Natalie Aldern is an American writer living in Italy, who writes for Time Out Italy and Italy Magazine. She also writes for her own blog, An American in Rome.
The 10 most beautiful buildings in Rome
We love Rome for its huge, grand, beautiful buildings as it is for its little cobbled streets, lined with dinky cafés selling supplí and pizza rossa by the slice. But they’re both best approached the same way: by simply getting out there and taking it all in. But in our opinion, there are some buildings you’d be a fool to miss. There is no trip to Rome without St Peter’s Basilica, or the Colosseum, but there are a few lesser-known spots you should make sure to add to your list too. We’ve listed the most beautiful buildings in Rome for your viewing pleasure. Read on for our picks. RECOMMENDED:🍽️ The best restaurants in Rome🍷 The best bars in Rome📍 The best things to do in Rome🏘 The best Airbnbs in Rome Natalie Aldern is a writer based in Rome. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
The 20 best things to do in Italy
You know it as well as we do: Italy is the best. It’s got all the beauty, old towns and breathtaking sights you could want from a Europe city break, but with the most delicious, indulgent and decadent food around to match. There is no place like Italy. And the best part? It’s absolutely huge, and there is always another city to see. So if you’re ready to embark on your Italian bucket list, we’ve got just the ticket. You can do most Italian cities in a few days, but if you want to do a bit of city hopping, you’ll want to take a full two weeks to see it all. Whatever the trip, there are some things you absolutely should not miss. So we’ve rounded up the very best of Italy, right here. Here are the top things to do in Italy all year round. RECOMMENDED:🏖 The best beaches in Italy😋 The best restaurants in Italy🇮🇹 The best places to visit in Italy Planning your next trip? Check out our latest travel guides, written by local experts.
The 10 best museums in Venice
If you’ve been to Venice, you’ll know the city is pretty much a work of art in itself, full of winding streets and marble and statues. But you’ll also know about its fantastic art scene, born out of its past as a wealthy trade centre from medieval times through the Renaissance. Basically, this city is an art lover’s heaven. Got that? For one thing, once every two years, Venice’s La Serenissima becomes La Biennale, one of the longest-running and most prestigious art festivals in the world. If you can make it down for that, do it. But all times of year, Venice’s museums and galleries are alive with culture and vibes, and you’ll find contemporary art alongside historic palaces. The best part? On the first Sunday of each month, over 450 of them are free to visit. Read on for our guide to the very best museums in the Floating City. RECOMMENDED:🛶 The best things to do in Venice🛏 Experience the city like a local: where to stay in Venice 🏛 The best attractions in Venice Planning your next trip? Check out our latest travel guides, written by local experts.
Where to stay in Rome to experience the best areas and neighbourhoods
Choosing where to stay in Rome is no easy task. The Italian capital is massive, and the eternal battle between ancient history and modern neighbourhoods isn’t about to end anytime soon. That throws up plenty of difficult questions to answer for the prospective visitor. Do you blow the budget on a boutique hotel near the Forum? Or cosy up with the Eternal City’s edgier residents? Or do you simply book one of the best hotels in the historical centre and get focused on monument bingo?There are no wrong answers, in truth. No matter where you stay in Rome, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied. Check out our guide to the five best neighbourhoods of the Eternal City, and let your heart (wallet and interests) guide you. RECOMMENDED:🛏️ The best Airbnbs in Rome.🏨 The best hotels in Rome.
How to eat like a local in Rome
Sure, Rome might be known for the Colosseum or one of its many beautiful basilicas, but let’s be honest. What we’re really here for is the food. Rome is home to the kind of food you dream about–and it’s often not what you’re picturing when you think of Italian food. Of course, the best thing you can do when in Rome, is to eat how the Romans do. A lot of the time, that means ignoring the tourist traps selling inauthentic pastas and keeping a look out for real, proper Roman food. Like did you know that Rome traditionally does just four types of pasta? Did you know that the pizzas here are cracker-thin? To help you source the best snackage, we’ve rounded up a helpful guide to the best local food in Rome, as well as the best restaurants to eat it. Warning: you will get hungry. RECOMMENDED:🍝 The best restaurants in Rome🍦 The best gelato in Rome🏘️ Exactly where to stay in Rome Planning your next trip? Check out our latest travel guides, written by local experts.
The 13 best bars in Rome
Though Rome’s main reputation is for terrific pasta and dazzling architecture, the city is actually a very fun place indeed. And by that we mean it’s got a really, really great bar scene. It’s poppin’. Why else do you think it’s called the Eternal City? These guys have been partying in the Italian capital since the beginning, so they’re pretty good at it by now. But if you’re heading out to party, there’s one very important thing to bare in mind. If you’re looking to drink how the Romans do (excuse the cliché), know that they start their parties like they start their dinners: late. So have a late, carb-filled lunch, possibly a nap, and then start bar-hopping. Here are the best bars in Rome for late night drinks. RECOMMENDED: The best clubs in Rome🍝 The best restaurants in Rome🍕 How to eat like a local in Rome📍 The best things to do in Rome Planning your next trip? Check out our latest travel guides, written by local experts.
10 incredible cheap hotels in Rome
Living la dolce vita does not always come cheap: there are Vespas to rent, attractions to explore, Negronis to imbibe at the best bars in Rome and truffle-topped pasta to eat. Prioritising cheap hotels in Rome without sacrificing any iconic Italian style will free up more funds for the tasty and cultural temptations around every corner. And luckily some of the city’s best hotels are also its most budget-friendly; finding cheap acommodations does not require being stuck in some soulless suburb. From art nouveau villas turned B&Bs in chic Parioli to tech-smart rooms near the Pantheon or former palaces on the edge of Piazza Navona, here are the top ten cheap hotels in Rome. RECOMMENDED: The best Airbnbs in Rome
The best hotels in Venice
Made up of over 100 small islands with no roads, only canals, it's no wonder the city is known as the 'City of Canals'. Feeling a lot more like a fairytale than a modern European metropolis, Venice is the hub for romance and is classic right down to its core. So, of course, it makes sense that the hotels are opulent, charming, and stuffed with antiques of the city's history. Luckily, this Old-World city also has a few modern retreats tucked away along its canals, as well as discrete country homes and family-run pensione a short vaporetto ride from the major attractions and museums. There are also budget-busting options for those hoping to book a stay like true Italian aristocracy (as well as budget-friendly, cheap hotel options). Regardless of the style, with only so much space and serious restrictions on any new construction, accommodation in the city is at a serious premium and should be booked as far in advance as possible. Here are some of the best hotels to help you decide where to stay in Venice.
The 10 most Instagrammable places in Rome
Crumbling ruins, iconic attractions and cobblestones for days—a walk through Rome can feel like stepping onto a movie set. The picture-perfect city almost feels like it was made for Instagram, because there is a photo-worthy thing to do (and a selfie stick seller) around practically every corner. From mornings at the market to jaw-dropping city views, charming side streets and bucket-list-ticking monuments to a photogenic dinner at one of the city’s top restaurants, bella Roma has everything you need to bring your social media A-game. To ensure that your followers are suitably jealous of your new #dolcevita lifestyle, we’ve rounded up the most Instagrammable places in Rome. Just be sure to put your phone down while Vespa-ing. The top of St. Peter’s Basilica A post shared by Alyssa🍍 (@alyssamramirez) on Nov 25, 2014 at 12:51pm PST Rome may have more than 900 churches, but it’s St. Peter's Basilica that reigns supreme among them. The Vatican's basilica is the largest and most opulent church in all of Italy. A list of the artists who helped create the magnificent structure reads like a who’s who of the Renaissance. Inside you will find Michelangelo's Pieta, Bernini’s lavish bronze altar piece and Bramante's distinctive window-lined dome. It’s hard to know what to post to Insta-stories first because every inch of the massive church seems to be covered in marble or gold. The exterior of the building is no slouch either, with the square on which its sits surrounded by
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Trattoria Da Danilo
Trattoria Da Danilo’s carbonara is considered one of the best in the city because it is topped with perfectly crisped bacon instead of only guanciale (a cured pork jowl). Located just off the highest of Rome’s seven hills, the Esquilino restaurant is popular with locals because it lies outside of the most heavily trafficked parts of the city. The cozy trattoria serves fantastic pastas, all of which can be paired with one of the more than 200 bottles off the impressive wine list. Time Out tip: Carbonara is the signature dish at this restaurant, but for a tableside show its best to order the cacio e pepe which is quickly prepared on a small cart before being served piping hot.
