Rome Weekend

By Michele Pacillo 

I've had the pleasure of living in Rome for four years. It's a challenge but if you follow my personal recommendations,  you can grasp the essence of this city in one magical weekend…

Absorb the rich history and art of Rome by firstly visiting Gianicolo Hill.  At midday, a canon fires to commerate the battle for Rome which was won here in 1849.  On Pincio Hill, admire the oval-shaped Piazza del Popolo and all the church cupolas that long for the sky.

Visit the Galleria Borghese (in Villa Borghese park) to see beautiful artworks by Caravaggio, Bernini and Titian. If you don’t fancy museums, check out these amazing Caravaggio’s paintings: The Calling of St. Matthew at Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, Madonna of Loreto in the Basilica of Sant’Agostino and The Crucifixion of St Peter and Conversion on the Way to Damascus, in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo.

 You can get an amazing view of Rome from its Hills: On Aventine Hill through the Knights of Malta Keyhole. And the Orange Garden at nearby church of Santa Sabina,  gives you breathtaking views of Trastevere and St Peter.

Walk around the Colosseum to admire this stunning stadium and vividly imagine how Roman people used to enjoy watching gladiators in bloody action. This immersion in ancient Rome continues in Fori Imperiali which stretches till the Vittoriano, a massive white marble modern imperialistic building which hosts a roof terrace with a breathtaking view of all Rome!

Take a tour of the narrow streets of the area around the Pantheon and continue your journey back in time. On Saturday morning, visit the beautiful Navona square, where in the surrounding lanes,  you can buy some good bread and then go to the nearby Campo de’ Fiori market and sample the olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

For brunch, head to Jewish Ghetto area for delicious Carciofi alla Giuda (artichokes Jewish style) and buy fresh baked cookies.

A typical and tasty local dish is tonnarelli cacao e pepe (fresh spaghetti topped with pecorino cheese and black pepper) It’s the most popular dish at Sora Lella restaurant on the Isola Tiberina.

 Also try the gelato at La Romana, or the numerous gelaterie spread all over the city (yummy!); buy tiramisu at Pompi in Via della Croce and enjoy eating it near the Spanish steps.

If you want to grab a sandwich, buy a delicious panini with porchetta (sliced pork) at Ristocampo in Campo dei Fiori square. On Sunday, head to the local area of Trastevere and take a stroll around the cobbled streets before choosing one of the many excellent local restaurants.

Trastevere is a picturesque neighbourhood, perfect for people watching, shopping, and drinking espresso in cafes. And most importantly, it has the best pizza in the city -  at Dar Poeta Pizzeria. 

To fully appreciate Rome you need to see it late at night – when all the monuments and bridges are  illuminated and most of the tourists have gone back to their hotels.  It’s advisable not to book an early flight home on Monday!

 Visiting the Trevi Fountain at midnight is especially magical – and probably the only time that you can get an unobstructed photo of the iconic fountain.

 …And don't forget to throw a coin in the fountain if you wish to come back to the Eternal City. 

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