Rome: A Starter’s Guide

For two-and-a-half millennia — before Federico Fellini gave the world the catchphrase La Dolce Vita and Gregory Peck helped steal away Audrey Hepburn – Rome glistened as the Eternal City. Visitors came for one of the Wonders of the World in the Colosseum, perhaps to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain with a hopeful heart, or others, more likely, came to pay homage to the Pope at Vatican City. And, after the sights, there was the food. Rome has a three Michelin starred restaurant, La Pergola, at the inestimable Grand Dame hotel Rome Cavlieri, as well as a slew of budget friendly, low-key restaurants throughout the sprawling city.

Here is a quick guide for those who have never been to Rome.

How to get there

Unless you live in a major airline hub city like New York City (Alitalia) or Atlanta (Delta), there are no direct flights to Rome, so finding something budget friendly means shelling out at least $1,500. As the national carrier or Italy, be sure to give ALITALIA foremost consideration. After Eithad’s recent purchase, everything from the planes, to the service, to the food as well as the uniforms has come to life.

Places to Stay

Probably one of the favorite places to stay in Rome is high on the hills of a residential community, with panoramic views of the city, Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts. Home to the only three Michelin starred restaurant in all of Italy, Executive Chef Heinz Beck – known by all as “Rome’s best chef” — relax in the luxurious atmosphere of soaring ceilings, marble everywhere and velvet touches with the most spectacular pool in all of Rome. And if you can splurge, be sure to splash out on the Penthouse Suite with its near panoramic views of the glorious city, which you can enjoy from your penthouse jacuzzi.

For those who favor boutique hotels, master hotelier Ori Kafri’s boutique 30 room J.K. Roma feels like the dream home with a gorgeous design scheme, which is luxurious as well as comfortable. The location is also strategic in the heart of ancient Rome, equidistant to the Vatican as well as the Colosseum.

If you are more budget conscious, then definitely try the completely revamped Le Meridien Visconti Rome. Located within minutes from the Villa Borghesa as well as the Vatican, Le Meridien Rome has transformed itself into a modern hotel with every American comfort – wifi, bedside plugs for phones, etc. – with a nightly rate well under 200 euros.

Where to Eat

For a budget-friendly meal, Osteria Delle Coppelle is an incredibly delicious, incredibly affordable Italian restaurant located in the historic Roman square Piazza delle Coppelle.

For a slightly more elevated dining try the Michelin starred Il Convivio Troiani helmed by the incredibly talented Executive Chef Angelo Troiani. Located just behind Piazza Navona – in the penultimate triumvirate of Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna and the aforementioned Piazza Navona – Chef Troiani focuses on sourcing and using only completely organic materials.

A slew of places in Rome can hit “best gelato” place marks yet only GIOLITTI is the actual oldest ice cream parlour in Rome, founded in 1890 by Giuseppe and Bernardine Giolitti. There are two locations in Rome but the one in via Uffici del Vicario near the Pantheon is the original with the kind of gelato one dreams of.

Things to do

When it comes to things to do in Rome, the laundry list is fairly self-explanatory: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel; the Colosseum; the Spanish Steps; Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.

If you are looking for something outside the box, one of the best, places to visit is the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, on Viale delle Belle Arti. Having undergone a multi-million dollar renovation, the crisp simplicity of the starkly white walls – and its soaring ceilings – truly bring to life the unique yet accessible pieces of art like a 15 ton Hercules sculpture which no one can move so the entire Museum is built around it.

Meander through the extensive gardens of the Villa Borghese which lead directly to the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna where you will catch yourself surrounded not by tourists but by locales and their families. There is also a wonderful museum.

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