Film Set Cities: Rome
The food, the fashion, the history, the arts! It’s actually hard to think of something wonderfully indulgent that Rome doesn’t have. The capital of Italy since the time of the Roman Empire, the city boasts some of the world’s most legendary sites including the Coliseum, the Roman Forum and Vatican City’s Sistine Chapel. It’s no wonder it’s inspired filmmakers from Woody Allen to Francis Ford Coppola to get their cameras rolling on the romantic paved streets. Head out to the Eternal City and check out where some of the world’s most iconic movies were made. And while you’re there, lose yourself in retail heaven and have a pizza or five. Strap on your Ferragamos and you’re good to go!
Where to... SHOP
The better question might be where not to shop! Milan may be the retail capital of Italy, but Rome’s quaint paved streets are bursting with ambiance and Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo, Tod’s, Fendi and of course Valentino’s headquarters, based in the 16th-century Palazzo Mignanelli near the Spanish Steps. You’ll want to get your credit cards ready and head to the boutiques on Via dei Condotti and Via del Babuino where designer goods are piled high in gorgeous shops. When you’re done with the fashion big guns, turn onto Via del Corso and get lost in small independent boutiques full of leather gloves, bags, furniture, frocks and more. Just be sure to have a big suitcase for your return trip!
Familiar with Colette in Paris? Well Fleur, a luxury-living concept store, is Rome’s answer to the famous boutique. Along with a hip bar-restaurant that serves great cappuccinos and carpaccios, the store sells everything from high-end house wares to jewellery and clothes. Be sure to check out their super hip house brand, Fleur. The bags are not to be missed.
INFO: Via Bocca di Leone, 46, Rome, www.fleurluxuryliving.it.
It’s all about super quirky clothes and jewellery at this small boutique just off Via del Babuino. They’ve also got a great selection of perfume and beauty products, but if you’re looking for original statement jewellery, this is where you’ll want to come.
INFO: Via Borgognona, 4, Rome, www.niki-nika.com.
Located right off the Spanish Steps, TAD was Rome’s first concept store. The 1,000sqm boutique is arranged like a very swanky house with rooms for homeware and furnishings, designers like Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney, a beauty and fragrance room and even a ‘TAD lab’ full of high-end gadgets. This store’s a don’t miss!
INFO: Via del Babuino, 155 A, Rome, www.taditaly.com.
Patrizia’s ready-to-wear pieces are ready for you to snap up in her namesake store and we couldn’t resist her amazing selection of dresses in ethereal whites and earth tones. The second floor of her store is an art gallery teeming with work from local artists.
INFO: Via del Pellegrino, 172, www.patriziapieroni.it.
Hotel San Anselmo
Ready for a VIP experience while not spending too much? Then head to the city’s Testaccio district, a posh suburban area, where you can stay at the super luxe San Anselmo for much less than other luxury hotels in the centre. There’s a gorgeous garden and most of the rooms have fantastic bathtubs and canopy beds. There’s also a super relaxing lounge with tea time after 4pm and hot chocolate served after 6pm.
INFO: Piazza di Sant’Anselmo, 2, Rome; +39 (0) 6 570057, www.aventinohotels.com; the rack rate varies – it’s currently €104 for a double room.
For art lovers who dig modern interiors, head to The First hotel, which is centrally located near the Piazza del Popolo and Via del Corso. A former 19th century nobleman’s palace, the hotel received a modern makeover and is full of art with each room serving as a mini private gallery. Have lunch or dinner on the roof garden and take in the fantastic views of central Rome.
INFO: Via del Vantaggio, 14, Rome; +39 (0) 6 45617079 , www. thefirsthotel.com; rack rate varies – currently €234 for a double room.
