Thinking about popping the question in Rome this Valentine’s Day (or any other day)? Rome is certainly the place to do it; indeed, you couldn’t have “romance” without Roma. So, I thought I would share some of my favorite spots for lovers in the Eternal City. Of course, this is a highly subjective and non-exhaustive list. I chose 9 for 2009, and they are in no particular order. There are surely hundreds of others…
9. The Spanish Steps. An obvious engagement locale for tourists for sure, as it’s at the heart of the city and abuzz with people from all walks of life (providing a bit of a din for you nervous proposers). The Steps are lovely in the springtime when they are decorated with giant pots of flowers whose pinkish hue echoes the colors of the buildings around them. I also like the Steps in the early morning, when fewer are there to disturb a romantic moment.
8. The Pincio Hill. This area is only a few steps away from the Spanish Steps, but has one of the most evocative views of St. Peter’s and other churches’ domes that make up the Roman cityscape. The Pincio is a balcony for the Villa Borghese park and also looks over Piazza del Popolo. The Pincio is popular with lovers, but for a very good reason: the view from there is Rome in a nutshell.
7. The Aventine Hill. Not the most conventional of romantic spots in Rome, the Aventino is home to tourist attractions like the Circus Maximus and the keyhole view of St. Peter’s from the Order of the Knights of Malta (Piazza dei Cavallieri) and the not-so-touristy Roseto Comunale, Rome’s public rose garden. What could be more romantic than roses and a quiet neighborhood in which to enjoy them?
6. Villa Celimontana. Another site that is absent of tourists, Villa Celimontana and its surrounding park are where many locals go for lunchtime smooch breaks and picnics. A jazz concert series is held here every summer. What’s more, this oasis of calm is only a few blocks from the Colosseum (take Via Claudia).
5. Via Appia amid Roman ruins. I imagine Goethe and his ilk made the most of Rome’s countryside, where they sat for portraits, had movable feasts, and no doubt spent time with their loved ones. Nature and/or architecture lovers could not find a more romantic spot in the Eternal City.
4. Via Conciliazione, in front of St. Peter’s. There’s something about having the whole hulk of St. Peter’s and Bernini’s piazza colonnade that make for a stunning setting for a proposal. I’m sure this is even more true for practicing Catholics, who can vow to exchange vows in front of this very iconic backdrop.
3. Via Giulia. