When in Rome

Often coined one of the most romantic cities in the world, Rome is a must see!  There is so much history, so many beautiful shops and restaurants that you could easily spend over a week here, but like many big cities, it's easy to get caught up in the tourist traps and leave feeling like Rome wasn't what you hoped.  Since I'm married to a Roman, I've always had the privilege of experiencing Rome like a local.  I'm going to leave sightseeing to another post and focus on culture here. I hope this little guide will help you navigate this sprawling metropolis and feel more like a local the next time you go.

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Where to stay:  Hotel De' Ricci:  

One of the only luxury boutique Hotels in Rome and located in the quiet Via della Barchetta, it's only 10 minutes’ walking distance from the Vatican, Campo di Fiori, Piazza Farnese and many other famous historic monuments, sites and attractions in the Eternal City.  It also feels a little bit like a home, so you'll feel like a local but with all of the benefits and amenities that a hotel offers.

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They also boast one of the most impressive wine programs of any hotel in which I've stayed.  Each room is stocked with 2 red and 2 whites chosen by the sommelier and appetizers are served in your room, or on your private balcony each evening while you enjoy them. Special dinners can be arranged in their wine cellar and even tours to your favorite Tuscan Vineyards.   

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You should be sure to leave a little bit of time for shopping while visiting Rome too!  In the true Italian way, all of the stores are their own works of art.  Near the Spanish Steps you have Via del Corso, the most famous shopping district and the biggest name stores.  If it's your first time to Rome, go there, see the steps and do the shops.  But if you've done this before, you may want to get off the beaten track and see what some of the artists and artisans are creating.  As luck would have it, two of my favorite places to visit are located steps away from Hotel De' Ricci.

Chez De De:  This concept store is full of the most wonderful and interesting things.  From weekend bags, to candles, jewelry, art, books and more, it's the perfect place to find an amazing gift for yourself or someone you love.   I spent 2 hours here perusing the shop and chatting with store owners Andrea and Daria.

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Halaby: One-of-a-kind, handmade bags that are literally pieces of art.  You will fall in love with this store and it's owner Gilbert Halaby.  While there are a few pieces available online, you must visit the shop in person for the full spectrum of his creations and artistry.

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Gilbert asks those who spend time in his store to write a poem in his journal.  So I wrote some of my song lyrics that represented the moment.  I love artist run stores who incorporate all of their creativity into every detail of the experience.

Gilbert asks those who spend time in his store to write a poem in his journal.  So I wrote some of my song lyrics that represented the moment.  I love artist run stores who incorporate all of their creativity into every detail of the experience.

Where to Eat...Be sure to go to Rome with an empty stomach and a heart full of love.  You can easily eat your way through this fabulous city.  Here are just a few of my new favorites.

Pianostrada:  For a trendy, sit down lunch in Trastevere in walking distance to everything above.  Lots of salads and healthy options, plus delicious Italian classics and pastas.  With a beautiful garden in the back, you can easily let a late lunch turn into Aperativo.

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Supplizio:  For a quick, cheap and oh so delicious lunch on the go.  Classic Roman street food that specializes in suppli, fried rice balls in various delectable flavors.

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Terrazza Borromini: For the most romantic dinner in Rome, go here!  Located in the terraces of Palazzo Pamphilj, this restaurant has insane views of Piazza Navona and the beautiful roman architecture.  Start with drinks on the roof terrace to see the sunset over Rome, then make your way down to the restaurant for a delicious dinner.

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One of the coolest neighborhoods in Rome is Trastevere.  It's full of bars, restaurants, shops and local artists.  And like everywhere in Rome, the architecture is breathtaking. I recommend getting a gelato from Fior di Luna (they use organic, grass-fed milk) and wandering the streets in the afternoon.

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