March 2020 City Guide: Rome

City Guide: Rome

The Roman Forum.
The Roman Forum.
Photo by Getty Images
Tap into the Italian capital’s culinary legacy, secret bars, and creative thrum.

First-time visitors have flocked to Rome for centuries to toss coins in the Trevi Fountain, picture gladiators at the Colosseum, and walk the grounds of Saint Peter’s Basilica. But they come back for the same things Romans adore – the city’s dynamic tapestry of hidden corners and multifaceted people. The key to going deeper in a city full of layers: an expert on the ground. Virtuoso travel advisors can work with on-site connection Access Italy to organize behind-the-scenes experiences. Yes, Access Italy can speed travelers past Vatican lines for a private moment of contemplation at Saint Peter’s tomb. But the company also sets up visits to less-touristed neighborhoods such as the Jewish Ghetto, with its pedestrian-only streets; recommends the best low-key pizza in a city rife with choices (try Da Francesco); and introduces unforgettable locals on studio tours, such as pop artist Maurizio Savini, who crafts every detail of his sculptures out of chewing gum, from foot-long spines on a pink porcupine to the beard on a marble-colored Hemingway bust.

Prawns at Pierluigi Restaurant.
Prawns at Pierluigi Restaurant.
Photo by Susan Wright 

Eat

Daily catches on crushed ice greet diners inside Pierluigi Restaurant, which focuses on Italian seafood, including prawns, sea urchins, and raw oysters. When it comes to pairings, the sommelier can suggest an obscure bottle or big-name cuvée from the selection of more than 1,500 labels.

In fall, the scent of truffles from bowls of tagliolini wafts through the outdoor patio at Taverna Trilussa. Diners reserve tables well in advance for the restaurant’s traditional pastas, but shouldn’t flip past the menu’s appetizer section, a trove of fried zucchini blossoms, grilled artichokes, and salumi.

After 200 years, there’s still no sign to mark the entrance of Pasticceria Boccione. Instead, hungry travelers in the Jewish Ghetto can follow their noses to fresh-baked cakes and ricotta-filled pastries at this kosher bakery.
Espresso at Caffè Perù.
Espresso at Caffè Perù.
Photo by Susan Wright 

Drink

A good rooftop bar is hard to find in Rome, thanks to city regulations that restrict bar locations. A welcome exception: Terrazza Borromini, where the panoramic patio stars city views, cast in spritz-colored sunsets.

Grab an espresso and check out floor tiles painted by local artist Giancarlino Benedetti Corcos at hole-in-the-wall Caffè Perù.

Opened in 2010 as the first secret bar in Italy, the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy quickly snagged a spot on The World’s 50 Best Bars list. Despite its popularity, this cocktail lounge skips pretense in favor of cozy couches, low ceilings, and warm wood accents.
Plein air artist Giancarlino Benedetti Corcos outside his studio.
Plein air artist Giancarlino Benedetti Corcos outside his studio.
Photo by Susan Wright 

Shop

Moda Barberini welcomes shoppers to its private studio by appointment to try on samples of buttery leather pants and be measured for custom jackets.

Independent vendors pack the Campo de’ Fiori outdoor market, hawking everything from fresh flowers to olive oil and local produce.

Pick up limited-edition sketchbooks and international-award-winning pens at Fabriano Boutique, a dreamland for editors and stationery enthusiasts.

Plein air artist Giancarlino Benedetti Corcos mounts canvases outside his studio and sweeps them with oils in wide strokes, rich colors, and minimalist shapes, sometimes incorporating a scrawl of a single female figure, an homage to his late wife.

Stay

A short walk from the Spanish Steps, Hotel Eden Rome outfits its 98 airy rooms in gold and white. Visitors linger in the lobby lounge, La Libreria, to order cart cocktails or slip into a bar hidden behind a mirrored door. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $95 dining credit.

Rosebushes and citrus trees line the terraced gardens of the 120-room Hotel de Russie. Well-dressed locals sip cocktails in the outdoor courtyard of Stravinskij Bar, whose menu has two pages devoted to martinis. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $95 dining credit.

A seventeenth-century building that was once home to the University of Rome’s architecture school houses the 30-room J.K. Place Roma. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and one lunch or dinner for two.

You may also like...