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19.11.2014

As this Scouter discovered on returning to the Eternal City, Rome, like love affairs, is much better the second time around - you can concentrate on the good stuff without the “getting to know each other” part. Because really, standing in line for three hours outside the Vatican is no fun at all. But there’s plenty of other stuff here that is.

Stay

Nothing’s too far a walk in Rome, so take advantage of the short distances and stay on the west side of the river, near the less touristy and much hipper Trastevere neighborhood. This Scouter lived in and loved Buonanotte Garibaldi, a little bed and breakfast housing a courtyard filled with plants and candelabras, butterflies and books, chandeliers and even a baby grand. If you insist on doing the touristy thing, Hotel Capo d’Africa is a stone’s throw from the Colosseum, modern and sleek with a nice terrace. PS: Bring wrinkle-free clothes or your own personal iron. None of the hotels in Rome seemed to have one.

A day trip to Florence is easy and highly recommended, and if you have a swimsuit and a night to spare, grab your beau and make a three-hour journey to the island of Capri for the most romantic spot in the world – its your second time around after all, and you want to finally get it right.

Eat & Drink

We weren’t blown away with the food in Rome (waiting for lightening to strike us now), but once you get past the compulsion to eat pasta at every single meal, there are some fun options: La Foccaccia serves good, toothsome pizza; La Zanzara is a buzzy spot that the locals took us to, promising a mean burger, better fries and the coolest matchbooks ever. They delivered in spades. Sorpasso is where you’ll find a hopping bar and prettily plated contemporary fare, and is the best place to make new friends. Apartment is worth visiting for its terrace garden, squishy chairs and emerging music scene. And for the truly adventurous, try Mesob, a tiny Ethiopian restaurant tucked under an ugly highway. The food is authentic, the staff friendly, and they have tons of vegetarian options – but take a cab over, because the neighborhood is a bit dodgy.

Shop

Everywhere, you’re in Italy! Via dei Condotti is where all the big designers are, a pretty walk that will cost you a pretty penny. There are also smaller boutiques, including Empresa, where we scored the coolest handmade wooden sunglasses; Twice, a vintage store that yielded a shell-colored flapper dress and unworn Fendi boots in a size 4.5; and Profumum Roma, where you can find a scent that reminds you of every boyfriend you ever had.

Do

Apart from the usual stuff (if you plan to do any of it, buy tickets in advance and expect to wait in line for a couple of hours), there’s also a burgeoning contemporary art scene in Rome – check out MAXXI with its trippy staircase that snakes through what used to be military barracks; and Frutta, owned by a dashing Irish lad.

A day trip to Florence is easy and highly recommended, and if you have a swimsuit and a night to spare, grab your beau and make a three-hour journey to the island of Capri for the most romantic spot in the world – its your second time around after all, and you want to finally get it right.

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