, the funky, bohemian area of Travestere clings to its centuries-old, working-class roots and lies on the West Bank. It’s known for traditional and innovative trattorias, craft beer pubs and artisan shops, with a young crowd buzzing around Piazza di San Calisto and Piazza Santa Maria, the site of a gilded, mosaic-filled church. The best area of Trastevere is the lesser-known part of the district, which lies on the opposite side of busy Viale Trastevere. If you’re here in the morning, be sure to visit the beautiful church of Santa Cecilia – top tip: (only in the morning) ring the intercom on the left-hand side of the portico, the entrance door of the convent, and you will be escorted by a nun to see magnificent frescoes of the XIII century, The Last Judgment of Pietro Cavallini. The church of San Lorenzo in nearby Piscinula is home to the city’s smallest bell tower, while the church of Santa Maria in Cappella recently re-opened after lengthy restoration work. Don’t miss Piazza dei Mercanti and Vicolo dell’Atleta, where you can view the remains of a medieval synagogue.

Defined as a ‘yuppie’ district, Pigneto is one of the trendiest areas of the city and a multicultural area offering chic shops and sophisticated nightlife where the past and present intertwine. With a host of newly-opened bars and bistros, Centocelle is one of the city’s most up-and-coming locations, hotly tipped to rise as one of the coolest quarters of Rome.

Campo de' Fiori in Rome

Campo de’ Fiori

Make sure Bernini’s Illusion in St. Peter’s Square is on your must-do list, too, along with the colorful morning market in Campo de’ Fiori. Not forgetting, of course, that Rome is home to exciting ‘Da Vinci Code’ and ’Angels & Demons’ tours. Looking for something a little different? Learn how to master the basics of gladiator fighting at a genuine gladiator school on the ancient Appian Way!

Hotel Hassler Roma

Hotel Hassler

Hot hotels for sizzling stays

Authentic accommodation, from the intimately chic ’n’ stylish to the ostentatious and seriously sublime, is abundant in this celebrated city. Numerous boutique and classic majestic spa hotels perfectly marry traditional design with contemporary style and 5-star comfort with 24-hour concierge/butler service, offering high-end homes-away-from-home after a roam around Rome.

Hotel Hassler Roma

Hotel Hassler

Prince Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly honeymooned here, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes stayed before their fairy-tale castle wedding, while President Eisenhower turned a suite here into his private study before the war… Hotel Hassler is the award-winning ‘accommodation of choice’ for the world’s elite, boasting panoramic views from the top of the renowned Spanish Steps. Everyone from The Beatles to the Beckhams has made a beeline to this historic hotel… Charlie Chaplin, Pablo Picasso, Prince Charles & Princess Diana, no fewer than FOUR 007’s (Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore), Madonna, Joan Collins, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman, Will Smith, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sting, Justin Timberlake, Keira Knightley, Mick Jagger… the list of A-listers goes on and on… In fact, it’s more a case of who HASN’T stayed here and dined under (and among!) the stars in the grand gourmet restaurant.

RFH Hotel de Russie Entrance

RFH Hotel de Russie Entrance

A few cobblestones away, Grand Hotel Plaza has seduced Churchill and George Clooney. Sneak into highly-acclaimed Rocco Forte’s Hotel de Russie’s nearby ‘Secret’ garden for a jetset company – VIPS here have included U2’s Bono and Hollywood heavyweight, Kevin Costner. The former InterContinental is now also part of the Rocco Forte collection and has been renamed Hotel De La Ville. An inviting land of luxury with striking vistas and a tranquil inner garden, the lavish 17th-century establishment, magnificently positioned atop the Spanish Steps, will reopen in spring 2019 following a major renovation and upgrade.

Albergo JK Roma

J.K. Place 

Housed in the city’s former School of Architecture, J.K. Place Roma’s the place for a seriously stylish stay. The original classrooms have been beautifully transformed into boutique bedrooms adorned with antiques, sculptures, and marble and offer luxury touches, including personally-monogrammed pillows. A Leading Hotels of the World member, the classic and cool establishment won a Condé Nast Traveller Gold List 2018 award.

Hotel Eden's lobby, Rome

Hotel Eden’s lobby 

Hotel Eden has the last word in modern luxury for European royals and film stars, its illustrious guest-list was drawn to its grandeur, its roof garden’s perfect panorama, and its two sensational restaurants headed by Executive Chef, Fabio Ciervo, who was awarded a Michelin star just seven months after the hotel’s reopening.

