One of Euope’s most historic and fascinating cities, it’s no wonder Rome is referred to as the Caput Mundi (capital of the world). We asked Martina Pecchia, a girl about town in the great Italian capital and Splendia’s Italian translator, to give us some recommendations for the best of awe-inspiring Rome.
When is the best time of the year to visit?
Rome varies with the seasons, but it always offers lots to see and do! July and August are very hot, so I would recommend the spring when the weather is perfect for exploring the city.
Rome is a city full of history. Tell us about some of your favourite landmarks and museums.
One of my favourite places is Campo dei Fiori and the surrounding streets named after trades: Via dei Balestrari (crossbow makers), Via dei Cappellari (hat makers), Via dei Chiavari (key makers) and Via dei Giubbonari (tailors.) Another Roman historical landmark is the Imperial Forum, which was the centre of Roman public life for centuries.
For the best views in Rome, head to the beautiful Giardino degli Aranci (Garden of Orange Trees). MAXXI (National Museum of the 21st Century Arts) is a fascinating museum dedicated to contemporary artists. A special favourite of mine is the Church of St Louis of the French, where you can see Caravaggio’s extraordinary paintings that detail the life of St Matthew.
There are plenty of intimate and typical Roman trattorie with excellent food in the Testaccio district. The Jewish quarter offers many restaurants specialising in traditional Jewish and Roman cuisine. You can also taste authentic Italian produce here. It’s what I miss most about real Italian cuisine, because some types of vegetables – such as puntarelle – can’t be found outside of Italy.
Italy is also known for its luxurious leathers. Where should we go to find the very best?
In Rome, you can find local hand-crafted leather accessories in all the street markets. Some of the most famous are L’Artigianino (Via Appia Nuova, Vicolo Dè Cinque, Via Vittoria, Via Candia) and Ibiz (Via dei Chiavari), where you might be lucky enough to see some traditional leather workrooms too.
Tell us about your perfect weekend in Rome…
Start the Saturday with a delicious breakfast of cappuccino and maritozzo (soft bread with panna), followed by an exhibition. I particularly enjoy Henri Cartier-Bresson’s exhibition in the glorious Chiostro del Bramante. After a walk in the city centre and a wander around the boutiques, have lunch al fresco in a trattoria in Testaccio.
In the afternoon, Giardino degli Aranci is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the stunning views of Rome. Walk up the hill and you can see the entrance of Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta (Knights of Malta Square). The square is usually closed to the public but peep through the keyhole to see a special view of St Peter’s Dome! After an aperitif and dinner in the district of San Lorenzo, spend the night at Circolo degli Artisti in the Pigneto district.
Sunday is the perfect day for a picnic in one of Rome’s beautiful parks, such as Villa Ada. After an enjoyable day soaking up the sun, visit one of the vintage markets, which set up stalls throughout the city on Sundays – you might just find some hidden gems!
If you have a few days to spare, take a short train journey to nearby seaside towns of Terracina, Sperlonga or San Felice Circeo. I am originally from Terracina and I love to spend sunny weekends there!