Rome

Overview

With its layers upon layers of architecture and art—spanning from the ancient to the renaissance to the baroque to the contemporary—and one of the biggest patrimonies of priceless icons in the world, Italy’s capital is nothing short of a living museum. It is exactly this rich history coupled with its trendsetting pulse that make this city worth visiting again and again. It’s a city of newly popular neighborhoods showcasing ethnic restaurants and stylish one-off stores, small bars featuring cutting-edge and biodynamic wines and microbrews, contemporary museums and art galleries opening in formerly derelict (and now transformed) spaces, and artisanal restaurants that have made a religion out of local and sustainable ingredients. Even many of the classics are among the monuments to get new life with the investment of city fashion houses—the Trevi fountain, Colosseum, and Spanish Steps all received facelifts recently. Add in one of the most popular Popes in history, and it’s easy to see why Rome is currently one of the world’s most dynamic destinations.

Best Time to Go

Spring (April to June) when the temperatures are mild and dry, vegetables like fava beans and artichokes are in season, and lines to museums are less monumental. While it gets crowded during Easter week, the festivities are fun, and give visitors the opportunity the possibility to see Pope Francis give his Easter Sunday address. In the fall (September to November), the extreme heat of summer has dissipated, restaurants reopen after their August vacations, and cultural institutions and museums launch their most important shows.

Airport Info

Leonardo da Vinci, more popularly known as Fiumicino airport (FCO) is your point of arrival and departure. Either take an official taxi from the kiosk outside the terminals (cost should be around 45 euros), the Leonardo Express train (which departs within the terminal and takes 30 minutes and costs 14 euros per person), or a shuttle bus service like Sit Bus Shuttle. Alternatively, arrange a transfer with your hotel directly, though it’s likely to be pricier.

Getting Around

Use the metro to avoid congestion of Rome’s center. Named the Metropolitana, the system runs every 7-10 minutes, from 5:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. Tickets are available at station vending machines, newsstands, and tabacchi (tobacco shops)—look for a brown sign with a white T.

Can’t Leave Without

1. Touring the new MAXXI, the city’s contemporary art museum, and a new Roman icon by late star-architect Zaha Hadid. (4/A Via Guido Reni; 39-06/320-1954; fondazionemaxxi.it)

2. Sipping an aperitivo next to an ancient work of architecture, at spots like Salotto 42. (42 Piazza di Pietra; 39-06/678-5804; salotto42.space)

3. Visiting the Vatican City. With one of the most popular Popes in place in quite some time, the Papal center has taken on even more significance.

Deserves the Hype

Deserves the Hype Standing by the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built, looking east onto the Forum, gives one an instant sense of just how much, and how impressively, the Romans built in their namesake city. The icon is even more impressive following its recent restoration funded by luxe goods company Tod’s and its CEO, Diego Della Valle.

Local Dish to Try

Nothing beats a rigatoni alla carbonara, the cheesy, eggy treat of a dish made even more decadent by the chunks of crispy guanciale (pork jowl). Try it out at Armando al Pantheon (31 Salita de’ Crescenzi; 39-06/6880-3034; armandoalpantheon.it). Cariofi Alla Giudea (deep fried artichokes) are also a must, and we love them at Giggetto, in the City’s Jewish Ghetto neighborhood (21A-22 Via del Portico d'Ottavia; 39-06/686-1105; giggetto.it).

Local Drink to Sip

An Aperol Spritz (Aperol, Prosecco, and a splash of soda) or the stronger Negroni (gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari) are the city’s drinks of choice, and best enjoyed alongside stylish Romans under the ivy-draped walls of the G-Bar at the G-Rough hotel. (69 Piazza di Pasquino, 39-06/6880-1085; g-rough.com)

Local Tip

If you want to avoid a wait, and ridiculous surcharge, join the locals at the marble bar tops for a cafe, instead of sitting at a table—you can save that pleasure for a longer aperitivo time.

Seasonal Highlights

WINTER: Christmas decorations go up after Thanksgiving, and add even more to Rome’s already considerably romantic atmosphere. It’s also the time to grab special presents for people back home—hats from Borsalino, kids toys from Citta del Sole, and kitchen ware for chefs at C.U.C.I.N.A.

SPRING: Take a stroll around the city food markets like Campo de Fiori. Fava beans, zucchini flowers, and artichokes are only some of the gorgeous seasonal produce on offer.

