City Guide: Rome

Great cities impress in seconds but seduce slowly. Rome is no different. If you're a romantic traveller who has always been drawn to historic places, nowhere compares to the Eternal City.

Your imagination is drawn back centuries, whether strolling around the ivy-covered piazzas of the Regola district, observing the classical grandeur of the Spanish Steps or pinballing through the terracotta maze of Testaccio. Like most pilgrimages to the city, from knights in search of the Holy Grail to the great romantic poets Keats, Shelley and Byron or the young lovers in André Aciman's seminal summer read Call Me by Your Name, those who journey here do so to drink in its antiquity. These are our favourite places to stay, eat, drink, dance and play.

This article appears in Volume 26: The Nostalgia Issue

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Locanda San Pancrazio - CLOSED

Rome, Italy

Located in the young and vibrant neighbourhood of Trastevere, Locanda San Pancrazio is low-key and cool, with the rooftop terrace and sushi restaurant attracting a trendy Roman crowd come summer. Ideal for a weekend break with friends or a romantic getaway for two, the comfy rooms provide the perfect launchpad from which to explore the edgier side of the city.

Address

Via di Porta San Pancrazio, 32a 00153

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Hotel Locarno

Rome, Italy

The Locarno is situated just a few steps from the Piazza del Popolo. The original Art Nouveau style from the early 20th century has been preserved and rooms are easy and unpretentious. Staff are friendly and professional and the heated outside terrace, reminiscent of an Art Nouveau garden, is the perfect spot for aperitivo.

Address

Via della Penna 22 00186

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G-Rough

Rome, Italy

Only 50m from Piazza Navona and situated in a 17th-century building, this petite, 10-suite hotel is one for design lovers. Describing its ethos as ‘rough-luxe’, each floor is modelled on a renowned Italian designer from the 20th century: Ponti, Parisi, Cavatorta, Borsano, Ulric, to name but a few. The result is a mixture of Fellini-meets-baroque Rome which strikes just the right balance between luxury and fun. The hip bar downstairs is all mirrored tiles and sleek, mid-century furniture – the perfect place for pre-party aperitifs (the G-Rough spritz is to die for).

Address

Piazza di Pasquino 69 00186

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J.K. Place

Rome, Italy

Housed in what was once Rome’s school of architecture, the five-star J.K. Place offers a luxurious alternative to L’Hotel de Russie. This 30-room boutique hotel is located in the town centre with a café and fantastic rooftop bar open to all. The hotel features a eclectic mix of antiques with mid-century furniture, while the library will keep you busy with its interesting collection of books. Don’t forget to order the house cocktail, J.K. Sour, while you’re there.

Address

Via di Monte D'Oro 30 00186

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Villa Laetitia

Rome, Italy

Renovated by one of the Fendi sisters, this converted 1900s mansion in the peaceful suburb of Prati offers a more kooky Roman experience. Set across the main villa and the lovely gardens, each room takes its theme from a friend or family member and, as a result, you’ll spot designer pieces from the likes of Mies van der Rohe and Ettore Sottsass along with sketches from fashion icons including Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel and Dior. Entering Enoteca LaTorre, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, is like stepping back in time, with the huge and beautifully ornate windows flooding the room with light during the day and glinting with candlelight by night. Rooms from £100/night

Address

Lungotevere delle Armi 22-23 00195

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1880 Atypical Rooms

Rome, Italy

Just six rooms, crisp and contemporary decor and a super central location – you get some serious bang for your buck at this sweet and simple spot. While reception isn’t open 24-hours a day, when the staff are there they couldn’t be more charming. With the creative Monti district right on your doorstep, there’s plenty to do, see and eat nearby too. It’s worth noting that some rooms are open-plan with glass-fronted showers – fine for holidays with special friends, but perhaps not ideal for a trip with mamma. Rooms from £125/night

Address

Via Nazionale 66 00184

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Nerva Boutique Hotel

Rome, Italy

Set on the edge of the trendy Monti district, this boutique hotel is a stylish pick. The 19 rooms have an urban feel with bold patterns and bright pops of colour, while quality pervades with designer furnishings, high-end bedding and rather smart marble-lined bathrooms. Family-run, the service here is warm and personal and the breakfast is an absolute treat.

