Romantic Rome

Liz Knight from Rome...If You Want To highlights the top ten places in Rome to kiss your lover this Valentine's Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends all over the world! Last year, I wrote about the very Italian history of Valentine’s Day. I think it’s pretty interesting, so I’d love for you to take a look-see. But here we are in 2014 and I’ve got a nice fellow, my best girlfriend just married an Italian guy, I’ve been hanging around some great couples recently, and love is in the air. So I put my thinking cap on and came up with Ten Places to Kiss Your Lover in Rome. Enjoy and please leave other suggestions in the comments!

(And just in case my Roman boyfriend needs any help planning for tonight, someone please send him this blog. M'kay?)

1. Hotel Rooftops

I’ve been saying this forever. The terrace at the Hotel Eden has the best sunset view of any hotel in Rome. It’s expensive, but the drinks are delicious (I like all the red wines, and the apple martini) and you get a constantly refilled tray of very solid snacks. If you can forget about the 40 euros you just paid for two cocktails, as the sun goes down, make a toast to your trip to Rome together and seal it with a kiss. A friend of mine just surprised her boyfriend with drinks at the Hotel Eden for their last night in Rome, and he said it was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for him.

Another good one is most certainly the rooftop at the Hotel Minerva by the Pantheon. If you go to the Eden to see the sunset, go another night to the Minerva when it’s already dark. The illuminated rooftops and domes against the navy blue sky will smoothe over any rough edges from your afternoon argument. Pro tip: Try to go when there’s a full moon.


2. Trevi Fountain

Classic. Epic. Too touristy for you? Look, Federico Fellini himself could’ve chosen any location in Rome for his iconic love scene in La Dolce Vita, but he chose this one. Sure, there are always about a thousand people there (unless you go at 5 a.m.- idea!), but the other night I was one of those thousand and saw a man – definitely a tourist – get down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend. She said yes, he stood up, they hugged and spun around, and get this… EVERYONE stopped what they were doing and watched. When they hugged, the entire square erupted into applause. It was one of those Rome moments. I immediately thought, “now whenever they see the Trevi Fountain on television, they’ll have this memory. And they can always come back here and visit, and their children will visit….” And then I got a little wistful. Not ready to propose?? Just give your sweetheart a big kiss in front of the fountain and call it a night.


3. Gianicolo Hill

Don’t save all your romance for the evening. Head up to Gianicolo for the most sweeping view (like, 180 degrees) of Rome’s white monuments under blue skies. You can see everything from up there, man. It’s quite a hike up this hill from Trastevere, but you can take a cab if you want. No one will judge you. Once you’re up there, there are little kiosks where you can get a drink or ice cream. Sit there, soak in the view, and kiss.


4. Top of the Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are my favorite spot in Rome. And all that available seating on the Steps is so nice. Sit with your boyfriend/girlfriend up at the top, share a bottle of wine you’ve just bought somewhere, and just look out over the square and Via Condotti stretching out in front of you. And all those people. This is a time where you can just be quiet and not talk. Enjoy the view and the sounds of background chatter and random guitars, and lean in for a kiss.


5. The Fori Imperiali (Roman Forum) at Night

You can check out the Roman Forum at night like everyone does – from Via dei Fori Imperiali, the main thoroughfare that charges from Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum, but I know a better way.

There is a little corner of downtown Rome at night that is a bit of a secret…. If you’re facing the wide stairs in front of the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill), go up. You’d think it’d be closed at night, but it’s not. So keep going. Then, veer left. Go as far as you can, always bearing left. Pass by the column with the Roman wolf on top, keep going. Suddenly, you’re on this sort of natural balcony overlooking the Roman Forum. Like I just said, there are spotlights placed so the right things are lit up, but you’ll be in the dark…and alone…. Your date will wonder how you knew about this hidden little spot.


6. An Alley in Trastevere

Look I’m just gonna say this. I know lots of people who have hooked up in alleys in Trastevere, okay? If you want to join the club, it’s entirely doable. No one will bat an eye.


7. Villa Borghese, Under a Tree

Ditto.


8. The Little Square by Gelateria del Teatro

Adjacent to my favorite gelateria on earth, there is a darling little square with some mosaicked tables, an outdoor drinking fountain, and those some of those famous Roman steps that seem to go nowhere. It happens to be very conveniently located and on a street, Via dei Coronari, which gets an honorable mention for romance in its own right. This gelateria is open very late – I’ve been as late as 2:00 a.m. – and you may find a crowd of Romans or no one at all. Does it get any more romantic than tasting each other’s ice cream (cheese and cherry! lavender and sage!) and then sealing it with a kiss, all in a picture perfect little square? No, people, it does not.


9. Caffe’ Zodiaco

Have I been too touristy for you so far with these recommendations? Okay, take a taxi to Caffe’ Zodiaco up in Monte Mario and you’ll be the only outsider there. An institution that’s been around forever, it’s quite far from downtown but offers spectacular nighttime views of the city on a fabulous patio, with drinks (and even ice cream). Every time I go to this place, I feel like an Italian movie star in the 1950s. Definitely, definitely, definitely a place for a date.


10. Lungotevere

Along the Tiber River, the Lungotevere, you get some of the best views of St. Peter’s Basilica, Castel Sant’Angelo, and the Tiber Island. Plus, the Lungotevere is lined with really beautiful trees, the branches of which stretch downward, toward the water. It’s genuinely a sweet place to walk after dinner, holding hands, and steal a kiss or two.


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