Rome at Christmas, 3 things to do

Rome is a really fascinating city, but during the Christmas holidays it becomes even magical. The city lights up and you can breathe a very special atmosphere. You can feel something different in the air. But what to do in the Eternal City at Christmas? Here is our top three!

Visit Christmas Markets in Rome

Decorations, sweets of all kinds – including nougats and candies- toys and many gift ideas: a visit to Christmas markets is a must. The most famous one is definitely in Piazza Navona, which this year returns traditionally from 2 December to 6 January after a few years of absence, where you can also find music and children’s rides. But it is not the only one: there is also a Christmas market in Piazza Re di  Roma, in the San Giovanni district and in the Auditorium of Rome. In the Castle of Lunghezza, a few miles from Rome, there is Santa Claus waiting for all the children.

Have a walk in the historic center of Rome

A beautiful Christmas tree and a wonderful crib make St. Peter’s Square even more impressive. But also Piazza Venezia and the Spanish Steps host two different Christmas trees every year. What about the fully illuminated via del Corso and all the well-groomed boutiques in via Condotti? Strolling in the historic center of Rome becomes a real experience and even shopping is more enjoyable: all the shops extend their opening hours (and then they close on 25 and 26 December).

Credits: @donatelladanzi-Instagram

Try the Roman Christmas traditions

December 24th and 25th are days dedicated to the family. On Christmas Eve you eat fish, while the Christmas Day is dedicated to delicious dishes such as lasagna, baked oak or fried potatoes, Roman artichokes and, of course, nougats, panettone and pandoro! Restaurants offer traditional dishes or re-interpreted ones, but the Christmas atmosphere remains intact: it is a beloved holiday in Rome as well as in Italy and you can notice it on the table!

Spending Christmas in Rome is an adventure full of beauty, events and traditional dishes: an experience to try!

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Save the School Exhibition in Rome, a dream come true

Black Friday is now just 2 days away, however what we focus on are not discounts and promotions, but our awesome “Save the school Exhibition” (in Italian “Sogni a colori”). We have believed in this project and now (almost) everything is ready for the opening. The exhibition will be hosted at Medina Roma from 24 November through 7 December.

Sogni a colori la mostra 2

The Exhibition

“Save The school Exhibition in Rome” will bring together twenty paintings created by children living in extreme poverty in the remote areas of Hungary, mentored by the Real Pearl Foundation. They are great canvases, created with passion by these children who are fighting to build a better future.

We’d like to raise awereness of the international community about the problems these children are facing as well as to promote the fundraising for educational activities of the 2017-2018 school year, for which the Real Pearl Foundation has not received the expected statal funds.

Moreover, we would like to promote change through art and education, and fight the vicious circle of indigence and criminality which can unfortunately afflict them. These families often live in homes without window fixtures, electricity or heating; children are ghettoized at school and their existence seems to be marked by a destiny common to all their family members. School segregation is in fact a phenomenon in many European countries, which the Council of Europe is trying to combat by inviting Member States to work in favor of inclusive education.

medina
The Foundation

The Real Pearl Foundation is a Hungarian non-governmental organisation with the mission to develop the communities. They have been working on the challenges of integration and development since 1999. They provide elementary art education in 6 towns reaching 23 villages for a total 670 children of which 70% is underprivileged, 250 children come from deep poverty.

real pearl bimbi

Help us!

This exhibition has been achieved thanks to the fundraising campaign on the GoFundMe platform and the cooperation of Lauren Lombardo, artist and promoter of “Paint & Wine” events.

If you want to help us, you can do one (or more) of these things:

Mona Lisa Paint Party Benefit, for adults

Christmas Painting Party Benefit, for children

Give yourself  a fabulous present for Christmas, help these children believe that improvement and change are possible.

sogni a colori 8

 

 

What to do on a rainy day in Rome

Rome has a pretty mild climate and it’s gorgeous in every season. But sometimes you can encounter bad weather and rain. This is not a problem, because there are plenty of great things in the Eternal City to see and visit on rainy days. Find them out!

