You are originally from Italy but you currently live in London. A recent visit back home was extended due to covid and you were able to spend a chunk of time in Rome. How did it feel being back?
Strangely enough, I always feel like a tourist. But in a good way! I’ve been away from Italy for more than 10 years and being back is a blessing. Every day I am rediscovering the love I have for my country; From the arts, to the open-air museums, to the traditions, to the food and the wine, and the love for made in Italy.
When you’re away what do you miss most about Rome?
The sunshine, the food and the people. I miss the church bells, the smiles of the local bar tenders and the way they are already making your cappuccino as soon as they see you cross the threshold of their coffee shop. I miss the sound of the seagulls that remind me that I am not too far away from the sea and I miss the perfectly cooked pasta alle vongole that you order a few feet from the sea.
What does your perfect Rome weekend look like?
Warm weather, blue skies and lunch at Dal Bolognese overlooking Piazza del Popolo. A stroll around the city, past some of it’s real beauties like Piazza Navona and Fontana di Trevi, and stopping by some of the beautiful churches. One of my favourites is Chiesa San Luigi de Francesci which contains three paintings by the Baroque master Caravaggio.
A must is drinks at Camponeschi, in Piazza Farnese, and then stop by the butcher Il Fiorentino in Campo dei Fiori to pick up their famous Polpettone. Romans love to host, so every weekend someone takes their turn, and everyone has a key role when invited. Someone will be in charge of making Aperol Spritz, someone will open the wines, someone will cut the salami and the freshly picked-up cheese, someone will play the music and someone else will entertain.
For anyone planning a weekend break to Rome, do you have any recommendations of what not to miss? Favourite shops, cultural attractions, pizza, pasta and gelato havens?
Restaurants : Ristorante da Nino, Dal Bolognese, Hotel de la Ville
Coffee: Ciampini, Sant’Eustachio, Il Cigno
Lunch/Drinks: Caffe Peru, Hotel de Russie, Camponeschi
Cultural Attractions: Palazzo Colonna
Stores/Shopping: Valentino store in Piazza di Spagna, GENTE Roma in Via del Babunio
Where would you recommend, we go if we want to escape the city too, to see some Italian countryside nearby?
I would recommend Magliano Sabina. Within our family we call it the “belly button of the world”. It’s a lovely small town in the province of Rieti, which is just 50km from Rome. It’s the perfect getaway from the city where you can enjoy lovely open green spaces and have a dip in the pool.
Just 10 minutes from Magliano Sabina is the Restaurant and Deli Degli Angeli - a very well-known spot that usually does caterings for the best events throughout the whole of Italy. The whole place is lovely, and the food is delicious.
If you want to go and visit another magical town you can drive 30 minutes from Magliano Sabina to Caprarola, in the province of Viterbo. Within the town you will find Villa Farnese, built during the renaissance, which is absolutely breath-taking.
What is the best time of year to visit?
You can visit Rome any given time of the year as the weather is mostly mild. However, if you want to be sure you can enjoy blue skies and warmer temperatures, I recommend going in May.
What have been your favourite TROY pieces over the years?