SIGHTS in Rome:
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.
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!
STAY in Rome:
Hotel de Russie
The Hotel de Russie once hosted Pablo Picasso. Naturally, this drives up the price. Those who can still afford it should treat themselves to it. After all, you can do a lot without leaving the hotel. The spa is Italy's only luxury spa, offering exclusive beauty treatments, a Finnish sauna and a sea water whirlpool. There is an unpacking and packing service - doing the tiresome folding for you - a breakfast buffet room service, check-in inside the suite, and free usage of a Nokia mobile telephone. You see: You get what you pay for! Included is also access to the hotel butterfly oasis, which features all sorts of rare species, as well as the terraced garden in which you can dine as in paradise. Doubles starting at 680,- per night.
Style: Minimus. Fun: Maximus! The Ripa Hotel has set is own standards, transcending Roman opulence. The result is beautifully low key: White walls with fluffy carpets and retro-style furniture that adds nice colour accents. Clear lines, indirect lighting and a lot of room for artistic expression, this was the idea of the Ripa Hotel. Another plus: The personal trainer in the fitness centre and the hotel owned restaurant are two house numbers down. It doesn't happen too often in boutique hotels that there is something to eat. The view from suites' terraces is incredible. This alone is worth the trip. The location is impressive: Circus Maximus, Vatican and Colloseum are the complete opposite of the futuristic looking hotel, yet in perfect harmony. Classical meets avant-garde in this distinguished boutique hotel: Simple, functional, and simply beautiful! Doubles starting at 136,- Euro a night.
The Abitart makes suggestions, yet you have to decide for yourself. The classic and superior rooms feature the usual, small but cuddly boutique style. The suites, however, are amazing, taking you on a roller coaster ride from cubism to pop art, from deconstructionism to the 70s. One room is even dedicated to metaphysics: The sky on the wall brings you closer to it and takes you on a surreal journey. Yet the painters were not the only ones to be honored by architecture, poets and photographers are also present at every step: The poets' room with the canopy bed covered in verse is worth the trip! Tomorrow's stars will enjoy the photographers' suite: Sleeping in the midst of the breathtaking snaps by Newton and Fellini. The location is similarly dynamic: The neighborhood Ostiense is known for its great nightlife, and the MACRO Future, a local branch of the Museum of Modern Art that is located in a former slaughterhouse. Doubles starting at ca. 89,- Euro per night.
EAT in Rome:
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.
Who lives in a glass house shouldn't throw food. That's good advice in the Glass Hostaria, since that might be an expensive proposition: The beef filet alone costs 26,- Euro. So don't be childish and keep your cool, enjoying the great view: The stylish eatery with its high ceiling, the industrial look and brick columns is worth the visit.The scaled-up prices might be caused by the upscale clientele. The young and cool come to the Glass Hostaria, not so much to eat but to see and be seen. Nevertheless, the menu deserves a closer look: Michelin awarded it one star in 2010.
The Pommidoro is all game: Grilled meat on the menu includes deer, wild boar and so forth. The classic: Pappardelle, that is tagliatelle in wild boar sauce or fettuccine with vegetables from the garden. Talking of which: Pommidoro means pomodoro in Rom, that is tomato, and is the nick name of the owner named Aldo. Whether or not he is just as red and round as his namesake, we couldn't determine.However, the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung dedicated a whole page to his wife Anna, who has served no less than 160,000 meals to her guests, filled with good, Roman specialties and lots of game. She and her husband seem to attract wild spirits: The restaurant is Roberto Benigni's and Pedro Almodovar's favourite, and no one other than Pier Paolo Pasolini enjoyed his wild boar here.
SHOPPING in Rome:
What made Ferragamo famous? Maybe the heels: Used in the right fashion they could serve as murder weapons. Or the double plateau: Not quite as deadly as the other high heels, but in combination with cobblestone pavement they are still dangerous. Or was it the price: For a whiff of nothing Ferragamo asks 300 Euro, the bags start at 900 Euro, providing enough room for Handy, Make Up and credit line. Whatever Ferragamo got right, today shoe fetishists from all over the world storm into the flagship store in Rome to buy once in their lifetime what the stars are wearing on the red carpet: Eva Longoria was seen there, Kate Beckinsale wore sun glasses from Ferragamo, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Angelina Jolie joined their ranks and also wore Ferragamo, Ferragamo, Ferragamo. Thus prices don't come as a surprise. By the way, male feet are also served: The shop for men is only one door over and sells classics in leather.
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.
Attention: There is nothing to drink at the bar - in the L'Olfattorio Bar you are served neither whiskey nor beer, but scents. This is how it works: Go into the bar and order Eau de Toilette. Then pick the scent that you like most.The perfumes on offer are from small manufacturers, and you can test them for free. When you like a scent, you receive the address in Rome where you can buy that perfume. The innovative business concept works, because it allows small producers to introduce themselves and to compete against the big ones.Aside from perfumes you can also purchase scented candles and all sorts of other olfactory delights. Just don't stay for too long, you might get dizzy from all those scents.