Blog, Italy, Rome

Rome: more tips

April 26, 2013

Rome: more tips

My sisters accompanied me on my most recent trip to Rome (2012) – the city where we lived for a year 2009-2010, just off Campo Di Fiori and Piazza Farnese.  A blissful year.  And we all very much needed to return to our beloved Rome.  To re-visit old haunts as well as discover new.  The turtle fountain still remains our favourite…

The Turtle Fountain, Rome

The Turtle Fountain

City Turtle at her old front door

My old front door

We were fortunate to stay in the stunning Relais & Chateaux Palazzo Manfredi – a boutique property as close to the Colosseum as it gets.  Our view at breakfast was of the iconic Colosseum basking in the glorious winter sun.

Colosseum view from Palazzo Manfredi

Colosseum view from Palazzo Manfredi

Another perk of working for luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent was being able to visit two other 5-star properties in Rome by the Spanish Steps: Roccoforte Hotel de Russie (where we had the most incredible lunch in its beautiful green garden) and Portrait Suites (part of the Ferragamo group), where we enjoyed a glass of prosecco on their rooftop terrace with sweeping views of Rome at night.  Since these properties are decidedly not mid-budget, I will move on quickly.  But if you don’t have a budget, these hotels are all perfect to explore Rome from.

The Gardens at Hotel de Russie

The Gardens at Hotel de Russie

One of the highlights of our trip was dinner at a newly discovered restaurant Casa Coppelle.  I can’t recommend it more.  Cosy, warm, trendy without being pretentious.  And comfortable.  So comfortable.  The menu’s price-range, like many Italian menus, makes it accessible to all.  You can enjoy a courgette, soft cheese and saffron risotto for 10 euros, or try one of their homemade pasta dishes.  Equally if you want a good piece of meat (like I did) go for ‘Beef delights with sesame seeds and speck on a balsamic sauce (21 euros).  The Chef’s suggestions are all really good and don’t skip pudding: the panna cotta is to die for.  Book to avoid disappointment.

CIty Turtle with the 'Chef's suggestion' at Casa Coppelle

CIty Turtle with the ‘Chef’s suggestion’ at Casa Coppelle

There are lots of wonderful wine bars and aperitivo places around Casa Coppelle like the neighbouring wine bar which has walls covered in old wooden wine cases. The owner was charming, asked us what sort of wines we liked and poured us the perfect ones in large glasses.  It is a very homely place and you instantly feel very welcome.

Vinoteca Rome

Vinoteca next to Casa Coppelle

Another wine bar I was recommended is Cul de Sac – great location close to Piazza Navona, a huge range of wines on offer and delicious food from Rome.  You can also sit outside which is a plus.

Cul de Sac, Rome

Cul de Sac

My sister Emilia happens to be a massive church lover.  Not in the religious sense but more in her appreciation for the architecture and art.  While I know the main sights of Rome at the back of my hand, I was not that familiar with Rome’s great cathedrals (save St Peter’s of course).  So we went for a long walk, circling the centro storico (historical centre) of Rome and visiting Basilica of John the Lateran, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Clemente.  I was more than impressed.  The Basilica of John the Lateran was not particularly special looking from the side we entered,  but overwhelmingly beautiful on the inside.  You’d never expect it to be quite so big.  I especially loved the marble black and white floor and the coffered gold ceiling.  And then a surprise awaited us as we exited the cathedral on the other side (which turned out to be the front of the Cathedral), where if you stand back and look at the cathedral as a whole, you are blown away by its grandeur.

Basilica of St. John the Lateran's stunning ceiling

Basilica of St. John the Lateran’s stunning ceiling

Santa Maria Maggiore was wonderful to look at from the outside and I loved the 14th century bell tower which, while it looks so detached and different, actually works really well with the facade of the cathedral.

Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

Santa Maria Maggiore

San Clemente is the most unknown, smaller and hidden behind the Colosseum.  It is special because the 12th century church sits on top of a 4th Century church, and you can visit below.

One of our greatest discoveries when walking to Santa Maria Maggiore was coming across this bakery/deli/wine bar/restaurant called Panella.  It was the window arrangement which first caught our eyes: lots of City Turtles made of bread!

Panella's window arrangement

Panella’s window arrangement

I loved the turtles so much I bought one (for a whopping 10 euros!).  They make the most incredible cakes, breads, you name it.  And they have a deli with lots of delicious things and a wine bar so it is not just ideal for breakfast or lunch.  It was crowded with locals buying their bread for the weekend or just enjoying the lovely terrace and a quiche or a cake.  A must visit!

City Turtle by the fountain in Villa Borghese

City Turtle by the fountain in Villa Borghese

Apart from that we spent our weekend just walking through the city.  We walked a lot.  And we also spent quite some time in Trastevere – an area so different to the historical centre (yet so close).  I love the narrow winding cobbled streets, the burnt orange houses, the small cafes and the happening vibe.  It remains – in my eyes – the best place to go for drinks at night.  See City Turtle Rome City Page under ‘Drink’.



Trastevere's charming houses

Trastevere’s charming houses

It was so wonderful to be back in Rome.  And I know I’ll be back again soon.

**The Rome City page will be updated to reflect any changes/new additions. 


Cul de Sac

Piazza di Pasquino, 73  00186 Rome


Casa Coppelle

Piazza delle Coppelle, 49  00186 Rome, Italy
+39 06 6889 1707



Via Merulana, 54  00185 Rome


Palazzo Mandredi

Via Labicana, 125, 00184 Rome


Roccoforte Hotel de Russie

Via del Babuino, 9 00187 Rome


Portrait Suites

Via Bocca di Leone, 23, 00187 Rome

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