A Roman Holiday

This article first appeared in Fathom in March 2013.


A Roman Holiday

The view from the street is pretty amazing.

American expat Erica Firpo has lived in Rome long enough — and shown enough people around — to know how to build the perfect day.

1. Wake up with a cappuccino, preferably with a view. Rome has a whole breed of hotels with amazing views. My latest favorite view can be found on the rooftop terrace at St. George Hotel on via Giulia: 360 degrees of Rome's 400+ domes.


2. Walk down via Giulia to via del Pellegrino, 82, to rent a beautiful Collalti bike. The vintage colors and leather saddle bags are my souvenir of choice, but 12 euros for the Saturday-to-Monday rent is even better.

3. Park the bikes at the market at Campo de' Fiori. It’s about the atmosphere, not the prices. Grab freshly squeezed blood orange juice or pomegranate juice and talk market.

4. Pedal across the street and through Piazza Navona in search of Caravaggio paintings. Madonna di Loreto in Church of Sant' Agostino (Piazza di Sant' Agostino) and the St. Matthew series (The Calling of Saint MatthewThe Martyrdom of Saint Matthew, and The Inspiration of Saint Matthew) in the Contarelli Chapel at Church of San Luigi dei Francesi are just north of  Piazza Navona. Now pump those piedi to Piazza del Popolo for (Crucifixion of St. Peter and Conversion on the Way to Damascus) at Church of Santa Maria del Popolo.

Ara Pacis

5. Walk the bike down Via del Babuino for window-shopping and grab a coffee at Caffè Canova Tadolini. Walk through the bar's "museum" to admire the gigantic Canova casts.

6. It's time for photo ops. Head to Piazza Augusto Imperatore to compare three eras of history: the 1st-century AD mausoleum to Augustus Caesar, the Fascist arcades on the perimeter of the piazza, and Richard Meier's 21st-century museum to the Ara Pacis. Then cut through the side streets to the Pantheon. Go inside and look up. There is nothing like it.

7. Need some energy? Stop behind the 2nd-century monument to Piazza San'Eustachio for a deservedly famous cappuccino at Caffè Sant’Eustachio. If you need something more substantial, pizza al taglio ("by the slice") at Pizza Zazà, an organic pizza shop across the street, will hit the spot.

8. After all the biking you've done, you'll need a massage. Dump the bikes at Collalti (or at a hotel) and walk over to the Jewish ghetto for down time at AcquaMadre, a hamman inspired by ancient Rome. Think: vaulted bricks and underground. I keep it simple: a soak, a scrub, some tea.


Relaxation underground. Photo courtesy of AcquaMadre.

9. Relaxed and refreshed. Time for another view: cocktails on the rooftop of Grand Hotel de la Minerve, because only dome that is truly important is the Pantheon.

10. Tipsy? You're just about ready for Al Moro. Savor your walk from the Pantheon and Hadrian's Temple toward Trevi to the restaurant. Are you suddenly craving spaghetti alla carbonara, fried artichokes, and unforgettable zabaglione with melted dark chocolate? (Read my love letter to Al Moro on Fathom.)

11. If you still have energy, a few steps down the street is Trevi Fountain. The evening glow is my favorite nightcap.


See all the locations in this story. (Google Maps)


Fathom's Rome Guide


Can't get to Rome? Rome can come to you.

Photos: Courtesy of Collalti Bici; Ara Pacis by Erica Firpo.

Heat Wave

With Rome's heat wave zapping almost every single thought stem I could ever have, the only brain burst in the past twenty-four hours is the realization that the Roman heat marks the end of Red Pants.  Yes, we may see Red Shorts, Red Pants more immature cousin, but rarely will we find Red Pants when 30 degrees+ means fashion is flagrantly cast to the wind, whatever wind there may be.


*Julian Barnes I know, I know.  I've obsessed. I've fixated.  I've insisted.  I've hyperbolized.  I've exaggerated.  I've overkilled how I much I don't like red pants.  But I think its become frankly obvious that  I love seeing men in ridiculously colored pants, most of red.  I can't resist them.

