How To Spend 48 Hours In Rome
A weekend in the Eternal City is always a dream, whether it’s a romantic getaway or a solo city break. Our editor Kate Lough shares her ideal 48 hours in Rome with you, from the best place to stay, to the galleries and palazzos not to miss, via her must-book trattorias.
After landing in Rome, jump in a taxi to your hotel for the weekend, the elegant and storied Hotel Locarno. It’s been welcoming the great and the good since 1925 — writers, poets, film stars — and is easily the chicest place to stay in the Eternal City. The location is perfect: it’s nestled in between the Tiber, Piazza Poppolo and the Borghese Gardens. After freshening up in your Art Deco room, relaxing in your claw-footed bathtub and admiring the marble floors, it’s time for a drink. You have the courtyard and iconic rooftop bar to explore over two evenings, so start downstairs. Settle in an aperitivo, sipping on its signature Bellini, while soaking up the buzz of your fellow guests and Roman locals. Next, walk the leisurely 15 minutes to your dinner reservation at La Matricianella, remember to marvel at all the beautiful architecture along the way. Order various Roman specialties, fried artichokes and a bowl of Amatriciana, washed down with a glass or two of Tuscan red.
First things first: breakfast in the Locarno courtyard. A smooth cappuccino, freshly squeezed orange juice, a basket of mini pastries, fresh fruit and eggs a la carte; you’ll certainly feel fuelled for the day. Next, make the short walk to the Borghese Gardens, the most beautiful in Rome. You’ll pass through Piazza Poppolo, taking in the towering Baroque beauty of the Basilica di Santa Maria in Montesanto. Weave your way among the gardens, stopping to admire the stunning view over Rome and its skyline, until you reach the Borghese Gallery. Here, you’ll want to dedicate a couple of hours to one of the most magnificent museums in Rome, with works by Rapahel, Caravaggio and Bernini.
If you’re after a little more culture and a couple of arrestingly beautiful frescoed ceilings. Pop into either the Chiesa San Luigi dei Francesi, or the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj. Otherwise, walk from Roscioli over the Tiber into the laidback neighbourhood of Travestere, for an afternoon of spritz stops and wandering around.
Back at Locarno in the early evening, it’s time for a cocktail on the iconic rooftop, which must have one of the loveliest views over Rome. Make sure to book your spot ahead, as it’s such a popular place to have a drink. Then, hop in a taxi back to Travestere to Da Enzo, it’s one of hotelier Marie-Louise Scio’s favourite spots in the city too. You can’t reserve tables, but it’s a perfect, casual trattoria with alfresco tables and very classic, Roman cooking. For a nightcap, we love Jerry Thomas, you just need a password to get inside…
Then, it’s time for lunch. Make sure you’ve booked ahead for Roscioli, a delicatessen-come-restaurant that’s loved by locals as much as visitors. Order plates such as anchovy bread, caponata, and Roman classics such as cacio e pepe.
After another leisurely breakfast at home, set off for Villa Medici, a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps on Monte Pincio. Formerly the seat of the Medici family, it’s now the French Academy, but you can still look around the villa and its gardens if you book a short tour. There are secret rooms, beautiful painted ceilings, outdoor sculpture — and a spectacular panorama over Rome.
It’s nearly time to leave, but you can squeeze in one more restaurant. Walk down the Spanish Steps to Pianostrada, a chic spot for lunch on a quiet side street. With slick, contemporary interiors and a lovely internal garden, order one of their homemade paninis, fritti or just one more plate of pasta — all the produce is sourced from farms around Rome.
For more restaurants in the Eternal City, take a look at our Roman Restaurant Edit.
Kate Lough is a freelance travel writer and editor. Follow @kateloughtravel for more travel inspiration.
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