Rome is the heart of the Italian dolce vita, and its panoramic restaurants are the epitome of the sweet life for which the capital has become known. They offer the unique chance to view the city from a number of privileged viewpoints and to try foods from cuisines both local and international. Take a look, and don’t forget your camera.
Eating at Aroma is a truly exclusive fine-dining experience. Its terrace, situated on the top floor of the 17th-century Palazzo Manfredi looks out directly onto the Colosseum from the east (we recommend you book a table for dinner to watch as the sun sets behind it), and is only large enough to fit a handful of guests. With a five-star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences and a Michelin Star to its name, it promises more than just breathtaking views, and guarantees a first-class menu and service to accompany the brilliant backdrop of one of the greatest architectural wonders of Imperial Rome.
Aroma, Palazzo Manfredi, Via Labicana 125, Rome, Italy, +39 06 97615109
La Terrazza dei Papi
La Terrazza dei Papi is a delightful refuge from the chaos of the city centre of Rome. It faces onto the piazza of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four papal basilicas in Rome, and while the area is crowded with hordes of tourists all year long, the rooftop of the Mecenate Palace Hotel provides a wonderful vantage point from which to admire the bustling square, with the romanesque bell tower and colossal Corinthian columns towering above. Buffet-style meals are inventively composed by its chefs according to the season and are served throughout the day on the terrace, while the three-course lunch menu is a wonderful alternative, fit for a business meeting and romance alike.
In 1956, Oscar Wirth, the owner of the Hassler Hotel, resolved to cover the terrace of the historic palace perched on the top of the Spanish Steps, making it Rome’s very first panoramic restaurant. Initially considered a controversial move, it went on to welcome the likes of John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Audrey Hepburn and Federico Fellini through its doors as regular guests. 60 years after this innovation, the restaurant was entirely renovated and renamed the Imàgo, but without losing its charm in the process. Neapolitan chef Francesco Apreda has continued building on the Imàgo‘s legacy, reworking traditional Italian flavors with a touch of exoticness, having spent time working in both Japan and India.
Il Fungo Quattordicesimo Piano
What looks like a spaceship on top of a tall, concrete structure from the outside (serving as a water reservoir built prior to the 1960 Olympic Games) is in fact one of the capital’s little known, out-of-the-way, luxury panoramic restaurants. Il Fungo (or “the mushroom”, another interpretation of the building’s unorthodox exterior) lies 10 kilometers south of the saturated city centre, in one of Rome’s most modern quarters, the E.U.R., whose construction was initiated by Mussolini in the 30s as a celebration of his regime through monumental architecture. From 52 meters high, diners can take in the stunning view of the city lights at a distance, in a tranquil, modernistic setting.
Casina Valadier claims to have the best viewpoint in Rome, and it’s not hard to see why. Occupying the very top of the Pincio hill inside the Villa Borghese, it combines breathtaking views with an enchanting interior. The Casina has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century; after it closed in the 90s it was restored to its original neoclassical look, reopening successfully in 2004. VIP guests such as Princess Diana and Mikhail Gorbachev have previously graced its floors on their visits to the Eternal City. Chef Massimo D’Innocenti, holder of two of the Gambero Rosso magazine’s prestigious “forchette” for his commitment to the fine art of cooking, ensures the Casina’s patrons are served only the most rigorously seasonal offerings from the kitchen.
Casina Valadier, Piazza Bucarest, Rome, Italy, +39 06 69922090
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