When in Rome, do as the Romans do

We spent 10 days  in Rome for our Spring break, we just came back a couple of days ago and of course now I can’t help but keep thinking of my beautiful hometown. The weather was so good, the little monsters (Mstr M and Miss M) enjoyed so much hanging out and about in the sunshine, and I loved having breakfast every single day with cornetto (croissant) and cappuccino in one of those friendly Bar around the corner… it feels so HOME SWEET HOME.

This, together with my foreigner friends always asking us information about the Eternal City, naturally leads  me towards this post.

My personal – kind of off the beaten path – places to go, in Rome.

Something like the way I spend my day (or –  I would love to spend my day… ) while in Rome.

To me there is nothing more appropriate than ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’!  Even if it took me quite a bit to understand what this properly means!!!! 🙂

So, as soon you wake up, even before having breakfast, it might be very nice to have a walk/run in Villa Ada.

It’s been voted one of the best place to run in Italy, it is situated in the north part of Rome and it’s a beautiful park, far from lacking artistic value (like the most famous Villa Borghese or Villa Pamphili), the park is mostly interesting for its natural heritage. Access through Via Ponte Salario Gate is the best to go running around the pond and up the hill.

Then it’s time to have breakfast. the Italian way: croissant and cappuccino.

My favorite places in Rome are, without doubt, Mondi (via Flaminia 468) and Bar Benaco (via Benaco 13) very close to Villa Ada.

I understand this might be (!) a bit biased.  The thing is that Rome is such a big city, very spread out, so you can find a good bar in every single neighbourhood.  Each and every Roman has, indeed,  its own favourite bar to have breakfast and each and every Roman thinks that that is the best one possible in the whole city!

Actually, Bar Mondi is located in a very nice area – Ponte Milvio Square where you can find also a beautiful local farmer market and the typical Italian bakary IL Gianfornaio (Largo Maresciallo Diaz 16) where to buy freshly baked pizza and bread. Delicious.

Bright Vegetables at Local Farmer Market

Bright Vegetables at Local Farmer Market

Ponte Milvio (Ponte being ‘Bridge’) is in fact a well known area, in the northern part of the city, very nice to have a walk both during the day and at night time, offering a wide range of nice restaurants and wine shop where to grab a glass of good Italian wine. My favourites are VOY Restaurant  (via Flaminia 496)  –  nice and stylish modern atmosphere with a balanced and good value for money menu; and Charlie Vini e Cucina (via Flaminia 450) –  nice wine shop where to have a snack. A few years ago the bridge began attracting couples, who use a lamp-post on the bridge to attach love padlocks as a token of love. The ritual involves the couple locking the padlock to the lamp-post, then throwing the key behind them into the River Tiber. Now you can find padlocks everywhere!After having breakfast, I love to go shopping in local farmer markets, where you find a lot of fresh food: Mediterranean fish of any kind,  bright vegetables, fragrant bakery products. The one at Ponte Milvio is my local one, but here again .. every neighbourhood has its own.

The two most famous outdoor markets – though – are in Campo de’ Fiori Square (well worth it a visit for the beautiful surrounding area) and the one in Piazza Vittorio (more of an exotic ingredients experience, by now!).

Fresh Mediterranean Fish

Fresh Mediterranean Fish

Then, it’s lunch time: Food again!My favourite areas to walk around and stop by at any of those nice and friendly places are:

Rione Monti (Via Urbana, Via Panisperna.. )  ‘a quiet treasure’ as the NYTimes once called it.


Gelateria Fata Morgana is a must for one of the best ice cream in the world!  (Piazza degli Zingari  5).

Trastevere (Santa Maria in Trastevere Church Square and surrounding area, up until Piazza Trilussa),  Freni and Frizioni Bar is a nice place for a quick bite on the way around (Via del Politeama 4).

In the afternoon, shopping time no matter what.  Of course the area around Piazza di Spagna is in every tourist guide but I love much better the atmosphere of the small boutiques in Via del Governo Vecchio, right behind Piazza Navona.

Once there, Bar del Fico (Piazza del Fico ) or Bar della Pace (Via della Pace 3) are very nice spots to have a drink before dinner.

Other nice places to have a drink … with a view are:

Terrazza delle Quadrighe, which is the terrace on top of “The Vittoriano”, this is that super big white building-sort of altar at the centre of Piazza Venezia. Bar at the “Campidoglio”, you have to go up the stairs on the right of Piazza Venezia and on the right of *Vittoriano*, towards the statue of Marco Aurelio, once you are over there you turn right on a tiny street and you will find a door on the left, enter that door and go up the stairs, you will be amazed! These two are a Must for every foreigner friend of ours who want to be a proper ‘tourist’! Even if one of my favorite view of Rome is from The Fontanone (via Garibaldi, 30).

Here below some of our favourite places to go for dinner…. lucky you!

Handcrafted Beer - IL PORTO FLUVIALE

Handcrafted Beer – IL PORTO FLUVIALE

Il Porto Fluviale (via del Porto Fluviale 22), very informal atmosphere where you can try great Italian style tapas and their own handcraft beer.

Open Baladin (Via degli Specchi 5), to be honest this is all about craft beers – it’s a big deal now in Italy! – but food is good as well. Very informal atmosphere.

Salumeria Roscioli (Via dei Giubbonari 21), it was a typical deli turned restaurant. Fantastic food and friendly atmsphere.

Il Cassamortaro (Viale Trastevere 55) that’s not the real name, it’s the slang we romans use for it. Literally it means ‘person who builds gravestones’ because it is all about marble!  The real name is something like Pizzeria Ai Marmi being Marmi  Marbles…) It is a very informal place, paper table clothes and napkins, wine in pitcher, waiters yelling at each other every time….but the pizza is amazing, and also make sure you try suppli (fried rice balls).

Il Bacaro (Via degli Spagnoli, 27) it is a very small restaurant, food is excellent, and the place is very romantic. I wouldn’t go there if you are more than 4 people.

Hosteria del Pesce (Via di Monserrato 32) it is one of the best places to eat fish in Rome. The place is always packed so make sure you reserve a table. The atmosphere is quite informal.

Piperno (Via Monte Cenci, 9) it is a rather formal restaurant, the place you want go to eat old style Italian cuisine! It is absolutely a classic.

Antica Pesa (Corso Garibaldi, 18) it is very good restaurant is in Trastevere. The good thing is that you can eat outside during summer/spring time in a beautiful terrace. Quite formal atmosphere.

Il Caminetto (Viale Parioli 89), situated in the most posh area of Rome, I Parioli. Not all waiters speak (non of them!) a second language but if you want an English menu that’s not the right place.  Quite formal atmosphere, good food and my favorite Millefoglie in the world.

Millefeuille at IL CAMINETTO

Millefeuille at IL CAMINETTO

La Rosetta (Via della Rosetta, 8) this is a very high-end restaurant. It is very expensive but it’s considered one of the best restaurants in town. It is very famous for fish, probably the best fish dishes you can get in Rome. (Very happy if someone wants to add something to this list).


Categories: Italy, uh!

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