Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14, Centro Storico
The perfect intimate bar to come with a friend or lover to chat, people watch and primarily, drink.
Via di Monserrato, 46, Centro Storico
Even though Rome is one of the most-visited capitals in the world, the local way of life hasn’t changed and you’ll find authentic aperitivo spots in every neighborhood. Caffé Perú is an unassuming hole-in-the-wall next to a newsstand. This tiny bar is on prime real estate in the Piazza Farnese, but is totally unpretentious and so untrendy it’s actually trendy. Always full of artists and students, it's perfect for hunkering down on one of the stools outside with a drink and a panino any time of day—a true slice of old Rome.
Piazza di Pasquino, 69, Centro Storico
Tucked away in a 16th-century palazzo just off Piazza Navoa, this ten-room strong townhouse feels like one of those gems you scour Airbnb for but can never seem to find. The thing about the aesthetic of G-Rough is that it's intensely personal and unstudied—there are pretty, old tiled floors and time-worn frescoes mixed with Gio Ponti and Guglielmo Ulrich furnishings, as well as artwork from the owner’s private collection. For those looking for a bit more space, the two suites on the top floor, each with its own outdoor terrace, can be combined for a kind of makeshift penthouse apartment. Overall, the hotel is about as un-hotel like as it comes: There’s no formal concierge, but there’s a very attentive butler who will see to your every whim, and there’s no food on the premises, save for a modest continental breakfast menu and some smaller bites during aperitivo hour; but plenty to eat and drink within striking distance.
Made About Dreams
Piazza San Salvatore in Lauro, 11, Centro Storico
This sublime children’s shop stocks very cool, not ubiquitous things for littles. In addition to their own collection of darling hand-knitted bloomers and cardigans in soft, muted colors like mauve, blush, and grey, there are also handmade cotton toys from Maileg, cashmere onesies, plus labels like Stella McCartney Kids, and Nupkeet, a great boys line from Italy.
Piazza di Pasquino, 4, Centro Storico
Occupying an old upholsterer’s studio, Society is the brick-and-mortar outpost of the centuries-old Italian textile house, Limonta. Known for its simple, super-soft neutrals and pastels, the linens—everything from the jacquard throws to the cotton voile sheets and table runners—are top-notch in terms of quality. For warmer months, the seersucker sheet set is pretty much perfect. The linen napkin sets and placements make great gifts to bring back.
Bar Gelateria Alberto Pica
Via della Seggiola, 12, Centro Storico
This nondescript-looking gelato joint in Centro Storico is easy to miss—but don't. For fans of rice pudding, try Alberto Pica's gelato version of the treat. Photo: @signemeirane
Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, Centro Storico
Giolitti is Rome’s OG gelato shop: Founded more than a century ago, and still owned by the same family, and the café’s historic Centro Storico outpost is perched between the Pantheon and the Italian Parliament. Of course, the classics are excellent here—there are dozens of flavors, but you really can’t go wrong with a few scoops of chocolate or pistachio to go.
Via di S. Pantaleo, 68-69, Centro Storico
Pots of cacti lining the storefront might not be exactly what you’d expect from a men’s shop in Rome, but SBU (the abbreviation stands for Strategic Business Unit) isn’t afraid to buck convention. In a city where tailored pants and cashmere pullovers are the norm, SBU has its own line of hipster-inflected menswear—think shelves of dark, straight-leg denim, utility jackets, leather high-tops, plus some Japanese selvedge.
Piazza della Rotonda, Centro Storico
What’s so fascinating about the Pantheon, other than the fact it’s so well preserved for an ancient building, and still very much in use as a church, is that unlike so many historical structures, it’s very accessible: Keep an eye out while walking up to the Piazza della Rotonda, the close to two-thousand-year-old domed structure (its exact age is an architectural mystery) blends in so perfectly with the neighborhood that you can almost miss it. Inside, the Panini-painted interiors, breathtaking oculus, and the tomb of famed Renaissance painter Raphael are a thrill to explore whether you’re an art-history buff or not.
Via del Governo Vecchio, 67, Centro Storico
Take one look at Delfina Delettrez’s artfully edgy—yet somehow totally trend-proof—gemstone-laden pieces, and it’s no surprise at all that she’s a Fendi through and through. Tucked into a side street near the Piazza Navona, her teeny shop is set up to look like the inside of an intricate jewelry box (the space housed a pharmacy in its past life), complete with mirrored walls, ivory-colored pharmacist’s cabinets, and insect-themed curiosities—undoubtedly a nod to the creepy-crawly motifs of some of her more elaborate creations.