Take in the domes of Rome from Palazzo Naiadi’s rooftop bar and floodlit pool. An Art Deco dream combining neoclassic opulence with minimalist cool, its spa featured in the movie ‘Oceans Twelve’ and its 3rd-century Diocletian baths lie visibly preserved in this marble-and-mirrored temple. The Champagnerie, meanwhile, offers a corner of calm for bubbly with a view.

Via Condotti. Photo source Hotel Condotti

Via Condotti. Photo source Hotel Condotti

Deluxe apartments include fashionistas’ fave, Portrait Roma, which made Condé Nast’s Traveller Gold List 2018. Providing the perfect pied à Terre for shopaholics, the designer digs comprise 14 luxury suites and studios located in the city’s high-fashion district, designed to make life more ‘dolce’.  Boasting bespoke hospitality in an Italian-style townhouse, the gorgeous roof terrace overlooks Rome’s prime shopping street, Via Condotti.

The Pantheon Iconic Hotel Rome

The Pantheon Iconic Hotel 

New-kid-on-the-block, The Pantheon Iconic Hotel, boasts contemporary interiors showcasing marble stone, brass, porcelain, and wood. The panoramic sixth-floor Divinity terrace bar is among the chicest in town.

Palm Suites at Palazzo Manfredi Rome. Photo courtesy of Palazzo Manfredi

Palm Suites at Palazzo Manfredi Rome. Photo courtesy of Palazzo Manfredi

The new Palm Suites by Palazzo Manfredi, meanwhile, mix vintage and exotic designs for supercool sleep and spectacular views of the Colosseum, Imperial Forum and the Domus Aurea. The luxurious property’s exquisitely-appointed rooms and suites were masterminded for an elite clientele which appreciates the highest levels of comfort and refinement at a rare elegant gem in a unique historical setting.

Hotel St. Regis Rome

Hotel St. Regis

Aleph Rome Hotel, now in the Curio Collection by Hilton, makes for another 5* hip-hotel-of-the-moment stay in the heart of Rome. Other centrally-located hotels include luxurious landmark, Starwood’s St. Regis, complete with Europe’s first oriental urban spa, while Starwood’s Westin Excelsior has attracted famous faces and remained synonymous with la dolce vita since the 50s. Grand Hotel De La Minerve’s justifiably proud of its dramatic rooftop restaurant views, while one of the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ Majestic Roma’s welcomed royals, high-society members and showbiz stars since 1889, dishing up divine gourmet cuisine on its terrace overlooking the bustling Via Veneto below.

Parco dei Principi Junior Suite, Rome

Parco Dei Principi Junior Suite

Elegant establishments elsewhere in the city include celeb-frequented Parco Dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa, boasting Rome’s best Spa for those with a passion for pampering. Sports stars Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, AC Milan, Juventus, and The English, Scottish and New Zealand All Blacks rugby teams, all score it as ‘Ace’! This 5-star luxury urban resort captures everything Rome stands for – history, glamour and innovation – offering a haven of old-school Italian opulence with world-class service. Overlooking the Villa Borghese gardens, the prestigious establishment won Best Hotel with Spa Europe and Mediterranean 2018 and is also famous for its first-class cuisine. The hotel’s restaurants are the jewel in the crown of the group, with unique recipes created by internationally-known chefs devoted to dishing up a genuine local experience for discerning diners, the world’s Presidents and Queens, fashion and showbiz stars, including the Rolling Stones, Brigitte Bardot, Penélope Cruz, and Karlie Kloss. The hotel’s sumptuous rooms provide stunning vistas of the Eternal City, while the luxurious Royal Suite’s enchanting panoramic views encompass the picture-perfect pool, Villa Borghese Gardens, and St. Peter’s dome, attracting A-list personalities including distinguished American film director, Woody Allen, who sojourned here for an entire summer while shooting ‘To Rome with Love’.

Hotel Splendide Royal Rome

Hotel Splendide Royal 

Alternatively, make a base at the alluring sister hotel, Hotel Splendide Royal, presenting phenomenal views from its swish terrace gourmet restaurant in one of the city’s most spectacular roof gardens. For an opulent family-friendly stay, the prestigious 19th-century building stands just a short stroll from the Spanish Steps. The former residence of the Roman Maronites, this stunning luxury hotel offers an elegant interpretation of the lines and furnishings that once adorned the patrician villas of the Roman nobility in the late 17th century, such as sumptuous gold stuccoworks and exclusive artworks, along with the famous Murano glass chandelier Luchino Visconti used for the ball scene in The Leopard, raining glittering light down onto the lobby. Opened in 2014, the elaborate Crystal Lounge’s myriad of dazzling mirrors make for the perfect setting for cocktails, prestigious dinners, and social and gala events. The service attentive and discreet, big names in the guestbook here include political leaders, and members of the Italian and international jet set, such as Gloria Gaynor, Milo Manara, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gloria Estefan, Mickey Rourke, and Sex Pistols’ guitarist, Steve Jones.

