All dreamers and doers cherish the idea of arriving in Rome, carry-on in hand, Italian at the tip of the tongue, outfit on point, open appetite…. History and grandeur await those keen to dive deep into one of civilization’s most ancient cultures, where up to this day majestic piazzas are meeting points and narrow, dimly lit streets lead to quaint, mysterious corners where one may spend a whole evening chit chatting to a stranger.
Rome. Its indelible charm engraved in each cobble stone. Where to begin your journey? For those searching an authentic experience somewhat void of crowds and masses, the Centro Storico, or Historic District, has a calm that belies its unbeatable location. Like in many big cities around the world, Rome’s creative class also finds solace in the outskirts. The very popular, monumental areas are beautiful to gaze at, but to feel like a Roman, wander the Centro Storico.
Gallery hop at infamous via Giulia, skip across the Ponte Sisto to Piazza Trilussa, gateway to trendy Trastevere. Dig for vintage finds at Via del Governo Vecchio, and enjoy the serenity of Piazza Farnese (don’t skip the apperitivo).
G-Rough, a member of Design Hotels, is Rome’s newest and most unconventional luxury boutique hotel. Entrepreneur Gabriele Salini, the visionary behind the project and seventh generation Roman, has lived in this neighborhood his whole life. With that, expect an insider slice of Rome when walking, handsome concierge included. The hotel’s unconventional “Made in Italy” concept of luxury showcases iconic Italian designers and brands from the 1930s to the 1950s, such as Ico Parisi, Giò Ponti, Venini, and Seguso. Each room boasts a designer’s artistic character and furniture, addign to the museum-like atmosphere in each floor. For those looking for history, design, and a touch of whimsy G-Rough satisfies all of the above meticulously.
Pizzeria da Baffetto
If looking to try what many romans would call a legendary pizza experience, get in the queue at Baffetto and dive in. The place is tiny, raucous, and the service is hit or miss. However, the pizza is fantastic, thin-crusted and unlike any other around the city. That’s what matters right? Bookings are not allowed, neither are credit cards. Just trust Romans know how to make a pizza and this is an institution for that reason.
The reason Pierluigi is on this list is plain and simple- Pierluigi is an institution, serving some of the best seafood in Rome since 1938. Expect a secene outside, especially during blamy summer nights. Outdoor tables take over the side walk, where finely dressed men and women sip champagne and indulge in delicious crudi, tartare, oysters, and shrimps. While tables outside are normally booked days in advance, the restaurant’s bar is equally alluring. The elegant mixologist is sharp and eager to chat, explaining the secrets to his recipes without giving too much away and making anyone feel at home.
Pierluigi, although pricey, isn’t pretentious. Stay for a drink if not keen to dine and have a word with Lorenzo, the lovely owner who has stories for days. Highly recommended here- the linguine alle vongole.
Campo de Fiori Market
The Campo de Fiori market is one of the last standing open markets in all of Rome. A jewell to locals and visitors alike, Campo de Fiori is a bustling marketplace during the day and a nightlife hub in the evening – all amid a beautiful setting steeped with history.
For centuries, this very square was where races, palios, and executions took place. Today, the historic piazza is lively, colorful , and remains one of the few open air markets that still sell produce (among the best in Rome). From plump strawberries from Terracina; to beautiful flower-bedecked zucchini the produce is famous for being the best. All being sold by the same families who have been standing behind their fruits and vegetables for generations.
Need any more reasons to visit? Flowers, food, and people watching.
Via del Governo Vecchio
This narrow and long street isn’t the typical shopping destination. While most people would search for the Corso to find some of the best Italian brands, vintage lovers and those looking for very unique items not available anywhere else-this is the place. Rome’s Via del Governo Vecchio is only five blocks of the Centro Storico and runs like an artery connecting the Rome explorer to key parts of the city.
In addition, this is a local favorite. Skip the tourist-packed shops of Via del Corso and its surroundings and stroll Via del Governo Vecchio where the pace is what you make of it, and the vintage is well worth digging through.