It’s an elegant 4-star hotel in a convenient location, close to transport and attractions. The room was good sized and comfortable, and the staff helpful and friendly. A great feature is the hotel is the roof-top terrace, a great spot for a quiet drink. Hotel Alpi Roma was a great base to explore Rome, we loved every minute of our stay!
It is not as big as some Roman rooftop bars, nor as flash. But it's on top of a lovely ivy-clad hotel on the corner of Largo Febo, steps away from the downtown heart of ancient Rome (Piazza Navona and Via del governo Vecchio) yet a world and a half away from all the tourist tat. Order a bottle of prosecco from the charming, friendly staff and, feeling thoroughly glamorous, watch the sun go down on St Peter's basilica and the rooftops of Rome. But that's not all - and this is what makes the Raphael the very best for rooftop tippling - when you're ready for dinner you can head back down to the filmset/fairytale little square below where Ristorante Santa Maria serves up excellent food and oodles of ambience. And you can round your evening off at any of the great bars nearby; Bar della Pace of Bar del Fico are just two within an easy totter.
Nothing special as far as design or services are concerned, but the room was nice and the location is convenient to visit all the attractions. Rome’s main transport hub, the Termini station, is a few minutes walk away, that’s where we arrived with the Leonardo Express from the airport. The historic centre or the Spanish Steps are a short walk, or you can take different buses - we never bothered. To sights further such as the Vatican or the Colosseum you can take the metro, that was easy and straight forward. There is a wide range of restaurants in the area: towards the station they tend to be cheaper, towards Monti and the centre trendier and more expensive. It was a good hotel at the right price, convenience and value for money.
Known to me, and many people as Bar Della Pace, this is a super stylish bar which manages to be incredibly trendy without even trying. It's a beautiful bar, where the service, the staff, the customers and drink selection are fantastic, and all combine to offer a welcoming and warm atmosphere.
I've only visited once, a few years ago but was blown away with how relaxing and enjoyable this bar was. Despite being so close to Piazza Navona, the prices were, in the main, reasonable and the welcome was warm. This wasn't the case in all bars we visited in the area.
The bar is enjoyable both inside and out - where you can watch cooler people than me enjoying the evening!
I've recommended Della Pace to many people and they have always been happy with the recommendation.
I remember there being an excellent wine list with a great choice by the glass. The coffee was as good as it should be.
Great selection of food and wine at reasonable prices on the top floor of the monument. Outside and inside seating with the very best panoramic views of Rome for free. Relaxing seating and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Location is between Ancient Rome sights and Renaissance museums. There is also a new sky lift (small charge) to the very top, which is worth a look.
Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma, Italy
+39 06 678 0664
Google map: bit.ly/PyWPaU
Chef Riccardo Zanni has been here for six months, and his ambitious and delicious menu is a cause for celebration.
We arrived with no reservation, were warmly welcomed, and the service was the best I can remember in a long time. Over a glass of prosecco we considered the menu (just one dish was not available and we were informed right away). Though artichokes were only listed as a side vegetable, I am fond of them and the chef said they had just come out of the oven and would be great as a starter (and we were only charged the side veg price!). A tiny chef's salad arrived as a bonne bouche and meanwhile we had to choose wine: we enquired about something red, less usual, perhaps a less known region or grape variety. Six(!) bottles were brought to our table for a delightful discussion about the relative merits - and we were told right from the start that none of the bottles cost more than €25. We chose a Lacrima di Morro d'Alba which was terrific.
All courses served were excellent - the amount of tuna served sashimi style was so generous it was hard to finish. So there was no room for dessert, but the chef insisted on presenting his newest creation, an ice-cream of parmigiano cheese and kumquat marmelade, which was extraordinarily delicious. We declined further wine, but were nonetheless served a perfect vino generoso (sticky and dark, served chilled).
None of the extras appeared on the bill, a very reasonable €80 for two. We left a big tip and still felt we had enjoyed a bargain.
Recommended without reservation.
Over 65's concessions for EU citizens. All national museums are free entry on production of proof of age. This made it unnecessary to get a Roma Pass which is the most publicised tourist reduction. Sites include the Forum, Palatine and Colosseum also the Villas Adriana and d'Este at Tivoli. The wonderful Villa Borghese has free entry but must be pre-booked so do it when you are in Rome. If you do it before leaving the U.K. use their own on-line site, not a commercial ticket site, as the booking fee is much less.
Political culture dying? Not in Italy on May 1st, International Labour Day. When the Left celebrates with music, food, performances and political speeches, it’s your chance to listen to old partisan songs, music from Dario Fo, Gianni Bosio, meet new and aged activists and admire handcrafted political banners. Find out where the music school of Circolo Gianni Bosio from Rome is going. The Circolo GB does political research, oral history, activism and folklore collection. Last year they were in Sesto Fiorentino near Florence at the Istituto Ernesto de Martino, another active centre of political culture. The same year a few days later, May 6th, the music group sailed with other Rome choirs on a barge over the Tiber, singing against Berlusconi’s politics.
When the usual sites in Rome are heaving with people, Ostia Antica is a place of superb Roman sites which are blessedly peaceful. The site was once the sea port of ancient Rome but was silted up after the decline of the Roman Empire. Many buildings have been excavated and it is possible to spend a whole day here enjoying the sites and rural peace. We were there on a Saturday and it was not mobbed like the centre of Rome.
Google map: bit.ly/Aet2ld
The basilica of San Clemente, not far from the Coliseum, is three buildings in one - a church within a church within a church.
