If you haven't been following me on Twitter and Instagram, you probably haven't caught my 8 am soap-boxing where Darius and I free-form overshare to our hearts' content about how amazing it is to experience Rome in the early morning hours. We go on and on about how the city is ours because no one - except a smattering of rushed parents, busy bar guys, precocious lawyers, on fleek cleaners and chill security guards- is around. Big tour groups? Not until post-9am.
But the truly best time to visit Rome is right now, aka, those very chilly, sometimes rainy post-vacation January to Valentine's weeks when the city is cold and quiet all day long. Forbes Travel Guide asked me to share What We Adore About Rome Right Now - here's my reboot on what to do in Rome:
Right now is the time to visit all of Rome's ancient sites. Personally, I'm a big fan of heading underground. It's already cold so why not go subterranean and subzero. But in January and February, I'll go with Darius 's Anytime-of-The-Year Go-To spot: Roman Forum . We're at the very nadir of the tourism lull, which means little to no lines to queue, especially when it rains. If the sun is shining, you'll get that epic selfie. January and February can be slightly schizophrenic weather-wise, and if you're lucky, you'll have that once in a life-time snow day in the Roman Forum. Tip: make it a point to visit our friend Werner's restorations at the ancient Church of Santa Maria Antiqua for the exhibition “Santa Maria Antiqua between Rome and Bisanzio” (ends March 17).
I am so happy it is cold. There is a lot going on, and getting inside is the only way to escape the weather. My first stop would be Artemisia at Palazzo Braschi. In brief, it's a collective of 30 of the 17th century artist's major works, plus some scenery by her contemporaries. I've been three times to the exhibit since it opened, and I don't think I can get enough of watching her sly look as she slays Holofernes. (Ends May 7). I'd follow up Artemisa with some more very visceral work that brings you right up to the 21st century- Anish Kapoor’s Exhibition at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma. As I wrote in my previous post, Indo-Brit artist Kapoor gets under your skin with 30 provocative pieces, from paintings to monumental sculptures (through April 17).
This could be it. This could be the very last season of Er Pupone - Francesco Totti with AS Roma. Rome's golden boy of the football (ahem, soccer) pitch and Italy's Golden Footis also approaching his golden years, so there is speculation that these could be very well be his last appearances on thefield. A tribuna ticket for any of these upcoming home games at Stadio Olimpico — Sampdoria (January 19), Cagliari (January 22), Fiorentina (February 7), Torino (February 19), Villarreal (February 23, European league), Napoli (March 5) and Sassuolo (March 17) — is now more important than ever. And if you just don't get football, grab a ticket for Six Nations Rugby. This year, Rome’s Stadio Olimpico hosts three matches as Azzurri, Italy’s national team, battles Wales (February 5), Ireland (February 11) and France (March 11).
What We Adore About Rome Right Now, originally appeared in Forbes Travel, January 10, 2017.