  • Museums

Visit a museum! Even if it’s raining, you stay dry and warm, spending a lovely time discovering masterpieces. You are spoiled for choice, because Rome has many interesting museums. If you’d like to learn something about the Roman history, you can go to the Capitoline Museums. If you prefer contemporary art, there’s the Maxxi Museum or the Galleria Nazionale for Modern Art. Otherwise, if you are lucky, you have already purchased tickets for the Vatican Museums or the Borghese Gallery.

The Borghese Gallery

  • Pantheon

This is one of the best places to go on a rainy day in Rome. You can witness drops of rain entering the famous oculus at the top of the dome and then magically draining away: they don’t get the marble floor soaking wet. Now the Patheon is free, but visitors will have to pay to enter it by early next year.

  • Churches

Head to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, which is one of the most beautiful churches in the Eternal City, or to Santa Maria di Montesano and Santa Maria dei Miracoli, “the twin churches” in Piazza del Popolo. There are a lot of churches, even smaller and hidden ones, that you can visit in Rome. St. Peter’s Basilica will be probably crowded, but there’s no harm in trying.

Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore

  • Catacombs

Get underground and escape the rain! Discover the catacombs in Rome, full of mystery and history. Read our post about the most famous ones and get ready, they are really special places.

  • Coffee (or aperitivo)

Go inside a lovely cafè or bar, have a cappuccino in the morning or a good aperitivo in the late afternoon. Rome is also the habits of all the people who live there and Romans (as Italians in general) love sitting and having something to drink. You can find many nice bars especially close to Piazza Navona or in Trastevere neighborhood.

There’s always something to do on a rainy day in Rome and its sunsets with post-rain skies are simply breathtaking.

Credits @Bendeckalejandro-Instagram

Street food a Roma, esperienze all’insegna del gusto

Amatriciana, Cacio e pepe, carbonara, coda alla vaccinara. Alzi la mano chi non si è mai concesso un pranzo o una cena in un’osteria o ristorante romano, per provare uno dei piatti della famosa tradizione culinaria della città. Roma però offre ancora di più: lo street food è ormai realtà consolidata e un ottimo compromesso se non si vuole perdere assolutamente nulla della Città Eterna. Perchè per assaporarla fino in fondo ci sono anche validissime soluzioni mordi e fuggi: ecco le nostre preferite!

ANTICO FORNO ROSCIOLI (via dei Chiavari 34)

Pane, panini e pizza, ma anche cornetti, dolci e biscotti. L’Antico Forno Roscioli, a dua passi da Campo De’ Fiori,  è un vero e proprio paradiso per tutti coloro che non disdegnano affatto una pausa pranzo o merenda all’insegna di prelibatezze, semplici o più elaborate, tipiche dei forni della tradizione. Frequentato sia da turisti che da romani, è da segnare in agenda.

(Da Facebook)

TRAPIZZINO (Piazzale Ponte Milvio 13- via Giovanni Branca 88-piazza Trilussa 46)

Un angolo di pizza chiuso tra due lati e ripieno di ricette della tradizione culinaria romana e italiana. Carciofi, ceci e baccalà, polpo al sugo, pollo alla cacciatora, parmigiana di melanzane (solo per citare alcuni gusti): una delizia che si può mangiare anche in piedi, magari prima di una romantica passeggiata su Ponte Milvio. Un prodotto nato a Roma grazie allo chef Stefano Callegari, che sta conquistando anche New York.

(Da Facebook)

DAR FILETTARO A SANTA BARBARA ( Largo dei Librari 88)

Affacciato in un suggestivo angolo su via dei Giubbonari, quella che da Largo Arenula porta a Campo De’ Fiori, il famoso filetto di baccalà fritto è anche take away. Nel menù piatti tipicamente romani come puntarelle, pane burro e alici, zucchine fritte. Insomma, uno di quei posti da raccontare agli amici (e da cui tornare ogni volta che si è a Roma).

