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Romantic Rome

Panoramic Backdrops for PDA
Romantic Rome
Roma is amor, the Latin word for love, spelled backwards, and the Eternal City doesn't disappoint: It's arguably the most romantic destination in the world. While you're certain to run into your own magical spots the moment you exit the plane, this list of the very best sunset views and quiet hideaways is a great springboard to a romantic Rome getaway.
By Erica Firpo, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by Gillian Longworth McGuire
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    Panoramic Backdrops for PDA
    Panoramic Backdrops for PDA
    Rome may be known as a city built on seven hills, but there are more than a dozen peaks with sweeping panoramas of the Eternal City. The local favorite is the Gianicolo (or Janiculum) hill above the Trastevere neighborhood. On any given day, you have the city at your feet. You don’t have to climb a hill for a romantic view—let an elevator whisk you to a rooftop for some spectacularly scenic canoodling. For a bird's-eye glimpse into the city's past and present, the Terrazza delle Quadrighe at the Vittoriano monument in the very center of Rome has an incredible 360-degree view of the city's domes, towers, palazzi, and boulevards and overlooks the Roman Forum archaeological site.
    Photo by Gillian Longworth McGuire
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    Where to Watch the Sunset
    Where to Watch the Sunset
    On the crest of the Aventine hill is the quiet Parco Savello, a neighborhood park fondly known as Giardino degli Aranci, or Orange Garden. According to legend, St. Dominic planted a single orange tree in this spot in the 13th century, which blossomed to today's fragrant orange grove and tranquil park. By sunset, the scented garden park becomes the scene for an amazing sunset vista. For a blockbuster view, book a table at Aroma, the Michelin-star rooftop restaurant atop luxe hotel Palazzo Manfredi, with an undeniably spectacular view of the Colosseum.
    Photo by Walter Zerla/age fotostock
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    Secret Cloisters
    Secret Cloisters
    The beauty of Rome is that everything is right out in the open and in front of you, but what adds to the city's charm is that it still hides many secrets. The Basilica of San Giovanni is a masterpiece of architecture with a massive stacked portico facade by Alessandro Galilei and an interior designed by Borromini. Enjoy the design, but the real secret is its 13th-century cloister with fine spiral columns and mosaics. On the Aventine hill, the often-overlooked Basilica of Santa Sabina is a small fortress—a 5th-century church decorared in ancient marbles and a gorgeous garden enclosed by a medieval wall.
    Photo by R. Kiedrowski/age fotostock
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    Lovely Cobblestoned Streets
    Lovely Cobblestoned Streets
    Rome is still in many ways a village, a composite of neighborhoods where everyone knows each other and what they are doing. To get a feel for Roman life, leave the main drag and wander around Trastevere, across the river from the historic center, walk the narrow cobblestoned streets, and hunt for traditional bakeries, welcoming wine bars, restaurants and caffès, and charming shops. Back across the Tiber River is the Ghetto, a microneighborhood and traditional home to Rome’s Jewish population. Now it's a small enclave of shops, restaurants, and art galleries, but rest assured, every meter is a photo shoot as narrow alleyways wind around medieval townhouses, and facades are decorated with recycled antiquities.
    Photo by Rene Mattes/age fotostock
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    Late-Night Walks
    Late-Night Walks
    There is nothing more scene-stealing than a late-night walk around Rome's historic center. The inky blue sky and the warm umbers of the palazzi create a magical ambience. Savor some quality moments with your partner by walking around the quiet Campidoglio on Rome's famous Capitoline Hill, where you can gaze out across the Roman Forum, or sneak some kisses at the Fontana delle Tartarughe (Turtle Fountain) in Piazza Mattei. Lore has it that in an effort to win the respect of the father of his beloved, a Renaissance duke had the fountain constructed overnight. Once the lights go down, Piazza Pasquino and the side streets surrounding Piazza Navona are beautiful escapes that invoke the aura of Renaissance Rome.
    Photo by Alvaro Leiva/age fotostock
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    Bathrobes and Bubbles
    Bathrobes and Bubbles
    You've spent all day learning about the Roman Empire, why not relax like an emperor? Re-enact history and relax with some spa therapy at AcquaMadre, a multiroom spa designed as an ancient Roman thermae with tepidarium, caldarium, and frigidarium (hot, cold, and tepid baths), saunas, and treatments that will set the mood for the rest of your romantic retreat. For more couples-only time, reserve a private suite and couples treatment at the Hotel Eden Spa. On sweltering summer afternoons, do as the Romans do and escape the heat and chaos for the oasis of the Rome Cavalieri pool, where you relax under a canopy of pines beside cool, clear water and the city's most elegant residents.

    Photo courtesy of Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Resort
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    Artisanal Assignations
    Artisanal Assignations
    Hotel de Russie’s fabulous Stravinskij Bar is Rome's HQ for 21st-century dolce vita and the holy ground for Rome's resurrected cocktail scene. The private courtyard is picture perfect, and the craft cocktails are some of the best, if not most expensive, in the city. For a more private affair, head to the side streets by Campo de' Fiori: Speakeasy-style Jerry Thomas, honored as one of the "World's 50 Best Bars," serves pre-Prohibition classics to thirsty couples cuddled in overstuffed chairs. Reservations are required and membership is a must, so bring some small bills to sign up.
    Photo by Alberto Blasetti
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    Bella Notte, Romantic Wining and Dining
    Bella Notte, Romantic Wining and Dining
    In Rome, the restaurant is a stage, and many of the city's great restaurants are brightly lit, fitting in perfectly with the see-and-be-scene vibe. For a more confidential tryst, book a table for two at the intimate salotto (living room) style restaurant of L'Arcangelo. Chef Arcangelo Dandini is the patron saint of cucina romana, and his menu shows off his favorite recipes like gnocchi all'Amatriciana. Romance can also be found in the quiet corners of The Corner, an enchanting and newly minted Michelin-star restaurant in an elevated garden terrace.
    Photo by Andrea Moretti
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    Set the Stage for Romantic Selfies
    Set the Stage for Romantic Selfies
    Whether in front of the lens or behind it, Rome is full of romantic photo opportunities. Take a selfie at the bottom of the iconic Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna. Cozy up to the Colosseum, the ancient world's biggest arena, from the ground level, the top ring, or at Via Nicola Salvi, the raised road above the Colosseo Metro stop. Throw a few coins over your shoulder at the Trevi Fountain—best time is late evening.
    Photo by agefotostock
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    Day Trip Escapes
    Day Trip Escapes
    After a few days of city life, you'll need a breath of fresh air. Escape the city by heading to the hills and the seaside. Go west: Hop on a local commuter train to Ostia Antica, the well-preserved ancient port city. You can walk basalt streets, visit the Forum, descend into Mithraic sanctuaries, and peruse the fast-food and market stalls, which were in use until around the 5th century C.E. From here it's a short ride to the coast and Ostia, a local seaside town. For more mountainous terrain, drive 40 minutes east to Tivoli and Villa Adriana, the palatial suburban villa of Emperor Hadrian. Spread out over 250 acres, the complex included more than 30 buildings, and some of the original 2nd-century C.E. architecture, decorations, and statuary remain.



    Photo by agefotostock