An autumnal day along Lungotevere in Rome
Autumn is our favourite time to visit Rome: the heat has subsided, the crowds have relented, and you feel more inclined to eat Rome’s delicious but robust pasta dishes, such an amatriciana or a gricia. Also you get to jump up and down on the pile of dry leaves from the plane trees that have fallen on Lungotevere. And when you look up to the sky you see thousands of starlings moving in unison, preparing to migrate south.
One can spend a life time visiting Rome and discovering new things, built as it is in layers of times from ancient roman, to medieval, to renaissance, to baroque, to neoclassical, to modern eras, often literarily one of top of the other. But there are a few places every visitor really should find time to see or return to and what better way than to use the river, with all its fallen leaves to jump on as your go from place to place.
Tempietto del Bramante: above Trastevere, on the way to the Gianicolo, this tomb was built by one of the greatest architects of the Renaissance inside the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio. From there, on a clear day you can see the whole of Rome: it’s basilicas, towers and even the hills surrounding the city.
Bar Farnese: time for cappuccino. Sit outside in Piazza Farnese, one of the gems of Rome, looking at the wonderful Palazzo Farnese (overseen by Michelangelo in the latter stage of construction and now the French Embassy), the fountains, the Church of Santa Brigitta, and all the Roman life coming and going into the market of Campo de Fiori.
Arco degli Acetari: On the other side of the Campo, along via del Pellegrino, there is a small opening on the left, there is a little courtayd that will give you an idea of what pre-war Rome was, its colour and character. A few steps of time travel.
San Luigi dei Francesi: across Piazza Navona and going towards the Pantheon you can find this majestic Renaissance church. Look for the 3 incredible Caravaggio paintings to be inspired by true mastery.
Piperno: for lunch head off towards Rome’s Jewish Ghetto quarter, and sample this traditional restaurant full of the wonders of Roman cuisine. The fritti are a must.
Santa Cecilia: across the river and back into Trastevere you can find the Church of Santa Cecilia, named after the patron saint of music (the church is supposedly built on her birth place). It’s also the site of a world-famous music academy where you can hear wonderful concerts.
Giardini degli Aranci: across the river again, the Giardino degi Aranci is one of the best places to see the sunset over Rome. The view stretches over the Tiber, with Saint Peter’s basilica in full view, and the starlings dancing in the sky.
Enoteca il Goccetto: Time for a glass of wine and some local cheeses in this wonderful small wine bar not far from Campo di Fiori. There is always a great selection by the glass, a vast wine list, tasty nibbles, and a lovely vibe to take you into the evening.