Help me be romantic in Rome
September 27, 2007 11:49 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are going to Italy with a tour group late November, and it also happens to be our anniversary. We'll be in Rome the day/night of our anniversary. We're staying at the Holiday Inn Parco Dei Medici.

Likes/dislikes: Foodwise, we're not really info "fancy/expensive/formal" dining, plus my wife isn't really into Italian food. And no wine. Cafe/diner type places are good, and any place with good bread is a plus. (Yes, we're a really exciting couple) Sights/shopping-wise: "cutesy," "unusual," or modern beats out historical. Any place that's on a hill and/or has a nice view of the city is always nice. As an example of the things we like, when we went to Paris once, one night when the rest of our tour group went to a lavish expensive dinner at fancy French restaurant, we ended up walking around the city, buying some bread at Fauchon, and finding a nice little sidewalk eatery to eat at.

My wife is really down to earth, so she's actually not into grand romantic gestures. But I do want to make the day/night special for her.

Oh, and this is the first time we've ever been to Italy, and we don't speak a word of Italian.

Can anyone give me suggestions on how to make our anniversary special, either near our hotel or at least somewhere accessible by us tourists?
posted by edjusted to Travel & Transportation around Italy (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If your wife has never been to Italy, then she cannot truthfully say that she "isn't really into Italian food," as she has never actually eaten Italian food. Eat the Italian food.
posted by The World Famous at 11:53 AM on September 27, 2007

Seconded. Especially if you are american. What you have been told is 'Italian Food' is invariably so far off it as to make an Italian cry...

Most places will have good bread in Rome, and there will be no danger of finding non fancy places to eat. Just wander around and see, as most side streets in Rome have decent, down to earth restaurants.

Tip: Eat where Italians do. To spot where this is, look for the arm waving. If more than 60% of the arms in the place are on the table at any one time (rather than flapping in the air) then it is full of tourists and don't go there... :)
posted by Brockles at 12:04 PM on September 27, 2007

Whatever you do you'll have to get a taxi into Rome from the hotel. It's worth it. Just go out, grab some pizza. Chill in Piazza Navona or Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere.

Recommendations for dinner, rough estimate of prices:

Eur 40-50:
Grappolo d'Oro
Taverna Trilussa

Eur 25-40:
Alle Fratte Big plus: they speak English. Owner's wife is from Long Island.

Eur 15-30:
Monte Carlo
posted by NailsTheCat at 12:41 PM on September 27, 2007

Response by poster: I agree about the Italian food. Me, I love Italian food, but thought I'd put the wife's preferences down just for completeness. And believe me, it's not like we're going to be eating at McDonalds the whole time there. No way!!
posted by edjusted at 1:02 PM on September 27, 2007

Response by poster: Oh, and I should also mention we're both into snack foods. We always enjoy checking out local grocery stores/convenience stores to see what the locals eat every day.
posted by edjusted at 1:05 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Aristocampo by the Campo dei Fiori should be right down your alley, food-wise. They have a branch in Trastevere as well, but without seating. Pop your head into any bakery and buy some arancini or polpette for snacks.
posted by mzurer at 1:10 PM on September 27, 2007

If you're only there for a day, you may not be able to see or do a lot, however, having come back from Rome last month:

- Go see the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti (more commonly called the "Spanish Steps")
- Go see The Vatican, and especially the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum.

You're in Italy, for your anniversary! How many times are you going to visit Rome? Do everything you can!

Circus Maximus is a nice place to sit and have a picnic.

When you go to the restaurants, gratuity is included and don't sit down unless you're prepared to spend money. And if they ask you if you want bread, you'll be paying for the bread. It isn't just a nice gesture the restaurant performs to keep people at their establishment. So keep that in mind. That goes for everything, not just the bread.

I ate at Leonardo's in the touristy part of Rome, which was near the Spanish Steps and had great food.

Heineken is very popular there as is Birra Moretti.

Go to Janiculum Hill Gardens as well as the Seven Hills of Rome.

Don't just go there for the food. In my opinion, it would be an insult to spend time, money, effort if you didn't try to experience Rome. See the art, history, anything you can while you have the chance.
posted by wesley at 1:13 PM on September 27, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions! And in case I made anyone think I just wanted restaurant suggestions, "things to see/do" suggestions are also very welcome. Since we'll be with a tour group, we *will* be seeing a lot of the sights in Rome. It's just that we'll have a "free day" to explore on our own as well.
posted by edjusted at 3:34 PM on September 27, 2007

I've stayed in this hotel - it's very nice, but very far away from the center of the city. You'll be in the EUR, which is the "new" section that Mussolini had built, and it's mostly set up for office buildings and the like. The hotel does run a bus into the city which is free, but the trip is a bit far, so if you need to take a taxi you'll pay about 30 - 40 Euros. It's not an ideal situation if you want to be right in the heart of things, but it's dealable. My recommendation is to take the shuttle schedule with you, take it in to the city, and then plan on taking a taxi home because the shuttle stops running around 7 pm - you'll miss *all* of Roman nightlife if you head home at that time!

As for things around your hotel, I'm not sure there are many, but you could get in touch with the hotel staff and see if they have recommendations. The feeling in the EUR is very, very different from the centro storico.

If you do stay there, enjoy it - it's a lovely place that I've really enjoyed.
posted by AthenaPolias at 4:22 PM on September 27, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you AthenaPolias! Very good to know!!
posted by edjusted at 8:51 PM on September 27, 2007

I spent a day in Rome at the end of August. I was also with a tour, so I only had one free day to explore, and it was also my first time in Rome, just like you.

Here's my little tip. I don't know if you'll be going to the Vatican Museum on your own or with the tour, but if you plan on going on your own (on a day that it's open, natch), I suggest that you schedule it in the afternoon (around 1 pm) and not first thing in the morning. My family and I left our hotel at around 7:30 am, took the subway to the Museum, and ended up standing in line for a good two hours before finally getting inside at 10 am. Somebody else from our tour saw the long waiting line in the morning and decided the wait would be a waste of a good two hours, so came back after lunch and lo! No line.

Please note that this is purely anecdotal and the situation might be different for you, but that was the start of my one day in Rome. I loved Italy! Hope you and your wife have a grand time there. Oh, and definitely grab some gelato near the Fontana de Trevi! Yum!
posted by misozaki at 12:22 AM on September 28, 2007

RE: No line for the Vatican in the afternoon.

That's not going to be possible for when edjusted will be there as there are shorter opening hours in the winter: the last entrance is at 12.30 and the museum closes at 13.45.

Note also that while the bread is good, typically butter is not served on the side as bread is used more to sop up the leftover sauce on your plate.

An unusual sight that probably won't be a stop on the guided part of your tour would be the Crypt of the Cappuccini Monks, though I wouldn't really say that it's romantic. :) You could have a wander around Villa Borghese and enjoy the view from the Pincio above Piazza del Popolo. Galleria Borghese might also be an option for you, but note that you must make reservations in advance.
posted by romakimmy at 4:27 AM on September 28, 2007

Well, there goes that idea... Thanks for the info, romakimmy.
posted by misozaki at 8:34 AM on September 28, 2007

Seconding AthenaPolias, I've stayed at that hotel as well. Absolutely plan on taking a taxi back. 7pm is too early, there's nothing exciting around the hotel and even if you did want to leave at 7, the last bus will fill up leaving you on your own.
posted by turbodog at 10:33 AM on September 28, 2007

« Older What's the best stout?   |   Should I be worried about my friend's... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.