VISITORS WILL need more than a sharp suit and stylish shoes to cut it in Rome. Local knowledge and a smattering of Italian will stand your employees in good stead for business success. The city is best avoided from June to August when the crowds descend and hotel rates and temperatures both rocket.
All the big brands have a good presence in the city – Accor has it covered with an upmarket Sofitel, midmarket Novotel and budget Ibis hotel. The city is also blessed with boutique hotels and Babuino 181 is a good example. It is set across two three-storey renovated palazzos close to the Spanish Steps and rates start from £120 per night.
If time allows, visitors should find an hour to station themselves in a café, enjoy an espresso or two and watch the world go by. You can dine for (almost) as little or as much as you like in Rome, with big expense budgets well catered for. Il Pagliaccio (ristoranteilpagliaccio.com), which means ‘The Clown’, is up there with the best and is Rome’s only restaurant representative in the Relais & Chateaux collection. Dining later in the evening is commonplace.
Rome’s The First Luxury Art Hotel (thefirsthotel.com) has a rooftop restaurant and bar (open from May to October) with fine views, plus a popular cocktail bar. Ever popular Cul de Sac (+39 06 6880 1094) is a wine bar with more than 1,000 labels from which to choose – help is available to those feeling a little overwhelmed.
Rome has two airports: Leonardo da Vinci, known as Fiumicino Airport, is the city’s main international airport; Ciampino Airport is smaller but a similar distance from the city centre. British Airways, Vueling, Norwegian, Alitalia, easyJet and Ryanair operate flights to Rome from several cities across the UK.
From Fiumicino Airport the Leonardo Express train departs every half an hour and takes 30 minutes to reach the city centre. At Ciampino a short shuttle bus to the train station is required, from where it’s a 15-minute journey to the city centre. Taxis between the city centre and Fiumicino cost around 40-50 euros and to/from Ciampino is around 30 euros.
It’s all about ancient history and architecture in Rome, where the big highlights include the Colosseum, of course, plus the Pantheon, the ruin-strewn Forum, the baroque Spanish Steps, iconic Trevi Fountain, the Vatican City, St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel (prepare for long queues), and public squares like Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Navona.
A return flight from London Heathrow to Rome covers 3,147km and produces 0.31 tonnes of CO2. Offset this with The Carbon Neutral Company from £3.10.