ER BUCHETTO ( Via del Viminale 2F)

La “porchetta più buona di Roma”, pane, salumi e un bel bicchiere di vino rosso. Si respira aria di Castelli romani in questo locale storico, situato nei pressi della stazione Termini. Podotti locali unici in un ambiente familiare e caratteristico. Preparatevi a sporcarvi le mani e a esserne pienamente soddisfatti.

(Da Facebook)

SISINI (piazza Re di Roma 20- via San Francesco a Ripa137)

Qui il supplì è di casa (e si vocifera sia anche il migliore della città). Non è possibile tornare a casa senza averlo assaggiato. Panatura croccante, riso al sugo e un cuore di mozzarella filante: come resistere? E per “contorno” si possono provare altre specialità, come la pizza o vari tipi di fritti (che a Roma sono un must).

(Da Facebook)

PASTICCERIA REGOLI (via dello Statuto 60)

Non si poteva non chiudere questa carrellata di delizie di street food con un famosissimo dolce romano: il maritozzo con la panna. Il migliore lo si può gustare in questa storica pasticceria artigianale, situata nei pressi di piazza Vittorio, dove si possono scegliere anche tante altre specialità.

 

 

 

Villa D’Este, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture

Included in the UNESCO world heritage list, Villa D’Este is one of the most notable masterpiece of the Renaissance culture in Italy. It is situated in Tivoli, at about 30 kilometers from Rome, and it is a beautiful path among decorated rooms, impressive gardens and awesome fountains.

The view from the first floor

The Villa was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, who started the building renovation in 1550. It had been built on an ancient roman villa: in 1983 some ruins came out and today they can be admired by its visitors. The Cardinal’s aim was to recreate the glory of Hadrian’s Villa: the rooms of Villa D’Este were embellished by various painters as Livo Ligresti and Federico Zuccaro; the building and its gardens were entrusted to Pirro Ligorio and Alberto Galvani.

In every room of this palace you can breathe splendor and magnificenceBut their gardens are the most beautiful and captivating part of Villa D’Este. There are stunning views from here: you can admire Rome and the city of Tivoli, while you are surrounding by water games, majestic fountains, small caves, aged-old trees, plants and flowerbeds.

The stunning “Hundred fountains” run along the boulevard which leads to the Oval Fountain, embellished by rocks. At the end of this street, with an incredible view on the Roman valley, the Fountain of Rometta sticks out: it represents a miniature of Ancient Rome.

The Hundred Fountains

The Fountain of the Organ– which has a inner mechanism to play music- is situated in an area which seems to be magic: from this terrace you can admire all the gardens of the Villa. 

The Fountain of the Organ

The Fountain of Neptune is one of the most imposing and recent of the Villa: it was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini using an existing waterfall.

The Fountain of Neptune

You can feel lots of emotions in Villa D’Este. You can almost see the protagonists of those ancient times, while walking or talking about art and politics. You only have to close your eyes, listen to the water and let yourself be caressed by its speechless beauty.     

5 great vegan restaurants in Rome

The Roman cuisine is not famous for its vegan dishes, but don’t worry. You won’t starve in Rome for sure, because there are good vegan restaurants, bistrots and patisseries in the Eternal City. Some of them are really peculiar. Are you ready to try them all?

So What? (via Ettore Giovanale 56/58, Pigneto)

A “classic Italian restaurant” as the owners chef Paolo and Alessandra underline on their website, but vegan. They have starters, first and second dishes, side dishes and desserts: ingredients are fresh and some of them come directly from their veg garden. The restaurant is really nice and reflects the owners’ interests: cinema, music and food, of course.

La capra campa (via Dignano d’Istria 51/a, Prenestina)

This is a 100% organic and vegan restaurant: ingredients come from Lazio countryside and some dishes are the vegan version of classic recipes. The name of the restaurant means “the goat can live” from an Italian tongue twister and it’s one of Rome’s best known vegan bistros. They also produce vegan cheese, which is used for their special recipes.

Romeow cat bistrot (Via Francesco Negri 15, Ostiense)

If you love cats, this is the right place for you. It’s the first cat cafè in Rome. It takes inspiration from the Japanese ones, but it has something more: a refined, vegan cuisine. You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner here in the company of beautiful felines. They use seasonal menus and also have raw dishes.

