Rome, the eternal city. It is over 2,700 years old. The impact this area has had on global events over the past 2500 years is incalculable. Monuments and museums litter this city like no other destination. The Vatican, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, are some of the most visited places on earth. There are over 900 churches to explore. Every street, every alley and passageway is drenched with historical significance. There is so much to take in, a traveler may be overwhelmed with where to start and more importantly, where to stay. We believe in using an old real estate adage of, “location, location, location.” The most central and prime location to call home while in Rome is Pantheon Square. 

Best Place to Stay 

If it is your first visit or 20th to Rome, DiRienzo Pantheon Palace is the best and most central place to call home for your trip. The apartments are located around Pantheon Square, as central as one can be to every major attraction. Their accommodations are spacious, well decorated, clean, and feel more like home than a typical hotel experience. The DiRienzo’s have two restaurants, one with a magnificent view of the Pantheon, Ristorante al Pantheon Roma and a bistrot located on a side street next to the Pantheon, Bistrot al Pantheon. At the second is will you will find Cinzia (seen in the pictures above). We adore her and she is now family. Tell her Arizona sent you and you will receive the warmest of welcomes. Attached to the bistrot is the DiRienzo multistore, offering a wide range of tobacco products, a gelato and dessert bar, and tea room. Only steps from their multistore is the family’s, H. Due. O shop, complete with a generous selection of Italian made fashion accessories like purses, scarfs, luggage and umbrellas. By staying in one of the DiRienzo accommodations, they provide discounts on purchases made at their restaurants or shops. The warm customer service and smiles from the family and staff will make your travel in Rome even more special. By the end of your vacation, we think the DiRienzo’s will become a part of your family.

What to See

We recommend staying at the DiRienzo’s because of their hospitality and family feel. But we also believe the Pantheon location is most central for every type of traveler. Most itineraries for Rome are packed full of things to see from sun up to sun down. Since you will already be in the area, start with the architectural perfection known as The Pantheon. Less than a 5 minute walk from the Pantheon takes you where artists and history unite at Piazza Navona. An 8 minute walk from the Pantheon places you in front of the magical sculptures and waterfalls of Trevi Fountain. Walking 15 minutes of the Pantheon, you can see the Roman Forum, Trajan’s Market, Spanish Steps, Victor Emmanuel II Monument, Castel San’tAngelo, or the iconic Jewish Quarter. A 20 minute stroll gets one to Piazza del Popolo, Villa Medici, Villa Borghese, or Circus Maximus. For longer walks of 25 to 30 minutes, visitors can make the pilgramage to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, view the breath-taking Colosseum and Palatine Hill, the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, or eat their way through the eclectic foodie hub of the Trastevere neighborhood.

Where to Eat

There are literally thousands of food otions in Rome, so we have whittled the list down to a few of our favorites places to enjoy a great meal in the eternal city.

DiRienzo Ristorante al Pantheon Roma & DiRienzo Bistrot The main restaurant sits in Pantheon Square while the bistrot is on a side street. They share the same menu and kitchen. Because of the location, tourists often think the food will be bland and overpriced. Not true on either accounts. Their food is consistently good and prices fair, considering it’s next to the Pantheon. Two classic dishes are the best here and the best in Rome. The Spaghetti Carbonara we feel is the best in Rome. Their Margharita Pizza is delightful and DiRienzo offers some of the best Roman style pizzas in the city. Since we are sticking with traditional dishes here, no meal would truly be complete without ordering some Limoncello

Spirito DiVino is located  in the Trastevere, and is the former home to an 11th century synagogue. You can really feel the history of this place as much of the walls and structure has been left intact over time. Their food is 100% home made and some of the freshest we have eaten in Rome. Their food and wine menu changes frequently, so we cannot recommend a particular dish, but, we can recommend this as a must try during your stay in Rome.

Suppli is also in the Trastevere. They serve two iconic foods every food my try while in Rome. First, their Marinara Pizza slice might be the best in town. Second, their Cheese Rice Balls are the best you will every have. We noticed many people eating them to go, then going back to order more. 

Chianti Vineria is only a block from Trevi Fountain. One would expect tourists to overrun this restaurant, but just as many locals frequent due to their amazing food options. The Baked Suckling Pig with Roasted Potatoes will melt in your mouth. For a pasta dish, we recommend the Home-Made Tagliatelle with Truffle

L’Antica Salumeria is hands down the best place to order a sandwich, and, it’s right in Pantheon Square! Loaded with locals and tourists, it is the perfect place to get a takeaway sandwich for a long day of walking through Rome, or to enjoy while on a day trip to another part of Italy. Every type of meat and cheese is available, with condiments galore. They make a fantastic Prosciutto and Provolone sandwich. Create your own charcuterie board, ordering from the seemingly endless list of meats and cheeses in their store. 

Nonna Betta lies the heart of the Jewish Quarter, this place is far from being a hidden gem.  This popular restaurant serves up authentic Jewish dishes. You cannot go wrong ordering their Falafel or Hummus for starters. If Jewish artichokes are in season you must order them or try the Nonna Betta Starter that has them included. Try the Lasagna with Artichokes or the Gricia de Nonna with Artichokes.

Best Wine Bar-Shop in Rome

Enoteca Buccone is near Piazza del Popolo. Step into time as this small shop is loaded from floor to ceiling with new and vintage Italian wines. They have wines to tempt every palate. A handful of tables for two or four guests are tucked in between bookshelves filled with wine bottles for sale. The store has a tasting room in back to serve 8-10 guests. Our recommendation for this place is simple. Tell the server what type of wine you like (white, rose, red) and whether you like it sweet or dry, and let the server pick the option. Most likely, it will be a vineyard you have never heard of, but a variety and taste you will not soon forget. 

Coffee, Anyone?

The best coffee in Rome is found at Sant’Eustachio if Caffe. Just a 3 minute walk from Pantheon Square, the place is packed with tourists and locals seeking their caffeine fix. Expect a line when you go, but expect amazing coffee well worth the wait! Watch as the baristas perform their magic. Expressos, Americanos and Cappucinos are the most ordered drinks. We would recommend a Cappucino with sugar, or an Americano. Drink up your 100% Arabica Bean concoction at the counter, get a takeaway, or sit outside. There is an extra charge for outside seating, and we say skip it. Do takeaway, and sip their coffee as you absorb more of Rome.

And for dessert, Gelato!

Fatamorgana Gelato is our favorite place to get gelato and they have multiple locations in Rome. Their gelato flavors have unique flavors not seen in most gelaterias around the world. Try the Syrian Pastachio, Goat Ricotta with Truffle Honey, or indulge in Mexican Chocolate & Mole Poblano.

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