It's the time of year when you really start to crave that Vitamin D after a long, grey Winter. If the same old dreary sights and unrelenting elements are starting to cause your mood to slump into a pit deeper than all of Britain's potholes combined, maybe it's time to reach for your passport.
May we suggest Rome. Few cities in the world have such a deep and palpable sense of history as Rome, but it's also very much alive with contemporary culture and design. We've selected a few must-visit highlights for your Roman Holiday, including some eco-friendly, sustainable options for the conscious traveller.
The view from Terrazza del Gianicolo
1. Get Your Bearings At The Top Of Gianicolo Hill
Ok, so it's a bit of a trek, but Terrazza del Gianicolo (a large terrace with couple of kiosks providing an opportunity for a much needed cool drink after the uphill walk) sits on top of Rome's many hills, and offers incredible views across the city. It's a great spot to take in the city at a glance, to spot some famous landmarks, and to try out the zoom on your new camera.
Using highly skilled Italian artisans, Italian brand Carmina Campus transforms waste materials into designer bags and accessories. Set up by Ilaria Venturini Fendi, (daughter of Anna Fendi the founder of Fendi), the brand's flagship Rome store, RE(f)USE, is situated in a busy, high-end shopping district of the city. The shop also stocks pieces by other like-minded brands and designers, promoting sustainability and recycling.
Online: | http://www.carminacampus.com/refuse | Location: | Via Fontanella Borghese 40, Rome, Italy. |
Ginger's beautifully designed interior
3. Enjoy Lunch at Ginger
Just around the corner from RE(f)USE, this stylish eatery has health and sustainability at the heart of its menu. Despite its beautifully designed interior, we opted to dine al fresco (when in Rome!) as it's the perfect spot for people watching and soaking up a little extra sunshine.
Ginger source their ingredients locally from trusted Organic and sustainable suppliers. Whilst 80% of their menu is plant-based, there are meat options available for the more carnivorous appetite. With roots in the Italian countryside the restaurant's menu is modern and fresh, and with a focus on health, the dishes and smoothies are enriched with antioxidants.
From details about their own Organic and sustainable farm, to their approach to about plastics and CO2 emissions, you can find out more on their website regarding their commitment to sustainability.
Online: | https://www.gingersaporiesalute.com | Location: | Via Borgognona, 43-46, 00187 Roma, Italy |
4. Take a Trip to Ancient Rome
The Roman Forum, opposite the Colosseum (obviously, go visit that too, you can't not) is home to some of Rome's oldest structures, and was the centre of city life where public speeches, commercial affairs, elections and criminal trials would all take place. It's fascinating to be surrounded by such ancient sites, and you can take an audio device round with you as you walk, which will inform you of what each ruin once was. Be warned though, it's pretty big, and as it's not owned by the National Trust, there is no cafe, so we recommend having something to eat before you visit (learn from our mistakes!).
Location: | Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma, Italy |
Inside Taba Cafe
5. Taba Cafe
Situated in the bustling Piazza Campo de' Fiori, opposite the market, this little pavement cafe serves great pizza and provides a first-rate, front-row, people-watching viewpoint. If the friendly staff and freshly-squeezed orange juice aren't enough to make you linger, the bohemian, vintage-inspired interior is. You're probably going to want to start collecting vinyls and retro furnishings (total interior inspo for your flat back home right here) plus there's plenty to Instagram (that's pretty much a verb now, right?).
Online: | https://www.facebook.com/tabacafecampo | Location: | Piazza Campo de' Fiori, 13/14, 00186 Roma, Italy |
Views from the rooftop at Hotel Raphaël
6. Cocktails at Dusk at the Hotel Raphaël Roof Top Bar
Situated just behind Piazza Navona (a pretty nice square, with a few fountains, definitely worth a peep), this hotel offers a peaceful spot to sit and unwind with a glass of something continental. The bar on the roof here offers 360 degree views across the rooftops of the city and is a breathtaking place to watch the sun go down. We recommend heading up there just before dusk, while it is still light, and see the city transform before your eyes. You will also notice that on the hour, every hour, you can hear ALL of church bells (and oh boy, are there a lot of of churches in Rome... we'll let you Google just how many) which is pretty spectacular to witness actually. Props to Hotel Raphaël for their living wall frontage; the cascading foliage gives this place some serious environmental kudos.
Online: | http://www.raphaelhotel.com | Location: | Largo Febo, 2, 00186 Roma, Italy |
7. Drinks at the Sacripante Gallery