Lobby Baglioni Hotel Regina, Rome

Lobby Baglioni Hotel Regina 

High-class Art Deco boutique hotel, Baglioni Hotel Regina, enjoys exquisite surroundings in the center of Ancient Rome. The beautiful period building was once home to Queen Margaret of Savoy and boasts fabulous private terraces with breath-taking views over the city. Unwind in sleek, minimalist-designed Radisson Blues’ rooftop pool, or join world-class art lovers admiring Picasso and Miró works at 5-star deluxe bio hotel Hotel Raphaël, just a few steps away from vibrant Piazza Navona, before indulging in Champagne cocktails ’n’ caviar canapés along with 360° rooftop bar views. Long-standing staff member Giuseppe Runci (aka “Peppino”) has been welcoming guests at this much-loved Relais & Chateâux establishment for no fewer than 55 years!

Hotel Bernini Bristol Rome

Hotel Bernini Bristol 

Offering all the glamour and decadence of a bygone era with modern comfort, Hotel Bernini Bristol is frequented by royals and VIPs hosting lavish parties and banquets. Neoclassical décor transports guests including Orlando Bloom and Sir Ian McKellen to the capital’s heyday at the restored prestigious palace, Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese… its fashionable lounge bar and upscale English-style library serving scrumptious afternoon teas make for a very grand affair.

Photo courtesy of Boutique Hotel Lord Byron Rome

Photo courtesy of Boutique Hotel Lord Byron 

Tucked away in the upmarket Parioli neighborhood, home to many of the city’s wealthier citizens, lies Art Deco-style boutique Hotel Lord Byron, where Simple Minds and Dee Dee Bridgewater have stayed before taking to the stage at the nearby Auditorium Parco Della Musica. Boasting mesmerizing views, Ritzy Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, projects pure panache with plush design in a parkland setting. Enjoy its super Spa, prestigious art collection, outdoor pool surrounded by cypress trees, tennis courts and Rome’s only three-Michelin-starred restaurant.

Villa Nocetta Rome. Photo courtesy of Villa Nocetta

Photo courtesy of Villa Nocetta

Looking for a luxury villa in the heart of Rome? Luxury and prestige converge at Villa Nocetta, an exclusive contemporary and spacious six-bedroom villa with a stunning swimming pool surrounded by a large, lush private garden. Located in the elegant and exclusive area of Monteverde, just minutes from the Vatican City, the sophisticated residence is beautifully designed, impeccably furnished and family-friendly. What’s more, the villa’s luxury personal concierge service offers high-class delights, such as visits to one of the most famous jewelers in the world, enchanting private mansions featuring beautiful works of art and private concerts in astonishing settings. Enjoy luxury and vintage urban experiences, food, and wine tastings, fun cooking lessons and relax and relive the rituals of the ancient Roman baths in a private Spa with thermal pools, massages and beauty treatments.

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club Roma

Photo courtesy of Marco Simone Golf & Country Club 

Golf lover? Rome is home to no fewer than 14 courses! Located on the Appian Way, Acqua Santa is the best golf club in the city, while Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, a 30-minute drive away, will host the 2022 Ryder Cup. Book a room a short putt away from the fairway at the elegant urban oasis, Aldrovandi Villa Borghese, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. Nestled within the famous Borghese Gardens in Rome’s most upscale area, the elegant establishment oozes refined opulence in its own peaceful private gardens with an inviting heated pool, outdoor garden bar and 18-hole golf course nearby. The marble bathrooms add dashes of grandeur and grace, while the Mytha Spa offers serenity and solitude in a peaceful hideaway following the frenzy of a day out and about in bustling Rome. Bask in the old-world glamour of this classic hideaway, a luxurious retreat in a prime spot by the green – golf widows won’t be disappointed!

