A CITY GUIDE TO ROME
It’s a city that conjures up a million different images. The Vatican, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain – these infamous landmarks feel familiar even if you’ve never been anywhere near Rome. And aside from these, there’s the fashion, the food, the romance – it’s a city with all bases covered. Whether you’re planning a first-time trip, or returning to re-live memories, here are our tips for making your stay the best it can be
What to do
The pressure to try and fit as much into a couple of days as you can often leads to a lot of standing in queues, traipsing around and wandering aimlessly. Invest in a good guide book or alternatively, let someone else do the hard work for you. Guided tours are a great way to not only see the sights, but find out about them too. Banish all thoughts of bewildered groups of backpack-clad tourists being marched about though, as in Rome, a far more civilized experience is available. We went on an IF private tour, which offered a peek at some of the city’s secrets. From hidden chambers in the walls of the Medici Palace – built for illicit romantic liasons in the 1600s – to the incredible frescos within the Palazo Sacchetti (which is usually closed to the public), this is a great opportunity to see behind the – sometimes closed – doors of some of Rome’s finest residences.
Where to stay
For a luxurious base, get yourself booked into The Rome Cavalieri. This hotel is an attraction in itself: set in a 15-acre park, it houses a collection of artwork that impresses every guest who strolls through its lobby. The Flaying of Marsyas by Tiopolo is the hotel collection’s most prized piece, and takes pride of place near the entrance, but there really are glorious artistic surprises hiding around every corner. If you can draw you’re eyes away from the view that is. Enjoying a privileged position overlooking the city, the hotel offers stunning views, with the Vatican clearly visible from the luxurious surroundings of your balcony. Rooms, service, food and facilities are all, unsurprisingly, first-rate. Spare an afternoon for sunbathing on one of the terraces surrounding the outdoor pool, book in for a La Prarie Caviar facial at the spa, or wander around the art collection. You’ll feel like part of Rome’s ‘elite’ in no time.
Where to eat
Rome is packed with restaurants, from pizza stands to world-class eateries. Don’t leave without a meal at Heinz Beck’s three Michelin-starred La Pergola, conveniently located on the top floor of the Cavalieri. From the menu especially for salt and stool for your handbag, to the panoramic view of the city, outstanding service and, of course, incredible food, this is less of a meal and more of an experience, made all the more impressive by the twinkling lights of Rome that are spread out below. Heinz’s signature ravioli carbonara is a must try (high-profile fans include Michelle Obama), and had us wandering if it was wrong to eat the same meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a less formal feast, try Molto, a contemporary and stylish eatery that serves Italian fare underneath the stars. A seat in the sleek outdoor dining area surrounded by trendy Roman types makes for a great night.