Travelling to the tourist-heavy Italian capital can be wonderful but overwhelming experience. Here’s how to get the most out of your trip…
Welcome to a new series of What’s On travels to… Each month we’ll be bringing you a new destination from around the globe that we’re confident you’ll need on your travel bucket list.
This month, we head to Rome, and while the city wasn’t built in a day, you can certainly your best to see as much of it as you can in one…
Things to do
Take a Vespa ride
When in Rome, do as the Romans do and cruise around the city on your very own Vespa scooter. Go it alone and make your own route, or book onto a guided tour with a small group, and see the city’s sights like a pro. The best part about seeing the city by scooter is that you have the chance to experience different sides to Rome up close and personal – from its narrow winding streets and busy piazzas, to the age-old ruins and out-of-town hidden gems such as the Aventine Keyhole and the cannon fire at Gianicolo Hill.
Get a taste of the city with a food tour
What better way to get to know a city, than tasting your way through its best local flavours? Munch your way through more than 20 samples on a walking food tour of one of Rome’s lesser known districts, Prati. Expect to experience the city’s best pizza, tastiest buffalo mozerella and creamiest gelato as you’re guided around five hotspots. Come hungry.
Explore ancient ruins
So you’ve ticked off the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, but you’re still in search of culture in the Eternal City: a visit to the Roman Forum is a must. These impressive ruins were the beating heart of Ancient Rome, and give a glimpse into the fascinating and rich history of the city that dates back to 7BC. Walk among the ruins and identify the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Titus and the House of the Vestals. Be sure to climb to the top of the Palestine Hill – it’s the best vantage point for looking out over the historical site.
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Where to eat
Far more than just poolside dining, L’Uliveto is as much about the location as it is about the food. Set against the backdrop of the leafy grounds of the Waldorf Astoria and its impressive alfresco pool, guests can choose between dining in the opulent restaurant or the picturesque terrace. On the menu, expect elevated Italian dishes from the sea and land. The linguine with clams is a real highlight.
This hole-in-the-wall style restaurant a short walk from Cipro metro station might not look like much, but it serves some of the best pizza in the city. There’s no menu, so guests pick from a counter full of colourfully packed pizzas made fresh in the restaurant that day. Deep, crunchy pizza bases are topped with inventive and unusual flavours such as potato and cheese, anchovy and asparagus. There’s no seating, so you’ll need to takeaway, or just perch up on a bench outside and devour your slices in the street. A word of warning, Gabriele Bonci’s pizzas have become world famous, so expect a bit of a queue.
Blink and you’ll miss it, but Ciampini Bistrot, located a few steps away from San Lorenzo is worth walking a couple of streets away from the hustle and bustle of the main squares for its delicious food. Take a seat inside one of the leather booths inside for a 1950s bistro feel, or bag one of the handful of outdoor tables that line the narrow street and watch the world go by. Look out for the strings of fairy lights lining the corner of Via del Leoncino, 43.
Where to stay
Elevated above the city, Rome Cavalieri epitomises ‘La Dolce Vita’. The exterior isn’t that wow-worthy but entering the lavish and opulent lobby feels like stepping into a bygone era of the city’s existence. This luxury gem serves as a gallery to a lavish – and priceless – art collection which includes paintings, tapestries, furniture statues and artefacts. Explore the collection, and you’ll see artworks that date from the 17th Century up to more present day, 21st Century pieces. Leisure facilities are luxurious and designed with ultimate relaxation in mind, meaning guests don’t have to leave the hotel should they wish not to. For an indulgent experience, head to the sprawling spa with jacuzzi, steam room and Turkish bath. Or, work up a sweat at the state-of-the-art fitness centre, or cool off at the glass-covered indoor pool ore one of three outdoor pools.
The property is set over 15 acres, and as well as beautifully manicured gardens, there’s also two tennis courts and an 800m fitness trail that make the luxury resort feel like an urban oasis. The hotel boasts 345 guest rooms, ranging from standard rooms to the penthouse suite. Rooms are a comfortable mix of classic and contemporary; think spacious marble bathrooms, antique furniture and cushy sofas. Book a deluxe room or above, and guests can enjoy spacious balconies that offer knockout views of The Vatican and Rome city centre.
Thoughtful amenities are a luxurious touch and extend from a mini bar to a 15-option pillow menu – just in case their array of fluffy filled pillows don’t serve you with a good night’s sleep. Breakfast is an extensive buffet served poolside, and it’s a varied selection that ensures guests are fueled for a full day of sightseeing. While the hillside location means you’re a walk away from the city centre and its attractions, an hourly shuttle bus or short ten-minute taxi ride takes guests straight to the city’s beating heart. Room rates start from EUR265 (Dhs1,095).
Emirates flies to Rome-Fiumicino International Airport for Dhs2,905 return (approx.)