Il pensiero di Ettore Hotel Raphaël Roma

Il Pensiero di Ettore Hotel Raphaël 

Fine Wining & Dining

Restaurants in Rome are among the finest in Italy, with many open-air, top-class institutions set in the shadows of famous landmarks, providing alluring, unique al fresco ambiances for sampling national and worldwide cuisine in this gastronomic melting pot. Food is a serious subject for Italians and pasta remains the mainstay of meals, with a type for every day of the year! Traditional Roman cooking is conservative, rustic and deceptively simple. Must-tries include gnocchi, spaghetti alle vongole (classic with baby clam sauce) and baccalà alla romana (fried salt cold), followed by Italy’s most famous dessert, a delicious coffee-flavored tiramisù.

Sant Eustachio Il Caffè indoor Rome

Sant Eustachio Il Caffè indoor 

Cappuccino… Espresso? Coffee’s a ritual in Italy and a sophisticated café society ensures glittering cafés a-go-go. Kick-off with a gran caffè speciale at Caffè Sant’ Eustachio, the locals’ and famous faces’ fave (visited by Giuseppe Conti, Matteo Renzi, Claire Holt, Bernadette Peters, Don Diamont and Kourtney Kardashian, who came here for her caffeine fix last summer). Or chill out in lively Piazza Della Rotonda, Piazza Navona or Piazza di Spagna’s countless hot coffee pitstops.

Italian gelateria in Rome

Italian gelateria 

Don’t miss a scoop of glorious gelato (ice-cream) at historic landmark Antico Caffè Greco, former haunt of Keats and Casanova, or at Ciampini or Giolitti, among the coolest ice-cream parlors in town. Try the legendary tartufo ice from I Tre Scallini – iconic film star Sophia Loren’s absolute favorite. Chocoholics delight at historic chocolate-makers, La Bottega Del Cioccolato, Babington’s tearoom serves a fine English cuppa alongside the Spanish Steps, while ZUM and Pompi are top spots for a terrific tiramisù.

Palazzo Manfredi’s grand terrace Rome

Palazzo Manfredi’s Grand Terrace

Join the city’s buzzing aperitivo scene with a glass of something special at historic Harry’s Bar, Via Veneto, which gained international fame in Fellini’s classic 1960 film, ‘La Dolce Vita’. The legendary bar’s nostalgic photo museum offers vivid flashbacks to the glamorous golden era when famous faces flocked here for their very own stylish slice of la dolce vita, with Sinatra singing at the piano. More recent visitors include Hillary Clinton, Anthony Hopkins, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Other VIP haunts for amazing apéritifs include Palazzo Manfredi’s grand terrace overlooking the Colosseum and Eitch Borromini’s large loggia (partly-covered outdoor gallery) in Piazza Navona. Morgan Freeman has dined at the new Aroma Bistro at Palazzo Manfredi, perfect for drinking in the spectacular views over Roman ruins. For a true gourmet treat with top-notch service, spend an enchanted evening at deluxe Hotel Eden‘s Michelin-starred La Terrazza. Its ‘wine cellar-with-a-view’ won’t disappoint connoisseurs… Robert De Niro and Keanu Reeves have both departed with crates!

Oliver Glowig at the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese Rome

Oliver Glowig at the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese 

Aldrovandi Villa Borghese’s celebrated German chef and outstanding restaurant, Oliver Glowig, boasts two coveted Michelin stars. Alternatively, savor decadent dining, the cityscape and over 53,000 wines at the multi-award-winning, three-Michelin-starred restaurant La Pergola, presided over by German genius, and one of the “Masters” of the world’s gastronomy, Heinz Beck, inside Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. The highly-decorated chef has been heralded as a leader in Italian and Mediterranean culinary tradition, his unique interpretation of the ‘Modern’ kitchen ensuring the utmost attention to the selection of ingredients and their transformation into highly-innovative flavors.

Brunollo Restaurant at Baglioni Hotel Regina, Rome

Brunollo Restaurant at Baglioni Hotel Regina 

Dal Bolognese offers upmarket North Italian fare to a glamorous crowd, Baglioni Hotel Regina’s refined Brunello Bar and Restaurant create imaginative cocktails and dishes up delectable recipes, while Hotel Atlante’s smart roof-garden restaurant, Les Etoiles, affords unbeatable vistas. Sensational at sunset, the private terrace at Il Palazzetto’s a hip ’n’ happening haunt. Now owned by Hotel Hassler, the beautiful 19th-century building overlooking the Spanish Steps offers an enchanting exclusive private event space.

