You can eat outdoors, scoot around on a Vespa, swim in a warm pool, and eat and sleep without maxing out your credit card. Welcome to Rome, the “Eternal City” that gives the best of itself even in winter, when the climate is mild and there are fairy lights on trees and delightful Christmas markets.
WAKE UP WITH A CORNETTO
Your Roman holiday begins with a creamy cappuccino and a fragrant cornetto made with eggs, butter and sugar. The best, because you can savor it while enjoying a spectacular view, is the Terrazza Caffarelli (museicapitolini. org), which is on the top floor of the building that houses the Capitoline Museums and looks over the Teatro Marcello, Tiberina Island, the synagogue and the Janiculum and Monte Mario hills. Another wonderful spot is the Caffè Farnese, where you can breakfast while gazing at the fountains and the beautiful architecture of the Palazzo Farnese, home to the French Embassy. But it is also worth experiencing a breakfast at a top bakery, the Bonci, in the Prati district (3 Via Trionfale6). Here, in addition to croissants, they turn out bread, biscuits, cakes and the ubiquitous pizza bianca for those who prefer savory to sweet.
AT HOME WITH A ROMAN
If you want to make the most of the money you spend discover small hotels with just a few rooms and B&Bs where you can feel right at home. Like the Nina Guest House, a charming guest house in Trastevere, the medieval quarter on the right bank of the Tiber River, with five rooms named after popular figures, like “Meo Patacca”, a bold character from Roman folklore, (ninaguesthouse.it ). Nearby is the Villa Urbani, a family home converted into a charming B&B, with early 20th floors, Art Nouveau stucco and frescoes. Breakfast is served to the notes of classical music, because the owner, who is passionate about art, gladly allows guests to perform an impromptu concert on the piano (villaurbani.it). Family hospitality is also available at Casa Montani, a B&B with five carefully furnished, quiet rooms a short walk from Piazza del Popolo (casamontani.com), while the Artist’s Apartment on the Janiculum hill is a small well-kept family apartment in one of the greenest parts of the city, gianicoloartistapartment. com/Gcasa.html.
IN A FINE TRATTORIA
An Italian-style brunch? Try Enoteca Ferrara, with torte, omelets, various pasta dishes including lasagna and gnocchi, plus mozzarella, tarts, cakes, all home-made, in the heart of Trastevere (enotecaferrara. it). Nearby is the Ditta Trinchetti, a restaurant decorated in vintage style (including a 50s Vespa), where the menu is typically Roman, from mezzemaniche with vegetarian carbonara to Strozzapreti amatriciana, prepared with Pachino tomatoes (dittatrinchetti .com). A wonderful gastronomic experience can also be had in Roscioli, right in the center of town, a delicatessen with restaurant, where you can taste platters of cheese, cold cuts and excellent side dishes, such as the Roman artichokes in oil (salumeriaroscioli.com).
SHOPPING & RELAXATION
Monti is the neighborhood for galleries and arty shops, such as Mikiway, a concept store furnished with recycled materials assembled by young artists. As well as shopping, it’s fun just to stop and browse the clothes, accessories, designer items and perfumes (mikiway.it). Handmade, limited edition, scarves, hats, vests and ties by Livia Crispolti are on display in the window of Rivetta 33, in the street of the same name (liviacrispolti.com). It is also worth looking around the covered market in Testaccio and the outdoor Christmas market in Piazza Navona. Finally, to recover from your long walk, nothing is better than a massage or a dip in the hot pools of QCTermeroma, a wellness center with hotel nestled among the ancient pines and scented laurel trees of the Traiano Natural Park, (qctermeroma.it).