SUMMER: Roman temperatures can be sweltering come July and August so hide away during peak hours in one of the city’s museums, like the Galleria Borghese. (5 Piazzale Scipione Borghese; 39-06/32810; galleriaborghese.it)

FALL: One of the loveliest seasons to visit the Italian capital, this is the time to take long walks around the city. Highlights include Via Giulia (dotted with antique stores), Via dei Coronari, or up into one of the city’s hills.

Quick Tips

Car Service to Know

Palazzi
39-06/870-921

Extended Stay

Bellini Travel
44-20/7602-7602

Same-Day Dry Cleaning

Punto Blu
39-06/9020-6278

Tailor to Know

Franco Masino
39-06/679-2343

Hair Stylist to Book

Davide at Roberto d’Antonio
39-06/679-3197

Best Spa

Kami Spa
39-06/4201-0039

Best Hotel Gym

Hotel de Russie
39-06/328-881

The Fixer to Know

Emily FitzRoy
44-20/7602-7602

Restaurant for a Celebration

Pierluigi
39-06/686-1302

Restaurant for a Blowout Dinner

La Pergola
39-06/35091
Hotels

Portrait Suites

This Roman hideaway created by the Ferragamo family is perfect fashion types seeking an intimate pied-a-terre.
Spanish Steps

J.K. Place Roma

The residential air and warm staff at this 30-room boutique hotel makes the property feel like a home away from home.
Piazza del Popolo
FH&R

Hotel de Russie

Love-struck celebs (most recently Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston) make this their preferred Roman five star.
Historic Center
FH&R

Hassler Roma

Audrey Hepburn’s Roman home away from home, the storied Hassler crowns the Spanish Steps and offers excellent views.
Spanish Steps
FH&R

Residenza Napoleone III

This petite spot’s two suites—both awash in high-French Baroque—occupy Palazzo Ruspoli, Napoleon III's home in the 1830s.
Spanish Steps

G-Rough

This tucked away palazzo from the 1600s was a family home before it was transformed into a modern-meets-Baroque gem.
Piazza Navona

DOM Hotel

A certain boudoir-noir aesthetic defines this hotel on the Via Guilia.
Historic Center

Fendi Private Suites

This seven-suite hideaway in the Palazzo Fendi is a chic envisioning of a modern Roman urban escape.
Spanish Steps

PiazzadiSpagna9

This petite stay on the third floor of a 15th-century palazzo is as much art and design gallery as hotel.
Spanish Steps

Palazzo Dama

This 30-room newcomer opened its doors in April 2016 with a number of choice amenities.
Piazza del Popolo
Restaurants

Antica Pesa

For proof there's something special about this Roman classic in Trastevere, look to the massive collection of celebrity photos that covers the walls.
Trastevere
Classic Roman

Pierluigi

Roman restaurants rarely focus on fresh fish with any great success. Pierluigi is a notable exception.
Campo dei Fiori
Seafood

Roscioli

A top specialty food-and-wine shop by day, this grotto-like space becomes one of the best spots for traditional Roman cuisine at night.
Campo dei Fiori
Traditional Roman

Emma

Emma specializes in Rome’s signature super-crispy, super-thin crust pizza, as well as such classic local dishes.
Campo dei Fiori
Pizza

Mazzo

Mazzo is known for serving up satisfying, deeply authentic Roman fare that also manages to be creative.
Centocelle
Modern Roman

La Pergola

Even if you haven’t come to Rome for ultra-fancy, haute gastronomie, you shouldn’t miss the city’s only Michelin three-star restaurant.
Monte Mario
Modernist Cuisine

Felice A Testaccio

For a top example of the classic pasta sauces that make Rome so famous, head to Da Felice in the city’s former meat packing neighborhood.
Testaccio
Classic Roman

Retrobottega

Whenever a spot becomes the post-work gathering place for chefs and hospitality types, you know it deserves a visit.
Piazza Navona
Modern Roman

Bonci Pizzarium

Tucked away off the northwest corner of the Vatican, this order-at-the-counter, pizza-by-the-slice joint has become a pie pilgrimage site.
Trionfale
Pizza

Antico Arco

This more than 20-year-old institution manages to be both consistent and delicious, serving up creative and classic Roman cuisine.
Giancolo Hill
Contemporary Italian
Bars + Lounges

Barnum

This classic-cocktail outpost defies expectations.
Campo de’ Fiori
Cocktail Bar

Ciampini

Situated in a picturesque piazza just off Via Condotti, Ciampini has served as a destination since 1941.
Via Condotti
Café + Bar

Enoteca Ferrara

This tiny by-the-glass gem provides a relaxed respite from the collegiate carousing and cacophony that characterize so much of the scene in Trastevere.
Trastevere
Wine Bar