Checchino dal 1887
Located across the street from the entrance to the old slaughterhouse (ex-mattataio), Checchino dal 1887 has specialized in offal for more than one hundred years. Once a working-class eatery, the white table-clothed restaurant has evolved into a more sophisticated destination, with jacketed waiters navigating the old-school dining room with a wine trolley. Despite its current upscale air, Checchino still specializes in the “fifth quarter” of the animal and serves a full offal tasting menu so you can sample all the leftover bits transformed into long-stewed Roman classics. Time Out tip: End your meal with a cheese course, which will be wheeled out on a cart with a flourish to show off the Sicilian cheese that incorporates saffron and pepper or local caciofiore made with wild thistle.
Pizzeria Ai Marmi
Ai Marmi is a lively traditional Roman pizzeria filled with long marble tables (marmi means “marble” in Italian) that are pushed together in rows to accommodate the crowds that flock to this Trastevere institution for crispy thin pizza. Find a table to the left of the dining room as you enter in order to have a better view of the pizzas being expertly slipped into the wood fire oven. Once seated, give in to the old-school typography advertising supplí al telefono and order the fried rice and mozzarella balls to enjoy as a pre-pizza appetizer. Time Out tip: Don’t even think about splitting a pizza here! One pie per person please, but trading slices is totally acceptable.
For a local breakfast, shimmy your way up to the bar of Pasticceria Regoli. Just a few minutes from the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Esquilino pastry shop turned 100 in 2016 and still manages to do brisk trade in cakes and sweet baked goods of all types. Regoli is most famous for its cream-filled maritozzi buns, but the tartlets topped with custard wild strawberries from the nearby town of Nemi are also major crowd pleasers. Time Out tip: The maritozzi con la panna (with cream) are considered some of the city’s best, but you’ll soon see why Regoli’s bar is decorated with so many mirrors. The buns are so liberally stuffed with whipped cream that it is nearly impossible to eat the pastry without smearing some on your face. Do a quick check for stray panna before heading out the doors.
Supplizio has mastered the art of fried foods. Selling nothing but supplì and croquettes, the tiny shop turns out fresh fritti on a charming cobblestone lane in the heart of Rome. Not to be satisfied with a simple marinara and mozzarella stuffed risotto ball, Supplizio serves the fried treats in flavors inspired by Rome’s best pasta dishes—carbonara, arrabbiatta (spicy tomato) and cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper). Beer and wine are also available to wash it all down with, but in matching the street food inspired cuisine, seating is extremely limited. Time Out tip: The shop is decorated with matchbook cars because chef Arcangelo Dandini (who also runs L’Arcangelo by the Vatican) strives to recreate the flavors he remembers from his childhood.
A distinctive Roman-Jewish cuisine arose in Rome because of a Papal edict that established an isolated Ghetto next to the Tiber river in 1555. Today, the area known as the Quartiere Ebraico is an exclusive enclave filled with traditional kosher restaurants like Nonna Betta. Decorated with painted scenes of neighborhood life in the 1800s, the eatery is named for the owner’s grandmother and stays true to its home cooking origins. The fried artichokes are outstanding, as is the gricia alla giudea which uses artichokes instead of bacon to create a kosher version of the typical Roman pasta.
Felice a Testaccio
With a balance of upscale service and traditional dishes, Felice a Testaccio is often described as one of Rome’s best restaurants. Despite its elegant appearance, the restaurant is best known for its humbler dishes that evolved thanks to the slaughterhouse history of the Testaccio neighborhood in which it is found. The meat courses, including coda alla vaccinara (oxtail braised in tomato sauce) and veal saltimbocca, are particularly tasty. The restaurant wears its prestige well, but expect prices to be slightly higher than at nearby eateries. Time Out tip: The waiters tend to upsell the menu, but listen when they suggest peaches in white wine for dessert.
