The Lowdown

New inns on the block With their staggered blocks of colored windows, the facades of the brand-new Abitart look like gigantic screen shots of Tetris. Guest rooms in the boutique-y, design-led inn have wildly disparate themes a suite on one floor is done up in a surrealist De Chirico motif, while another floor's suite looks like a '70s shag pad and the in-house restaurant, Estrobar, clearly aims to be the Next Big Thing for Roman scenesters. Abitart's location, in the post-war Ostiense quarter,...

A drink with a view On

The panoramic Pincio hill, just north of the Spanish Steps, Ciampini al Caf du Jardin is a classy place to catch the sunset or stargaze with a lover. The Hotel Raphael and Hotel Eden (see the Accommodations chapter) both have romantic rooftop bars, though the scene is quiet to nonexistent much of the time. Still under construction at press time, the roof bar at Hotel Forty Seven (see the Accommodations chapter), with its 270-degree terrace overlooking the stunning ruins and famous hills of...

Festivals Special Events

JANUARY Children get a visit and gifts from La Befana (the Old Witch) on January 6 (Epiphany), which marks the end of the Christmas season. FEBRUARY Pranksters don masks and children dress as if it is Halloween for Carnevale (Feb or Mar). There is also an adorable children's parade near the Colosseum on Martedi Grasso (Fat Tuesday). When the Vatican's Christmas tree is taken down mid-month, tourists can often make off with free souvenir ornaments. MARCH March 8, La Festa delle Donne (Women's...

Hotlines i Other Basics

Airport Fiumicino (FCO), also known as Leonardo da Vinci, is Rome's main airport and is open 24 hours a day. Overhauled in 1999, Fiumicino is modern, bright, and user-friendly, with clear signage and extensive duty-free shopping opportunities. If your bags do not arrive at the same time you do (this happens somewhat frequently, especially if you've made a connection at another European airport), try not to freak out -just file a claim with the baggage people, and most likely the airline will...

Antiques and collectibles

Palazzo Frescobaldi Vintage Map

Antiques hounds should make a beeline for Via dei Coronari, Rome's main artery for antiquar-iato. The jumbled assortment of marbles at Marmi Line includes some remarkably faithful copies of Roman portrait busts, fountains, and a whole lot of pointless accent pieces that might have been lifted from the set ofAll My Children. W Apolloni, specializing in silver and 17th-century furniture, is one of Rome's best-known antiques stores. If you're looking for collectibles from the 20th century or Art...

Da Oio a Casa Mia p Testaccio Roman Inexpensive

Friendly cucina romana in authentic Testaccio neighborhood.... Tel 06 578-26-80. Via Galvani 43-45, at Via Mastro Giorgio. Buses 23, 30, 75, or 280. Tram 3. No credit cards. Lunch and dinner Mon-Sat. Da Quinto p. 60 CENTRO STORICO GELATO Enormous smoothies and other fruit- and veggie-based concoctions are the main attraction at what used to be just a gelateria.... Tel 06 68656-57. Via di Tor Millina 15, at Via dell Anima. Buses 30, 40, 46, 62, 64, 70, 81, 87, 492, 571, or 628. No credit cards....