Rome’s mild weather almost forces you out of your hotel room’s four walls and into its charming gardens, quaint sidewalks, sprawling parks and bustling squares. Here are our picks of outdoor dining options in the Eternal City.
Via Veneto sidewalks
Via Veneto, one of Rome's most exclusive and elegant avenues, is filled with genteel restaurants, cafes and bars. It’s also home to Millennium Hotels and Resorts' Grand Hotel Palace Rome and its street-facing casual eatery, Piero's Bistrot. Green foliage envelops the entire dining area, where you can enjoy light meals and a good selection of Italian wines. The five-star boutique hotel is a destination hotel in its own right, inhabiting a historical building designed by prominent architect, Marcello Piacentini.
Just down the road is the iconic Harry's Bar, where Federico Fellini's classic movie, La Dolce Vita, was filmed. Visit this elegant drinking spot for a chic afternoon of Bellini sipping.
Sophisticated English-style landscaping, brilliant museums, splendid fountains and exquisite monuments and villas can all be found in Villa Borghese. Here you’ll also find German chef Oliver Glowig's two-star Michelin restaurant, Ristorante Oliver Glowig. Glowig plates up vibrant, modern and produce-driven Italian-inspired dishes. Casina Valadier, on the other hand, whips up seasonal and traditional Italian food by chef Massimo D'Innocenti. You can't go wrong with its creamy buffalo mozzarella served alongside sweet vine-ripened tomatoes and peppery basil.
Fill a picnic basket with pecorino, Parma ham, focaccia and Prosecco and escape from the city to Trastevere's little-known botanical gardens. These gardens are a favourite among locals, perhaps because tourists know little about them. The choice is yours: set your picnic up in the Japanese gardens, a peaceful bamboo grove, Pope Nicholas III's medicinal herb gardens or beside the greenhouses filled with exotic bonsai trees and orchids.
Piazza del Popolo
Cafes on Piazza del Popolo
This square was first built in the 1500s to mark Rome's northern gateway. Today, it's one of the best places to sit for a coffee and cannoli and watch the beautiful locals trot across the piazza. Rosati, a high-end restaurant with ample outdoor dining, has a front-row seat to the action on Piazza del Popolo. Rosati has been in operation since 1922 and has gained a reputation for producing some of the best pastries on the piazza. Just across the square is Canova, a time-tested Italian restaurant that includes a bar, restaurant, tobacco shop, music garden and a gallery dedicated to all things Federico Fellini, who was said to be a regular here.
Lawns of Villa Doria Pamphili
Rome's largest landscaped public park, Villa Doria Pamphili, was built in the 17th century by the wealthy Pamphili family. ViVi Bistrot is a multi-concept business located in the heart of the villa's rolling gardens. It offers an excellent alfresco restaurant and fun outdoor activities, such as biking and yoga. Dishes are health-focused and created entirely with organic, local ingredients. However, the chef's inspiration comes from all corners of the globe.