Etablì

Wine bars are a dime a dozen in Rome, but this sceney spot carves out a unique niche by adding Mediterranean small plates.
Piazza Navona
Wine Bar

Vineria Litro

The list of esoteric natural and biodynamic Italian wines are the true highlights at this bar.
Monteverde
Wine + Cocktails

Co.So. Cocktail and Social

In the up-and-coming neighborhood of Pigneto, owner Massimo D’ Addezio has created a cocktail bar that is a shrine to the artisanal cocktail.
Pigneto
Craft Cocktails

Salotto 42

This cool, comfortable cocktail boîte serves as a daytime lunch spot and evening aperitivo-hour hangout for attractive, creative locals.
Historic Center
Craft Cocktails

Stravinskij Bar

Even local residents turn up almost nightly for a drink at this gorgeous outdoor patio area sitting beneath the Borghese Gardens.
Piazza del Popolo
Patio Bar

Barber Shop

From the outside Barber Shop may look like your run of the mill hair salon, but in the after-hours, the basement turns into a stylish “members only” lounge.
Monti
Afterhours Bar

Jerry Thomas

This Roman speakeasy reimagines Prohibition-era America with vintage couches, live jazz, and great artisanal cocktails.
Campo de’ Fiori
Speakeasy
Shopping

Franco Masino

Even Valentino’s creative directors are in awe of tailor Franco Masino.
Historic Center
Tailor

Battistoni

It’s no secret that Roman men are exceedingly stylish, but even the most well turned out turn to Battistoni to take it up a notch.
Historic Center
Menswear

Fatamorgana

This contemporary gelato shop with several locations uses seasonal flavors made with fresh, all-natural ingredients.
Historic Center
Gelato

Borsalino

This family owned business has been producing the most beautiful hats in Italy since 1857.
Historic Center
Bespoke Millinery

Gente

Consider this upscale one-stop (but multioutpost) shop Italy’s answer to Barney’s.
Historic Center
Menswear + Womenswear

C.u.c.i.n.a.

This well curated kitchen supply and tabletop shop is Rome’s answer to a more locally sourced Sur la Table.
Historic Center
Kitchen + Homewares

Citta del Sole

It’s the kind of toy store where an adult might linger, even without kids in tow.
Historic Center
Children’s Toys

Flanella Grigia

This decades-old label is a temple to tailoring, specializing in unlined, soft-shouldered suiting in the Neapolitan style.
Historic Center
Menswear + Womenswear

Laura Tonatto

An expert scentmaker and consummate “nose,” Turin-born Laura Tonatto set up shop to bring her passion for perfume to the Eternal City.
Historic Center
Perfume

Nora P

Eleonora Pastore curates an ever-changing, aesthetically pleasing assortment of items for the home at this three-room emporium.
Monti
Homewares
Things To Do

Bellini Travel

London-based Italy specialist Bellini Travel focuses on high-end, high-touch, insider-access trip-planning.
Various
Bespoke Experiences

American Academy

Becoming a Friend of the Academy gives you access to the otherwise-closed campus’s rich, dynamic programing.
Monteverde
Arts

Nuovo Mercato Esquilino

This food market by the city’s main train, Termini, is a favorite for Rome’s chefs, visiting travelers, and locals.
Termini
Markets

Vatican Museums

This grand complex of palaces and chapels, galleries, and gardens contains priceless masterpieces from the ancient Romans to the Renaissance popes.
Vatican City
Papal Treasures

Contemporary Art Galleries

Rome's new contemporary art showcases offer more diversity to the obvious older treasures in town.
Modern + Contemporary Art

The Colosseum

The iconic site just underwent a $33 million refurbishment 
Historic Center
Monuments

Roman Walks

Two ideal places to stroll in the city, for the shopper and site-seer.
Walking Itineraries

Galleria Doria Pamphilj

This house museum holds a private collection of some of Europe’s most important paintings.
Historic Center
Small Collection

Kami Spa

This beautiful Asian day spa has become one of the city’s best beauty and wellness destinations
Historic Center
Spa

MAXXI

Zaha Hadid’s dynamic tour de force houses temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, architecture, and urban design.
Flaminio
Contemporary Art + Design

Katie Parla Food Tour

Join top English-language food writer Katie Parla on one of her privately guided tasting tours.
City Wide
Food Tours

Borghese Gallery

This museum houses one of the world’s most impressive collections of Baroque painting and sculpture, as well as the ancient Roman pieces that inspired them.
Historic Center
Fine Art