Rome: The Spotless Glow of an Eternal Place

Rome's Coliseum offers a glimpes of the ancients in a city so ideal for modern-day love  (PhotoDisc)

Audrey Hepburn careening through the streets on Gregory Peck's scooter…the Pantheon by moonlight…Anita Ekberg getting a drenching in the Trevi Fountain: when you want to live your dolce vita fantasy on a grand scale, there truly are few places to rival Rome.

Rome boasts some of the most intimate settings of all the major cities on Earth. Off the main avenues are quiet cobblestone streets lined with family-owned shops and restaurants. Vatican City's majesty—though bold—imbues humility and closeness. Rome's architecture is visually stunning, the entire city a monument to antiquity, and an air of serenity fills the place—save for the zooming scooters around Piazza Venezia.

Furthermore, walk just a few blocks along nearby Via Condotti and you'll understand the crucial Italian obsession with la bella figura. For men and women of all ages, looking sexy and stylish is a must, whether they're out for a night on the town or downing a quick espresso on the way to work. You can boost your own style quotient by browsing through the high-end boutiques along the Via Condotti, or indulge in an exploration of more intimate bellissima at Brighenti (Via Frattina 7, +39.06.679.1484), Demoiselle (Via Frattina 93, +39.679.3752), or Simona (Via del Corso 82-3, +39-06.361.3742)—three luxurious boutiques stocked with gloriously opulent lingerie and sleepwear.

Stroll the lush gardens of the Villa Borghese, a fabulous baroque public park originally designed in the 17th century as the estate of the aristocratic Borghese family. Watch the swans floating as you ply the lake in a rental rowboat, or revel in the exquisite art on display at the Galleria Borghese (Piazzale Scipione Borghese 5, +, Then, gaze upon the city from the terraced hillside of the Pincio above the Piazza del Popolo as the sun sets and bathes Rome in an ethereal golden cast.

Your Roman holiday should begin with a terraced room at the elegant Hotel d'Inghilterra (Bocca di Leone 14), located in a 17th-century palazzo near the Spanish Steps and in the heart of the central Tridente district. Or consider the St. Regis Grand (Vittorio Emanuele Orlando St., no. 3), an icon of opulence near magical Trevi Fountain that boasts impeccable service and attention, the fabulous Vivendo restaurant, and ornamentation that attracts sophisticated travelers from around the globe.

Charming trattorias seem to be around every corner—the country-inn-styled Ditirambo (Piazza della Cancelleria 74, +39.06.687.1626,, in the buzzing Campo de'Fiori neighborhood, is known for its handmade pastas and desserts, while Vecchia Roma (Piazza Campitella 18, +39.06.686.4604, offers outdoor tables overlooking one of Rome's prettiest piazzas.

But for an unspeakably lovely evening, book a window or outdoor-terrace table (at least several weeks ahead) at La Pergola (Cavalieri Hilton, Via Cadlolo 101, +39.06.350.9221) on the top floor of the Cavalieri Hilton atop Monte Mario. You'll have an unforgettable panoramic view of the Eternal City complementing the impeccable service and the leisurely progression of beautifully executed alta cucina dishes.

Finish your evening with a Campari at one of the many outdoor cafés surrounding the Pantheon, stroll through the magical Piazza di Pietra nearby, and then linger over a last nightcap in the alluring, dark little bar at the Hotel d'Inghilterra. In the morning, retrace your steps back to the piazza for a luscious chocolate cappuccino at Non Solo Bevi (Piazza Pietra 64, +39.06.679.4519,, where the baristas will paint the inside of your glass with melted chocolate before adding the milk and espresso.

Published: 27 Jun 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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