SHOPPING in Rome:
A concept store should have a clear concept. The weTAD founders knew from the beginning that they wanted to open a flower shop. Still, you have to put them into something and so they also started to sell vases. And once there is such a nice smell, why not sell a few beautifully scented cosmetics along with it? O.k. And a hairdresser would also go well with the cosmetics. Wearing artistic creations on your head, why not put some on the wall, too? Oh, you look tired, how about an espresso in our café? Or just lay down for a bit on our sofas here, which, by the way, are also for sale. This is how it probably happened, because today the weTAD Concept Store sells just about anything: Flowers, modern art, furniture, coffee and night lotions. And, of course, fashion, preferably from Vivienne Westwood and Alexander Wang. Never seen anything like that? Then it's time to take a look into the weTAD Concept Store, which has everything except for a concept.
Did you know? It's so hard to say good-bye to Rome, you would love to pack a piece of it and take it with you. If not for yourself, then at least for friends and family at home, since no one can describe how delicious this particular pasta or that pesto sauce was. A hot tip to make things easier for you: The Cerasari is a shop for delicacies in which you can buy all your most favourite treats and take them home with you. Endless wine shelves contain the best of Barolo & Co, wide counters seduce with Tramezzini and fish platters, the shop windows lure you with unusual pasta and sauces that are stacked to the ceiling. If you cannot decide, just buy a gift hamper, with wine, parmesan, canned goods, sausages and pasta all nicely wrapped for the undecided customer.
For all who don't know: 451° Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper ignites and books burn. In contrast to Ray Bradbury's congenial novel there are no flames engulfing this charming bookshop. Bookworms are welcome. The Campo de Fiori is a bustling place so it's no wonder that the shop is full of customers. However, you won't find much Science Fiction here, the main topic being the arts and photography. Independent thinking is still allowed: The shop promotes smaller publishers and invites young authors to readings. If the firefighters have to come, then because you have caught fire: The staff are always in good spirits, and the atmosphere so relaxed that you'll definitely want to come back.
STAY in Rome:
For a long time there were only two ways to Rome: Via the golden baroque hotels with their outrageous interior design or via the avant-garde hotels with their hysterical modernism, which seems to cater more to museum rooms than to living creatures. The gap between both philosophies was filled by the Hotel Capo D'Africa: It is service-oriented without being overbearing, modern without seeming sterile, and it has a long history. What else is new in Rome? The former schoolhouse is not the severe type: Bright colours, bright wood and very spacious rooms easily make you forget the times when exams still took place in those same rooms. Those with some nostalgia for the cane can hire a personal trainer at the fitness center. You can easily catch up with the lost calories in the rooftop restaurant, which offers great food, a beautiful view and lots of calm near the collosseum. The Capo D'Africa is surely less spectacular than other hotels, and it isn't high art. Yet for those who seek the golden mean it means they have hit home. Doubles starting at 189,- Euro per night.
The Fortyseven ist almost 50, the furnishings are not: Real classics from the 50s contrast with a facade from the 30s; and all close to the truly ancient Temple of Vesta. To complete the colourful mix of the decades and centuries there is 20th century art by Amadeo Modigliani, Umberto Mastroianni and Emilio Greco as well as modern rooms with wood panelled floors and Art Deco flair. The padded walls of the suite do bring up uneasy associations with certain white rooms, yet comfortable they are. At least you won't get hurt and can enjoy the room service around the clock. The Fortyseven offers even more: Fitness centre and wellness as well as a rooftop restaurant for every one who wants to fill up with tasty calories looking out onto the Circus Maximus. Doubles starting at 240,- Euro per night.
The Stendhal Hotel, with all the rooms painted light blue, looks like it might set sail one day. The striped wallpaper and wood panelling reinforces the feeling, and sitting down in the blue reading room you might feel like going along to discover new horizons yourself. Northerners do not like too many knickknacks, thus the Stendhal excels in subdued luxury and clear lines. Here a statue, there a little marble, the total being timeless and discreet, offering real comfort in a low key atmosphere. Actually, you might not want to set sail too quickly, because when you disembark you step right onto the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and one of the most exclusive shopping street in the city, where you will definitely find the proper sailor's kit. Double starting at 255,- Euro per night.
