With masking and vaccination requirements in Italy largely down and summer approaching, crowds of travelers have begun to return to Rome’s Centro Storico — the area most dependent on tourism and hardest hit by the pandemic — according to hoteliers. and others who work near Rome’s iconic sites.
“Trevi Square and the whole center of Rome are once again full of tourists,” said Fabrizio Rezza, reservations manager of Hotel Fontana, referring to the crowds around the legendary monument to the hotel, the Trevi Fountain. “It seems like no one is afraid of Covid anymore.”
And so the Eternal City continues to live up to its name, boosted by a number of highly anticipated reopenings and a slew of new restaurants, hotels and cultural spots across the city.
Museums and Archaeological Sites
Renovated since 2007, the emblematic round mausoleum of Agustus (admission 5 euros) began to welcome the public again last year, and the Casa Romana, a 4th-century residence under the free Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco, has also reopened after an even longer pause.
Among Rome’s new cultural sites, the new Museo Ninfeo offers visitors the chance to admire the ruins of a former refuge and pleasure garden for emperors like Claudius and Caligula. (The museum is only open on Saturdays and Sundays. An adult ticket costs 14.30 euros and can be purchased through Vivaticket.) The newly opened (and free) Garum Museum (named after an ancient Roman fish sauce) tells the history of Italian cuisine and eating. Housed in a 16th-century palazzo, the new museum displays age-old utensils, barrels, molds, and other cooking utensils, as well as an extensive library of books and prints related to the culinary arts.
Italy has also reintroduced free entry to state museums and archaeological sites on the first Sunday of every month. At all other times, certain popular tourist sites, notably the Colosseum (with the Forum and Palatine Hill; 16 euros) and Galleria Borghese (admission 13 euros; free for 17 years and under), require tickets to be purchased online.
Extensive buffet with new restaurants
In the past two years, many beloved Rome restaurants have been forced to close, such as Michelin-starred Metamorfosi, the panoramic hilltop Lo Zodiaco and Doozo, considered by some to be Rome’s best Japanese restaurant.
But fitting for a food-oriented city, Rome’s piping hot food scene serves up a lavish buffet of new restaurants, from thin-crust pizzerias awash with craft beer (L’Elementare), to gourmet delicacies rich in prosciutto platters and grilled meats (Aventina), to natural wine boutiques with an ace selection of Italian dishes served from an open kitchen at the back (Enoteca l’Antidoto).
Some of the most sought-after new tables are at Romanè, the new restaurant of renowned chef and restaurateur Stefano Callegari, famed as the inventor of the trapizzino, a cone-shaped bread container that can be filled with everything from aubergine parmigiana to beef tongue in greens. sauce. Loud, friendly and unpretentious, Romanè serves reverent and sometimes embellished versions of classic Italian cuisine, including fried artichoke, spaghetti Amatriciana and “the best chicken cacciatore I’ve ever eaten in my life,” in the words of the food journalist and olive oil specialist. Luciana Squadrilli. Count on about 60 euros for a three-course menu for two people.
Hotels: luxury and kitsch
The lack of tourists is also hurting the accommodation industry, which has suffered some of the biggest losses. According to Giorgio Palmucci, president of ENIT, the national tourism office, about 400 regional hotels have been closed during the pandemic. They include giants like the Sheraton Hotel Roma and Conference Center and the Selene, which has housed celebrities like former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Despite significant losses, the hotel sector is starting to recover, thanks to recent arrivals such as the luxurious W Rome (May prices from 720 euros) and the kitsch-cool Mama Shelter Roma (May prices from 289 euros), with its rooftop bar, co-working space and plant-draped restaurant. For particularly fat wallets, the Maalot Roma (prices in May from 423 euros) is a quiet townhouse that mixes contemporary artwork and period furnishings (tufted sofas, oriental carpets) that has earned critical acclaim for the plush Don Pasquale restaurant. While you wait for your table, sit at the intimate two-seat bar and enjoy the excellent signature cocktail, Almost a Classic Drink (14 euros), which lights up a traditional Vieux Carré with a dose of grappa.
For slimmer wallets and more Scandinavian tastes, the new 55-room Camplus Hotel Roma Centro (prices in May from $123) is an oasis of clean lines and muted colors near the city’s main train station, Termini.
Pizzalabs, Patti Smith and other summer events
Looking ahead, Rome will host a myriad of summer festivals, some of which are returning after a pandemic hiatus. At the end of May, some 60 master pizza chefs knead, toss and bake their way into the hearts (and stomachs) of visitors to the free La Città della Pizza. The festival celebrates Italy’s most famous food in its many variations – Neapolitan, Roman, folded, baked – as well as bread and olive oil, and a free “pizza school” will provide further indoctrination into the art of pie. You can then wash it all down in mid-June with some of the 2,500 Italian and international wines at Vinoforum, the city’s large annual wine and spirits gala (20 euros entry).
Musically, the citywide, multi-week concert series known as Rock in Roma (most shows 20 to 40 euros) returns in June after a two-year hiatus. The series will be held this year at major venues around the city – most notably the old Circus Maximus – and will feature Italian and international artists such as Patti Smith, Massive Attack, Herbie Hancock, Suicidal Tendencies and Maneskin.
Important information about the coronavirus
The Italian government has lifted the country’s state of emergency and recently abolished many of the former regulations, although proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 is still required to enter Italy from abroad. Within Italy, such proof is no longer required to enter almost all venues, and masks are no longer required in the vast majority of interior spaces. The notable exceptions are public transportation and closed-off entertainment venues — including movie theaters, playhouses and concert halls — which require FFP2-type masks (similar to N95 and KN95 models). Current health guidelines can be found on Italia’s official tourism website.