MY STYLE: Right now I like to dress in a minimalist way, with a blue or black jacket over an oversized t-shirt and men’s shoes. My house is very different, though. It’s full of colors and English wallpaper, and I love mixing modern and vintage.
I LOVE ROME BECAUSE: There are so many options—lots of parks and outdoor play areas for the kids, and the weather is great, so you can enjoy them throughout the famously warm falls. There are also fabulous museums with kid-friendly programs.
Cardinal Scipione Borghese commissioned the English-style gardens surrounding his opulent “party villa” in the 1600s. Today, they constitute Rome’s central park, and the perfect setting for more modest gatherings like family picnics or bike tours. The “floating” Ionic temple dedicated to Aesculapius is a must-see. In the warmer month, kids can ride ponies, paddleboats, and even hot air balloons (with some adult supervision, of course), or see a puppet show. To beat the heat altogether, head inside to the Borghese Gallery or the National Etruscan Museum.
Cinema Nuovo Olimpia
“I love going to the movies with my husband after dinner, and this theatre is great because it only shows films in the original language,” says Camilla Filippi. Before its renovation as an art house movie theatre (though mainstream flicks are played too), Nuovo Olimpia stood over the Ara Pacis. The altar was excavated in teh 1930s, but its granite plinth remains beneath the theatre to this day. Another fun place to see movies is the Cinema dei Piccoli (Viale della Pineta, 15). One of the world’s smallest movie theatres, this cozy house in Villa Borghese plays movies for kids, and, given its idyllic setting, seems itself out of a children’s fairytale.
Prices are a bit high compared to other Roman bakeries, but you’ll probably stop caring once you taste the food, mostly pizza and pastries that live up to Panella’s slogan—”the art of bread.” You can also get your daily bread, along with organic jams and other spreads, from the boutique grocery. Try the cornetti al cioccolato, cappuccino dei carbonari, and the pizza with anchovies and zucchini flowers. If you go for breakfast, though, be prepared to contend with the morning rush; it’s not uncommon for customers to sip drinks while standing.
An emblem of times of greater glory and gruesomeness, the Colosseum is impressive even in its depleted state. It was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian to garner support with the Roman people, who filed into the elliptical amphitheater by the thousand after its opening in 80 A.D. to watch dramas, executions, and brutal gladiator fights. Roman drivers get a glimpse of the Colosseum all the time, since one of the busiest traffic circles is right outside. For a closer look, buy a ticket and walk the levels of this architectural feat, the floor of which used to be flooded for mock naval battles!
Il Posto delle Favole
The friendly staff at this colorful oasis of a children’s bookstore is happy to recommend a title from the well-selected collection. You’ll find classics and lesser-known titles from boutique publishers with compelling stories and gorgeous illustrations. Stop by with your kids for story hour or simply browse the shelves. Il Posto also sells a range of games, stationary, and toy brands such as Lego and Playmobil, but Camilla Filippi goes most often to pick up some new bedtime stories.
Camilla Filippi comes here when a new season rolls around and she has to replenish pieces in her kids’ wardrobes. The owners of MINImé tired of the usual supply of pink and blue staples available for children, sought out international brands with unique design perspectives. Their collection, which stresses color and comfort, includes Shampoodle, MarMar, Piawallén, Bob & Blossom, and Soft Gallery, among others! MINImé is close to the Testaccio market, so you can keep the shopping going by picking up some cashmere along with your cucumbers!
This children’s museum near the Piazza del Popolo is a nice place for kids to unwind, especially after a day of seeing historic sites that sometimes go unappreciated by the under-ten crowd. There’s a bus that kids can “drive,” a supermarket, and various hands-on exhibits and workshops about health and the environment. Talking Books, a reading series on topics ranging from food to philosophy, meets every Saturday afternoon. Parents of the very young don’t have to worry about the boisterous big kids. There is a separate “soft-play” area for babies.