Things to do in Rome & the lovely Hotel Russie.
Contributed by Jens Hoffmann
Why the hotel Russie?
Its a luxury five-star hotel located in the heart of Rome between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo on the Via del Babuino.
It offers spa fun pure.
The hotel is within easy walking distance of Rome’s attractions, fashion houses and Via Condotti.
The Vatican City, with St Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel, is not far away while Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain are also within easy access.
The most unique luxury hotel in Rome, Hotel de Russie provides a stunning feature – extensive, terraced gardens, the “Secret Garden”, so called because hidden behind the building which overlooks Via del Babuino which provide a tranquil oasis amidst the bustle of central Rome where you can dine alfresco at “Le Jardin de Russie” Restaurant or just enjoy a piece of Italy.
Things to do:
#1 The Colosseum, a monument of epic proportions and stories of battles between gladiators, slaves, prisoners and wild animals have emerged from this Flavian amphitheatre. A vast arena of entertainment, with a seating capacity of over 50,000 people, it could fill up in 10 minutes. Nowhere in the world was there a larger or more glorious setting for mass slaughter. Today, the only gladiators that you will see are the ones parked outside for the tourist shutterbugs. But this is a necessary pilgrimage for history buffs, and the ideal starting point from which to take in the Roman remains of the city
#2 A walk in the park – Gardens of the Villa Borghese
Like no other city, Rome can be overwhelming. When the Colosseum starts to weigh down on you, find serenity in the gardens of the Villa Borghese, the city’s most central public park. It’s popular with joggers, dog-walkers and pleasure seekers. In recent years, it has grown a contemporary art museum in the Orangerie: the Museo Carlo Bilotti. To escape the crowds, climb the steep hill behind Trastevere and the Gianicolo, where you’ll discover the green tree-filled expanse of the Villa Pamphili Park in the suburb of Monteverde.
#3 The special one – meet the Pope at the Vatican
Audience yes or no? Well, you probably won’t, but you can join an audience with him on Wednesday mornings. If the weather is fine, then he’ll hold this general audience in St Peter’s Square; otherwise it takes place in the Sala Nervi audience hall. Expect to join clusters of Catholic devotees, and flocks of camera-waving tourists. Afterwards, you can take the opportunity to wander through St Peter’s Basilica, admire Michelangelo’s stunning frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and visit the famous ‘Belvedere Apollo’ and ‘Laocoön’ at the Museo Pio-Clementino among the Vatican Museums
#4 Put a coin into the Trevi Fountain
These days the gorgeous Trevi Fountain is also a Red Cross piggy bank, thanks to all the loose change that tourists fling into the water as they make a wish. Tucked away in a tiny piazza and surrounded by jostling crowds, the fountains’ creamy travertine gleams beneath torrents of water and camera flashes. It’s a rococo extravaganza of rearing sea horses, conch-blowing Tritons and craggy rocks, erupting in front of the Palazzo Poli.
Resto tip “Pergola” in Rome:
Pergola is within the impressive Hilton Cavalieri hotel, which is perched at the top of a hill overlooking the city. The dining room in on the 9th floor, has fine views out over the city, and is lavishly decorated. The owner of the hotel has a reputedly vast art collection, and the dining room has several pieces on display, including paintings, glassware and furniture. The room has a blue/gold patterned carpet, picture windows and generously spaced tables.
Pergola is laid out along one side of the hotel in which it is situated, the dining room snaking along the top of a hillside overlooking Rome; this layout means that most tables have at least some part of the view, and a spectacular view it is. All of Rome sprawls beneath you, with St Peter’s Basilica just one of the clearly visible landmarks. The dining room itself is lavishly decorated, with mirrors along the rear wall and lovely pieces of art dotted around the room.
Bread is made in the kitchens, Italian rolls with top class olive oil for dipping, with the flatbread being my favourite of those tried. There was even a salt trolley to complement the olive oil, with a wide array of salts from around the world, from Japan, Hawaii and France amongst others; truly the salt of the earth. Perhaps the most intriguing was a Norwegian salt that tasted slightly of pepper, a sort of all in one condiment. I generally prefer French bread to Italian, but this was certainly well made. The wine cellar here is immense, with 3,000 separate wines available and 60,000 bottles.
Let start to be a foodie:
Salmon with a little fennel salad and tangerine sauce was the introductory taste, and although the combination is perfectly sensible and the fennel was good.
The meal got into its stride with a duck liver terrine with smoked apple, almonds and amaretti. This was spectacularly good dish, the terrine having stunning flavour, the apple providing just enough balancing acidity.
Deep fried zucchini flower with caviar on shellfish and saffron sauce was a pretty dish, the courgette flower arranged in a star, the sauce having clean flavours.
First of a trio of pasta dishes was Mezza lune with broccoli, squid and clams. This was delicate, and mix of shellfish and broccoli worked well Fagotelli “La Pergola” is a feature of the menu here, and has remarkably light pasta.
Tangerine risotto with scampi carpaccio and mint was technically skilled and had lovely langoustines.
Following the pasta was a Cannolo of scampi and vegetables, olive sauce and tapioca with Campari.
The langoustines were extremely good, though they are a delicate taste that for us got a little lost amongst the powerful flavour of the olive sauce and the Campari.
Warm emincé of sea bass with vegetables marinated in olive oil was impressive, the fish itself perfectly cooked and with lovely flavour, the excellent vegetables giving a nice light balance to the dish, and a again a sense of the tastes being very clean and pure came through in this dish.
A trolley contained an entirely Italian cheese selection, the cheeses in very good condition. I found a local goat cheese that superficially resembled St Maure was particularly impressive, but the better known cheeses such as Taleggi, Gorgonzola were all delicious.
Thats was more than enough.
Finally orange jelly with ice cream, it was a very pretty dessert.
The wine list is immense, two large tomes, one for Italian wines, one for the rest of the world. A proper 3-star restaurant