Rome by Night
Far from the double-decker buses and the disposable cameras, the crowds of tourists in thong sandals and the figures touting for trade outside the pizza restaurants. Far from all that makes Rome the most beautiful city in the world - and the worst tourist trap.
Far from all of this, there is Rome by night. From happy hour to the early light of dawn, the city of Anita Ekberg who plunged into the Trevi Fountain or, in more recent times, the pink flamingos of The Great Beauty, the film by Oscar-winning Paolo Sorrentino.
To find the Rome we mean, you need to tread in the footsteps of the Romans, knocking on the doors of their favourite venues and ordering whatever they eat and drink. Here are some of the best places to eat in Rome, a sure way to enjoy the capital from dusk till dawn.
7.30 PM. As soon as the sun sets, our night-time tour begins. What better way to start than with the most typical of Italian – and Roman – aperitifs? The place to go is Roscioli Caffè, one of three venues run by the Roscioli family: simple yet well prepared food, good wine and excellent cocktails.
Just inside the doorway stands a large counter loaded with various treats and sweets, while the inner room offers a 'communal' table where you will be guided through a selection of excellent cheeses and cold cuts from Rome and Italy in general, accompanied by a heavenly focaccia.
A word of warning: you will be strongly tempted to stay on for dinner to try their famous Amatriciana. If you do succumb, share a dish between two (or even three, in view of the portion).
Trattoria da Cesare al Casaletto
9 PM. A restaurant that is Roman through and through, appreciated by all and sundry, from the gourmets who enter into lengthy discussions on the philological origins of the gricia, to those who simply seek an authentic venue with no frills attached and prices within everyone’s reach.
For one evening, do what the Romans do and chuck your diet sheets and calorie charts out of the window: here it is mandatory to start with a fry-up comprising such delights as salt cod fillets, vegetable croquettes or meatballs and to plunge your fork voluptuously into a plate of Rigatoni alla carbonara, not forgetting to leave some space for a plate of Coda alla vaccinara (Roman oxtail stew). This is Rome, sweetheart.
Yugo Fusion Bar
11.30 PM. The night is still young: after your characteristic Roman supper, it is now time to try some of the latest novelties. Rome may indeed be the eternal city, but here too things move at a fast pace. One of the best places to drink in – and qualm any residual hunger pangs – is certainly Yugo.
The fusion menu of 'mixed' Asian inspirations is handled by chef Anthony Genovese, who was awarded two Michelin Stars at Il Pagliaccio restaurant. We particularly recommend this venue for the cocktails mixed by young bartender Daniele Petriconi, whose concoctions take you on distant journeys of aromas and spices, interpreted in seasonal menus, such as his Autumnal list inspired by Japanese Reiki.
Mastro Titta Pub
Until 6 AM. Roman nights, at least those of authentic Romans, all end up in the same place: Mastro Titta. Here you can enjoy Giorgio Chioffi’s selection of craft beers or switch to the liquors which go down well with the more authentic – and risqué Roman clientele – and are sure to revive any jaded spirits in anticipation of another sparkling phase of your evening out.
Should you be feeling peckish, you can also order simple food from the kitchen, which stays open until late at night and into the early morning (around 5-6am).
Never ask an inhabitant of the city where Rome's best breakfast is served if you do not want to risk falling into a black hole of hesitation, counter arguments and endless discussion.
One thing is sure: few cake and pastry shops open early, despite their undeniable merits. A safe bet is to go to the Rome Termini railway station where the Mercato Centrale has recently opened: here master pastry chef Gabriele Bonci has a counter overflowing with croissants, newly baked loaves and slices of his famous pizza. All set for another day – or for going to bed.