CHATEAU EXCURSIONS Episode No. 4: Week-end à Rome with Luke Edward Hall

With ancient history and architectural magnificence flaunting itself on practically every street corner, not to mention a merry-go-round of endless eating opportunities, Rome is one of Luke’s favourite cities to visit. Discover his short and snappy guide below. 


Where to stay:

I visited wonderfully springy Rome just a few weeks ago with a group of friends in tow. We all stayed at Hotel Mediterraneo (a perfect recommendation from one of our gang), an exquisitely preserved Art Deco masterpiece. Its canopied bar is a fabulous sight, and don’t get me started on the wall mosaics.

Where to have breakfast:

I adore Caffè Greco. This landmark café, all gilt picture frames and red silk damask, is the second oldest in Italy after Florian in Venice, and has welcomed literally everyone. It’s a classic and everybody knows about it, but there is a wonderful atmosphere here. A cappuccino and a cornetto at the bar is my favourite way to begin a day of sightseeing. If it’s good enough for Keats, Shelley and Byron...

Where to have lunch:

Try La Amatriciana. Typical Roman cookery in a breezy, elegant setting opposite the opera house. Have the carbonara – the waiters serve it from a big silver platter. Ristorante Nino, by the Spanish Steps, is very atmospheric and does top-notch Tuscan.

What to see:

Still privately owned by the princely Roman family Doria Pamphijl, the Doria Pamphijl Gallery houses a large collection of paintings, furniture and statuary that has been assembled since the 16th century. The majority of the collection is displayed in a series of four gilded and painted galleries surrounding a tranquil courtyard. I’m an enormous fan of Villa Farnesina in Trastevere: its frescoes are some of my favourite in the city.

Where to have drinks:

Have a Negroni at Bar Locarno or Terrazza Locarno at the hotel of the same name. Opened in 1925, Hotel Locarno is full of character, with its Liberty lighting and Art Deco furniture. It’s in a brilliant location, too, just off Piazza del Popolo.

Where to have dinner:

Rocco, on the edge of the Monti neighbourhood, nods to the classic Roman trattoria, but feels modern, fresh and fun. Al Pompiere for artichokes.

Where to shop:

Schostal 1870 has been selling shirts, socks, ties and more for over 150 years. A beacon of elegance! Pay a visit to Giuliva Heritage for timeless Italian tailoring. Via dei Coronari is lined with antique shops. I love Bordi (in Monti, like Rocco) for its art supplies and charming interior.

An excursion?

We attached our recent Rome trip to a long weekend in Tivoli. The town was a revelation, and it’s only forty-five minutes from the city by car. The 16th-century gardens of Villa d’Este, with their grottoes, cascades, gargoyles and profusion of fountains, provoked in me seriously sublime sensory overload. Villa Adriana, Emperor Hadrian’s summer getaway, is nearby. Go with a gang and stay at Sant’ Antonio, a former monastery operated by the Landmark Trust.

Listen to:

Etienne Daho’s 1984 synthpop classic, Week-end à Rome, of course!