La Rosetta Restaurant Rome

Photo courtesy of La Rosetta Restaurant 

Friday is fish day, so ‘seafood and eat it’ at one of Rome’s famous fish restaurants. Steeped in culinary heritage, La Rosetta, reputed to be Rome’s finest fish place, also serves superlative wines. The delectable menu depends on the day’s catch. For riverside dining with celebrity appeal, high-class Assunta has a seriously stunning setting, while ideal for romantic candlelit dinners, the labyrinth of lanes of Testaccio vie with fashionable Trastevere’s narrow cobbled streets as the foodie’s place to eat and be seen.

Famous Italian street Via Borgogna with shops and restaurants, Rome

Famous Italian street Via Borgogna with shops and restaurants 

Shop ‘til-you-drop

One of the world’s greatest fashion capitals, where trends are set and exclusive boutiques offer the latest designer must-haves, whether you have a passion for fashion or a penchant for antiques, you’ll find high-end Italian and foreign retail outlets and trendy boutiques galore.

Galleria Alberto Sordi, Rome

Galleria Alberto Sordi. Source Wikimedia.org

From luxury labels to the very best in jewelry, Via Condotti boasts more than enough big-name brands to keep even the most discerning shopper happy. The equivalent of Bond Street or Fifth Avenue for high fashion, after requisite stops at Valentino, Prada, Gucci or Cartier here, you can give your credit card another workout on cutting-edge fashions in the ‘Trident’, where the three main shopping streets, Via Condotti/Borgogna/Frattina meet. A short catwalk struts away, Via Veneto’s also great for designer-wear, while Via del Corso’s home to Swarovski Crystal, appealing to affluent, young shopaholics.

Navigate narrow streets, meandering through charming, cobbled microsm Monti, with one-of-a-kind boutiques showcasing everything from antiques to the avant-garde. Rome’s young fashion crowd hangs out here for jewelry, artisan-made shoes, and bespoke fashion. Grand department store La Rinascente. based in both Piazza Fiumi and Via Tritone, is a one-stop-shop for upscale cosmetics, jewelry, clothing, gastronomy, and home furnishings and offers wonderful windows to Rome’s glorious history from its gallery.

St Peters Basilica Vatican Rome

St Peters Basilica Vatican 

Get Rome-antic! ‘That’s Amore…’

Looking for love? Or maybe you’ve found it and are seeking the perfect place to pop the question… Positively oozing romance, you can’t go wrong with Rome. As Hollywood legend has it, “You’ve never lived until you’ve loved in Rome”.

If a proposal’s on the agenda, you’ll have no trouble finding THE spot… practically EVERYWHERE exudes romance! Starry-eyed couples flock to the Trevi Fountain, rent rowing boats in Borghese Gardens or climb the Aventine Hill to become betrothed under the orange and olive trees, or amid the roses and oleander atop the Palantine, surrounded by spectacular sunset city views, after peeking through the Knights of Malta keyhole for a jaw-dropping sight of St. Peter’s. The terrace atop Gianicolo, a hill just above the Trastevere district, is one of the city’s most romantic spots, especially at sunset.

Hotel Hassler. Photo courtesy of Hotel Hassler Rome

Photo courtesy of Hotel Hassler

By night, the stunning city comes alive, dancing with dazzling lights sure to take your breath away. Enjoy an evening wine or dinner river cruise on the magnificent Tiber and dress to impress for an unforgettable night at the opera (Rome’s opera season runs from November-May). Teatro dell’ Opera’s the premier venue for performances and classical ballet and, to top it all, during the summer months the theatre hosts opera outdoors, set amidst the ruined Baths of Caracalla.

Share a night to remember at exotic Palazzo Manfredi, offering unique design and sublime Valentine’s packages with red-rose-petal bed decoration, Champagne, dinner and picture-perfect Colosseum views, or indulge in a bubbly, cake and candlelit dinners in Hotel d’Inghilterra.

Feeling adventurous? Take to the skies on a helicopter tour with limousine service, certain to spark an eternal flame.

Hotel Castel Vecchio Lago Albano Roof Garden, Rome

Hotel Castel Vecchio Lago Albano Roof Garden 

Roman wedding bells…

For the ultimate spot to tie the knot, wonderful wedding venues include the beautiful Baroque convent Residenza di Ripetta, Lakeside Hotel Castelvecchio, or say ‘I do’ at historic Park Hotel Villa Grazioli’, a marvelous mansion for wedding banquets. The gilded, red-carpeted Sala Rossa inside the Campidoglio is fabulous for non-religious ceremonies, and intimate chapels, such as Santa Sabina or Sant’Alessia, are much easier to secure than St. Peter’s!

