Oh the Places We Go!

City Guide To

In ancient times, Rome was the capital of the world. On your visit to the Eternal City, you will find plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Sistine Chapel), endless galleries and museums with Renaissance and Baroque art and exquisite fountains, monuments and churches to really drive home that once indeed ‘all roads lead to Rome’.

We all know the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ so don’t expect to cram all the sights, restaurants and shops here in a week or less. Rome is best experienced when digested slowly, enjoying its many incredible trattorias, parks and sights a little at a time. I was overwhelmed by the vastness in Rome when I first visited in my 20’s. I got in all the key sights, of course, but really didn’t appreciate all it had to offer until I returned later with my children and had more time to appreciate its beautiful parks, museums and restaurants (as well as having more dispensary income to enjoy the finer meals, hotels and shops!). 


Arguably, Rocco Forte’s Hotel De Russie has been and is still considered the most luxurious hotel in town but.  After sending many clients there and two stays there myself, I have to agree. Nothing beats the courtyard and garden! Now Rocco Forte has a new addition with the Hotel De La Ville on top of the Spanish Steps. Friends have raved about the industrial-style boutique hotel G-Rough (great for large groups and families) and the uber-stylish and intimate J.K. Place Roma and its new neighbor Hotel Vilon. If you are looking for a respite from the crowds and the heat, then look no further than the Rome Cavalieri hotel which offers pools, outrageous views of the Vatican and Rome and an insane fitness center.


Romans take their food and wine seriously, so you will never lack finding a good meal in Rome.  There are enough incredible trattorias, pizzerias and gelaterias in Rome to fill a book. Below you will find some of our favorites (we provide a comprehensive list to our clients) as well as those that our globe-trotting friends absolutely swear by – many of these are off the beaten path where the locals go but you will also find some popular tourist spots loved by locals and tourists alike.  Wherever you end up, make sure to try Roman favorites like cacio e pepe, fettucini carbonara or tiramisu – When in Rome!   Tip: If you want to grab a hard-to-get reservation, go before 8 p.m. when even the most coveted restaurants have space. Most Romans wouldn’t be caught dead eating before then.


Shopping in Rome is fantastic, no matter if you are searching for haute couture, antiques, or a bargain. The biggest names in Italian fashion – Valentino, Armani, and Bulgari, for example – hail from Rome and you will find all their stores and others near the streets near and up to the Spanish Steps. Via Condotti is Rome’s main street for high fashion window shopping but Via del Corso and its surrounding streets is the most fun shopping (especially if you are with a teen) with numerous shoe stores, popular brands (including KIKO – the Sephora of Italy) and department stores.


There are so many places to see and do in Rome it is mind-boggling.  You can’t go to Rome and not see the Colosseum but the lines are insane. You can escape the crowds and have this archeological wonder practically to yourself on an early morning or evening tour which includes special access to the ‘Third Ring’. At sunset, it’s just magical.  The gorgeous Piazza Navona is lively both day and night and the entertainers and artists will keep you and your children endlessly entertained.  It’s cliché but you must throw a coin into the famous and newly restored (and gleaming white) Trevi Fountain to ensure you will be back (make sure to throw it with your back to the fountain!). Our favorite experiences, though, were taking an electric bike through the vast and beautiful Borghese Gardens (located in back of the Hotel De Russie) and booking a private cooking class in the professional kitchen of an Italian home in Trastevere.

Map It

Hotel De Russie

Rocco Forte's Hotel De Russie is one of our favorites for its location, spacious contemporary styled rooms and atmosphere. And it is very family-friendly. Located between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo but away from the crowds, this stylish hotel is still considered the top place to stay in town. The outdoor courtyard and gardens is one of the prettiest places to go for cocktails and breakfast while letting the kids run around. Worth the splurge.

Address: Via Del Babuino 9
Hotel Eden

After extensive full year renovation by the Dorchester Collection, this stylish and iconic hotel close to the Spanish Steps and Villa Borghese is expected to re-open to full fanfare in April 2017 . Its 98 rooms and suites offer a luxurious and classical feel, with an atmosphere of an elegant private home. In addition to 98 renovated luxury rooms and suites, there will also be a hidden library bar and rooftop brasserie. One of the most anticipated re-openings in 2017!