Hotel de Russie
Nothing says luxury and celebrity in Rome like the Hotel de Russie. Just a two-minute walk to the Spanish Steps and all the best shopping in Rome, the hotel boasts a huge private garden, one of the best health clubs and spas in the city (Isabella Rossellini and Monica Bellucci are fans) and super swanky bars and restaurants. When George Clooney was in town filming Ocean’s 12 he stayed here, as have Julia Roberts, Victoria Beckham and Owen Wilson. The rooms are luxurious yet tasteful (designed by Rocco Forte’s sister Olga Polizzi), the bathrooms are marble and oversize, the packing and unpacking service is wonderfully indulgent, and the complimentary breakfast is so lavish you’ll be tempted to Instagram pictures of your food (we did)! If you want to go VIP, the Hotel de Russie is a must-book.
INFO: Via del Babuino, 9, Rome; +39 (0) 6 328881 , www.hotelderussie.it; rack rate varies – starting from €475 for a double room.
Where to... HANG OUT
There are so many sidewalk cafes in Rome – from the cosy to the sophisticated – that you could easily spend all your time sipping vino outdoors. Along with the cafes are amazing restaurants with sweeping city views, über-hip clubs and secret bastions of culture. Hit these spots to live like the fashionable Romans do.
This is a restaurant for true foodies. If you like your dinner artful and inventive, then you will love the restaurant on the top of Janiculum hill. The setting is very intimate yet modern and the menu, which changes often, is packed with dishes like fillet of lamb in a hazelnut crust, melt- in-your-mouth veal and classic pastas with a twist. Be sure to try anything with truffles and the gelato, especially the white chocolate – delish!
INFO: Piazzale Aurelio, 7, Rome, www.anticoarco.it.
Salotto 42 Sas
Owned by a Swedish model and her Italian husband, Salotto 42 Sas is one of the hippest restaurant-bars in town and is decorated to look like a very posh house. Recline on the sleek sofas and take in the beautiful crowd while enjoying their aperitivos after 6pm.
INFO: Piazza di Pietra, 42, Rome, www.salotto42.it.
If you’re looking for a place with an international crowd, post-modern décor and sushi and great tipples, then head on over to Amina. The music is drum ‘n’ bass, hip-hop and soul and there’s a great aperitivo evening on Sundays. An added bonus is the free entrance.
INFO: Via Santa Maria dell’Anima, 57, Rome, www.anticoarco.it.
Looking to celeb spot? Then head down to the Hotel de Russie’s iconic Stravinskij Bar, one of the glammest watering holes in town. In the summer the terrace is packed with VIPs (Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes met his girlfriend Maria Suvio here in October) and in the winter months, get cosy and enjoy the glam grey and purple interior. Be sure to try the De Russie Martini, made with caviar!
INFO: Via del Babuino, 9, Rome, www.hotelderussie.it.
Walk the Film Set
Rome has been used as a location for many a Hollywood hit.
Here are some of our recent faves!
Angels and Demons
This thriller was filmed all over Rome including at the famous Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Vatican City and The Pantheon.
INFO: The Pantheon, Piazza della Rotonda, Rome.
To Rome With Love
Woody Allen fans will want to retrace Penelope Cruz’s steps through the quaint backstreets of Rome and stop by the Teatro dell’Opera for a little music, just like the film’s main characters did.
INFO: Piazza Beniamino Gigli, 7, Rome, www.operaroma.it.
Eat, Pray, Love
Julia Roberts ate her way through Rome and you can too with the Eat, Pray, Love tour! Julia also sees many iconic sights including the Mausoleum of Augustus, Tiber Island and Campo de’ Fiori square.
The Talented Mr Ripley
Who doesn’t love the scene when Dickie (Jude Law) and Tom (Matt Damon) belt out Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano in Vesuvio nightclub? Well that club is actually Caffè Latino in Rome.
INFO: Caffè Latino, Via Monte Testaccio, 96, Rome, www.caffelatinodiroma.com.
Flights: Emirates offers direct flights from Dubai to Rome. Flight time is around six hours.
Getting around: Rome’s public transport system is the best bet, and it’s cheap. The Roma Pass (€30) includes free transportation for three days and free admission for two museums or sites. www.romapass.it.