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1 City 5 Ways: Rome

Matteo Colombo

Photo by Matteo Colombo

As befits a city whose nickname, Caput Mundi, proclaims its standing as the capital of the world, Rome’s offerings are diverse and plentiful. No other city on the planet can traffic so prolifically in culinary pleasures and historic treasures—and excel at each in equal measure. But despite its ancient roots, Rome remains remarkably relevant, a place where famous ruins sit next to sophisticated cocktail bars and modern art museums. And embracing the chaos of the captivating Italian capital cluttered with landmarks will reveal that Rome’s history is just one of many attractions that await in this modern-day city.

ARTIST

       
Vatican Museum After Dark.        

Where to stay: D.O.M Hotel Roma
In a 17th-century palazzo on the Via Giulia, this luxury hotel deftly blends different epochs, from gilded Venetian mirrors and Renaissance-era marble inscriptions to Andy Warhol silkscreens.

Morning: Musei Capitolini, Centrale Montemartini
This museum in a former thermoelectric power plant displays classical marble sculptures, busts and friezes against the backdrop of disused engines and steam turbines. 

Lunch: Emma Pizzeria con Cucina
Near the art galleries south of Campo de’ Fiori, this spot specializes in thin-crust, Roman-style pizzas made with top ingredients. 

Afternoon: MAXXI
The National Museum of XXI Century Arts, or MAXXI, is the city’s epicenter of contemporary culture. Cutting-edge exhibitions are staged within a futuristic structure designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid. 

Evening: Vatican Museums After Dark
Take advantage of the Vatican Museums’ extended hours (Friday evenings, May through October except August) to tour one of the finest collections of Renaissance art, including the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s heavenly Creation of Adam.
 

FOODIE

       
Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio.        

Where to Stay: Rome Cavalieri
This luxurious retreat outside the city center boasts the city’s only three-Michelin-star restaurant, plus an enormous spa, swimming pools, an impressive art collection and opulent suites with city views, among its many amenities. 

Breakfast: Roscioli Caffè
The Roscioli family expanded its gastronomic mini empire with the recent opening of this all-day Roman-style bar and pasticceria, which serves freshly baked pastries in the morning, panini at lunch and Champagne with oysters at aperitivo. 

Afternoon: Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio
Within this modern market space are dozens of vendors selling everything from porchetta sandwiches to fresh pecorino cheese. This local hangout is also the place to find authentic street food, such as piping-hot arancini and ricotta-stuffed cannoli.

Gelato: Otaleg
Spell gelato backward for the name of this innovative shop scooping dozens of handmade flavors—Piedmontese hazelnut, savory cacio e pepe, celery sorbet—made from the finest ingredients. 

Dinner: Metamorfosi
Colombian chef Roy Caceres helms this neo-Italian restaurant that is redefining Roman fine-dining with deconstructed classics such as spaghetti with dehydrated mussels. 


CINEPHILE

       
Hotel Hassler Roma.        

Where to Stay: Hotel Hassler Roma
This historic hotel is situated at the top of the Spanish Steps, the landmark staircase upon which Gregory Peck, playing an American reporter, meets up with Audrey Hepburn, a princess in disguise, in Roman Holiday. 

Morning: Fontana dell’Acqua Paola
The opening scene of Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning film La Grande Bellezza was filmed at this monumental marble fountain on Janiculum Hill, which offers panoramic views across the city’s rooftops.

Afternoon: La Bocca della Verità
In Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn’s character reluctantly puts her hand inside the mouth of this classical marble mask, which was believed to cut off the hand of anyone who told a lie.

Dinner: La Veranda
A memorable meal in La Grande Bellezza was filmed in this historic restaurant in the Palazzo della Rovere, where tables are set beneath vaulted ceilings adorned with frescoes attributed to Pinturicchio. 

Evening: Trevi Fountain
A recent restoration funded by the Fendi fashion house has returned the luster to this beautiful Baroque fountain, which Anita Ekberg made famous with her late-night dip in the iconic scene from Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. 

 

HISTORIAN

       
Terme di Caracalla.        

Where to Stay: G-Rough
A rambling palazzo dating to the 1600s has been beautifully transformed into an intimate luxury hotel with wood-beam ceilings, mosaic-tile floors and midcentury furnishings from Italian design icons.

Morning: Roman Forum and Colosseum
The city’s ancient ruins are eerily peaceful in the early morning, before day-trippers descend on the former heart of the empire with its temples and shrines, government buildings and arena.

Lunch: Flavio al Velavevodetto
Situated at the Monte dei Cocci archaeological site, this casual osteria serves typical cucina romana—fried artichokes, pasta carbonara, cacio e pepe—in a subterranean dining room with glass partitions that expose the structure’s ancient stone walls. 

Evening: Terme di Caracalla
Illuminated by spotlights after dark, the ruins of the third-century Roman Baths of Caracalla serve as a majestic backdrop for summer performances, ranging from operas to an annual gala featuring the Italian ballet star Roberto Bolle. 

Night: The Jerry Thomas Project
Named after the American bartender who pioneered the cocktail movement in the 19th century, this back-street bar is a replica of a Prohibition-era speakeasy serving creative libations using rare Italian spirits. 

 

HIPSTER

       
Supplizio.        

Where to Stay: Generator Rome
This soon-to-open stylish hostel sets a new standard for budget lodgings, with eye-catching design, 24-hour reception and a panoramic rooftop terrace. Instead of backpacker bunk beds, room options range from private doubles to sociable quads. 

Lunch: Supplizio
Supplì, a favorite Roman street food, are deep-fried rice croquettes typically filled with ragù and melty mozzarella. Two versions—with meat and without—are served at this superb supplì specialty joint from beloved local chef Arcangelo Dandini.

Afternoon: Lungo il Tevere Roma
Warm weather draws locals to this wide boulevard on the Tiber River to browse market stalls, admire temporary art installations, sip espresso and listen to free jazz performances. 

Dinner: Mazzo
At this convivial little restaurant in the outlying Centocelle district, two up-and-coming chefs serve creative riffs on Roman cuisine to a dozen guests seated at a long wooden table. 

Evening: Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà
This Trastevere bar has a great selection of craft beers on tap and is reliably packed with a boisterous crowd that spills into the street late at night. 

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