Address: Via Ludovisi 49
J.K. Place Roma

J.K. Place is an intimate luxury boutique hotel, where guests can feel they are living La Dolce Vita. Perfect for travellers who want stylish accommodations and world-class luxury shopping at their doorstep. Enjoy a cocktail or two at the cozy JK Cafe Bar. Great feedback from fellow travelers. Tip: If you aren't staying here, come for the weekend brunch which is incredible (children under 10 free)

Address: Via di Monte d'Oro 30
Rome Cavalieri - Waldorf Astoria

Rome Cavalieri is more resort than hotel and it is a great family alternative if you are in Rome during the hot summer months. Located at the north end of the city three miles from the city center, it is an oasis from the tourist crowds. 15 acres of private gardens, a 6,500 square foot gym, amazing views of the city and Vatican and, most important for the kids, it has not one or two but three pools (!!!). Foodies will love the 3-Michelin Star rooftop restaurant.

Address: Via Alberto Cadlolo 101

G-Rough is perfect for families or travellers looking for spacious accommodations. The interiors are whimsical with a touch of rustic chic. Centrally located a few minutes' walk from Piazza Navona and the Pantheon.

Address: Piazza di Pasquino 69
Palazzo Manfredi

For those looking for authentic digs, Palazzo Manfredi, housed in a 17th-century villa, is a great choice. This luxurious boutique hotel is a 5-minute walk from the Colosseum and Roman Forum, with suites offering postcard-perfect views of this historic landmark. Their Michelin-starred rooftop restaurant has a romantic and sophisticated ambiance.

Address: Via Labicana 125
Trattoria Al Moro

This restaurant is located close to the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. The food is authentic and delicious although we found the atmoshere a bit stuffy. We recommend their signature dish, 'Spaghetti Al Moro', which offers a twist on the classic Spaghetti Carbonara.

Address: Vicolo delle Bollette 13
Dal Bolognese

You will find iconic restaurant right around the corner from Hotel de Russie. Yes the staff is indifferent (they never crack a smile) and the menu is limited, but the classic dishes are delicious. Have your concierge book you an outside table where the best people-watching is with views over Piazza del Popolo (don't get relegated to the back where they like to stick tourists - a death sentence). A popular spot to see and be seen.

Address: Piazza del Popolo 1
Pizzeria Emma

For us this is the best place for thin-crust pizza in Rome. Ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. A few euros more than other pizzerias but so worth it. Sitting outside at this chic pizzeria is a must (inside is small).

Address: Via del Monte della Farina 28
Ristorante Nino

This old-time Tuscan restaurant, close to the Spanish Steps, has been serving up consistently excellent dishes since 1934. For what its worth, a favorite stop for Tom Cruise when he is in town. Check out the superb zuppa di fagioli. Reservations are highly recommended.

Address: Via Borgognona 11
Della Palma

For almost 40 years, this grand ice cream parlor is considered by many one of the best gelateria in Rome. Tons of (150!) flavors to choose from, it's almost impossible not to find one you like. For chocolate lovers, there are over 20 variations of it!

Address: Via della Maddalena 19-23
Trattoria Monti

This tiny, contemporary trattoria near Piazza Vittorio is also popular with tourists as it is recommended by most guidebooks, so book early in advance. The friendly service, ambiance, extensive wine list and delicious classic Italian dishes make it well worth a visit.

Address: Via di S. Vito 13
Osteria Der Belli

Located in Trastevere, this restaurant has been run by for brothers from Sardinia for the past 45 years. It is the go-to spot for fresh seafood, popular with locals.

Address: Piazza di Sant'Apollonia 11
Al Vero Girarrosto Toscano

Located close to Villa Borghese, this warm and inviting Tuscan restaurant serves delicious Tuscan cuisine, especially steak and antipasti.