Address

Via Tor de' Conti 3 00184

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Tree Charme

Rome, Italy

Set on the banks of the River Tiber in the popular Trastevere neighbourhood of Trastevere, this five-bedroom boutique hotel is smack-bang in the heart of the action. Accordingly, rooms can be a little noisy but they are beautifully elegant, with lovely parquet floors worn smooth with age, high ceilings and antiques aplenty. The sunny terrace offers the perfect place for a lazy breakfast before heading out to explore. Rooms from £125/night

Address

Lungotevere Farnesina 2 00165

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RetRome

Rome, Italy

Definitely on the budget end of the boutique scale, you’ll struggle to find better value for so central a spot, with the Colosseum just a hop, skip and a jump away, and the delightfully touristy-free Celio neighbourhood on your doorstep. In line with its name, there’s a decidedly retro theme here with vintage furnishings, artworks and eclectic curio dotted about to charming effect. It’s worth noting that the cheaper rooms do come up small (read: tiny), so an upgrade is recommended – though, with rates this reasonable, it still shouldn’t break the bank. Rooms from £70/night

Address

Via Marco Aurelio 47 00184

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San Pietro Boutique Rooms

Rome, Italy

A little outside the city centre proper, the Prati neighbourhood offers a more peaceful pace and so too does the lovely San Pietro. Set on the first floor of an elegant art-deco block and housing just six rooms, there is an intimate feel to this boutique guesthouse – the building’s rather grand exterior belying the simple and contemporary hideaway within. The Vatican is a short stroll away, and the rest of Rome is also easily accessible by metro, or even on foot should you be feeling spritely. Rooms from £110/night

Address

Via Properzio 32 00193

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Casa Montani

Rome, Italy

Set directly across from the Porta del Popolo, traditionally the main entrance to the city, the third floor of a luxurious 20th-century palazzo now plays host to this five-bedroom boutique B&B. Rather sweetly, the property has been in owner-manager Giuseppe Montani’s family for over 100 years and, accordingly, his family’s presence can be felt throughout with heirlooms, antiques and personal charm in abundance. Rooms from £125/night

Address

Piazzale Flaminio 9 00196

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Gigli d’Oro Suite

Rome, Italy

Just off the Piazza Navona, in a neighbourhood steeped in history, this beautifully restored 15th-century palace has a decidedly exclusive feel. The six luxury suites offer the perfect blend of old and new with wooden-beamed ceilings, original fireplaces and antique artworks set neatly alongside more modern design, like rather extravagant whirlpool baths. Unsurprising for a hotel of this size, amenities are light but, with the best of Rome on your doorstep, chances are you’ll have little need for much more in the way of entertainment anyway. Rooms from £140/night

Address

Via dei Gigli d'Oro 12 00186

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Daphne Inn

Rome, Italy

Just up the road from the Trevi Fountain on a quiet cobbled street, a stone’s throw from Piazza Barberini, this boutique B&B couldn’t be better placed for exploration. While no great shakes on the design front, rooms are comfy and contemporary and rates are exceptionally reasonable, given the location. Breakfast here is a treat and the staff have some great recommendations for less touristy sights nearby. Rooms from £85/night

Address

Via degli Avignonesi 20 00187

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MyNavona B&B

Rome, Italy

Tucked away on the third floor of a beautiful 19th-century palazzo a short stroll from Piazza Navona, you’ll find this eight-bedroom B&B. Owner-run by an interior designer and architect duo, the style is accordingly on point with the building’s original charm offset by contemporary fittings and more modern design. Breakfast is brought to your bedroom and the lovely staff have some great recommendations to help guide your meanderings. Rooms from £139/night

Address

Via di Tor Millina 35 00186

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Holy Deer San Lorenzo City Lodge

Rome, Italy

A two-bedroom palazzo and the former residence of a Pope – it doesn’t get much more Baroquely brilliant than this extravagant lodging overlooking the famous Piazza Navona. A fantasy of frescoes and antique furnishings, it practically encourages flights of fancy and tempestuous love affairs.

Address

Piazza Navona

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La Posta Vecchia

Rome, Italy

The reimagined childhood home of creative director Marie-Louise Sciò, this elegant Etruscan escape on the coastline one hour outside of the city by car is a maximalist’s dream of velvet headboards, chandeliers and tapestries that is well worth venturing beyond the established tourist trail for.

Address

Palo Laziale 00055 Ladispoli

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Hotel de 'Ricci

Rome, Italy

For oenophiles this eight-bedroom hotel off Via Giulia has its own well-stocked wine cellar, a staff composed entirely of sommeliers and a ground-floor members’ club in which to drink in the hedonistic atmosphere – hardly surprising when you consider that it belongs to the same owner as the beloved seafood restaurant Pierluigi.

Address

14 Via della Barchetta 00186

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Aldrovandi Villa Borghese

Rome, Italy

This former convent is located in the heavenly Borghese Gardens and has been restored into a charming and discreet beauty of a hotel, where marble floors and shuttered windows add a whiff of old-world grandeur alongside contemporary comforts such as the Biologique Recherche spa. Bikes offer the perfect means of exploring the leafy neighbourhood, while the concierge can secure notoriously hard-to-get tickets to the Villa Borghese.

Address

Via Ulisse Aldrovandi, 15

This image is on holiday

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Residenza Napoleone III

Address

Via Fontanella Borghese 56, 00186, Rome, Italy