A Stylish Weekend Guide To Rome

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The reason for my trip, which has been my least favourite thing to tell people, was for Irish rugby. I’ll admit, I wouldn’t be Ireland’s most devout rugby fan, but since my boyfriend salivates over the sport — and the game was in Rome — I quickly jumped on the bandwagon without much convincing.

Among fantastic architecture, bespoke style, whimsical views and wood-fired pizza, Rome buzzed during my entire stay with rugby energy — from Guinness pints and green jerseys. By physical nature, I was somewhat involved, but honestly, mostly present. I was very much present with a glass of red and a soirée of local hors d’oeuvres. The number one reason I was excited about visiting Rome was because of the style — I was told Italian women (and men) look incredible, always. The second reason why I was mad to visit Rome (after the sights, of course — you gotta see the sights) was because of the food, because well honestly, I’m a foodie — a pizza connoisseur if you will.

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Like New York, you could probably spend a year in Rome and not do it all. The whirlwind weekend I had only allowed for a brief fling. There was a quick jaunt through the crowds at Trevi Fountain, where you’ll find every professional Instagram boyfriend in the land, a large portion of one day was spent at Olympic Stadium (obviously), and then there was a morning for graffiti street art and hunting for authentic carbonara and drool-worthy gelato.

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I’m not really a monument-checklist kinda gal. Rome is an outdoor museum in itself. Yes, of course I wanted to see the major sights, like the Pantheon, Vatican City, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and of course, the Colosseum. But I’m more concerned with lingering over long lunches like the Italian locals, drinking cappuccinos outside a colourful villa-style café, strolling down narrow cobblestone streets and ending up at a romantic wine bar. In my mind, if you’re looking for proper Neapolitan-style pizza, it’s worth sacrificing another day snapping endless shots of the Vatican to source ivy-hidden trattorias. Live like a Roman, as they say. Oh, and did I mention Rome was cheap? I was downing whole pizzas for a good €7. Honestly, it was a dream. But if you’re still craving cultural activities, Galleria d’Arte Moderna is where you’ll find modern and contemporary artwork from Morandi and Van Gogh.

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So… wanna come visit? Here’s a Rome travel guide to all the places I wouldn’t want to miss if I were you.

Where To Stay:

Wherever you’re travelling from, pamper yourself by staying in Hotel Mercure Roma (the Privilege Double Room is so worth it), overlooking Rome’s majestic Colosseum. Decorated with plush velvet pillows, sumptuous bedding and chairs with ballet dancer’s legs, the stylish building has a delightfully regal, yet contemporary feel. Featuring a panoramic rooftop terrace and a summer pool, you can relax with a glass of red as you absorb Rome’s most breathtaking architecture. Trastevere is apparently another fantastic area to stay. It isn’t too far of a walk from the major attractions, and it’s where many gravitate towards in the evening for dinner and juicy cocktails.

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Where To Eat:

Stay far away from Italy if you’re a gluten-free activist. Yes, I’m lactose-intolerant, but #wheninRome… For a romantic traditional trattoria and a vintage vibe that feels like you’ve transported yourself right into 1950’s Roma, enjoy delicious seasonal produce at Al Moro. For whimsical views on a cobbled piazza (plus the perfect pizza), Sforno is a delightful venue for lunch. Trust me when I say, get the bruschetta olio e sale for your appetiser, followed by a simply seasoned Margherita. Then, the morning after, settle all that goodness with real Italian bread from Panificio Bonci bakery. It’s worth every gram of carb.

Al Moro

Al Moro

Sforno

Sforno

Panificio Bonci

Panificio Bonci

Sweet Tooth Connoisseurs, Listen Up:

I know what you’re really lusting after Italy for — and that’s a cannoli. At Gelato Vale, each is made the only way it should be — bursting with airy, sweet ricotta in a crisp pastry shell; offering flavours like crunchy pistachio, sweet orange and dark chocolate. If this heavenly pastry isn’t a win for this country, I don’t know what is.

Gelato Vale

Gelato Vale

Where To Shop:

Rome has a dizzying number of drool-worthy shops in which to splash the cash; Bomba is a boutique gem with a penchant for sentiment. Based behind the Piazza del Popolo on the via dell'Oca, the chic tailor sells everything from silk kimonos in vintage fabrics to straw woven hats. For the truly devout fashion fan, Chez Dédé is a treasure trove of trinkets, rare fashion finds and fantastic linen beach bags.

Bomba

Bomba

Bomba

Bomba

Chez Dédé

Chez Dédé

Chez Dédé

Chez Dédé

You can also catch me in IMAGE magazine’s April issue for a more sophisticated city guide to Rome.