An insider’s guide to Rome
La Posta Vecchia
If friends ask me where they should stay, I'd recommend a fantastic place called La Posta Vecchia that's located around 20 minutes away from Rome. It's owned by Marie Louise Sciò and her family, and perched above the sea amidst parkland. It also has a restaurant that is beyond stellar. La Posta Vecchia was built around 1640 by the Orsini family to provide accommodation for their friends and travellers. It was sold to Livio Odescalchi in 1693 and retained its hospitality function till 1918, when a fire led to its gradual deterioration and dereliction. In 1960, it was bought by Jean Paul Getty, who restored it to its former splendour and fitted it out, with help from art historian Federico Zeri, with XV and XVII century furniture, valuable art works and other items from princely palaces and churches all over the world.
D.O.M Hotel Roma
Another hotel I'd recommend checking into is D.O.M. Even if you don't stay the night, you can enjoy dinner or a drink on their terrace which has quite a view. You get there by walking along via Giulia, which is one of Rome's most interesting streets, especially at night. The hotel is housed in a seventeenth-century building with the atmosphere of a noble town house: there are inscriptions in Renaissance marble but also designer items, contemporary art and photographs.
Villa Doria Pamphilj
As for leisure activities, a marvelous place, close to my heart, is Villa Doria Pamphilj, which is an enormous park — nearly 200 hectares — that also has a rather wild part, which I adore. Given my passion for horse riding, my dream would be to organise a horse race there one day — and I can't think of a better location for one. In the meantime, I content myself with going there to run. Designed at the beginning of the XVII century, it's one of the city's best preserved villas. In 1960 the park was cut in two by the via Olimpica, built to coincide with the opening of the 22nd Olympic Games in Rome. Villa Pamphilj currently has three areas: the villa and gardens, the pine wood and a farm.
Built entirely out of wood, Teatro Quirino is one of the oldest theatres here in Rome. When I was a kid, I was taken there by my aunt, whose mother was a stage actress. Back in the day, the theatre was used mainly for puppet shows and operettas. Its name, Quirino, comes from the hill (the Quirinale) and the god Quirinus. It was built in 1871 for Prince Maffeo Sciarra within the confines of the family's palace, close to the Trevi fountain. The theatre is now called Teatro Quirino-Vittorio Gassman in honour of one of the most highly acclaimed Italian actors of the 20th century.
The National Museum of XXI century Art, the MAXXI, is in the Flaminio neighbourhood of Rome. It was built on the site of the Montello barracks, next to the Basilica di Santa Croce on via Flaminia. The gallery, built entirely out of concrete, was designed by Zaha Hadid. The complex arrangement of different shapes, the variation and overlapping of different levels, give rise to a very complex network of spaces. Its collection includes works by Alighiero Boetti, William Kentridge, and Ed Ruscha. It also has an auditorium, a library, a café and a bar cum restaurant. They organise lots of festivals and other events here, so it's worth keeping an eye on the programme.
To view more insider guides to Italy, visit Tod's Italian Notes, an electronic travel guide that showcases some of the most stylish hangouts in eight cities across Italy.
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