The Jerry Thomas Project
There is no shortage of pilgrims making their way through Rome en route to the Vatican, but serious drinkers prefer to worship at the temple of Jerry Thomas. Dimly lit and hazy with cigarette smoke, The Jerry Thomas Project set off the city’s speakeasy craze and has easily remained at the top of Rome’s growing list of member’s only watering holes. Gaining entrance to the incredibly popular private bar requires a €5 membership fee, a quick look at their website to learn the daily password and an advanced booking. The over-the-top admission procedures are reflective of the atmosphere, where the booze is custom, vodka is banned and presentation is just as important as quality ingredients. The speakeasy executes each cocktail with totally unique homemade cordials and a keen attention to detail that keeps the tables perpetually full. Time Out tip: No joke, the Jerry Thomas Project has a list of ten rules that thou shalt not break if you want to drink inside the in-demand bar.
Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà
“Hole in the wall” would be a generous description for this galley-like craft beer bar in Rome’s popular Trastevere neighborhood. The complicated name (shortened to “makke” for regulars) essentially translates to: “but what did you come here to do?!” Obviously, you came to drink the most discerning selection of craft beer in the city. The tiny pub is narrow and popular, so you’re likely to see bearded beer aficionados spilling out of the door with pint glasses in hand. But what Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà lacks in space, it makes up for with major beer credentials and a laid-back vibe that makes you want to lean up against the wall outside with another round. The selection changes regularly, and features craft breweries that are predominately Italian, with other international microbrews occasionally sneaking into the rotation. Time Out tip: The barstools are few and far between, so pints are best enjoyed on the cobblestone lane outside the pub’s front door.
Situated above Trastevere in a residential area called Monteverde, Litro is the perfect place for classy day drinking. The bar is also open at night but is clearly at its best during the afternoon and early evening when warm Roman light fills the cool dining room and relaxed outdoor patio. Not only does Litro have one of the best selections of natural wine in the city, the bar also boasts a fantastic cocktail menu with classics such as a flawless Hugo (elderflower cordial, prosecco and mint), as well as an extensive list of mescal-based mixed drinks. There is no need to drink it all on an empty stomach—Litro’s small but refined menu has everything from salmon sashimi to butter and anchovy bruschetta, as well as seasonal salads and sandwiches. Because the location is a bit outside of central Rome, the bar tends to have low-key locals only vibe that is ideal for lingering over a bottle of wine. Time Out tip: Snagging a table outside can be difficult during the warmer months, but reservations are available if you agree to order food to go along with your booze.
Bar San Calisto
Situated just around the corner from Trastevere's main square, Bar San Calisto’s patio tables are full nearly every hour of the day. The dive-y bar is more retro coffee shop than cocktail lounge, and has long been one of Rome’s most popular bohemian hangouts. The drinking joint is a real gem thanks to its outdoor seating and dirt cheap booze, the combination of which makes for great people watching. Some of the regulars look a little worse for wear, but the crowd is rounded out with a good mix of students and local intellectuals, most of whom choose to nurse large bottles of €3 Peroni while arguing over soccer predictions. Time Out tip: Don’t expect any menus or table service at Bar San Calisto. Head inside to pay at the cash register, then take your receipt to the bar in order to redeem your drink.
Black Market Monti
Bursting with vintage sofas and original artwork, BlackMarket in Monti feels like walking into your much cooler friend’s awesome basement apartment. The bar is perfectly at home in the increasingly trendy neighborhood, but manages to avoid feeling artificial or pretentious. Instead, the multiple rooms and mix of furnishings make for an intimate setting for a few drinks and conversation. The space also often hosts temporary exhibits and is one of the best bars in the area to catch a live show. The menu of beer, wine and typical cocktails is adequate, but the cozy atmosphere and eclectic music performances are really what make this one of the city’s best places to drink. Time Out tip: Go full Roman hipster by ordering the vegan burger to pair with Blackmarket’s own signature IPA from a local microbrewery.