Maria Pasquale’s tips on how to live la Dolce Vita
Born to Italian parents in Melbourne, somehow I always knew Italy was my destiny. In 2011 I walked away from my life, family and career in Australia and moved to Rome. It was the city of my dreams. I’d visited over a dozen times and kept falling in love over and over again. My passion for food and luxury travel finally replaced my career in politics and PR and years later I find myself a published author (I Heart Rome, Smith Street Books), freelance writer and managing an award-winning blog (www.heartrome.com). I have traveled extensively, eaten in some of the best restaurants and stayed in the finest hotels around the globe but Rome keeps pulling me back.
When I travel, comfort is top of mind, as is creating memorable experiences. If that sounds like you, these are the restaurants, bars, hotels and other places I cherish. This is how I eat, drink and explore and I’m happy to share them with you. Come with me, this is my luxury Rome.
Corso 281 Luxury Suites
Via del Corso, 281
In the heart of the city, location or designer interiors don’t get much better than Corso 281 Luxury Suites. With 12 architecturally designed suites, some of which have views of Piazza Venezia, this boutique property brings a touch of true luxury to the bustling Via del Corso. Aside from the comfort of quality furnishings, you’re treated to your very own smart device, a Nespresso machine and Bulgari amenities in your room. Walk out and you have Rome at your doorstep.
Via del Tritone, 61
While Rome’s most famous designer strip, Via Condotti has all the haute-couture brands, you can find them all in one place at the Rinascente department store on Via del Tritone. Opened less than a year ago, this stylishly designed space offers 5 floors of shopping and on the 6th floor there’s a gourmet food hall (a juice bar, wine bar and the Japanese-Brazilian Temakinho), a rooftop terrace bar and restaurant Madeiterraneo.
Zuma Rooftop Bar
Via delle Fontanella di Borghese 48
Set on top of the Fendi building in the heart of the city, rooftops in Rome just don’t get more stylish. In fact, up here you could be on any terrace in the world from New York to Melbourne. This high-end Japanese fusion chain from London landed in Rome in 2016 and it’s an ‘in’ crowd hangout. Carefully mixed cocktails, views that stretch out over trinità dei Monti and with at least half of what’s on the full Zuma restaurant menu, it’s great for an aperitivo or dinner.
Vicolo de’ Cinque 58
Cristina Bowerman’s fine dining brings a real touch of cosmopolitan to Trastevere. And I love the fact she’s the only female Michelin star chef in the city. I’ve been dining at this 1 star establishment for over 6 years and it never disappoints. The steak tartare is delicate and with tobiko, capers and wasabi sauce brings an unexpected texture and fresh flavour to your palate. And I can’t go past the Baileys gelato dessert.
The Jerry Thomas Speakeasy
Vicolo Cellini 30
For a true cocktail by real mixologists, I head to the best. The Jerry Thomas Project has taken the name of the American father of mixology and was the first Speakeasy of its kind to open in Italy. You can’t get in without a booking or a password. The cocktails at this 1920s style underground locale are incredible. But be warned – they don’t serve vodka and have a whole lot of other bar rules on display at the bar.
Piazza dell’Emporio 28
Cristina Bowerman’s latest venture is the pizza half of Romeo & Giulietta. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill neighbourhood pizzeria but a gourmet installment because the prime produce has been carefully selected and she has consulted with both the neapolitan and roman pizzamakers to create things that are that little bit special. Yes, that’s right – from the fritti to the pizza, you can enjoy both styles here. And head next door to see the uber modern bar at Romeo and try one of their expertly mixed cocktails.
Spa and Massage
Via degli Avignonesi 12
Located on a quiet street just off Piazza Barberini (a short walk from the Trevi Fountain), Kami Spa is the biggest and the ultimate in spas in the eternal city. Specialising in Thai and other oriental styles, there is a wet area with a hydro pool and steam room. Massages start at €100.
When I can’t get to the beach I take refuge from the stifling Roman heat in a hotel swimming pool. As an external guest you can pay your way in, but just be sure to get in early or phone ahead to see if there’s room (priority is always given to hotel guests). The pool at Grand Hotel Gianicolo (€25-35) is set within a pretty garden and the almost-infinity pool at the Palazzo Naidi (former Boscolo Exedra in Piazza della Repubblica) (€50-60) is a more stylish and upmarket affair. Both have a cafe / restaurant for lunch or snacks and the price includes a sunbed and a towel. For when you really want to splurge, entry for the day at the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria is around €90.
Grand Hotel Gianicolo
Hotel de Russie
Via del Babuino 9
When I’m after the classic hotel club sandwich or a light meal in a lush garden setting I head to the Stravinskij Bar at Rome’s premier luxury hotel, Hotel de Russie. They mix a mean cocktail and especially in the warmer months, the garden comes alive offering a tranquil oasis from the hustle and bustle of Rome.
Big bus tours or large group activities aren’t my thing. In Rome if you’re after customised or unique things to do, my pick is Personalized Italy. From street art walks to the only Cosmatesque tour in the city (a distinct church pavement style with secret symbolism that dates back to the Middle Ages), the team here offer a one-to-one service completely tailored to your desires. With their knowledge, experience and personal touches you’ll create the Roman Holiday of your dreams!