Universo Vegano (piazza del Paradiso 18, Campo De’ Fiori)

This is the first cruelty-free and vegan fast food chain in Italy, that uses only natural ingredients, without animal derivatives. Here you can eat vegan burgers, pizza, lasagna, sandwiches and desserts. As the founders explain on their website, they founded this restaurants because they believe in veganism as a philosophy of life.

Arancia Blu (via Cesare Beccaria 3, Flaminio)

A vegan and vegetarian restaurant and wine bar, which hosts art and events. You can try re-interpreted Italian dishes -from starters to desserts- surrounded by paintings and listening to good music. According to the Daily Meal, this is the fifth best vegetarian restaurant in the world.

If you love pastries and ice cream, you can’t miss Grezzo, the raw patisserie and chocolate shop which is close to Colosseum, in the heart of Monti neighborhood. Check our review here.

 

A little gem frozen in time: Calcata

Time seems to stand still in Calcata, a mediaeval village perched on a tufa mountain.  This magical place will awaken your imagination and transport you to a world of fairy tales. And it’s only about 40 kilometers from Rome.

Calcata 1

The historical centre of the village, surrounded by defensive walls – mentioned in some documents of the 8th century, even if human presence in this area can be traced back to prehistoric times- remained abandoned for many years from the beginning of the 20th century, because it was considered unsafe, and its inhabitants went to live outside. From the 70’s the situation changed and the small village returned to life, thanks to Italian and international artists who restored the houses and opened art galleries and cafès.

calcata 2

Once you pass the gate to the heart of Calcata, you find yourself catapulted into a differents world, made by narrow alleys, beautiful views over the Treja Valley, nice restaurants, artisan shops and even a Museum (Museo della Civiltà Contadina). The Palazzo Baronale degli Anguillara, which is situated at the entrance of the village,  used to be the most important building of Calcata and now it is the headquarter of the Parco del Valle Treja.

calcata 3

Calcata is a gem full of mistery, a place frozen in time where you can find a unique atmosphere. In this ancient village is easy to start believing in magic and witches, in romantic stories and legends. You can reach it by walk- it is not possible to go there by car, you have to park in sepcific areas- and you’ll be surprised by its beauty and appeal.

calcata 4

Calcata is a perfect place for a day trip from Rome and it’s stunning during the night: it has that charm of the ancient times and the halo of a candle that continues shining.

“Paint & Wine”, come diventare artisti per una sera

Colori, pennelli, una tela bianca e un pizzico di talento. Il tutto accompagnato da un calice di vino in un ambiente davvero particolare, quello dell’Alembic Ak Bar nel cuore di Trastevere.  Sono questi gli ingredienti di “Paint&Wine”, i corsi di pittura con aperitivo di Lauren Lombardo, a cui è possibile partecipare il lunedì dalle 19 alle 21.

Lauren, newyorkese laureata in arte in Italia da poco più di quattro anni, ha iniziato con gli incontri di “Paint&Wine” quando viveva ancora negli States. Non serve avere alcuna esperienza per lanciarsi in questa avventura: Lauren spiega passo dopo passo (in italiano e inglese) i trucchi per realizzare il dipinto, come ottenere determinate sfumature di colore e anche in che modo correggere eventuali errori. Con della buona musica in sottofondo, un drink e tanti sorrisi, piano piano l’opera prende vita. E il risultato è straordinario: i dipinti sembrano davvero dei piccoli capolavori, da regalare oppure da appendere in casa e mostrare orgogliosi a parenti e amici.  L’Alembic Ak Bar è poi una Galleria d’arte-Cocktail Bar con un’atmosfera quasi magica, dove ci si può lasciar trasportare dall’immaginazione e dalla bellezza. E dove è possibile fermarsi per un aperitivo o per una serata diversa, lontani dalla folla e dal rumore.