Address: Via Campania 29
Come Il Latte

Come Il Latte (whose name means "like milk"), near Trevi Fountain, is an adorable artisinal gelateria serving the creamiest gelato. Not a ton of choices but high quality of familiar favorites with unique accents. Hands down, our favorite spot for gelato in Rome.

Address: Via Silvio Spaventa 24/26
Gelateria dei Gracchi

Gelateria dei Gracchi is another terrific spot to get your gelato fix. They use only natural ingredients, fresh season fruits, and no artificial colors so you can indulge without the guilt (kind of).

Address: Via dei Gracchi 272
Al Settimo Gelo

This gelateria uses only natural ingredients and offers all the basic gelato flavors as well as more unconventional flavors. Flavors range from cardamom to ginger to chocolate with red peppers and more!

Address: Via Vodice 21/A
Pastificio San Lorenzo

For a truly local dining experience with a good scene, book a table at Pastificio San Lorenzo. This hidden gem of a restaurant is housed in a former pasta factory. The restaurant also serves as a contemporary art gallery.

Address: Via Tiburtina 196

Gabriele Bonci has been referred to as the "Michaelangelo of Pizza", and is the man behind the famous Pizzarium of Rome. Pizzarium serves pizza al taglio (in square/rectangular slices, priced by weight) with a dizzying array of changing organic garnishes. You will find some of the most inventive and delicious pizza here.

Address: Via della Meloria 43
La Montecarlo

Located just off Piazza Navona, La Montecarlo is one of the most sought after places to taste authentic Roman pizza. The pizza is thin and crispy, topped with only the freshest ingredients. Great spot for a quick and easy lunch.

Address: Vicolo Savelli 13
Dar Poeta

Dar Poeta is tucked away in a small alleyway; an intimate restaurant with exposed-brick arches and a terrace. Pizza is made with simple ingredients to highlight their taste, and baked in a wood-fired oven. Thin and thick crust Neapolitan-style pizza is also available.

Address: Vicolo del Bologna 45

Roscioli is a family-owned business that has been around for four generations . It was a bakery since 1872 and a deli-restaurant since 2002. The wine list is incredibly extensive (over 2800!) with fantastic food in a cozy atmosphere. A top restaurant that lives up to its hype.

Address: Via dei Giubbonari 21/22
Trattoria Da Cesare

A top recommendation from chefs and foodies alike. Trattoria Da Cesare is considered one of the best trattorias of Rome. The fried dishes are a favourite, particularly the fried gnocchi. Located a bit outside the city but worth the trip.

Address: Via del Casaletto 45
Flavio al Velavevodetto

Flavio al Velavevodetto is the place to go if are looking for a wonderful ambiance in a historic setting. Incredible pastas, particularly the the cacio e pepe or carbonara. Off the beaten path.

Address: Via di Monte Testaccio 97
Antica Pesa

Antica Pesa's beautiful interiors are frescoed by renowned artists, making it a particularly romantic spot in Trastavere.

Address: Via Garibaldi 18
Il Palazzetto Wine Bar

Located inside a luxury boutique hotel of the same name, Il Palazzetto's terrace wine bar is the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine right over the Spanish Steps. We recommend coming for drinks before dinner (note: it gets packed!) but they also have good pizza and finger foods to share.

Address: Vicolo Del Bottino 8
Ristorante Pecorino

This very Italian restaurant is frequented by many locals, and the place to go for an authentic Roman meal. They specialize in artichokes prepared in several different ways. The cacio e pepe is also delicious.

Address: Via Galvani 64
L'Isola della Pizza

A popular and historic pizzeria and steakhouse close to the Vatican. They are famous for their antipasti, pizza, Roman pasta and grilled meat. The style is simple and rustic. Book ahead.

Address: Via degli Scipioni 45
La Pergola

La Pergola, inside the Rome Cavalieri Hotel, is the city's only three Michelin Star restaurant. As it is one of the more formal restaurants on our list, leave the kids at home.

Address: Via Alberto Cadlolo 101
La Terrazza dell'Eden

La Terrazza is a gorgeous rooftop restaurant at the soon to be reopened Eden Hotel, offering panoramic views of Rome. I found the food here mediocre at best, service slow and menu extremely overpriced but others have had better experiences.

