When planning a trip, there’s nothing like advice from a local or a frequent visitor. RueBaRue asked savvy globetrotters to share what they like best about the places they love. We asked HeartRome to share with us its Rome secrets.
Why did you choose Rome?
Because there is no other city in the world like it. A bustling modern metropolis with constant reminders of the past. I feel so connected to history in Rome and to the longest and most powerful empire that was significant in creating the world we live in today. I love the colors of Rome, the ruins at every turn, the Romans, the carbonara, the resplendent piazzas and stunning monuments. It truly is as pretty as a postcard!
When was the first time you visited the city?
My first taste of Rome was Fiumicino Airport in 1985 but the first time I visited the city of Rome was in 2001.
What is your favorite place for…
Baylon Cafe (Trastevere) for sit down breakfast slash brunch. They do delicious freshly squeezed juice and the choc chip and pear pancakes are delicious. Or for breakfast on the run, grab a mixed bag of biscotti at Biscottificio Innocenti (Trastevere) where they bake hundreds of types of biscuits and sweet treats in a bakery that'll truly take you back to the 1950s.
Pianostrada Laboratorio di Cucina (Trastevere) is run by four sassy women. It's a true hole-in-the-wall with an open kitchen and space for only around 15 people! The bacca burger (salt cod on a black squid ink bun) is a must!
Mid afternoon treat
I Supplì for supplì (Roman street food snack in the form of a golden fried rice ball with mozzarella stuffing) or marinara pizza (tomato sauce, garlic and a hint of chili).
Porto Fluviale in the gentrified Ostiense neighborhood make Rome's best Hugo cocktail, my new fave! It's prosecco with St Germain (elderflower liquor) and mint. The bar snacks (Venetian style cichetti) are the perfect accompaniment.
Da Enzo is my local neighborhood favorite. Authentic Roman cuisine with checkered cloth covered wooden tables. Start with burrata and fried zucchini flowers, carbonara comes next and finish with mascarpone and wild strawberry mousse.
Which part of town do you like and feel that most visitors never get to see?
Testaccio. This working class Roman neighborhood was historically significant in the origins of Roman cuisine and to this day still boasts some of Rome's most authentic trattorie and pizzerie. You'll find only locals hanging out here: knocking back coffee at the bar, bustling through the Testaccio market, families walking around the main square Piazza Santa Maria in Liberatrice and the younger crowds dancing through the night at the clubs in Monte Testaccio.
Are there any shopping secrets we should know about?
Marta Ray (located in Trastevere and in the Jewish Ghetto) for handmade, made in Rome leather shoes and bags. Their ballerinas are simply the best!
What is your favorite touristy landmark in the city?
My favorite is the Pantheon. It's striking and imposing. It's the best preserved building of all that remains from Ancient Rome and engineers still marvel at the construction of the dome to this day.
Do you have a favorite museum?
Scuderie del Quirinale which is located in the square that is also host to the Quirinale Palace (the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic). I love it not just because of the diverse exhibitions it houses but because it shows off with the great window which looks out to 180 degree views of the city.
What is your favorite hotel in town?
I love Hotel de Russie for its luxurious day spa and club sandwiches in the garden cafe!
About Maria Pasquale
Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne. She has a formal background in political science and policy and now runs her own event management & PR company, through which she manages marketing & social media for Eating Europe Tours (encompassing food tours across Rome, London, Amsterdam and Prague).
An unabashed romantic (Rome being her one true love!) she is the creator of popular food, travel and lifestyle blog HeartRome and as a freelance food and travel writer is a contributor to Tripology, Fodor's and 10 Best, USA Today Travel.
In Rome you'll find her walking the streets of Trastevere, checking out the latest bar for an aperitivo or dining with friends.