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P Johnson's guide to Rome
Image: Rome, 1979, by Luigi Ghirri
Words: T.B.Riley

June 2018

Rome is one of our favourite places to travel to, for its beauty, history, and of course incredible food. We’ve put together a guide to some of Patrick’s favourite spots in case you happen to be visiting.


We all know the problem with being an Australian just arrived in Europe - you wake up at 5am when nothing’s open. I like to deal with this by going for an early walk, beginning at the Faro del Gianicolo, and walking through the Botanical Gardens to the Fontana dell’Aqua Paola, which features in the opening scene of the film “Le Grande Bellazza” by Paolo Sorrentino. From here, make your way down the hill to Trastevere and stop for a coffee at any of the bars, you can’t go wrong with espresso here. Afterwards, make your way to Ponte Cestio, which will take you over the river to Isola Tiberina, an amazing little island in the Tiber river. Walk over the river from here, and stroll up to the Pantheon at the Piazza della Rotonda.


My favourite area to eat in Rome is Trastevere, on the west bank of the Tiber. It’s a beautiful medieval neighbourhood, with narrow cobbled streets lined by beautiful, ancient houses, where you can drink on the street and eat sensational food at the many restaurants.

J.K. Place Roma
Via di Monte d'Oro, 30, 00186 Roma RM
If you’re not satisfied with breakfast at your hotel, you can find the best breakfast in Rome is at J.K. Place Roma.  It’s a really good way to get the J.K. experience without having to pay the full room rate, and the food is exceptional. The Italians are not famous for their breakfast - which usually consists of a strong espresso followed by a pastry - so if you’re craving something more this is a great option. 

Cul de Sac
Piazza di Pasquino, 73, 00186 Roma RM
For a quick bite during the day, go to Cul de Sac near Piazza Navona. The black rice and mussels in tomato sauce are exceptional, then again everything here is very good. It’s traditional uncomplicated Roman food, in the Jewish tradition.

Al Ceppo
Via Panama, 2, 00198 Roma RM
Al Ceppo is a bistro-style restaurant in a residential area a short drive from the city centre. It’s one of my favourites for lunch and also for people watching; you won’t see a single tourist

Ristorante le Mani in Pasta
Via dei Genovesi, 37, 00153 Roma RM
Absolutely the best pasta in Rome. Make sure you get a table close to the kitchen so you can see the action. It’s a small restaurant, so make sure you book.

Taverna Trilussa
Via del Politeama, 23/25, 00153 Roma RM
For more atmosphere in the Summer months, book a table outside in the courtyard at Taverna Trilussa. It’s the best amatriciana in Rome

Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 9, 00186 Roma RM
‘Gusto at the Piazza Augusto has an amazing buffet for that deep travel hunger, serving fresh seasonal produce

Enoteca al Parlamento Achilli
Via dei Prefetti, 15, 00186 Roma RM
Look, this bar has no vibe, (if you want vibe, go to the courtyard at the Hotel Locarno) but it’s still a great spot to drink wine. Stand at the bar to speak to the sommelier and enjoy amazing wine by the glass with beautifully made canapés.


Hotel Locarno
Via della Penna, 22, 00186 Roma RM
For years, I’ve stayed at the Hotel Locarno, an Art Nouveau hotel that has recently undergone a sort of renovation. The courtyard is great for drinking in Summer, it has the worst wifi in the universe, but it does have a charm to it. Try and get one of the larger rooms in the newer side of the hotel.

Hotel de Russie
Via del Babuino, 9, 00187 Roma RM
If you’re craving five star luxury, pop down the road to the Hotel de Russie where you’ll get all the attention you’d expect from a Rocco Forte hotel. It also has an excellent courtyard.

J.K. Place Roma
Via di Monte d'Oro, 30, 00186 Roma RM
For something a little cooler, stay at J.K. Place Roma. The interiors are exceptional and the service is second to none.

Voi Hotel Donna Camilla Savelli
Via Garibaldi, 27, 00153 Roma RM
If J.K. and de Russie are not quite your speed, try the Voi Hotel Donna Camilla Savelli over in Trastevere. It’s a beautiful hotel in an old monastery, and it’s great to be in Trastevere for it’s excellent drinking.

And if you need to freshen up:

Essenzialmente Laura 
Via dei Coronari, 57, 00186 Roma RM
Our favourite perfumery is Essenzialmente Laura in Municipio 1. Chances are you may meet Italy’s most famous ‘nose’, Laura Bosetti Tonatto herself, who can walk you through hundreds of fragrance options. If you can’t make it to the Via dei Coronari, drop by one of our showrooms, where we carry a carefully curated selection. 

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