Rome’s better known for exploring than for its relax-in-the-sun credentials, but there’s a bunch of options nearby if you fancy a day on the sand. The closest is about 45 minutes from the capital by train, and you’ll find other strips of sand punched all along the shin of Italy’s sun-kissed boot.
Anzio has archaeological sites, museums and memorials dotted around its seafront. The sandy shoreline’s pretty unique, too, with a lighthouse, crumbling Roman ruins, and natural grottoes on the cliffs that face the Mediterranean Sea. It’s about an hour and half’s drive from Rome, and two of the stretches have Blue Flag ticks to their names.
There’s nothing small about Sabaudia Beach, but it’s still one of the region’s most secluded sunbathing spots. You can reach the town in about an hour and 40 minutes by car, and the Blue Flag waterfront’s framed by a bumpy string of sand dunes.
The Porta Portese Market has a back-to-basics take on shopping. Held every Sunday from dawn ‘til early afternoon, it features thousands of open-air stalls clamouring for your attention. It’s the biggest market in Rome, selling everything from books to bicycles, and scarves to ceramics. To dodge the busiest times, be sure to get here early.
High street shopping’s taken care of by Via del Corso, which cuts a path through the city’s historic centre. H&M, Nike, Disney, Zara – they’ve all got stores dotted along this lengthy avenue. You can mix up your retail therapy with sightseeing along the way, too, as its neighbours include the Trevi Fountain, Piazza del Popolo, and the San Carlo al Corso basilica.
If you’re really fashion-conscious, then Via Condotti’s the place for you. The shops here are like a who’s who of top Italian labels – think Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani. International brands like Jimmy Choo, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Dior get in on the act, as well.
You won’t struggle to find a wine bar in Rome, and your best bet for a casual drink is the Pigneto neighbourhood. It’s a short tram ride from the heart of the city, and lines up enough cocktail joints to have you returning night after night.
Make a beeline for the Testaccio district if you’re looking for late-night partying. It’s home to Rome’s biggest concentration of clubs, and you can reach them in around 20 minutes by cab from the city centre.
As meat dishes go, saltimbocca is one of Rome’s tastiest calling cards. Paper-thin prosciutto, veal and sage are rolled into tight parcels, before being sizzled in dry white wine and butter. You don’t have to head to a particular part of the city for it, either, as practically every restaurant will have it on the menu.
This Italian classic’s the cream of the pasta crop in Rome, and it’s simpler than you think. Spaghetti and olive oil are teamed with whisked eggs and pecorino cheese, and there’s a salty punch from crispy cubes of guanciale – a cured pork cheek that the locals swear by.
For a change from pizza and pasta, give coda alla vaccinara a try. It’s fresh from the hearty eater’s cookbook, and hails from a time when every cut of meat was put to good use. In this recipe, oxtail, carrots, tomatoes and red wine are stewed for hours, with pancetta, onions and garlic added along the way. It’s served in big bowls, and promises an authentic taste of classic Roman cuisine.
Just like Champagne and gorgonzola, Rome has its own protected food that can only be produced in the region. Pane di genzano, a soft rustic bread with a firm crust, is named after its parent town to the south of the city. You’ll find it in bakeries and restaurants all over the capital – all you need to do is pick a topping.
When it comes to tasty street food, suppli set the benchmark. They’re a Roman take on Sicilian arancini rice balls, and look like chunky potato croquettes to the untrained eye. Break one open, though, and you’ll find al dente risotto rice, rich tomato sauce and stringy mozzarella packed inside.
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