Are you inspired by movie and the book Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia to go to Rome? Don’t wait. The food is as good as depicted in the film. That scene showing Julia Roberts diving into a plate of spaghetti is real. The film shots of carciofi alla giudia and spaghetti alle vongole aren’t doctored; that’s how they are served in Rome. Although Rome is certainly the place to visit if you want to eat well, there’s much more to the city than food. Here are my suggestions of where to stay, where to eat and what to do in Rome.
Where to stay in Rome
When I went to Rome last year, I stayed most of the time in an apartment just a few steps from the Piazza Mattei, known for the Turtle Fountain. I spent a couple of days in a lovely little B&B called Kame Hall, just around the corner.
Kame Hall: modern boutique hotel in the heart of Rome
Other suggested accommodations in Rome:
Intown Luxury House: six elegant suites near Rome’s Spanish Steps
Mapplr’s favorite hotels in Rome
Where to eat in Rome
Every Roman has his or her own list of favorites. You really have to eat out a lot in Rome and come up with your own. So here are mine.
Hostaria Romana: excellent lunch near the Piazza Barberini in Rome
Ristorante Nino in Rome: the ideal lunch shopping break
Il Bacaro: delicious food in a tiny restaurant hidden in a corner of Rome
Dal Bolognese: chic crowd, delicious food in Rome
Al Granasso: lunch with the locals near the Piazza del Popolo
Il Buco: excellent Tuscan food near the Pantheon in Rome
Al Pompiere: traditional Roman cuisine in an old palazzo
Mapplr’s favorite restaurants and cafes in Rome
What about gelato? Well, there are so many gelaterias in Rome that it would be tedious to list the good ones as they are all quite good. Here’s what I say (based on my experience): The best gelateria is the one closest to your hotel.
What to do in Rome
Rome is where the sacred and the profane blend seamlessly, along streets lined with butcher shops, designer stores, and solemn churches. On a narrow street leading away from the Pantheon, you’ll find a large shop selling bishops’ mitres, priests and cardinals’ robes, and just a few doors down, a boutique hawking the tighest, sexiest jeans this side of the Tiber.
The Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere
Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva
NOTE: I have not listed St. Peter’s Basilica above because I visited it once, together with the Sistine Chapel, and I won’t go again unless it’s in the dead of winter. There are simply too many people inside. As you walk around Rome, you will see that there are so many lovely little churches, some no larger than a chapel. Here and there, you spot a Caravaggio painting in one of these tiny, unknown churches, and surprisingly, there won’t be anyone else around.
The main shopping street is the via dei Condotti, home to well-known designer brands such as Gucci and Prada. The service in each of these boutiques is excellent. I discovered that the prices are one third of what you would pay in the US for the same item. Moreover, they have a much better selection of clothes, shoes, and accessories in Rome.
Max Mara, via dei Condotti 17: carries all the other Max Mara brands including Sportmax, ‘S Max Mara and Weekend.
Prada, via dei Condotti 92: awesome selection of shoes, bags and clothes.
Giorgio Armani, via dei Condotti 77: one stop shop for the man who refuses to waste time trying to find clothes and accessories that fit and look good.
Max & Co: via dei Condotti, 61: this is the “young sister” of Max Mara and the clothes are stylish and affordable.
On the side streets around via dei Condotti, you’ll find other designer boutiques such as:
Mada Shoes, via della Croce 57: tiny boutique that sells shoes and bags, more affordable than the designer brands but still very stylish and beautiful leather goods are sold here.
Boutiques in other areas:
Officina Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Corso del Rinascimento 47: heavenly perfumes, soaps, colognes, potpourri and essences from Santa Maria Novella in Florence.
Online articles about eating in Rome
Tasting Rome: gelato, pasta and the market – this is food writer David Lebovitz’s exhaustive article about food in Rome, his favorite markets and gelaterias
Time Out Rome: find out the latest restaurant and bar openings, as well as concerts and other events in Rome.
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More Eat Pray Love Travel Guides:
Read the Eat Pray Love Bali Travel Guide.
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About the author
Esme Vos is the founder and editor-in-chief of Mapplr.com, a travel site devoted to ideal holidays, adventure travel, and distinctive accommodations around the world. Since 2007, Mapplr has been providing discerning travelers with advice on which airlines to use, where to stay, where to eat and what to do. Mapplr’s sister site, Shopplr, publishes shopping recommendations around the world.
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