Once you set foot in Rome’s centro storico and get a taste of the near-endless beauty there, it’ll feel like a crime that you don’t have more time. The best way to get a full fix in a short period? Walk. Just weave your way along the narrow, crooked streets of Rome’s most scenic areas: the medieval and Renaissance rioni of Ponte, Parione, and Regola.
The Via del Governo Vecchio is one the city’s quirkiest and most original shopping streets, lined with vintage clothiers, haberdasheries, and purveyors of fancy foodstuffs. But make sure to look up, too: the palazzo that line it, washed in sorbet tones of pink, yellow, and apricot, are some of Rome’s most patrician, colliding in happy accidents of prettiness. Start at the Piazza Pasquino and make your way towards the Tiber: Check out the jewelry at Delfina Delettrez and Nicotra di San Giacomo, the chic womenswear at Josephine de Huertas, and heritage menswear at Wools.
About two blocks north of the Via del Governo Vecchio, the Chiostro del Bramante is a bastion of tranquility—a remarkable fact, given that the madness of the Piazza Navona is just a few hundred metres distant. It’s a small, perfectly formed gem of high Renaissance architecture, with a courtyard, a small gallery space, and, upstairs, a sleek little café with tables around the pergola—and the ideal place to catch your breath with a pitch-perfect café corretto and revel in that rarest of Roman commodities: quiet.
Cross the Viale Vittorio Emanuele to the rione of Regola. Walk up the Via de’ Monserrato to the tiny, sun-filled Piazza de’ Ricci, and grab an alfresco table at Pierluigi. A stalwart for the old-school Roman borghesia, it serves excellent fish, and standard Roman primi (pasta cacio e pepe, amatriciana, and carbonara) in a white-tablecloth way that’s elegant rather than too formal or fussy. For dessert, don’t miss the house-made sorbet platter, served in hollowed out frozen fruits and nutshells.
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