An inside guide to Rome
Renaissance art, ancient ruins and exquisite food - when in Rome...
Popular since, well, the Roman times, the ancient city of Rome is shrouded in myth and legend. Built upon layer after layer of history and culture, the city’s ancient cobblestone streets, crumbling ruins and Baroque fountains speak of a rich and textured past. With so much to see and do, it can be tempting to try and pack as much into your visit as possible. However, we’d advise against doing this; instead, pick a few things you want to see and take your time exploring. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you definitely can’t see it all in one (or even 100).
From personalised city tours with an expert guide and pasta-making classes with a local nonna to booking you into the city's best bars and restaurants, we know exactly what it takes to make your getaway incredible. Simply let us know what you'd like to see and do and we can create a tailored itinerary for you. For a bit of inspiration, here are some of our favourite spots in the city. Buon viaggio!
What to see (outside)
Make the most of a warm day by heading outside to explore the city’s crumbling ruins and sprawling parks.
Vast and towering, Rome’s magnificent Colosseum dominates the city centre. The largest amphitheatre ever built by the Romans, this colossal structure is just as impressive now as it ever was. Wander around the ancient arena, imagining the cheers of 50,000 Romans, clashes of the gladiators’ swords and roars of lions, tigers and bears which would have once filled the air.
The most famous of Rome’s seven hills, Palatine Hill is one of the most ancient parts of the city. According to the legend, the cave where Romulus and Remus were raised by a wolf was located on the hill. Although you may not find the cave, you will find plenty of incredible ruins to explore and, once you make it to the top you’ll be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of the city. Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon enjoying the lush greenery and relative peace of Palatine Hill.
Located just outside the ancient city walls, Villa Doria Pamphili is Rome’s largest landscaped public park and is a glorious spot to spend a sunny afternoon. Take a wander through the park and discover an array of secret gardens, baroque statues, little chapels and even a series of tiny waterfalls.
What to see (inside)
Although the summers are hot and dry in Rome, the winters tend to be cool and sometimes wet. Luckily, there’s plenty to do indoors too; meaning a trip to the Eternal City should always be on the cards, no matter the season.
Packed to the rafters with works from some of the world’s most celebrated Old Masters, a trip to the Galleria Borghese should be on every art lover’s list. Housed in the Villa Borghese, an elegant mansion nestled in the middle of a park, spend a happy afternoon marvelling at breathtakingly lifelike sculptures by Bernini and Canova, as well as masterpieces by Titian, Rubens and Raphael. If the weather’s looking good, then a stroll through the gorgeous Villa Borghese gardens is a great way to finish the day.
Originally a Roman temple, the Pantheon is still enjoying its second life as a Catholic church. Although its towering size and majestic architecture are indeed impressive, the truly jaw-dropping aspect of the building is its giant dome. To this day, it is the largest unsupported dome in the entire world - an accolade to the ingenuity of Roman engineering.
Another incredible spot for art lovers (spoiler alert: Rome is full of them), Centrale Montemartini is well worth spending a day exploring. Housed in a former power plant, you can enjoy the contrast of ancient statues, busts and friezes set against a stark industrial background.
Where to shop
Although more famous for its history and art, Rome is still an excellent city for shopping. From the latest designer labels to sprawling markets selling everything from fresh produce to antiques, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in this vast, eclectic metropolis.
If you’re searching for artisanal products, independent designers and quirky boutiques, then the neighbourhood of Monti is the spot for you. Brimming with tiny shops, temporary pop-ups and lots of cute little restaurants, there’s plenty to explore in this often overlooked area.
For designer labels, Via Condotti, near the grand Piazza di Spagna, is a great choice. Overlooking the famous Spanish Steps, you’ll find outposts from some of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses scattered along this elegant street.
Those in the market for art and antiques should head to Via dei Coronari for a leisurely browse. The street is lined with quaint little stores, selling everything from statues to shirts and has a distinctly local feel about it.
Filled with pretty little boutiques, art galleries, traditional osterie, lovely old bookshops and cool coffee bars, Via del Pellegrino is well worth a visit. Located just off the famous Campo dei Fiori, spend a happy afternoon browsing books and sipping on coffee on this eclectic, charming street.
Where to eat
Located in the heart of Rome, Pierluigi’s has welcomed many famous names over the years. This exquisite fish restaurant has both indoor and outdoor dining, an extensive wine cellar and a gorgeous American-style cocktail bar for a pre-dinner drink.
Prepare to be charmed by Giulietta’s quirky yet cosy decor and relaxed atmosphere. Described as ‘your living room in the heart of Rome’, spend your evening relaxing on one of their artfully mismatched armchairs and tucking into a menu filled with fresh local flavours and delicious wines.
Those seeking cutting edge cuisine will find their quest well rewarded by trail-blazing Chef Giulio Terrinoni and his team at Per Me. Although one of Rome’s most celebrated restaurants, Per Me lacks any of the ostentatiousness or showiness which usually come with such a high accolade. Instead, you’ll find this incredible yet understated restaurant in a somewhat hidden location, stealing diner’s hearts with a combination of impeccable service, excellent seafood dishes and Giulio’s obvious passion for his art.
Where to drink
Sip on creative cocktails and enjoy the magnificent views from Settimo Roman Cuisine & Terrace, on the 7th floor of Sofitel Roma Villa Borghese. With striking modern surrounds and set just on the edge of the beautiful Villa Borghese park, this is a wonderfully stylish spot to spend an evening.
Routinely featuring as one of the world’s best bars, the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy is a hot-bed of cocktail experimentation and late-night Roman culture. The first secret bar in Italy, you’ll need to locate the password hidden on the homepage of their site before you can enter; but the sultry 1920’s style decor and incredible drinks you’ll find inside are more than worth it.
Designed by architect, Paolo Portoghesi, Minerva Roof Garden offers breathtaking views over the ancient city of Rome. Located right next to the gargantuan Pantheon, you’ll be able to enjoy history and wine simultaneously - a definite win-win in our books.
The Roof Garden & Bar, on the terrace of the prestigious Raphael Hotel, has to be one of the most gorgeous spots in the entire city. Sip champagne and enjoy panoramic views in this flower-filled hideaway.
Planning a trip to Rome?
Our expert travel advisors will match you to your perfect home, before helping plan the finer details of your Roman adventure. From uniquely tailored city tours and wine tastings to booking you into the city's best restaurants, these are the little details which will make your trip truly special.
With 24/7 support, homes with guaranteed privacy and impeccable housekeeping standards, we have everything you need for a safe and worry-free getaway.