The church above ground dates from 1100 and is simply beautiful; one of the most lavishly decorated in Rome. A €3 entrance fee will take you down to the other two levels. There is a fourth-century church below which still houses the remains of ancient frescoes. Below that is the dark and intriguing house of Mitra (the Roman god of the equinoxes), which dates from the first-century, and was later used as a secret meeting place by early Christians. Amazing to think that this labyrinth of tiny rooms and corridors is hidden below two other churches and has still survived.
TuttiFrutti, in the heart of what used to be Rome's Smithfields, is an inexpensive family run restaurant. It's Italian, so you'll always find variations of the what makes Italian cuisine so famous (gnocchi, pasta dishes, pizza) on the constantly changing menu. TuttiFrutti does for food what Paul Smith does to traditional English fashion: old style with a twist. The wine list is extensive and the staff are sophisticated and incredibly genial. This restaurant has become my regular spot to take people when they visit Rome.
Via Luca Della Robbia, 3/A, 00153 Roma
Nearest Metro: Piramide
Google map: bit.ly/sRAJ7r
The Sabatini Restaurant is in the heart of Trastevere opposite the Basilica of Santa Maria. This area is a must when visiting Rome, as it is one of the oldest parts of the city. There are great shops and restaurants and it is in walking distance of the Vatican and Piazza Navone. There are frequent shuttle buses outside of Ciampino airport which take only about 20 minutes to arrive in the center of Rome, whereas from the larger airport Fiumicino, the train takes about 30 minutes.
Google map: bit.ly/shp4Op
The MAD stands for moda, architettura and design, and it's great for all of these. The clothes - women's only - are a delight: they're fun and modern as well as being elegant, and amazingly, they're not hugely expensive. It makes it hard not to fill up your shopping bag. Everything's made in Italy, and the designers, Francesca and Paola, are always at the shop to welcome clients. There's also a space for artists, photographers, jewellers, and there's usually an exhibition of some sort going on. It's well worth a visit. I love it.
Its a typlical Roman trattoria with its own specialist dish. No pretension, no frills, no waiters at the door asking you to come in and the speciality of cacio e pepe tagliolini at 11 euros is worth the trip alone - pecorino cheese, pepper and butter served in a cheese basket. You can have two courses, a mezzo (half) a litre of wine and a coffee for 25 euros each.
Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 24, 00153 Roma, Italy
+39(0) 6 5800757
Number 8 tram from Rome centre. Get off after you cross the river. From Trastevere railway station get off before the river, with the river behind you walk left off Vialle Trastevere and you will find it.
Google map: bit.ly/pofQdT
This is the best English language bookshop in Rome. The owner Dermot O'Connell is a great source of information about the fantastic selection of books he stocks and will also be able to tell you where and where not to go. If you need a guide book, a good summer read, an Italian themed read or want to choose from his wide selection of non-fiction titles you must visit via del Moro 45. He also stocks some set books if you need something if you are studying in Rome. I love it!!!!
Via del Moro, 45, 00153 Rome, Italy
Google map: bit.ly/pqIbbX
Shun the condom-and-glass-laden shores of Ostia if you want to visit the beach for a day on your summer hols to Rome.
The beach and sea at Sperlonga are cleaner, prettier and quieter, and only take an hour(ish) to get to by train from Termini, Rome's main train station. The beach is also shallow for quite a long way out to sea so it's a nice paddling spot for children or people with short legs.
Take the Naples slow train, which is at 49 minutes past the hour every hour from 8am and costs 6.20 Euros. Get off at Fondi Sperlonga and then get the beach bus (1 Euro) to the seafront itself.
It's worth leaving the beach for a couple of hours and wandering up to the hilltop town for a drink or a spot of lunch and a gawk at the view.
This festival of food, drink, music and shopping is open on the banks of the Tiber most evenings until August 29th. There are at least a couple of hundred stalls selling everything from pizza and jewellery to art, fried fish, water filters, mojitos, shisha, Mexican food, tarot readings and soap. My personal Fatty McPuddingface award goes to the Bar Pompi ('The King of Tiramisu') kiosk which is doing Pina Colada tiramisu especially for the event, along with strawberry flavour, banana/nutella and the regular coffee variety. So nice not to have to get the Metro all the way out to Re di Roma to stuff myself full of dessert.
It's a lovely excuse to take an evening walk long the river starting at Castello S. Angelo and heading to Isola Tiberina. You can book tables at some of the restaurants in advance or just turn up but you may have a wait if you do so between 8-11pm at the weekend.
My wife and I stayed two weeks in Rome staying at Grand Bed & Breakfast. Was a great choice, lovely accommodation in very central location and the staff were really helpful and pleasant. The room was clean and well appointed, and the bed comfortable and we had daily breakfast served in-room at an agreed time. The room was cleaned every two days, we had fresh towels every two days and bedding every three days. We were able to walk from the hotel to many sights. The area around is packed with restaurants, which some are quite cheap, and Rome's buzzing night life is next door. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay, all in all not a luxury hotel but is perfect if you are looking for somewhere nice to sleep at an affordable price.
The bus system is very problematic for a tourist. The guidebooks emphasise that you must buy a ticket (flat-rate of 1€ for 75 minutes travel) and validate it on board. But we hardly ever saw locals validating tickets and there seems no way of checking, apart from spot-checks by (non-existent) inspectors. The truth is that for most routes in the centre, particularly at rush-hour, the buses are impossibly crowded so there is only a slim chance of getting onto a bus and no chance of getting near a validating machine – ticket revenue for ATAC must be tiny for the number of passengers carried. Furthermore ATAC has clearly decided not to put a diagram of the route inside the bus or to have a screen telling you what the next stop is. This adds up to a really tourist-hostile service.
Google map: bit.ly/dOTiNm
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