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.
STAY in Rome:
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.
First Hotel Roma
The First Luxury Art Hotel Roma. Quite a long name for a hotel. But that doesn't matter since the location of the historic building from the 19th century - right next to the Spanish Steps - is all the more brilliant. And the distances therefore shorter. There are artworks by famous and aspiring artists hanging on almost every wall in this newly refurbished boutique hotel in the centre of Rome. Every room basically resembles a little gallery. The range of exhibits: portraits, floral or abstract motifs. Which painting will be hanging over the bed makes it all the more exciting. Also memorable: the life-sized artwork made of metal and stone in the entrance hall of the boutique hotel and the whitewashed cow in the hallway. Don't be frightened by her suddenly looking into your eyes when going around the corner! Enjoy the view from the rooftop garden or the private terrace of the jacuzzi suite. The latter can be specially recommended to honeymooners!
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.
EAT in Rome:
The Trattoria pre-empts demanding guests and their complaints, letting them decide what to eat: If you desire you can put together your own menu. The kitchen can be observed through a glass window, so you can verify that the Trattoria is only using the finest ingredients for its creations.Onion and garlic are rather rare, while citrus is more common as a flavour enhancer. The ambiance is classy, too: The Trattoria occupies two floors of a 17th century palace, while the inside is decorated with much glass, chrome and modern furnishing.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!