First Luxury Art Hotel Roma, one of Rome’s leading rooftop hotspots, offers 5-star ‘Romance and Honeymoon’ packages, outdoor Jacuzzis plus a modern art gallery. And, for the perfect day, Dolcevitaweddings.com provide dedicated planners for tailor-made city weddings to ensure all your wedding dreams come true.

After all, Roma backward spells ‘amor’ – the Italian for ‘love’!

 

TOP TIPS

  • Avoid tourist traps: June and July are the high-peak months, leading to long queues, plus temperatures can be extremely hot and humid. Take official private tours for VIP treatment and a fast track to the sites. A Roma Pass also allows you to skip queues: romapass.it The crush at the Vatican diminishes after lunch and Friday night’s a good time to go, but avoid the last Sunday of the month, when it’s free to all. Taking the Night Tour completely avoids the crowds.
  • Stick to dress code guidelines: appropriate church attire means no bare shoulders or knees for women and no shorts for men. Be aware that the costumed gladiators outside the Colosseum expect payment for any photos taken of them and pickpocketing is rife, so it’s wise not to carry large amounts of money or credit cards. For tourist information, there are six official Info points in Rome, including one on via dei Fori Imperiali, close to the Colosseum.
  • Getting hitched in the city? To have legal value, civil ceremonies in Italy must be performed in municipal buildings. Getting married in the Vatican requires abundant documentation along with convincing letters of motivation.
  • Above all, don’t forget to toss a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, the largest and most celebrated in the city, to ensure your return to Rome… You’ll find a single visit won’t do it justice!

 

EVENTS CALENDAR

Oozing cultural charm, it goes without saying that Easter and Christmas are highlighted on Rome’s calendar. Here are a few other exciting cultural happenings:

1-2 January: The Rome Parade, which packs the ‘Roman Trident’ on January 1st with marching bands, cheerleaders and a galaxy of starry entertainment, is followed by a series of wonderfully uplifting concerts.

End of January: AltaRoma, where couture designers show off their collections

14-22 April: Rome’s Week of Culture where most museums and archaeological sites are open to the public free of charge

21 April: Not every city celebrates its birthday but Rome sees bands on Piazza del Campidoglio and fireworks over the River Tiber

Early May: The world-famous Spanish Steps are adorned with flowers

June-September: The banks of the Tiber come to life for Rome’s principal summer festival, with a wide range of entertainment and nightlife, such as cinema, classical music, opera, ballet and other live performances, restaurants and bars, plus and an arts and crafts fair. Good viewpoints for the fireworks include Campidoglio (behind Capitoline Museum) and Giardino Degli Aranci, near Aventine Hill

11-30 November: Don’t miss the annual Jazz Festival, when an array of international artists are in town to perform at the Auditorium Parco Della Musica

FOR FACTBOX:

Tourist information and guides for Rome:

ENIT, the Italian State Tourist Board: www.italia.it/en

Rome’s official tourist website: www.turismoroma.it

Call center for tourist info: 060608

Getting there…

British Airways offers an extensive global route network flying to and from centrally-located airports. The full-service airline also offers an Executive Club and On Business global loyalty program. To book, and for further information on Rome and British Airways Holidays packages, visit www.britishairways.com or call 0344 493 0125.

Rome has two main airports; Leonardo da Vinci (better known as Fiumicino, which most major airlines fly to) and Ciampino (which is some distance from the city center). There are non-stop flights from most major European cities as well as many US and Canadian Citi

The best way to get to the city center from Fiumicino is to take the Leonardo Express to Rome’s main railway station, the Stazioni Termini, to grab a cab (make sure you take an official metered white or yellow taxi, with taxi lights on top) or arrive in style with Benvenuto: www.benvenutolimos.com

Private tours in luxury limos etc. can be arranged through NCC providers (Noleggio Con Conducente = rent car with driver).

Stay at…

Hotel Hassler Roma 5*
Piazza Trinità dei Monti, 6
00187 Rome
www.hotelhasslerroma.com
Tel: +39 06 699 34755

Set atop the Spanish Steps and featuring a breathtaking view of the entire city, this famous hotel reigns over Rome and has been the lodging of choice for the world’s elite for over a century. Michelin-starred rooftop Imàgo was Rome’s first panoramic restaurant.

