6 things NOT to do when in Rome

The big day has arrived: you are about to visit Rome! The city of the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain,  Spanish Steps: it is almost a paradise. But have you ever thought about what it’s better NOT to do in Rome?
An old proverb says: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. But if you really cannot identify with the life of the Romans, at least try to avoid these 5 things

Order cappuccino for lunch
In Rome (and in general in Italy) you can have cappuccino for breakfast in the morning, along with a croissant. In any other occasion it would be out of place and also a bit weird. Can you have it after 11am? Yes you can , at dawn, before returning home after an evening spent at the disco.

Get wet in the fountains
Roman summers can be really hot, but this is not a good reason to look for refreshment in the historic fountains of Rome. And it is also forbidden to consume food, climb or sit on the marble: you could be fined. In fact, art must be respected and preserved.

Wear uncomfortable heels or shoes
Are you a fashion addicted? Very well: Rome is a city that definitely appreciates fashion. But to get around on foot, it’s better to avoid heels and shoes must be comfortable: the city is famous for its cobblestones, which do not go well with the heels. And especially in the summer do not forget to wear a hat: the sun can be very strong!

Throw a coin into each fountain
The only fountain in which it is possible to throw a coin hoping for the return to Rome is Trevi Fountain. In all the other historic fountains of the city it is neither necessary nor recommended.

Wear skimpy clothes
If your plan includes visiting the St. Peter’s Basilica, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Vatican Museums or the other beautiful churches in Rome, avoid low-cut t-shirts, miniskirts or shorts. With these clothes you could take a walk on the beaches of Ostia, but do not visit sacred places!

Ask for tap water at the restaurant
In the restaurants, taverns and pizzerias of Rome, water is exclusively bottled. On the contrary, walking through the streets of the city you can take advantage of the famous “nasoni” to cool off and have some fresh and good water. Better to avoid buying bottles in the kiosks in the center, where prices are particularly high.

The Eternal City can offer unforgettable memories. The important thing is to respect it and seize its most authentic sides, also through the customes and traditions of those who live there.

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4 Tips to avoid the tourist crowds in Rome

Rome has a lot to offer so, first of all, be sure to take time to enjoy “La dolce vita” . There are several experiences to choose from during a holiday in the Eternal City but, especially in some periods, the main attractions can be crowded and stormed by tourists. You can visit  Rome with more tranquility and live it like a Roman for a few days anyway: here are our 4 tips.

4 Tips to avoid the tourist crowd in Rome

Get up early in the morning (or go to sleep late)

The city gradually wakes up and usually the main monuments – such as the Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna, the Colosseum – are almost deserted in the early hours of the morning and are even more fascinating. So there are two options: either get up very early, or go to bed very late. Better avoid the central hours of the day if you want to visit the most popular sites.

Plan your visits

Organizing visits to museums and archeological sites in advance is always a good idea. In order to avoid long lines, buy a ticket online. While booking a private tour is also a good way to enjoy the sights to the fullest.

4 Tips to avoid the tourist crowd in Rome

Get lost in alleys and streets

Walking is the best option to discover little-known corners of the city and avoid public transport during peak hours, when they might be more crowded (in the morning around 8-9 am and in the afternoon around 6-7 pm). Walking without a destination, as well as exciting, also gives the opportunity to see Rome in its most authentic features.

Choose restaurants far from tourist spots

The traditional Roman cuisine is a real delight, this is a fact, but Rome offers many other types of cuisine and flavors. So escape big chains or restaurants with tourist menus and go discover the restaurants, pubs and clubs frequented by Romans: your palate will thank you!

Sometimes you only need to follow simple tips to avoid the tourist crowds in Rome and have the opportunity to see how a European capital still manages to preserve authentic and genuine places and traditions.

Top 5 brunch spots in Rome

Walking on Sunday mornings in Rome is an experience that you should try at least once in your life. Observe the city that wakes up little by little, go and visit St. Peter’s Square, Castel Sant’Angelo or the Pantheon, and then decide to have a brunch in one of the many restaurants in the city. Why don’t you do it as soon as possible? Here are the top 5 spots to choose from for your delicious Sunday brunch in Rome (or, if you prefer, your “Sunday long lunch”).

