Conveniently located a stone’s throw from Rome’s Termini Station and minutes to the Eternal City’s historic treasure trove, is the elegant Boscolo Exedra Rome hotel, offering five star accommodations and its own unique interpretation of how to experience the Eternal City. We had the chance to speak with hotelier, Mr. Piero Magrino, who opens up about his love of Rome – despite not being a native of the city - and on the way, shares one too many local secrets you'll want to keep on hand for your next visit to the capital of Dolce Vita.
Mr. Magrino, in your view, what is it about Rome that continues to captivate so many hearts?
I confess that I am not Roman, therefore I am not "part of" it, but I am convinced that the charm of this city is undeniable. Anyone who visits Rome can only be enchanted first and foremost by the scenery it offers. Wherever you go, the remains of the past emerge in all its beauty and magic, serving as a witness the power that reigned here. And if the wealth of historic testimonies is not enough to fascinate visitors, it will certainly do so with its excellent cuisine, enviable climate, and the opportunity to do much shopping for all tastes and budgets. It also offers countless artistic and cultural initiatives, as well as a dynamic nightlife, and there’s a sensation in every corner where unique shapes and colours inspire constant emotion. In short, I believe that Rome not only captures the heart of those who visit it, but also claim an honourable piece forever.
Where do you go to unwind, and is it in Rome or outside the city?
Unfortunately, it is not often that I can take a break to relax, but at least on Sunday mornings, I like to wake up early and go for a walk or jog in the gardens of Villa Borghese. The open air, contact with the green spaces and the absence of traffic help me to regenerate and are a real touch for my spirit.
Do you have a favourite museum or gallery that you enjoying visiting?
Without a doubt, the Vatican Museums. Time and again, coming back here to admire some of the most impressive masterpieces that represent the world's treasury of art history is so exciting and always leaves me breathless. I totally immerse myself in this evocative atmosphere, with an ever keen eye on the attention to details, often discovering new elements and noting new nuances .... it is simply fascinating!
Mr. Magrino, tell us, where is your favourite place to brush shoulders with locals in Rome?
The beauty of Rome is to have an open-air museum where you can breathe history in almost every corner. I love to relax in small semi-hidden spaces, perhaps by a fountain, sipping a spritz. Definitely at Piazzetta Monti, which is a small square in an authentic Roman neighbourhood that is chic and bohemian.
Let’s go ultra local: do you have a favourite, ‘off the radar’ coffee spot?
Rome has many "pop-up restaurants & bars" but there are a couple of niche places that I am particularly fond of for product quality, service and atmosphere. One of these is Sciascia Caffè, present in Rome for about 100 years, tastefully combining tradition and classicism.
What is your favourite neighbourhood district in Rome, and why?
There are several areas of personal interest depending on the type of activity that I’m in the mood for. Let’s say that, from the residential point of view, the Coppedé Quarter is definitely my favourite, surrounded by green areas while situated in the centre of Rome. Well-frequented but not crowded, this area also offers several state-of-the-art exhibitions and activities as well as small fashionable restaurants while retaining local and family-friendly authenticity.
What is your most favourite item in your wardrobe?
Actually, all of my wardrobe. I believe that the piece that most reflects my style would be the button-down shirt in all its forms: from the most elegant, strictly-white handmade shirt with cufflinks to the more sporty and colourful look but always of high quality, it is the shirt that adds luxury to even a casual outfit.
In a city with as many boutiques as there are monuments, we’d love a man’s take: where do you buy men’s shoes and/or accessories?
It goes without saying that it is surely very difficult to determine what is good or bad, but I can certainly share my preferences based on my personal taste: decisively and irresistibly classic. I am a lover of Tod's shoes, so exquisitely elegant and of great quality. The shop is located on Via Fontanella di Borghese in front of Palazzo Fendi. As far as accessories that retain a ‘Made in Italy’ identity, I think the Santoni shop in Piazza di Spagna offers a very good choice. For the bold and more extravagant gentleman, I find that the Officine Red shop is a great alternative, it is located on Via del Pellegrino near the artistic quarter of Campo dei Fiori.
What is your suggestion for travellers with children? How can they best engage with the experience in Rome?
There are several activities that help to engage children from a cultural point of view; of course it depends on the age of the children, however the range of possibilities varies. For example, a treasure hunt at the Colosseum, exploring the incised fossils at the Roman Forum and the excavations of the Palatine, the Roman cooking school in a miniature kitchen designed for children, an electric train ride inside the Vatican Gardens of Castel Gandolfo or a night at the Museum... I could continue but do not let me reveal all the secrets!
Cuisine in Rome tends to treasure the old while carefully embracing the new:
Can you recommend a favourite place of yours for authentic Roman food?
Osteria Monteverde is definitely a great combination of Roman tradition and distinct character in style. At first impression, the area may seem like a popular spot and the restaurant, very simple in its surroundings. They offer a tasting menu with a range of between 30 and 40 Euros.
And while we love tradition, we also appreciate contemporary kitchens: any suggestions for the best in town?
Pipero Roma is an unusual restaurant that also has a Michelin star. It is an interesting mix between gourmet and tradition, between finger food and carbonara. Fiore is a restaurant of Flexiterian cuisine, offering a "healthy food" experience that you would not expect, a journey through all natural flavours of highest quality ingredients. It is a great option, located on a quiet street just behind Via Veneto, the heart of Fellini’s ‘Dolce Vita’.
Finally, what is your favourite room or space in the hotel?
Without a doubt, I love the splendid views of Rome that we enjoy from the rooftop.
But the place that continues to stir strong emotions in me is located on the lower level, where we have the rare fortune to guard authentic Roman remains found during excavations to build the foundations of the building. How can you not be moved in such a surreal place?