Address: Via Ludovisi 49
Felice A Testaccio

This very popular, family-owned bare-brick walled trattoria in Testaccio serves authentic and traditional Roman dishes. The cacio e pepe and heavenly tiramisu are a must, as well as the abbacchio (roasted baby lamb on the bone) with pan-sauteed potatoes. Pastas are tossed tableside. Reservations are a must. One of our favorites. Closed Sunday.

Address: Via Mastro Giorgio 29
Ristorante Tullio

Ristorante Tullio is a tres chic, upscale restaurant, popular with politicians, businessmen and locals alike, offering a variety of seasonal Italian dishes (fresh fish and grilled meats) and an extensive wine list.

Address: Via di S. Nicola da Tolentino 26
Da Benito e Gilberto

Close to the Vatican, Da Benito e Gilberto is a very casual, family-run restaurant. They have some of the best seafood in town. We recommend the apple cake or tiramisu for dessert.

Address: Via del Falco 19
Hostaria Da Pietro

A friendly and casual spot nearby Piazza del Popolo for a delicious lunch. The restaurant is family-owned and staff treats all their guests like family. Everything on the extensive menu is freshly cooked with fresh seasonal ingredients.

Address: Via di Ges� e Maria 18
La Matricianella

An old-world trattoria with checkered tablecloths and a sidewalk terrace to people-watch while indulging in hearty Roman cuisine. A friendly and bustling atmosphere with decent prices. We recommend the fettucine with funghi porcini or melanzane parmigiana.

Address: Via del Leone 4
Da Lucia

Da Lucia is a terrific osteria, hidden on a backstreet, frequented by locals and tourists alike. It is usually packed during Sunday lunch. Service is friendly and welcoming. They are known to have one of the best tiramisu in town.

Address: Vicolo del Mattonato 2/B

A hip and cool spot for lunch recommended to us by the concierge at Hotel De Russie, with delicious food and a view overlooking Augustus' tomb. The style is industrial-chic, with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a great atmosphere.

Address: Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9
Raphael Hotel Terrace

We love the rooftop terrace restaurant of luxury Hotel Raphael (a Relais & Chateaux property) for drinks while watching the sunset. The roof garden filled with flowers so it�s a nice romantic spot.

Address: Largo Febo 2
Sant'Eustachio Il Caff�

If you are an espresso lover, Sant'Eustachio is the VERY best caf� in Rome to get your fix. This atmospheric coffee shop dates back to the thirties, and is famous for their slow-roasted beans in a wood-fired roaster. Ask for the Zuccherato with sugar. Great souvenirs to take home too!

Address: Piazza di S. Eustachio 82
Pizzeria Nuovo Mondo

Nuovo Mondo is located in a charming area, away from the beaten path. The pizza here is classic Roman-style, with a super thin base and simple toppings. We recommend the baccala (fried cod) and fiori di zucca (deep fried pumpkin/marrow flowers) for starters and of course, the pizza.

Address: Via Amerigo Vespucci 15
SAID - Antica Fabbrica Del Cioccolato

Heaven for any chocolate lover. This is the oldest chocolate factory in Rome, with a fun array of food (if you like eggplant or ravioli with your chocolate). There is a shop, fusion restaurant and caf� with the thickest and creamiest hot chocolate imaginable.

Address: Via Tiburtina 135
Il Pommidoro

Located in the San Lorenzo district, Il Pommidoro is an unpretentious family run trattoria with top-notch traditional Roman food, made with high quality ingredients. The carbonara is a favorite.

Address: Piazza dei Sanniti 461
La Luna D'oro

When you are sick of pasta, steak and pizza and craving just a great salad, come here. Lots of light salads (hard to find in Rome) can be found at this restaurant near Hotel de Russie.

Address: Via dei Greci 24
Urbana 47

Local restaurant/caf� in the Monti district where you can get healthy panini, grain salads during the day and tapas after 6. All the furnishings, lighting and local ingredients is for sale too!

