Tales Of Roma: Your Guide To Italy’s Cultural Epicentre

By Morgan Reardon

Ah, Roma, who can resist the everlasting charm of the Eternal City? It’s a place where you’ll find old-world beauty at every turn, endless museums to explore, so many spirits to be sipped and cacio e pepe is always on the menu. Got your next holiday written all over it? We’ve teamed up with the crew at Lavazza (who just dropped their decadent Tales of Roma brew) to let you know where to eat, play and stay in Roma. 

EatTwo people eating and looking out to Rome

Felice a Testaccio
This iconic eatery has been slinging perfectly cooked plates of cacio e pepe for almost 90 years—since 1936, to be exact. Locals fill this old-school establishment (think retro chequered floors and white tablecloths), day in, day out, so you know it’s got the goods. Best of all, the tasty tangle of spaghetti, black pepper and pecorino is freshly tossed at your table—dinner and a show, anyone? 

Osteria Chiana

Nestled in Roma’s Coppedè Quarter, this eclectic bistro with burnt orange walls adorned with film posters and vintage Italian ads is the perfect place to pull up a seat. While the seasonal menu is ever-changing, you’re always guaranteed an incredible meal here. Think: tonnarelli artichokes with crunchy pork cheek, succulent meatballs with tomato and rocket and tiramisu to ruin all others.


Tuck into Roma’s favourite street food from the best purveyors at Supplizio. The Roman rice balls are stuffed with mouthwatering flavours like amatriciana (tomato, pecorino, bacon and mozzarella), cacio e pepe and classico (meat, tomato, mozzarella and parmigiano), before being deep fried to perfection. Pro tip: these tasty morsels are best enjoyed while strolling along the River Tiber—a four-minute meander away. 

​​Pasticceria Regoli
Treat yourself to something sweet at Roma’s most loved pastry shop, Pasticceria Regoli. Since swinging its doors open in 1916, this family-run spot consistently has a string of hungry travellers and locals exiting its shopfront toting brown paper bags filled with maritozzi (cream-filled buns), flaky strawberry tarts and Sicilian cannoli. It's the perfect place to get a sugar rush.

Roof Garden Les Étoiles
There are rooftop bars, and then there’s Les Étoiles at Hotel Atlante Star. With 360-degree views of Roma—a shot of St Peter’s Basilica is a must—this evening drink stop is destined for your TikTok. Enjoy a negroni and cheese board at golden hour, then watch the city illuminate around you. It’s bucket list stuff. 

Il Goccetto

If you’re looking for a tipple at a Roman institution, then park yourself at Il Goccetto. Moody and cosy, the bar has 850 bottles of vino lining the walls all worth pulling up a stool at the bar for. Want the local experience? Take your vino to the street and sip curbside. Perfect for people watching too, grab a glass, and a plate of cheese with hunks of crusty, made-that-day bread and soak up the vibes of Centro Storico. 

The Jerry Thomas Project

Thirsty for an expertly-made cocktail? The Jerry Thomas Project is calling your name. The dimly lit speakeasy requires a password for entry (which you can find on their website), but for your effort, you’ll be rewarded with access to one of the city's coolest watering holes—and its range of tasty concoctions. 

PlayPeople dancing under a disco ball

Hit The Clubs
Sure you’re going to want to devour plate after plate of cacio e pepe during your sojourn to beautiful Roma, but once you’ve eaten your way around the Eternal City, you'll want to stay out all night dancing until dawn at one of its incredible night clubs. Head to the artist-soaked enclave of Trastevere to find a bunch of clubs worth your time. Our fave is Alcazar Live, a former movie theatre turned club with live music on Thursdays and everything from R&B and soul to jazz on the weekend. If house music is more your vibe, Toy Room’s lineup of international DJs and sprawling neon dance floor should hit the spot. Finally, a night spent at Jackie O’ will be one to remember. A piano bar from 10pm, followed by DJ’s spinning beats until the wee hours—the dance floor here is always a vibe. 

Soak Up Culture
You’re in the Eternal City after all, so it would be remiss not to get lost in the historic streets, galleries and museums of Roma. Not sure where to start? Tick off the must-dos first (the Vatican, Colosseum and Pantheon) before gazing in wonder at the art collection at the Borghese Gallery and Museum dating back to the 16th century. While you’re at it, visit Contemporary Cluster—housed in a decadent baroque building, and discover Roma's best contemporary artworks within a historic setting. Expect a similar, equally awe-inspiring vibe at Centrale Montemartini, where you can peruse ancient statues set within a state-of-the-art power station. And you can’t pass up a visit to Capitoline Hill. Spread across three buildings in Piazza del Campidoglio designed by Michelangelo, you can access the museums via underground tunnels. Pro tip: don’t miss the secret garden tucked behind the piazza for a main-character moment.  

Stroll The Markets
Make like a local, pull on your sneakers, grab a tote bag and spend a morning meandering through Roma’s best markets. Start at Mercato Campagna Amica—Roma’s largest farmers market. Open from 8am to 8pm, you really need to arrive hungry so you can fill your stomach (and bag) with freshly farmed fruit and veg, baked goods, cured meats and cheese. Get your fix of street food, including fresh pasta and craft beers from the Testaccio Market, while Nuovo Mercato Esquilino showcases Roma’s multicultural side with a rainbow of colourful international eats. If vintage markets are more your style, stroll to Porta Portese in Trastevere for antiques and vinyl, or Borghetto Flaminio for second-hand designer threads and handbags—we’re talking Prada, honey! 

Catch The Sunset At Giancolo
Well worth the calf burn, Giancolo, located high above the Trastevere neighbourhood is the highest point in Roma. The leafy escape—which isn’t widely known to all tourists—boasts dreamy views over the city, with the 17th century Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden) to one side housing 3,000 plant species and the beautiful Fontana dell’Acqua Paola to the other. Bring a picnic for sunset, or stop in at one of the many summer bars dotted alongside the hillside.  



Palazzo Manfredi 

If you’re looking to push the boat out—like all the way out—splash out on a room at Palazzo Manfredi. The luxury, five-star digs offer some of the most incredible hotel views you’ll ever lay your eyes on with the Colosseum mere metres from your window. It’s the epitome of a room with a view. 


VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel

Housed in a former Baroque Monastery, at the foot of Giancolo Hills in the trendy suburb of Trastevere, this boutique hotel is the perfect place to base yourself if you want to get off the tourist track. Surrounded by cobblestone streets lined with excellent restaurants and lively bars, this hotel is a relaxed oasis hidden amongst Roma’s coolest neighbourhood. 


The Beehive

If you’re looking to explore Roma on a budget, check into The Beehive. The sustainable hostel has a strong focus on community and is just a five-minute walk from Roma Termini (central station). There’s female-only dorms, mixed rooms and private suites with bathrooms.

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Lavazza and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Images: Urban List.

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