As a lifelong Roman and co-owner of Access Italy, a company that plans luxury experiences in Rome, Simone Amorico wants travelers to discover the city he loves and is proud to call home.
“Rome is an outdoor museum full of historical sites that go well beyond the Vatican and Colosseum,” he says. “There are so many hidden gems, neighborhoods, and streets that tourists don’t know and are full of surprises.”
They might be monasteries where a pope is buried that isn’t listed in travel books, he says, artworks in 15th- and 16th-century buildings, and living artists who are carrying on traditions that have been around since medieval times. “I continue to unearth finds that make me even more appreciative of my hometown more often than I would expect,” he says.
Unlike Paris or London, Rome doesn’t tend to be a repeat destination, but Amorico says that it should be because each trip will leave visitors with something new and unexpected. He encourages them to get the most out of their getaway by avoiding the rush of summer when the crowds and heat take over the city and detract from its magic. Instead, come in the late fall, winter, or early spring.
“My favorite time is during [U.S.] Thanksgiving, when Rome is especially quiet or in April when the days are sunny but comfortable temperature-wise,” he says.
Amorico shared his favorite Rome spots with Penta.
Simone Amorico Access Italy
Bulgari Hotel Rome. The latest property to join Rome’s luxury hotel scene, the Bulgari features a beautiful indoor pool, a rooftop for drinks with amazing views over the Mausoleum of Augustus, a high-end restaurant by Chef Niko Romito, and a casual café-restaurant. The rooms are spacious with beautiful bathrooms in rare marble, the service is impeccable, and the location, which is within walking distance of the Spanish Steps, is unbeatable.
Hotel Eden. The Eden is elegant, traditional, and pure class. What I love about the hotel is the service and the attention to detail. The rooms are bright, and the Michelin-star restaurant, La Terrazza, has the most stunning views of Rome. The bar on the last floor also has the most incredible views, especially for sunset. Don’t miss ordering the cacio e pepe pasta at their restaurant Il Giardino.
Hotel Hassler. This longtime Rome hotel is family-owned, and guests get the feeling that they’re part of a large Italian family because the service is so genuine and warm, and the owners are around. The location overlooking the Spanish Steps is prime, and the rooftop restaurant is romantic and has spectacular city panoramas.
Pierluigi. This seafood temple is an absolute must for visitors. The square where it’s located is surrounded by ancient buildings with frescoes and gives you that La Dolce vita vibe. Order the fried zucchini flowers, pasta with lobster, and salt-crusted sea bass and a good bottle of wine, and savor the energy and experience.
Taverna Trilussa. This restaurant serves the best pastas in town, and they come in a pan. Go for the classic Roman types like cacio e pepe, carbonara, amatriciana, and gricia. Trilussa is a family-owned spot and is now run by two brothers, Maurizio and Massimo, who are the best hosts.
Ai Piani. Romans come here for the best fish and seafood, and you rarely ever see tourists. It’s a 10-minute car trip from the city center but totally worth it.
“There are so many hidden gems, neighborhoods, and streets that tourists don’t know and are full of surprises,” Amorico says. Unsplash
Terrazza Borromini. A hopping rooftop bar, Terrazza Borromini is the place for a sunset cocktail and a go-to for locals.
Antico Caffè Greco. It doesn’t get any more authentic than this café that’s been open since the 18th century and where Romans go for their coffee fix. I order a double espresso in the afternoon and a cappuccino in the morning.
SKIP THE TOURISTS
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna. Most visitors don’t know about this beautiful modern museum with constantly changing great exhibitions. I suggest a nice walk at the Villa Borghese garden before or after the visit and lunch at the museum’s outdoor café.
The San Lorenzo neighborhood is the area where you will find both modern and centuries-old artwork on building walls.
The Testaccio neighborhood has a very authentic market with 100 stalls where the vendors sell everything from food products, like olive oil produced in small family farms and handmade cheeses, to clothes to shoes. I buy something every time I’m there.
Flanella Grigia for men in Piazza del Parlamento, which has high-quality Italian-made business casual clothes. I buy linen shirts, pants and blazers for summer and wool blazers and cashmere sweaters for winter wear.
La Rinascente for women for a selection of high-end brands. The wide range of bags is from the most prestigious luxury designers. Be sure to stop at the rooftop café for coffee too.
Chez Dede on Via di Monserrato sells unique pieces for lifestyle and home decor. Their beach bags are a fun and unique item to buy.
For Thanksgiving, Have Cacio e Pepe in Rome