Like many iconic capitals, Rome can offer a typical tourist trip or an in-depth local experience, depending on your itinerary. We select our Concierges for their heartfelt connections to the cities they work in and knowledge of their history, culture and traditions. Here our Head Concierge at Hotel de la Ville, Alexandra Sardo, shares some insights to help you get under the city’s skin.
Can you explain your connection to Rome?
I was born in Rome and travelled until the age of 19. I studied in Switzerland before moving back for a “couple of years’ experience”. After 21 years I’m still here! I needed roots and Rome offered a very fertile field in which to put them down.
What would be your key piece of advice for first-time visitors?
Follow your concierge’s advice! Rome is very big. You cannot see it all at once... and whilst it’s very easy to discover by foot, walking takes time. Don’t be afraid to use public transport or let us arrange a car.
Can you share some of your favourite drinking and dining spots?
My favourite subject! You can’t have just one favourite restaurant in Rome — you have to allow yourself at least three or four! Mine are Da Pietro, for Roman specialities and their steaks; Arcangelo, for the best homemade gnocchi ever; Pierluigi, for its beautiful location, attentive service and excellent food and Johnny Micalusi's for the city’s freshest fish. Don’t miss street food, either: focaccia, suppli and pizza by the slice. For wine, the wineries of the Frascati area are absolutely worth a trip.
Where can visitors find memorable family-friendly activities?
Cycling the Appian Way or renting a golf cart to discover the city centre can be a lot of fun. Then just two minutes’ stroll from our hotels, Villa Borghese has it all: museums, playgrounds, a zoo and more. A little further away in Trastevere, explore the Botanic Garden and Raphael’s frescos at nearby Villa Farnesina.
You can also enrich your cultural knowledge by creating mosaics or original fresco. Or take a family cooking class and make pizza, pasta, tiramisu, gelato and other dishes at Hotel de la Ville’s culinary classes.
Which galleries, museums and music venues do you recommend?
My favourite galleries are Galleria Borghese and Galleria Doria Pamphili, housing impressive collections which once belonged to two of Rome’s most powerful families. The Capitoline Museum is the most representative of the city as a whole. For beautiful architecture and fascinating events, visit Auditorium Renzo Piano and the Auditorium della Conciliazione.
In summertime, don’t miss opera at the Terme di Caracalla. A show amidst the ruins of these ancient baths is truly atmospheric...
When it comes to shopping, which streets and areas are best for what items?
Every neighbourhood has a distinctive style. For designer pieces, head to the Spanish Steps and Via Condotti. For antiques, visit Via dei Coronari and Via Giulia. Contemporary art lovers will enjoy browsing the little galleries of the Monti district, and those seeking vintage will find it at Trastevere and Testaccio.
Where are the best views in Rome?
In spring, views over the Synagogue from Aventine Hill are incredible, with the rose gardens in bloom and the pervasive scent of oranges in the air. In summer, head for Pincian Hill to enjoy vivid sunsets over Villa Borghese Park.
As autumn approaches, head up to St Angel’s Castel to see the migrant bird storms which invade the city, creating magical patterns above the rooftops. And in winter, ascend Gianicolo Hill and you’ll have the entire city at your feet! It’s the most incredible spot (after our terrace at Hotel de La Ville) from which to see New Year’s Eve fireworks illuminate the city.
Let Alexandra Sardo and her team make your Roman experience memorable with a stay at Hotel de la Ville. Book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org