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.
No juice bar, but a refreshing and fruity boutique hotel: The Orange Hotel wins you over with its original design and wonderful view. You guessed it? Yes, it's orange all over. Yet they didn't overdo it and mixed the strong colour with a subdued grey, resulting in a joyful impression. A clear concept, modern and stylish execution, the rooms are straightforward and not overloaded. The Deluxe Orange even offers free room service for an extra serving of vitamins; however, those who have enough of orange on grey should move over to red and take a wine on the amazing rooftop terrace. Along with the Chianti you get a free view of cupola of St. Peter's Basilica, which is less than a hallelujah away from the hotel. Big plus: It's a juicy deal, with doubles starting at 69,- Euro.
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:
It didn't take long until the Aroma, the new restaurant on the roof-top terrace of the hotel in the Palazzo Manfredo in Rome attracted the local gourmets. The unrestricted view on the Colosseum and Domus Aurea was probably yet another reason for that. In the kitchen, local hero Guiseppe die Iroio wields the sceptre. He plants the herbs for his dishes himself, to be smelled at on the terrace: thyme, rosemary, sage and mint. On the menu it takes the following form: medallions of calf with white truffles, twisted pasta with turbot, tuna tartare wit ginger and date soufflé or figs soufflé. His cuisine has already been rewarded the Five-Star-Diamond-Award from the renowned American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. Below-stairs, in the wine cellar, 300 vintage wines are storing under sommelier's Martin Pechev ward. These demand an appropriate appearance from the male guests: long trousers and shirt!
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.
Up and down the steps, nothing to see but sights: The Spanish Steps are surly THE starting point for all the attractions of the city. The locals know that, too, congregating there for wine, women and La Dolce Vita. Warm summer nights see the young sitting on the steps and celebrating late into the night. So sit down and take in the view! Turn one way and you see the church Trinità dei Monti at the upper end. Turn the other way and the ship shaped Fontana della Barcaccia bubbles along in its pomp. On the right hand side there is the Keats-Shelley museum, where John Keats lived and died. To your left Babington's Tea Room invites you to have a tea at English tea time. When you get up and follow the Via Condotti you'll be surrounded by the most exclusive shops and restaurants in the city. Can you pass this by? Just stay for a little while longer. Enjoy your vino. Enjoy the Dolce Vita with the Romans. Sightseeing can wait!
SHOPPING in Rome:
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.
Not all ways lead directly to the goal: the Roman Micaela Calabresi Marconi made a detour and studied law. Only afterwards she was certain: she needs something where she can build and maintain relationships, a job in communication. Armani, Pucci, Zegna and Versace crossed her way, and she eventually opened an own event agency. But that wasn't enough. At the peak of the economic crisis Marconi took over Saddlers Union and together with her brother Paolo she dusted off the forgotten brand that specialises in historic, handmade leather articles. The new address? Via Margutta 11, the street of craftsmen, similar to Montmartre in Paris. Federico Fellini had his residence here - and for Marconi it was the ideal spot for a Saddlers Union boutique. Today only those who know where they want to go will find Saddlers Union. A door plate is missing - it's a cosy, private house with a workshop where favourite pieces can be repaired on the spot if need be. Marconi found her calling.
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.
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!