Sidebars for Cinema city: Romes eternal appeal
The "Hollywood on the Tiber" survives bombs, near-bankruptcy and blockbusters with bella figura
Flight in the Porta
Ad-lib and adventure
in the historic center
Wishing well at the
Film noir in Piazza
Chariot chaos in
the Circus Maximus
Vanity fair at the
Massive model at
Porn in Piazza Navona
Pantheon as paunch
before you go
The Roma Independent Film Festival takes place in early April each year (www.riff.it; +39.06.45.425.050; Via Po 134, 00198 Roma). In autumn, the city hosts the progressive Cinecittà Internet Film Festival (www.cinecitta.com).
Visual artists are eligible for the Rome Prize eleven-months' lodging, studio space and stipend from the prestigious American Academy in Rome (www.aarome.org; 212-751-7200; 7 East 60 Street, New York, NY, 10022).
Finally, request the excellent brochure, Rome, The Great Movie Set: a never-ending emotion, from Azienda di Promozione Turistica di Roma (www.romaturismo.it; +39.06.488.991; Via Parigi 11, 00185 Roma).
Any place begging for custom is dire, as Romans will wait hours to eat at the best pizzerias, like Da Baffetto. Sixties radicals popularised this straightforward establishment now the whole world scrambles for a seat (06.686.1617; Via del Governo Vecchio 114, near Piazza Navona).
Locals prefer to dine across the river in atmospheric Trastevere, home to two famous pizza restaurants. Dar Poeta serves up soft, rich pies in a jovial atmosphere (closed lunch, closed Mon; 06.588.0516; Vicolo del Bologna 45). Panattoni is gruffer, but the vast pizzas are just as tasty. Celebrities rub shoulders with workers at the long marble tables. Also known as I Marmi, the Marbles, and the less-appetising l'Obitorio, the Morgue (closed Wed, closed August; 06.580.0919; Viale Trastevere 53/59).
Da Settimio is a vivid, cheerful nook near the Pantheon, serving the best penne allarrabiata in town (pasta with fiery tomato-garlic sauce) and superb gorgonzola polenta (firm corn-meal cake). Reserve a table for dinner, as this petite establishment quickly overflows (closed Sun and Mon; closed August; 06.678.9651; Via delle Colonnelle 14).
Evangelistas is perfect for long, intimate meals, including at least one fabled artichoke dish. Try them alla giudia (Roman-Jewish style, batter-fried whole) or al mattone (crushed between two bricks, then baked). An elegant option (closed lunch, closed Sun, closed August; 06.687.5810; Via delle Zoccolette 11a, near the Ghetto). Finally, celebrate special occasions at Antico Arco, a nouvelle cuisine mecca in an 18th-century palazzo on the Gianicolo hill (closed lunch, closed Sun, closed August; 06.581.5274; Piazzale Aurelio, Monteverde).
Bar San Calisto is rowdy and rough-hewn, but no less classic. The bar, nicknamed Marcellos, serves cheap coffee, beer and ice cream in Trastevere. This gritty hole-in-the-wall is famous for affogato, ice cream drizzled with liqueur, especially the vodka-lemon sorbet (closed Sunday, closed end of August; 06.583.5869; Piazza San Calisto 4).
Gawk at the glitterati at Bar Gianicolo (closed Monday, 06.580.6275; Piazzale Aurelio 5, Monteverde). Crowd-watch over a cocktail at Ombre Rosse (www.ombrerosse.com; 06.588.4155; Piazza Sant Egidio 12, Trastevere) or the chic, ivy-swathed Bar della Pace (06.686.1216; 3/7 Via della Pace, near Piazza Navona). DArt Caffetteria its new and noteworthy neighbour nestles under Bramantes dome (closed Monday; www.chiostrodelbramante.it; 06.6880.9035; Via della Pace, inside the Santa Maria della Pace Cultural Center).
Yet for wide-screen
sensationalism, climb to the Capitoline Museum Cafè and
watch sunset stain the city from the marble balustrade (closed Monday;
06.320.1706; Palazzo dei Conservatori, Piazza del Campidoglio, between
Piazza Venezia and the Roman Forum).
The Hotel Portoghesi is hidden away in the evocative Tor di Nona area, west of Piazza Navona. This stylish hotel includes a breakfast solarium and roof terrace, frothing with flowers. Doubles €185310 (www.hotelportoghesiroma.com; 06.686.4231; Via dei Portoghesi 1).
The Hotel Hassler
hosts the bel mondo atop the Spanish steps, surveying St Peters,
the Villa Medici and all Rome. Big Spenders like Bill Gates
prefer the swanky penthouse, though corner room 403 also is coveted. Doubles
06.699.340; Via Trinità dei Monti 6). And just next door is the
exclusive boutique hotel Scalinata di Spagna. Doubles €250380
Piazza Trinità dei Monti 17, also near the Spanish Steps).
Ciampino 15km south of downtown Rome is a mixed blessing. Outrageously cheap flights land here (as low as €10 from London), but the public transport links are tricky (www.adr.it; 06.794.941). COTRAL buses connect to the vast Anagnina Station, then catch Metro Linea A to the central train hub, Termini (€1.80). Some airlines run more expensive shuttles (around €20 return), while a cab costs roughly €35.
No-frills airlines like Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) and Easyjet (www.easyjet.com) sell one-way tickets, making it affordable to fly into Rome and out of another regional capital, such as Naples, Venice, Pisa or Genoa. Other fledgling airlines connect Italy with the Continent: Sky Europe (www.skyeurope.com), Evolavia (www.evolavia.com), Hapag-Lloyd Express (www.hlx.com), Germanwings (www.germanwings.com) and Wizz (http://wizzair.com).
Italy has an extensive train network. Service is generally reliable and inexpensive making rail the most pleasant way to explore the country (Ferrovie dello Stato; www.fs-on-line.com; 8488-888-088). Check schedules and purchase tickets from the automated machines, avoiding huge queues.
turns the rotund
Roman temple into an
alter ego in Belly
of an Architect"
"Any place begging
for custom is dire,
as Romans will wait
hours to eat at
the best pizzerias."
Back to the portfolio