HeartRome

My life and times in the eternal city and beyond

Latest Posts

A week at sea: Cruising the Mediterranean

Big cruises aren’t my thing. I wouldn’t generally choose one as my first choice for summer travel. But last year I went on one with my parents. They wanted to explore the Mediterranean and had limited time so this was the perfect way to spend a week. With MSC Cruises we cruised for 7 nights from Civitavecchia through Palermo, Cagliari, Marseille, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca and Genoa.  I have to

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A guide to Rovinj: the turquoise jewel of Istria

Located a short two hours’ drive or ferry from Trieste in Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia, Rovinj is the pearl in Istria’s sparkling turquoise coastline. Istria is the most north-west region of Croatia and was once a part of Italy (for about 30 years between the first and second world wars), and was part of the Venetian republic centuries before that. This influence can be felt and seen to this day,

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The 5 best spas in Rome

By now you would’ve guessed I’m quite partial to a spa day! I’ve been fortunate enough to have massages, body treatments and facials in some of the best day spas in the world from New York to Melbourne, in the thermal springs of Bath, at a beach spa in San Sebastián, Turkish hamam on the western coast of Turkey to Dubai and Hong Kong.  If I have a few free

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5 things to add to your Verona to-do-list

I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve been to Verona three times in my life. But on the third time, it was (finally!) for more than just a day. Located in the Veneto region, it might not receive as much foot traffic as Venice but it certainly gets busy in high season and packs a punch with what it has to offer visitors.  People come to Verona to see and

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Putting Abruzzo on the map

As is the case around most of Abruzzo, the drive into the hamlets and towns of Chieti province can be a bumpy one. Many of the roads around here aren’t really taken care of. Many of the buildings look abandoned or are in need of repair and it’s as though life just keeps passing them by.  Abruzzo from an economic standpoint is one of Italy’s struggling regions. Yes, Italy has

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Where to eat near Rome’s monuments

Nowadays food guides have one thing in common: encouraging visitors to explore areas away from the touristy city centre and get off the beaten track. Yet many travellers in Rome are in town for just 2-3 days, are staying in a central hotel or apartment and want to eat and explore within that radius. And despite perception, there are a lot of decent places to eat in the centre of

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Italian Lakes and spa day: Sirmione

Thousands of visitors descend on Lake Garda daily especially in the warmer months and it’s not at all hard to understand why. This is Italy’s largest lake and the district evokes a magical sense of Italian dolce vita that’s different from the coast. Located in the province of Brescia, half hours drive from Verona and less than 2 hours from Milan, Sirmione is all you’d want in a lake town and

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The photos that will make you want to visit Chieti Province, Abruzzo right now

You know my parents were born in Abruzzzo right? It’s in my blood; it’s in my heart. And slowly it’s becoming a destination of choice for travellers to Italy who are looking to explore Italy that bit further beneath the surface. From UNESCO heritage sites, lakes, mountains, beach, it really offers it all as a destination (and it’s much cheaper than say a Tuscany or Puglia).  I recently explored the

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Rome gelato review: Gunther Rohregger’s creations

Like me, Gunther Rohregger is an adopted Roman! He moved here for love from northern Italy’s Alto Adige (a region still on my bucket list). He is a gelato chef. A chef because he creates and honours produce in an innovative way that really makes your palate come alive. Not all gelato in Rome is equal and this is real gelato (by the way, not ice cream!) with real ingredients.

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Florence: Exploring the Santa Croce Neighbourhood

In a city busting at the seams with tourists, it can be hard in Florence to find an area that seems authentically Florentine. In the heart of the centro storico, the Santa Croce neighbourhood is probably one of the most genuine left in the centre.  Here, you can still see daily glimpses of local Florence life. From the steps of the Santa Croce church which stands tall and proud in the

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