More pet than pet peeve, spindly legged, tight fitted red pants (or any color and style for that matter) bring a bit of goofy and delight every day.  Don't tell but I'm even contemplating getting the Professor some snappy trousers for his birthday (and maybe moi though Uniqlo no longer seems to have any I like).  Who would have thought that the mean reds would come to mean so much to me?

Style, Love and History in Red Pants by Shannon on the Janiculum, Rome.
Delicious details:  left hang/wedding ring means Married with Red Pants.   Background rear leaner in wader pants and those  glutes.   Sampietrini.
Apparently, I am not the only one with a fond appreciation for men who wear red pants.  Please grab a cappuccino and enjoy Look at my fucking red trousers- a British glimpse into red pants, ahem, trousers.

Pathological Fashion Sense

This is my friend Fabio.  He has a collection of red pants and then some.  And this is proof that I do not have any deep-rooted resentment against people who wear red pants as my friend Old School has suggested.  Although I just don't get the fashion choice, I have begun to love red pants and the men who wear them.

My top four shots of the past few months for style (drain pipe!), attitude (swagger), team work and couples.

Red Pants


For some, it is crocuses, azaleas or allergies (East Coast and Rome), for others, it is the final fade-out of Aspen raccoon eyes (Los Angeles), for me, the arrival of Spring in Rome is announced by men who wear red pants.  And I have taken it upon myself  to be a red panthropologist, documenting and cataloguing this colorful parade coursing its way through Rome, Italy and Europe.  To you, my fashion forward friends, I encourage you to join my quest and share in my celebration of Spring, Summer and all pants colorful and fitted.

For never-ending, constantly regenerating galleries of #redpants, here is the source:

My Red Pants Parade

#RedPants on Twitter

#redpants on Instagram

Please email erica[at] or tweet @moscerina with photos of your favorite pants.

Color palette includes (but is not exclusive to): Red, Pinkish Salmon, Mustard, Yellow, Lilac

And yes, I am trying to start a #redpants movement.

Rainbow Connection

Je sais, je sais, I am singing the same old song, but I've turned over a new leaf thanks to Sesto.  Instead of being agro-obsessive about Red Pants, I have learned to embrace the Rainbow Collection.  Color and colorful clothing are rarely appreciated in the US as they are here, and there is nothing wrong it.  Sesto, my Friday night taxi driver, told me not only where I could buy his awesome checked shirt (Gruppo Clark, Totti and Ilari shop there as well), but that he has over 40 different colored shirts with pants to match. I am in love.

Artsy Evening

As I often via for canditature in the Best Mom (and otherwise) Ever Club, I took mini-e out for a night on the town Notte dei Musei, where we immersed ourselves in arte povera and bauhaus at the MAXXI.  Despite the 2 am NdM extended hours, I kept us to a cool curfew of midnight. Yeah, it's true: dragging a child  around a contemporary art museum late into the evening could be perceived as slightly self-indulgent parenting, but mini-e is that kind of kid.  She likes staying out way past her bedtime and she likes art.

Though I was all about Pistoletto,  mini-e just wanted to see the sala spaccata (split room) by  Giuseppe Penone's Scultura di Linfa-  a room covered in undulating leather and marble, with a split resin-filled wooden plank.  [Check out the cool red pants in the photo.  Note: every NdM produces great red pants footage.] I dragged her for a bit of Bauhaus to the Rietveld exhibition and then to the lab.

MAXXI's newest laboratorio rocks big time.  For the  ninety minute program, we toured the Rietveld exhibiton with several other children and guide and then. . . .drumroll. . . . we made our own mini Rietveld chairs in that little temporary side house next to the museum.  I must brag here: everyone in the museum wanted one when we were walking around.

Want the chair?  Grab a child between 4 and 12 years, and reserve your Saturday afternoon at the MAXXI, via Guido Reni 4, third to last stop off the Tram 2, direction Mancini.

PostScript:  Giovi has just stressed the importance of informing all of you that adults can make their own chairs sans enfants by signing up for the Adult programs.  Also, the MAXXI will be celebrating its 1st anniversary on Saturday, May 28 by offering visitors free education programs, labs and tours.  Reservations must be made in advance.