A Local's Guide to Rome, Italy
For all its stunning architecture, delicious food and world-class shopping, it’s easy to get lost in tourist traps in Rome. That’s why we went straight to the locals to discover where they’re dining, shopping and socializing. Here’s what they had to say...
Where to eat in Rome
“A true must-visit for food lovers is Meglio Fresco. A store selling fresh fish during the day, at night it’s turned into a restaurant serving the best fresh seafood you can eat. And head to Il Goccetto for good wine.” - By chefs Alessandro Miocchi and Giuseppe Lo Iudice of restaurant Retrobottega (located in Via della Stelletta, just behind Piazza Navona)
Where to drink in Rome
Exploring a city is thirsty work and Rome has everything, from Salotto 42, a celebrated bar with some of the best curb appeal, to Eitch Borromini, where you can enjoy drinks with a view over the famous Piazza Navona. After dark, sip signature cocktails and aperitivo at the Gallery Bar at G-Rough, a meeting point for artists, designers and gallery owners, or head to bottle-lined Enoteca Cul de Sac – open since 1977, it’s one of Rome’s first (and best) wine bars.
Where to shop in Rome
“Alexandra Boutique is a store full of sought-after pieces, thanks to the continuous research of its owner – look out for the brand ATIR’ E Roma, a modern classic collection that will elevate your wardrobe. Gibot is a boutique for every price range, stocking cool emerging labels to top luxury designers.
“For rare finds from budding designers, MAD Zone needs to be on your must-visit list. And Rever is where quality meets charm – here, you can find amazing everyday pieces and an Italian brand I love: 24.25_clothing.
“For tech gadgets, interior-design pieces and everyday objects with an extra gear, you can’t go wrong with Tech It Easy.” - By Fabrizia Spinelli, founder of successful Italian fashion and lifestyle blog Cosa Mi Metto? (which translates as ‘What shall I wear?’)
Five unique sights to see in Rome
Of course, you’ll want to pop by the Colosseum and the Forum, but there’s so much more to see in Rome if you step off the beaten path just a bit. Here are five hidden gems that the locals love...
- Villa Borghese
Just outside the regular tourist routes, but easily walkable from the city centre, Villa Borghese is also known as the ‘park of museums’. Here, you’ll find Galleria Borghese, after which the park is named, plus a lake, fountains and a zoo.
- Janiculum Hill
A beautiful area often missed by travel guides, Janiculum Hill is located south of the Vatican City. It can be reached on foot, albeit with a bit of a climb, but the views are worth it. A startlingly quiet area, it’s the perfect way to escape the city.
- Antica Farmacia della Scala
The upper floor of Farmacia Santa Maria della Scala takes you back to the 17th century, when it was the pharmacy of the Papal Court. Still run by Carmelite monks, they guide you through the space graced with hand-labelled bottles and frescoed ceilings.
- Quartiere Coppedè
Find a hidden world of fairy tale beauty in Coppedè, a small district in Rome. Tucked behind the main streets of Quartiere Trieste, this curious and ornate district is obscured from the view of passers-by, while the architecture is entirely ‘other’.
- Basilica di Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio
There are more than 900 churches in Rome, but a trip to Santo Stefano Rotondo feels like you’re time-travelling. Famous for its 16th-century graphic frescoes, it’s hidden on Via di Santo Stefano Rotondo and easy to miss.