Rome I love not only because I have an office there but also because I designed Casa Manni Roma, Italy’s one-suite luxury hotel. In the early-’60s era of la dolce vita, Rome was the center of chic. As the world caught on, much of this culture went elsewhere, to L.A., Paris, Milan. In the last decade, though, the government has invested in contemporary architecture. You turn a corner from a Renaissance building to find a Richard Meier cube. The contrast is what’s making the city vibrant. It’s a sexy place to be.
Art: The Zaha Hadid–designed MAXXI, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts, is a place of cultural innovation and overlapping disciplines, and a laboratory for artistic experimentation. At Via Guido Reni 4; fondazionemaxxi.it.
Hotel: Casa Manni Roma offers a unique hospitality concept: a penthouse for two in the heart of the city. Owner Armando Manni wanted to create a home in Rome for travelers, so I conceived a luxurious space in harmony with both its historic setting and Rome’s modern style. Suite starts at $820; Via di Pietra 70; 39-06/9727-4787; casamanni.com.
Shopping: At 54,000 square feet, Rome’s first major lifestyle store, White Gallery, offers the best of everything, from fragrances to fashion to food. It’s housed in a building in EUR (Esposizione Universale di Roma), a neighborhood built by Mussolini during World War II. At Piazza Guglielmo Marconi 18; whitegallery.it.
Design: The Secondome is a home-design gallery where you can purchase limited-edition products—sculptures, tables, armchairs—crafted by the latest Italian and international talent. At Via degli Orsini 26/27; secondome.eu.
Food: It may serve typically Roman fare, but there’s nothing typical about Grano. It’s an exemplary trattoria serving a fantastic carbonara and melt-in-your-mouth polpetti made with braised veal cheeks. If you’re up for it, the tripe is out of this world. At Piazza Rondanini 53; 39-06/6819-2096; ristorantegrano.it.
Here are a few other special places I look forward to revisiting. At La Fucina (Via Giuseppe Lunati 25/31; 39-06/559-3368), the gourmet pizzas are made by composers who conduct the flavors with their fingertips. Every night is a different dish at the always-packed Felice a Testaccio (Via Mastro Giorgio 29; 39-06/574-6800; feliceatestaccio.it). At Salumeria Roscioli (Via dei Giubbonari 21; 39-06/687-5278; salumeriaroscioli.com)—a delicatessen, restaurant and wine bar—the motto is “prima della cucina” (before cooking), which reflects the labor that goes into researching the highest-quality ingredients. SAID (Via Tiburtina 135; said.it) is a 1923 chocolate factory that now includes a must-visit shop/café. Salotto42 (Piazza di Pietra 42; salotto42.it) boasts the city’s hottest, most fashionable bar scene.