November 19, 2012

On the Road: Roman Holiday

Apart from a manic work trip here and there, I haven’t been to Rome as a tourist since I was 22 years old. Back then, I went with my friend Alex, and it was so hot that our cassette tapes melted on our windshield and our budget was so tight that we could only afford a youth hostel with shared bathrooms and no air conditioning. We literally ran through all the cultural destinations so we could spend time drooling in the more climatically desirable Prada shop and licking gelato near the Trevi fountain. Then we got the hell out of there. Clearly it wasn’t the greatest trip. In the years following I always heard what a great city Rome was, so I knew one day I’d have to go back and pay it a proper visit. That chance came when I received an invitation for my friend Rachel Feinstein’s opening at Gagosian in Rome. Christopher and I had been hoping for a weekend alone somewhere beautiful and inspiring, and this gave us the perfect excuse. Here are my highlights:

The view from the top of the Spanish steps.
Gorgeous Rachel, posing in front of one of her mirror paintings at Gagosian.
Me, Rachel and Yvonne Force. We became close friends when we all gave birth to sons within a few months of each other. There is nothing more bonding than raising children together, but its nice that we all share our love of art and fashion as well.
Yvonne, in floor length Fendi sequins climbing the steps of the Brazilian embassy for a dinner in Rachel’s honor.


The ceiling of Villa Borghese. Is it horrible to say that I liked this better than the Sistine Chapel? It was less restored, and therefore more believable.


The view of the garden from Villa Borghese. I just love all the symmetry.


On our way to Villa Borghese, we were running late for our scheduled tour and the taxi driver dropped us on the wrong side of the park. Thinking we’d most likely miss the tour, we started running through the park when we saw a rickshaw. The lovely Colombian driver picked us up and got us there just in time.


You might think this is totally disgusting, but it was my favorite thing I ate in Rome. It’s puntarella salad with anchovy sauce. I had it three times in three days. I can’t say that the taste of anchovies doesn’t remind me of cat food, but I love it nonetheless.
The incredible ruins right in the center of the city. When I was on hurried work trips to Rome in recent years, I would drive by these ruins in a taxi with no time to look at them properly, so it was a relief to finally be able to enjoy them.


I had been to the Colosseum before but my husband had not, so I was excited to see it with him. The scale of it is daunting and overwhelming but awe-inspiring all the same. Being in it reminds me of walking around a Richard Serra sculpture.


My favorite perspective from inside the Colosseum.
On the second night we were in Rome, Christopher and I were planning to have a quiet dinner until we were invited to a party Tod’s owner Diego Della Valle was giving in honor of Suzy Menkes, the fashion critic for the International Herald Tribune. It was at Palazzo Sacchetti, an incredible private home that only opens to the public once or twice a year, if that. I love this red leather door at the entrance.


This detail inside of Palazzo Sacchetti killed me. I love how the tromp l’oeil painting extends over the radiator.
A charming arrangement of roses in the ladies’s powder room.
I am not a huge fan of tapestries, but I love this one with the crest.


In the ladies room there was this cheeky embroidered lady on the wall. The guard told me her tongue sticking out was a sign of good luck.


Jean Paul Gaultier sitting at our table. I had never seen him in the flesh before, and I was honored to meet him.
Our artist posse playing tourists (headsets and all) at the entrance to the Vatican.


You’re not supposed to take pictures in the Sistine Chapel, but I couldn’t resist a discreet iPhone shot of the iconic Creation of Adam. My husband yelled at me first, and then the guard.


The incredible inside of St Peter’s Basilica.


My last view of Rome before jumping in a cab to the train station.



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7 years 7 months ago

Absolutely fell in love – head, heels, bottom's up, everything – with Rachel's style. She is captivating!

7 years 7 months ago

Read Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran! She transports you to ancient Rome. It's fantastic.

7 years 7 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous and inspirational photos. Thank you for sharing these lovely images…makes me want to go back to Rome immediately and see it like it was my first time, all over again. Have a wonderful holiday. Warmest regards.

7 years 7 months ago

Thanks for a lovely post. It reminded me of my first and last trip to Rome 22 years ago, just after graduating college. It was the requisite backpacking-through-Europe summer with my best friend and, yes, we stayed in lots of hostels. It was before digital cameras and iPhones, and the guards might have been more forgiving back then, because I do remember getting a few pictures of the Sistine Chapel without any reprimands. As you know, however, no picture can capture the experience of seeing it in person. Truly beautiful and moving. Love your blog! – Hope in Toronto

7 years 7 months ago

Lovely pics!

I hope you had a great time in Roma!!!