SIGHTS in Rome:
It took ten years, various culture secretaries and 150 million euro to complete the eccentric building designed by star architect Zaha Hadid. She especially put emphasis on the interaction between glass, fair-faced concrete and metal. Once again it becomes obvious: it's not only art, but also architecture which is maximal here in the Flaminio quarter. The 27.000 square metres of the area with its 20 metres high entrance hall forms an open, urban space and guides the visitors along curved walls and interwoven levels on unexpected paths through five galleries. In the well-lit museum (thanks to the glass roof) we find the two museums MAXXI art and MAXXI architecture. The house is devoted to preserve and conserve the cultural heritage by means of exhibitions, workshops, performances and (educational) projects. But more: it offers space for experimenting and exploring modern aesthetic contents. Tickets for 11 euro (reductions possible).
Once the Globe theatre was the centre of the action, today the Teatro Dell'Orologio is rocking the boat: This small theatre has left the mainstream and is as off-Broadway as you can be. Far beyond classical tragedy, the theatre is experimenting to such an extent that critics are left speechless. You might recognize the plays, but you will never have seen them like this: Ionesco, Genet, Becket and Maeterlinck are all rediscovered in strange ways. Shakespeare would be delighted and Brecht overjoyed: The Teatro dell'Orologia lacks the technical sophistication of the great stages, but its dedication to the art that makes this theatre so special. Valentino Orfeo is the artistic director, but other directors also play their parts. To be there or not to be? Poor Yorick would have had no doubt!
Lazio vs. Inter
In Milan, Inter and the AC are at war in the San Siro, in Rome Lazio fights against Roma in the Stadio Olimpico. The four teams have one thing in common: They are all brilliant, at least from an Austrian point of view. Inter brought home the Champions' League with its proven defensive technique, AC Milan got that sought-after title seven times in total, Roma is playing with Francesco Totti, who won the World Cup in 2006, and Lazio counters with the Argentinean master Mauro Matías Zárate.Real fans should not miss the popular derby in the Stadio Olimpico. In contrast to some of the players, the audience is anything but defensive, and quickly boils over when the blood is stirring. Small advice: If you buy a ticket for one of the popular games, make sure you to sit with the Roma fans, not with Lazio - unless you tend towards the extreme political right.
EAT in Rome:
Feel like something completely different? Then you shouldn't miss the Gusto: With its brick walls, the bright ship planks and the solid wooden tables the restaurant is definitely one of the most modern in Rome.The interior design, the guests, the ambience: Everything seems cool and relaxed like in New York, the old Rome seems miles away. The cuisine is simple but trendy, undoubtedly Mediterranean, but with a modern twist.The downstairs Pizzeria serves specialities from the wood oven, such as Salami Pizza with Ricotta Cheese, mainly to a young crowd. The restaurant upstairs is a bit more classy, but still rather unpretentious for Rome. The wine bar starts at 18.00 with an aperitif for 9 Euro, and every Tuesday and Thursday it's Swing and Jazz night. If you want to try the recipes at home, take a look in the shop next door, where you can buy cookbooks and the right utensils.
Can you still remember the good old days? Chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, period. Good kids could have them all, bad kids none at all. If you go the Gelateria della Palma today, you will be bowled over. With an estimated 150 ice cream flavours, you won't just be spoilt for choice but shocked and awed. And this is how it works: Go in, buy a coupon at the cash register, and then queue. It is almost impossible to decide on the flavours beforehand, considering that there are exotic options such as liquorice, passion fruit, chilli pepper or cherry chocolate.For tourists without advanced Italian the garnishing gives enough hints on what a flavour might be all about. There is soy ice cream for the lactose intolerant and sugar free for the calorie conscious, spoiling the choice even more. Since the cone for 150 flavours hasn't been invented just yet, you'll simply have to come back.
Naturists beware: You should wear something to get in - the L'Isola doesn't expose itself. It won't serve any skin nor anything else meat related. The eatery is entirely vegetarian, including vegan and macrobiotic options. The furnishing, with a lot of wood and warm colours, goes along with the organic food, such as Polpettine Vegetali (vegetarian dumplings), vegetarian pasta and healthy salads. The restaurant is a typical example of relaxed Italian vegetarianism: Fish is a staple on the menu, and while most vegetarians object to calling fish eaters by their name, it demonstrates that Italians are, as a general rule, oblivious to dogmas.