Italia! We love the place so darn much we’re visiting it again. This time we’re hitting Rome and Milan. Our next visit? Florence and Venice.
The glam choice? Hotel de Russie (Via del Babuino, 9; +39 06-32-88-81). Design snobs love the Es Hotel (Via Turati, 171; +39 06-444-841), in spite of its seedy ‘hood. A funkier option is the heaven-and-hell-themed Aleph (Via di San Basilio, 15; +39 06-422-901). (Like Design Hotels aren’t high concept enough.) Our fave secret address: International Wine Academy (Vicolo del Bottino, 8; +39 06-699-0878) — the rooms overlooking the Spanish Steps are some of Rome’s best real estate. You have to be a member, but it’s worth the twenty euros. If nothing else, stop by for a tasting. (Teacher Ian is bilingual.)
Spanking-new Baby (Via Ulisse Aldrovandi, 15; +39 06-321-6126), in the Hotel Aldrovandi Palace, features the food of Don Alfonso 1890 (of Amalfi fame). Osteria della Frezza (Via della Frezza, 16; +39 06-322-6273) is the latest addition to ‘Gusto, the fun foodie complex that includes a pizzeria, wine bar, store, and cheese shop with takeout window. Charmer Gina (Via San Sebastianello, 7A; +39 06-678-0251) — a taste of Miami in the Eternal City — serves from morning till midnight. Late dinner? Hit Supper Club (Via de’ Nari, 14; +39 06-688-072-07), located in an ancient ironworks factory near the Pantheon. La Pergola, at the Cavalieri Hilton (Via A. Cadlolo, 101; +39 06-350-91), home of two-Michelin-star chef Heinz Beck, is the fancy reservation.
Some translations: Barneys = Leam Limited (Via Appia Nuova, 30; +39 06-772-07-204), which has the latest styles for men, women, and home. The area around Campo de’ Fiori is funky (or as close to it as Rome gets). Bargains need no explaining. Fashion District (+39 06-959-9491), a factory-outlet mall just south of the city in Valmonte, has Dolce, Valentino, Gucci, Prada, and more. You’ll be glad you schlepped.
If you can’t get into 3Rooms (Corso Como, 10; +39 02-626-163), the boutique hotel attached to the style emporium 10 Corso Como, check out the new Bulgari Hotel (Via Privata Fratelli Gabba, 7B; +39 02-805-8051). (Yes, as in the jewelry. It’s called branching out.) Big, fat hotel pick that’s not the Four Seasons or the Principe di Savoia? Slick five-star Park Hyatt (Via Tommaso Grossi, 1; +39 02-8821-1234), located right in the Galleria. (And you’ll even earn frequent-flier miles.)
The food suffers from fashion victimization, too. Nobu Armani (Via Pisoni, 1; +39 02-6231-2645) is located in (and decorated by) Giorgio. Dolce & Gabbana collaborated with Martini & Rossi on their in-store bar (Corso Venezia, 15; +39 02-7601-1154). Top newcomers? Noy (Via Soresina, 4; +39 02-4811-0375) and Eda (Via Filippino Lippi, 7). Adventurous gastronomes are atwitter over vegetarian heaven Joia (Via P. Castaldi, 18; +39 02-295-22-124).
10 Corso Como (Corso Como, 10; +39 02-290-026-74), the store that launched a thousand knockoffs, remains the mecca in this town of snooty shoppers. Fiorucci (Galleria Passarella, 1; +39 02-760-912-37) recently re-opened (yet again) and is always a sentimental favorite. No design buff should miss the experience that is Spazio900 (Viale Campania 51; +39 02-701-257-37). Outlets require a day trip to FoxTown Factory Stores, in Mendrisio: terrible name, great place, easy access to public transportation (train to Chiasso). Scores include Missoni bikinis, Gucci stilettos, and Prada cashmere. (Delicious raw-milk cheese in the cafeteria.)
Want even more? Revisit DailyCandy Goes to Italy: The Countryside.