L’arte diventa l’occasione per conoscere persone nuove, ma non solo. Lauren infatti sostiene anche “Save the School Exhibition in Rome”, la campagna di fundraising lanciata a favore di Real Pearl, un’organizzazione no-profit ungherese che si occupa dal 1999 dello sviluppo e dell’integrazione di bambini e famiglie in condizioni di estrema povertà residenti nelle zone più remote dell’Ungheria. L’obiettivo è di organizzare a Roma una mostra delle opere realizzate proprio dai bambini e un concerto che possa aiutare l’organizzazione a raccogliere fondi per i vari progetti educativi del prossimo anno.

Foto Pagina Facebook “Art with Lauren”

Arte, solidarietà e un buon aperitivo: per vievere questa straordinaria esperienza basta prenotarsi attraverso il sito di Lauren. Per maggiori informazioni  si possono visitare anche le pagine Facebook  Art with Lauren e Alembic #ak Bar.

A day trip to Bracciano from Rome

A nice historical centre, surrounded by a volcanic lake and dominated by a splendid castle: Bracciano is a perfect day trip from Rome. You can reach it by car or train (the FM3 railway which runs between Rome and Viterbo).

The view from the castle

If you love history and nature, you’ll appreciate this town at about 40 km from the Eternal City. The Orsini-Odescalchi Castle, which you can immediately see from the road while reaching this place, is one of the most beautiful and impressive castles in Europe. Its costruction, commissioned by Napoleon Orsini, was completed in 1485. In 1696 the Castle was sold to the Odescalchi family and was opened to the public in 1952. Its decorated rooms tell the history of the well-known noble families of Italy- Orsini, Medici, Borgia and Odescalchi- and it’s really well preserved. You feel like you are in a movie, its atmosphere is really unique. That’s why many famous people- like Tom Cruise and Eros Ramazzotti, for example- chose this castle for their weddings. It also can be reserved for exclusive events.

After the guided tour to the Castle- which lasts one hour- you can go to the lake for a relaxing walk. It’s one of the cleanest ones in Italy- it’s famous also because it’s the drinking water reservoir of Rome- and in the Summer you can swim and sunbathe on its beach. The lake is inside the Parco Naturale di Bracciano-Martignano, which is an excellent area for sports activities as exursions, cycling and trekking.

When in Bracciano, you must taste its traditional dishes with Bracciano lake freshwater fish– like eel, pike, tench-or, if you prefer meat and depending on the season, pasta with boar meat or porcino mushrooms. You can find many restaurants and pizzerias both in the downtown and in the lakeside.

Your experience in Bracciano can give you anything you are looking for: history and art, nature and relax, good food and outdoor activities.

 

Rome in October

Summer is over and the weather has changed, but it’s still sunny and temperatures are warm. In October Rome is full of nice colours and smells good. Romans call it “Ottobrate romane”, which refers to the Sunday trips out to the countryside, that people used to go on until the first decades of the 20thcentury to celebrate the end of harvest.  So it is a really good period to visit the Eternal city, even if it’s a bit crowded. You won’t be missing the summertime, because skies are often blue and you’ll probably get awesome sunsets.

Credits: @darksekretlove-Instagram

You can still enjoy the outdoor sites and you can even have dinner or a drink outside: you only need to wear a light jacket, because nights are obviously colder than days. You can combine with a visit to the surroundings- The “Castelli romani or Bomarzo, for example- or attend one of the many events that take place in the city. Through the end of October you can visit the Colosseum, the Vatican and the Forums by night. It’s not so hot to go sunbathe at the beach- even if it’s nice to have a walk there- but it’s perfect for your seightseeing.

Credits: @lsvetlanka-Instagram

There are many things going on during the whole autumn in Rome, like exhibits, music events, concerts and food festivals. You’ll be spoilt for choice and Rome will be even more magical and charming.  Plan your visit!

Credits: @blu.font-Instagram

Halloween in Rome

Halloween is not a typical Italian holiday, but in the last few years it’s becoming more and more popular. You’ll see decorations in shops; discos and bar will organize dress parties and there are many events for children. The first of November is a bit more cherished: schools are closed and it’s a day dedicated to family and relax.

Credits: @annefifanne-Instagram

Celebrate the “Ottobrata romana” and experience the city like a Roman!