‘Na Cosetta

The Famous bistro ‘Na Cosetta in Pigneto neighborhood- a particular and fashionable district of Rome- organize a brunch called “il colanzo” every Sunday. Italian dishes, oriental revisits and freshly baked desserts. From 12 to 16.

‘Na Cosetta (Facebook)

Dolce

In the Africano district, Dolce offers a New York-style brunch with international dishes from the five continents. Eggs, pancakes, sandwiches, hamburgers and desserts, all to be tried in a very special location. From 12 to 15.

Dolce (Facebook)

Queen Makeda

In San Saba, just a few steps away from the Circus Maximus, the Sunday brunch is at  Queen Makeda Grand Pub. A fixed price buffet of international dishes (and many of the English tradition), more than 40 craft beers to choose from and a menu designed for children. From 12:30 to 16.

Queen Makeda (Facebook)

Mavi

Hamburgers, bagels and pancakes for both buffet and à la carte brunch for Osteria Mavi, a restaurant with a familiar and elegant atmosphere close to Lungotevere in the Marconi area. American coffee, water and juices are included in the price. From 13 to 16.

Mavi (Facebook)

Camillo B

In the central Piazza Cavour, a few steps from Castel Sant’Angelo and San Peter’s Basilica, Camillo B offers a brunch with different dishes: eggs, vegetables, quinoa, focaccia and chicken curry. Here you can also find a space dedicated to children with entertainers. From 12 to 15:30.

CamilloB (Facebook)

As a family, as a couple or with friends: Sunday brunch is a unique opportunity to relax and enjoy the Eternal City from another point of view. The more “international” one but with a touch of originality and Italian taste.

New Year’s Eve 2018 in Rome: our guide

24 hours of events from 31 December until 1 January, parties and shows in the city’s theaters and clubs will transform the New Year’s Eve in Rome into a wonderful experience. There are a lot of opportunities to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018 surrounded by a unique scenario: the historical center of the Eternal City.

The “Festa di Roma”

Free show, concerts, screenings, circus art and different dj sets in various outdoor venues, from 21.30 on 31 December 2017 until the same time on 1 January 2018. About 1000 artists from all over the world and over 100 performances for 24 hours: these are the numbers of the free event called La Festa di Roma, organized by the City. It will involve a pedestrian area of ​​the city that goes from Piazza Emporio to Ponte Garibaldi, passing through the Giardino degli Aranci and Circus Maximus, up to the famous Bocca della Verità.

The event starts with the international show “201∞- Roma illumina l’infinito” in the great Circus Maximus on sunday 31 December, where the protagonists will be the artists of La Fura dels Baus, a mythological self-propelled giant marionette, the music of a local Radio as well as several guests, who will alternate on stage. The party then continues with other performances and shows from the early hours of the morning until the night of 1 January: performances will take place in 3 main areas.

A series of cultural events have been planned between 3 and 7 am, waiting for the first sunrise of 2018. Teatro India will host dj sets, film screenings and some performances until dawn; Danilo Rea, one of the world’s most famous jazz pianists, is the guest star at 7 am on the Ponte della Scienza, close to the Gazometro in Ostiense neighborhood. On the first day of the new year, from 10 to 16, various initiatives for children and families have also been planned.
The concert of Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, in Piazza della Bocca della Verità, is the very last show. Don’t forget to check for public transport service of this website.

Clubs and restaurants

If you prefer celebrating the New Year’s Eve dancing, you can choose from many pubs in the center of Rome or night clubs in many areas of the city like Lanificio, Shari Vari, Micca and Room 26. Otherwise you can opt for the Gospel concert at the Auditorium Parco della Musica or look for a special dinner, called “veglione” in Italian, in one of the many restaurants of Rome. They often organize an abundant meal- with cotechino sausage and lentils at the end, as tradition requires- together with music and shows.

(Photo credit: @benfrolaz-Instagram)

Celebrating the New Year’s Eve in Rome is a trip into happiness and beauty.
We wish you a 2018 full of passion, love and luck!

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!

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

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.

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.