Address: 47 Via Urbana
KIKO Milano

The 'Sephora of Italy', KIKO has shelves upon shelves of colorful cosmetics at great prices - making it a great stop to take your tween or teen and go crazy. There are many branches around the city, but we like the one on Via Del Corso best.

Address: Via del Corso 145
Cartoleria Pantheon

Century-old place to buy unique stationery - bookbinding, calligraphy, writing items, leather notebooks, wax seal tools and more - all made in Italy. There are a few branches in Rome.

Address: Via della Maddalena 15 Roma
Gente Roma

Although Gente has several trendy clothing boutiques around the city, the one on Via del Babuino near the Hotel de Russie is our favorite. Carries the latest designerclothes for men and women.

Address: Via del Babuino 77

Danielle has a few stores around the city, but the Via Frattina is its flagship. Great women shoes, mostly Italian-made at really reasonable prices. Always packed.

Address: Via Frattina 85
Spazio Artigiano

You will find beautiful hand-woven scarves and artisan ceramics at this treasure trove in the Monti district. Wonderful for souvenirs made in artisanal studios from all over Italy.

Address: Vicolo dei Serpenti 13
Federico Polidori

Tucked in an alleyway near the Pantheon, this small shop can be easy to miss. Inside you will find some of the finest handmade and high quality leather goods made by the owner, Federico. The shop is also his workshop where you will see him behind the workbench. Check hours before you go.

Address: Via del Pi� di Marmo 7/8
Ferrari Store

Kids can have their photo taken next to Formula 1 Cars and have F1 simulators to pretend drive these Italian luxury racing cars. Lots of branded merchandise too.

Address: Via Tomacelli 147

A visit to Rome would not be complete without visiting this famous historic landmark; the largest amphitheatre ever built and the most visited attraction of Italy. We recommend going on the 'Colosseum By Night' tour with City Wonders where you get the whole colosseum to yourselves and have special access to the underground 'Third Ring'.

Address: Piazza del Colosseo 1
Borghese Gardens

Directly behind Hotel de Russie, the landscaped gardens of Villa Borghese is a beautiful respite from the summer heat and crowds. We highly recommend taking the kids here - grab a segway, go cart or 3-person electric golf buggies for rent (6-12 euros/hr) and have fun touring around the 198-acre public park before grabbing a bit at Caf� Piazza Delle Canestre or better yet - set up a picnic under the shade. Merry go rounds, a small zoo, a boating lake and even a cinema for children can be found here.

Address: Villa Borghese
Trustever Tastes

For an authentic and memorable cooking experience, we recommend a private or small group class with Trustevertastes in the private professional kitchen of chef Paola in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastavere. Classes in gelato making, pizza making and market to table are available in English, French and Italian. This was our kids favorite experience in Rome!

Address: Piazza di Sant'Apollonia 3
Trevi Fountain

Rome is filled with beautiful marble fountains, but non more iconic than Trevi Fountain which is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and the most famous and beautiful fountain in the world! A major 2-year restoration was completed in 2015 to this signature landmark unveiling its original gleaming white glory. We recommend visiting in the evening when the fountain all lit up and the crowds have thinned out. Don't forget to throw in a coin to ensure a return visit to Rome! Toss it with your right hand over your left shoulder (or left hand over your right shoulder) with your back to the fountain. You're not allowed to look behind you while you're tossing the coin but the fountain is so large it's basically impossible to miss. for any traveler. After a major restoration a couple years ago, it is now nice and white again. We recommend visiting in the evening when it's all lit up.

Address: Piazza di Trevi
Piazza Navona

Arguably the most beautiful and famous of Rome's many squares, Piazza Navona is always lively, with musicians and artists to keep you and the kids fully entertained. Along the square are three magnificent fountains and stunning Baroque architecture. Grab a gelato at any of the gelato shops on the square or a pizza at La Montecarlo and enjoy the people-watching.

Address: Piazza Navona
Town House

After-dinner pub with live music (check listings for schedule) which you can enjoy on victorian-style armchairs and couches

Address: 34 Via del Boschetto

Did We Miss Your Favorite Restaurant, Boutique or Activity In This Destination? Let us know!

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