[ROME] — Rome is known for having small, cramped hotel rooms, but the Hotel de Russie doesn’t suffer from that. The gardens alone are worth the expense, although the elegant rooms and excellent spa round it off. It’s a Rocco Forte hotel, so the service is something you can depend on. The rooms are modern, elegant, with awesome bathrooms. Ask to have one facing the courtyard, otherwise you’re missing out. The service in the garden cafe is top notch, and the people watching worth every penny. The location is right off the Piazza del Popolo and just up the street from the Spanish Steps, along Rome’s most expensive shopping streets. Splurge on yourself, you’ll want to come back from your explorations and have a cocktail and say
[ROME, ITALY] — When you get sick of all the tour buses and streets clogged with tourist groups, head up to the top of the Via Venato to the Villa Borghese Gardens, one of the most tranquil parts of Rome. Vast, sprawling acres of grass, trees and cool little features, like a picture perfect rowing lake….with its own temple of course. And because it’s high up, great views of the city and Piazza del Popolo. Here’s a great little secret way to get there: save walking a thousand steps as you climb the hill by taking a series of free escalators from the Piazza de Spagna Metro stop. Go into the entrance, but instead of buying a ticket, look for the escalators opposite the entrance
(Rome) — One of the best things about Rome is killing an hour or two each day prowling the local markets. One of the best is Campo die Fiori. You can get everything here, or nothing.
(Rome) — The Pantheon, one of the great wonders of the world and certainly my favorite of all time. Every time I come back to Rome, the first thing I have to do is to go and see and touch this magical place. Built by my friend Emperor Augustus and rebuilt over hundreds of years, its recent reincarnation (hundreds of years ago) is a good as it gets. Look closely and you’ll notice the repeating motif of a sphere inside of a square. Lots has been written about this wonderful place, so I don’t need to go on here. But if you’re in Rome, you need to go here. Several times, so you can experience the changing light from morning to night.
[ROME] — Trastevere is the cool part of Roma where Romans go. Chocked full with students and awesome, affordable restaurants, it’s where you want to head out for a stroll and some grub. Day or night. If you’re zigzaggin’ through Trastevere schtop into the most excellent Ristorante Paris, not 30m from the cathedral S. Maria in Trastevere (which is a cool church to duck into… or even pray, for chrissake). I’m cuckoo for carciofi. Oh man, just the mere mention of artichokes on the menu and my feathers get all fluttery… almost as if they said “lamb”.😳 If you’re in Rome from Feb-May that’s peak artichoke season and carciofi is on the menu nearly everywhere. Heaven. They specialize in Roman dishes throughout the seasons, but
[ROMA] — There are fancier places to stay in Rome, but one of my favorites is the Albergo del Senato, directly across from my favorite building in the world, The Pantheon. It is small, Old School, but delightful. You can’t beat the location, smack in the heart of everything good. And right around the corner from the best gelato in Rome, Giolitti. If you can’t get a guarantee from the hotel for a Pantheon view, then there are other places I’d choose. (I once had a broom closet of a room once that wasn’t and it looked out onto a blind alley.) But if you can secure a room that overlooks the Pantheon, there is no place better to stay. You want to stay in one