Recent awards include:
Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2018  – Top 5 Hotels in Rome
Forbes Travel Guide 2018 – Five-Star Award
Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2017 – Top Hotels in Rome

Grand Hotel Plaza 5*L
Via del Corso, 126
00186 Rome
www.grandhotelplaza.com
Tel: +39 06 699 21111

Enjoy an exclusive world of luxury Roman hospitality in one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels to be found in the Eternal City, situated in the heart of the historical center.

Hotel de Russie, a Rocco Forte hotel 5*
Via del Babuino, 9
00187 Rome
www.roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/hotel-de-russie/

Tel: +39 06 328 881

Rub shoulders with dignitaries and luminaries and indulge in pure luxury in the superb urban De Russie spa and beautiful rose-and-palms-filled Le Jardin de Russie garden restaurant terrace, supervised by one of the world’s most celebrated chefs, Fulvio Pierangelini. The impeccable service ensures an unbeatable Roman experience in this highly-esteemed hotel. Winner of Forbes Travel Guide 2018 – Five-Star Award & Condé Nast Traveller Gold list.

Portrait Roma 4*
Via Bocca di Leone, 23
00187 Rome
www.portraitroma.com
Tel: +39 06 693 80742

Luxury suites in an Italian-style townhouse in the heart of Via Condotti, providing your very own pied à Terre in the capital.

Hotel Eden, Rome 5*
Via Ludovisi, 49
00187 Roma
www.dorchestercollection.com/en/rome/hotel-eden/
Tel: +39 06 478121

Dorchester Collection’s Hotel Eden is just a short stroll from the legendary Spanish Steps and picturesque Villa Borghese. Dating back to 1889, throughout its illustrious history it has welcomed royalty, dignitaries and numerous celebrities. The hotel offers 98 rooms and suites, a new urban spa, a blow-dry bar plus a pedicure and manicure space. Offering a dynamic food concept with panoramic views of the Eternal City, La Terrazza is among the city’s foremost food temples, the attentive and discreet service and sumptuous gastronomy make for a fittingly-fanciful, Michelin-starred affair. 

St. Regis Rome
Via V. E. Orlando, 3
00185 Rome
www.stregis.com/rome
Tel: +39 06 47091

A first-class Starwood hotel with beautiful décor and the wonderful, traditional Asian kamiSpa, discreetly tucked away near the city center. Along with butler service, the St. Regis boasts a private diplomatic entrance with its own parking area for security and privacy.

Hotel Lord Byron 5*
Via Giuseppe De Notaris, 5
00197 Rome
www.lordbyronhotel.com
Tel: +39 06 322 0404

This luxury Art Deco boutique hotel is carefully tucked away in a hilltop location in the exclusive Parioli neighborhood, just steps away from Villa Borghese and Via Veneto. The property is a long-time member of “The Leading Hotels of the World”.

Hotel Bernini Bristol 5*
Piazza Barberini, 23
00187 Rome
www.berninibristol.com
Tel. +39 06 488 931

Named after the aristocrat/famous Baroque artist whose sparkling Triton Fountain graces the Piazza Barberini outside, this palace in the heart of Rome is adorned with period furnishings and tapestries and enjoys fantastic views from its rooftop restaurant, L’Olimpo.

Hotel Raphaël 5*L
Largo Febo, 2
Piazza Navona
00186 Rome
www.hotelraphael.it
Tel: +39 06 682 831

Deluxe hotel with a stunning, ivy-covered façade in the very heart of the city, near the vibrant Piazza Navona. A member of the prestigious “Relais & Chateaux ”exclusive collection.

Parco Dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa
Via Gerolamo Frescobaldi, 5
00198 Rome
www.parcodeiprincipi.com
Tel: +39 06 854 421

One of the best luxury hotels in the city, surrounded by a stunning botanical garden next to the Villa Borghese park. Relax in the Prince Spa, awarded the Best Contemporary Spa in the 2011 Spa Awards and 2018 winner of the Condé Nast Johansens Award for Best Hotel Spa in Europe and the Mediterranean, after a day’s sightseeing.

Villa Nocetta
157/A-159
00164 Rome
www.villanocetta-rome.com
Tel: +39 06 66 37 119

A beautiful contemporary and spacious luxury villa in Rome, just minutes from the Vatican City, with six stylish bedrooms, a large private garden and swimming pool.

