Roman Holiday

Images by

Danilo Scarpati

Situated on the “street of the blacksmiths” in Rome’s Renaissance-era Regola district, Chapter Roma evokes the past, present, and future of the neighborhood. The hotel pays homage to the neighborhood in a variety of ways—metalwork appears throughout referencing its past while contemporary artworks fill the spaces—such as a gilded sculpture by Italian artist Willy Verginer, “Where has the stockbroker gone?”—inspired by the cutting-edge galleries and boutiques dotting Regola now.

One of Rome’s most renowned galleries is Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, directed by Irish art connoisseur Lorcan O’Neill who has brought to Rome numerous avant-garde and controversial contemporary artists such as Martin Creed, Tracey Emin, Kiki Smith, Jeff Wall, and Rachel Whiteread. Then there is the hybrid art-gallery-boutique-event space, Contemporary Cluster, housed inside a decadent 17th-century palace, which hosts a permanent jumble of permanent and pop-up shops, monthly exhibitions, and weekly performances.

Winding cobblestone streets commemorate professions historically associated with the area, from Chapter Roma’s street, Via di Santa Maria dei Calderari, or “Street of Saint Mary of the Backmsiths”, to nearby avenues devoted to milliners, tailors, dressmakers, and furriers. You can watch some of these artisans in action, such as at the workshop-cum-boutique of Dario Alfonsi, a leather craftsman who makes chairs and other things by hand. On Via del Pellegrino, Umberto Giovagnoli is a basket and wicker weaver who learned the craft form his father and has passed it down to the next generation. Watch the interesting process of pieces being made and pick up a one-of-a-kind chair, bag, hat, or picnic basket.

Regola’s culinary delights have managed to stay miraculously under-the-radar. Here, gourmet restaurants take up residence inside grand townhouses, centuries-old churches, and Renaissance palaces. Stand at the crossroads of Vicolo della Moretta, Via dei Banchi Vecchi, and Via del Pellegrino, and you are walking distance from not one, but three Michelin-starred restaurants— Antony Genovese’s two-Michelin-star Il Pagliaccio restaurant; Giulio Terrinoni’s Per Me Giulio Terrinoni; and Alessandro Pipero’s Pipero Roma.

Forno di Campo de’ Fiori, a third-generation bakery run by star chef Dino Bartocci, is the best place to grab a pizza al taglio from and walk around historic Regola, which proudly bears its more than 2,000-year heritage through ancient inscriptions and columns decorating its building fronts. It is here that you will take in the sights and sounds of an older, forgotten Rome.

Image by Robert Rieger

Chapter Roma is featured in the new Design Hotels Book. The 2020 edition marks an innovative new editorial and artistic direction for the design anthology, created in collaboration with some of the world’s leading photographers. Get your copy here.

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020