Design Tourist – Rome

I am lucky enough to have the
opportunity to travel frequently and still my travel bucket list seems to grow.
This year I undertook the #take12trips challenge which has been a wonderful
opportunity to see glorious things and reconnect with inspiring places and
people. At the end of October I traveled to Rome with my husband – our
first weekend away together alone since our son was born 4 years ago. It’s a
destination that’s been on my wish list for quite some time and at last I’ve
been. In fact the City in its entire ancient marvel dazzled me so much that
I’ve already booked a return visit.  

 

Rome whilst ancient in many parts is
quintessentially about design. For more than 1000 years it was the heart of the
ancient world, the capital city of the most powerful empire on the planet. It
continued the legacy of Ancient Greece but the Romans wanted their art and
architecture to be useful as well as beautiful – could this possibly even
be the birthplace of form and function? 

Analysing domes and architectural arches
is intellectually arresting in Rome. Marvelling at doric, iconic and corinthian
columns can take up many hours (and almost bored my husband into a stupor) and
lead to some dumbfounded headscratching. If you have any interest at all in
architecture it is worth the trip to Rome alone. If you also happen to enjoy
food, history and culture then even when throngs of tourists surround you,
you’ll be having a wonderful time. 

In Rome, discovering newness wasn’t
really the design agenda I had in mind but surprisingly it really was a delight
when I discovered it. When in Italy food is often top of the “to do”
list and it’s pretty hard to find a bad meal while you’re here. Maybe this
is why almost all my design spots are in bars and restaurants! In fact
aperitivo is my new favourite meal of the
day. Aperitivo is a pre-meal drink meant to stimulate appetite and is
usually served with variety of finger food during aperitivo time. It’s
also a very good excuse to sit down after pounding the cobblestones and people
watch.

 

So aside from remarkable visits to the
Coliseum, the Forum and the Vatican, here’s my favourite design tourist finds:-

Rome has some impressive vantage points
to view the city, which is great for your holiday photo’s.  One of my
finds also combined enjoying aperativo – er hello perfection!
  Having
opened in April this year, Zuma, is the stylish new kid on the block in
the Palazzo Fendi – a short walk from the Spanish Steps. It offers one of the
most polished interiors and an amazing terrace with views across the city. If
its warm enough and you can get a table outside for aperitivo you’ll be
rewarded with fantastic people watching and plenty of instagram moments of the
adjacent eagle on the roof of Unione Militare and the stunning steel and glass
lantern roof which changes colour. The cocktails are amazing and when I’m back
in Rome next year I’ll definitely stop by for dinner.

 

Madre in Rome’s Monti district was on
my “visit” list after it popped up on my instagram feed.  It’s a newly
opened outdoor dining room in the most delightful courtyard inside the gates
beside the Church Santi Domenico
e Sisto. Everywhere you look there are plants – it’s an #urbanjungleblogger
paradise.
In fact
with so much lush vegetation you’d easily be mistaken that you’re in a jungle.
It’s colourful, full of
thoughtful details from the graphics to the choice of water glasses and the
ambience is charming.  I’ll definitely be back for more cocktails.

 

A little less trendy but Tiberino
has buckets of charisma. It was the graphics and branding that did it for me
here (as well as the coffee!).  A simple, yet not rustic fit out, it lets
the coffee and food do the talking. Plus upstairs had the most amazing vintage
lights…… if they hadn’t been attached to the wall I’d have been haggling for
them.


Given we were in Rome for only two
nights we still managed to visit the organic café Biolosophy
just off Piazza Navona twice. As the only luxury organic café in Rome it not
only offered fantastic organic  food including cakes (with gluten, sugar
and dairy free options) it also looked amazing. It’s owned by blogger and
wellness advocate Morgan Witkin and it’s styled impeccably. 

Rome has been on my travel bucket list
for quite a long time not least fuelled by the 1953 classic romantic movie
Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. If like me you love a
mid-century piece of furniture then I highly recommend you pop along to JK Place Roma.
The interiors of this small boutique hotel are sublime and it was a joy to stay
there too.  The place is packed with antique furniture, sculptures and
beautiful rugs. There is marble and onyx and heavenly colour. Its la dolce vita
glamour from Italy’s golden era and they make you feel like a houseguest. I’ll
be sharing more about this fabulous hotel in a separate post.

Two absolute must visits as far as I am
concerned is Tazza D’Oro
 for unforgettable granita di
caffe` con panna and the absolutely authentic Sant’EustachioIl Caffè
,
an ancient Coffee Shop and Roaster that dates back to the thirties.

Rome is so easy to reach from the UK it
seems wrong not to go back  – and soon. I’ve got a couple of gems up my
sleeve to visit next time including a visit to the 
Porta Portese market and a
beautiful hotel called DOM. I’ve only just scratched the surface of
Rome let alone the best design spots
although no matter where in the city you are, you’ll
be surrounded by jaw-dropping beauty.

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