Eat/drink at…

Sant’Eustachio Il Caffé
Piazza Sant’Eustachio, 82
00186 Rome
www.santeustachioilcaffe.it
Tel: +39 06 688 02048

An ancient coffee shop and roaster founded in 1938. Boasting the original mosaic paving and furnishings, it’s just a few steps away from Piazza Navona and the Pantheon.

Ciampini
Piazza San Lorenzo, Lucina, 29
00186 Rome
www.ciampini.com
Tel: +39 06 68 76 606

One of the most eminent and elegant coffee shops in Rome, the Ciampini family’s establishment has been recognized by Time International as “Best Cafè in town”.

Harry’s Bar
Via Vittorio Veneto, 150
00187 Rome
www.harrysbar.it
Tel: +39 06 484 643

Famous American bar/restaurant that’s a perennial favorite with tourists, rather than Romans, flocking to experience the glamour and style of the historic piano bar where Sinatra sang and stars met in the 60s.

La Pergola
Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101
00136 Rome
https://romecavalieri.com/la-pergola/
Tel: +39 06 35092152

Email: ROMHI.LaPergolaReservations@waldorfastoria.com

A gastronome’s dream, this three-Michelin star restaurant serves up superlative food in the stunning, award-winning Rome Cavalieri hotel, the first in Europe to be part of the exclusive “A Waldorf Astoria Resort”, set in 15 acres of lush Mediterranean parklands.

Oliver Glowig at the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese
Via Ulisse Aldrovand, 15
00197 Rome
www.aldrovandi.com (hotel)
www.oliverglowig.com (restaurant)
Tel: +39 06 322 3993 (hotel)
Tel: +39 06 321 6126 (restaurant)

Serving innovative, Neopolitan-inspired cuisine, this epicurean epicenter is a high-end culinary delight in the luxury Aldrovandi Villa Borghese, a member of “Leading Hotels of the World”, in its own private park boasting exotic vegetation, outdoor pool, and fine garden dining.

The Brunello Lounge & Restaurant
Via Veneto, 70/A
00187 Rome
Tel: +39 06 4890 2867
www.baglionihotels.com

Baglioni Hotel Regina’s refined Brunello Bar and Restaurant on the Via Veneto serves up an innovative menu using ingredients of superior quality, along with imaginative cocktails, just a few minutes’ walk from Rome’s main attractions such as Piazza di Spagna, Via Condotti, Trevi Fountain and the Villa Borghese Gardens.

Il Palazzetto
Vicolo del Bottino, 8
00187 Rome
www.ilpalazzettoroma.com
Tel. +39 06 699 34 711 (events)
Tel. +39 06 699 34 1000 (hotel)

A gorgeous hotel offering an event space with spectacular views for special occasions, Il Palazzetto is at your service to make sure your event’s a complete success.

La Rosetta
Via Della Rosetta, 8-9
00186 Rome
www.larosetta.com
Tel: +39 06 686 1002

Rome’s most famed fish restaurant lies in the heart of the historical center close to the Pantheon. The elegant venue’s been serving up the freshest fish in town since 1966.

SHOP AT…

Chanel
Via del Babuino, 98/101
00187 Rome
Tel: +39 06 692 2070

Dolce & Gabbana
Via dei Condotti, 49/51
00187 Rome
Tel: +39 06 699 24999

Gianni Versace
Via Vittorio Veneto, 104
And
Via Borgognona, 24-25
00187 Rome
Tel: +39 06 420 12876
Tel: +39 06 679 5037

Giorgio Armani
Via dei Condotti, 77
00187 Rome
Tel: +39 06 699 1460

Prada
Via dei Condotti, 88 – 90 (Man Prada), 92-95 (Woman Prada)
00187 Rome
And at Fiumicino Airport: Q.ta 11 Satellite Ovest Aeroporto L. da Vinci
Tel: +39 06 679 0897

Valentino
Via dei Condotti, 15
00187 Rome
Tel: +39 06 6739 420

About The Author

Angela Sara West

Having worked in various entertainment, music, news and language departments at the BBC in London, Angela Sara West went solo to realize her dream of luxury lifestyle and travel writing. From city guides and cultural tips, to high-end interiors and property pieces, her articles have been published in print and digital travel, lifestyle and business magazines around the world. She's also got her finger on the celebrity pulse, interviewing big names, including Ivana Trump, Suzi Quatro, Kelly Hoppen, Peter Stringfellow and Andrea Bocelli, and acquiring exclusive quotes from Michael Douglas, Claudia Schiffer, Enrique Iglesias and Sir Cliff Richard.

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