72hrs in Rome
Rome is one of the most vibrant and leading tourist destinations in Europe. The locals are humbled and pleasured by the city's slower way of life as that compared to Milan, London or Paris, with tangled lanes of neighbourhoods like Trastevere and Monti known for being a favourite among the tourists. The centro storico (historic centre) with its ruler-straight stretch of sanpietrini stones (bevelled stones of black basalt) built from the times of Renaissance Rome's first major urban renewal projects, has noble palaces serenading the streets around is only the tip of the iceberg of what makes Rome stunning beautiful.
Most of Rome's charms are so obvious that it doesn't require a guide to find them; Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Palantine Hill, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Piazzadi Spagna, Ponte Sant'Angelo and other key sites. There is an impressive ivy-covered arch designed by Michelangelo in the city centre, which passes through the ancient districts of Ponte and Regola. The site is beautiful, exclusive and quite tranquil for its location. If you continue reading you can find a few of our favourite neighbourhoods and recommendations. This is what 72 hours in Rome looks like.
Head out to the area near Rome's overcrowded Colosseum and step into the buzzing, hip neighbourhood, Monti. Here you can mingle with the local crowds as they grasp their fine wines in the cool Ai Tre Scallini enoteca. Expect a lively crowd and the rustic, wooden bar jam-packed with owners Adriano and Barbara greeting returning visitors with hugs and kisses. Small dishes are served here for both lunch and dinner, be sure to order their ricotta cheese paired with truffle honey, and the classical meatballs in a tomato sauce. If you can't get a seat, don't be surprised, there is a 'first come, first serve' appropriateness.
Casa Clementina is another hot spot you can not miss, it is a design-lover's bar styled after the fashionable 60's look. All objects are on sale here, and there are drinks and snacks to keep you eyeing the objects of value for a good while. Casa Clementina has been opened since late 2011, but it recently has become the new hip hangout for the creative heads in the city. For a bit of that Roman fare, we would recommend eating at La Carbonara. This restaurant is owned by the Rossi family, with Mama Teresa taking centre stage with her fabulous cooking and her son Andrea bringing in the clients and welcoming them. It is tremendously hip, expect Roman musicians and actors to frequent here, not that you may know who they are. The oxtail stew, Roman offal dishes, and delicious pasta with carbonara sauce are the king dishes. If you find yourself wanting to get tipsy before a night out, try Roscioli at Via dei Giubbonari. This wine bar is a bit rough around the edges, but sometimes you need that.
TESTACCIO and OSTIENSE NEIGHBOURHOODS
These two neighbourhoods are genuine Rome at its finest, minus the monuments. Ostiense has a spectacular skyline with street art everywhere and big steel bridges. Testaccio is the hub of Rome's night life scene. During the day you can shop at the Campo de' Fiori food market, and sample prosciutto, mozzarella di bufala, pecorino cheese and Sicilian olive oil.
For club goers, you have the commercial-club music frenzied Alpheus and Akab. Radio Londra has been gaining popularity, as is the extremely popular L'Alibi, more famed for being frequented by Rome's gay community.
Both Testaccio and Ostiense aren't camera-shy neighbourhoods, they are the real Rome, therefore you must learn to savour them even if for a few hours of the day.
Pigneto is a working class neighbourhood in Rome, and has the dolce vita emblem written all over it. Restaurants, bars, nightlife and crafts shops line up the streets of this neighbourhood. Some like to call Pigneto, Rome's Brooklyn, others would say it is where the creative young crowds live and others see it as an urban revival. This area was actually badly influenced for many years with a hefty amount of petty crime and naughtiness. Now that it has cleaned-up, it is the new cool.
A nice spot to hang out is the Via del Pigneto, a wide pedestrian street with cafés and locals enjoying the day. We would recommend you lose yourself in the neighbourhood and get to know the nooks and crannies while coming across surprising new finds. Start the day with a beer at Na Birreta, the best malt drink made with traditional processes. We recommend dinner at Necci dal 1924, or better known as Bar Necci (Via Fanfulla da Lodi nº68). This restaurant was made famous by the Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, who shot parts of his 'Accattone' film in 1961. Expect young families and couples to be nibbling free aperitivo with a glass of red.
A really cool find is the Nuovo Cinema Aquila. A recent renovation has given this 1940's theatre a revamp and turned it into a glossy box of glass and steel. Expect to watch here independent Italian films and mainstream movies from around the world.
With dozens of new boutique finds and older, traditional ones in Rome, it is intense to have to go through a whole list of the best places to eat and shop. We have put together a list of restaurants and boutiques that can't be overlooked.
- Cantina & Cucina — full of hipsters, no joke. Vegetarian-friendly menu
- Formula One pizza in San Lorenzo — perhaps one of the best pizza in Rome? Packed with students all day
- 0km market near the Roman forum — get lunch at one of the stands
- Testaccio food market — one of Rome’s oldest markets and most authentic
- Baylon – hip cafe, bar and restaurant in Trastevere
- Urbana 47 – hipster and food heaven in Monti
- Queen Makeda – brewed beer and a great hangout spot
- Rosti - a restaurant in Pigneto, you must absolutely try the Roman pizza baked in a wood oven
- Pasta perfetta at the salumeria/wine bar Roscioli, in the Centro Storico
- Ciampini, at nº 29 on the piazza, a great morning espresso stop, delicious aperitivo scene and the best pistachio gelato in town.
- S U P E R – Fashion concept store
- Dorothy Circus Gallery – Pop surrealism exhibition space
- Rione Monti – Trendy shopping and drinking spot
- Mercato Monti – Designer and vintage fashion market
- Suede Store – Urban concept store
- Pifebo – For hipsters and vintage lovers
- Pulp Vintage - High end clothes in great conditions