OCCUPATION: Real estate agent
MY STYLE: I’m a minimalist most of the time. I prefer dark, casual clothes during the day, but like to dress up in the evening. My home is bright and modern, but with a few antiques mixed in.
I LOVE ROME BECAUSE: The weather is great, so you can go to the beach, countryside, or playground almost year-round.
Stylish Romans come to this café, a block from the Spanish steps, for a light lunch after shopping. Fresh flowers accent the chic space, but co-owners Giandomenico and Christina have kept the focus on the food—mostly fresh salads and sandwiches. Don’t skip dessert, though! The ‘nocciolato’ has hazelnuts, whipped cream, and Nutella. (Prosciutto di parma, Caesar salad, eggplant parmesan panino) For a ready-made picnic, order a wicker basket—full of snacks and sandwiches, espresso, a bottle of wine, plates, utensils, and even a checkered table cloth—and head over to Villa Borghese.
With an abundance of classes to choose from—from flamenco to modern—many students of Rome’s premier dance studio have been regulars for years. Newcomers, amateurs, and even young children are welcome, however. Toddlers twirl in tutus while, in a studio nearby, kids in street fashion work on their breakdancing moves. Busy moms with ever-changing schedules will appreciate that memberships are available, but not required, because you can opt to pay per class at the door.
Green T, a gourmet Chinese restaurant designed in the Feng Sui style, is the exception in a city known more for pasta than noodles. From the delicious dumplings to complex fish dishes, the chef takes much care with presentation. For dinner, Sabina Rizza’s family likes to order the Peking duck, which is served in three mini-courses—the skin, the meat, and the soup. The restaurant also serves lunch, during which many business people take advantage of the prix fixe menu.
Villa Glori may be smaller than Villa Borghese, to its south, but it has a rich history of its own. Formerly known as Remembrance Park, it was dedicated to the victims of World War I, and then to all Roman war victims. There is also a 3rd century mausoleum, and a contemporary sculpture garden featuring works by Paolo Canevari, Eliseo Mattiacci, and others. “I go with my children and my dog, Tina,” Sabina Rizza says. The park’s pines provide welcome shade in the summer, though kids hardly notice the heat on account of the pony rides!
Il Circolo Antico Tiro a Volo
A full day of swimming and tennis at this club atop Monti Parioli leaves members hungry. “There is a spectacular view of Rome from the restaurant’s terrace, and the food is excellent,” says Sabina Rizza. Members can rent a gazebo by the pool for private parties. The main restaurant, which offers both a buffet and an à la carte menu, has live music on Fridays. On New Year’s Eve, the restaurant hosts a gala and shoots off fireworks.
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.
For decades, this pasticceria has been offering Romans and travellers a taste of la dolce vita. Lining the shelves are cream-filled fruit tarts, tiramisu, and an assortment of the cookies Italians often bring to dinner parties. Mondi also sells drinks and miniature sandwiches and pizzas, making it an aperitif hotspot. Don’t pass up the delicious homemade gelato. They have flavors you can’t find anywhere else, like rasberry and chocolate, rasberry and Nutella, and chocolate and orange peel. And if you’d prefer a chocolate dipped gelato bar to a scoop, that can be arranged!
North of the city center, this restaurant and pizzeria is surrounded by olive trees. Apart from the famous fries, the dishes are traditionally Roman. There’s a variety of antipasti, including several types of bruschetta, as well as pasta dishes, meat entrees, and delicious desserts. The spaghetti carbonara and saltimbocca are bestsellers, and kids love the heart-shaped pizza. There is ample parking at Paneolio. For those without a car, however, the restaurant’s location may prove difficult.
Crazy Bull Café
It’s hard to believe that Crazybull is a stone’s throw from the historic Ponte Milvio. The café’s jukebox and red-vinyl booths bring 1950s America—and not the Roman empire—to mind. Kids love the kitschy style, and there’s good comfort food to be had: onion rings, fajitas, and barbequed ribs, as well as old-fashioned desserts like cheesecake and apple pie. Plus, Crazy Bull, where the bar has a good selection of beers and a fun, lighthearted atmosphere, is open late.