In ancient times, Rome was the capital of the world. On your visit to the Eternal City, you will find plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Sistine Chapel), endless galleries and museums with Renaissance and Baroque art and exquisite fountains, monuments and churches to really drive home that once indeed ‘all roads lead to Rome’.
We all know the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ so don’t expect to cram all the sights, restaurants and shops here in a week or less. Rome is best experienced when digested slowly, enjoying its many incredible trattorias, parks and sights a little at a time. I was overwhelmed by the vastness in Rome when I first visited in my 20’s. I got in all the key sights, of course, but really didn’t appreciate all it had to offer until I returned later with my children and had more time to appreciate its beautiful parks, museums and restaurants (as well as having more dispensary income to enjoy the finer meals, hotels and shops!).
Arguably, Rocco Forte’s Hotel De Russie has been and is still considered the most luxurious hotel in town. After two stays there, I have to agree. Nothing beats the courtyard and garden! Friends have raved about the industrial-style boutique hotel G-Rough (great for large groups and families) and uber-stylish and intimate J.K. Place Roma. If you are looking for a respite from the crowds and the heat, then look no further than the Rome Cavalieri hotel which offers pools, outrageous views of the Vatican and Rome and an insane fitness center. Keep your eye out for the re-opening of the iconic Hotel Eden, which is undergoing a head-to-toe renovation and is one of the most anticipated openings in 2017.
Romans take their food and wine seriously, so you will never lack finding a good meal in Rome. There are enough incredible trattorias, pizzerias and gelaterias in Rome to fill a book. Below you will find our favorites as well as those that our globe-trotting friends absolutely swear by – many of these are off the beaten path where the locals go but you will also find some popular tourist spots loved by locals and tourists alike. Wherever you end up, make sure to try Roman favorites like cacio e pepe, fettucini carbonara or tiramisu – When in Rome! Tip: If you want to grab a hard-to-get reservation, go before 8 p.m. when even the most coveted restaurants have space. Most Romans wouldn’t be caught dead eating before then.
Shopping in Rome is fantastic, no matter if you are searching for haute couture, antiques, or a bargain. The biggest names in Italian fashion – Valentino, Armani, and Bulgari, for example – hail from Rome and you will find all their stores and others near the streets near and up to the Spanish Steps. Via Condotti is Rome’s main street for high fashion window shopping but Via del Corso and its surrounding streets is the most fun shopping (especially if you are with a teen) with numerous shoe stores, popular brands (including KIKO – the Sephora of Italy) and department stores.
There are so many places to see and do in Rome it is mind-boggling. You can’t go to Rome and not see the Colosseum but the lines are insane. You can escape the crowds and have this archeological wonder practically to yourself on an evening tour which includes special access to the ‘Third Ring’. At sunset, it’s just magical. The gorgeous Piazza Navona is lively both day and night and the entertainers and artists will keep you and your children endlessly entertained. It’s cliché but you must throw a coin into the famous and newly restored (and gleaming white) Trevi Fountain to ensure you will be back (make sure to throw it with your back to the fountain!). Our favorite experiences, though, were taking an electric bike through the vast and beautiful Borghese Gardens (located in back of the Hotel De Russie) and booking a private cooking class in the professional kitchen of an Italian home in Trastevere.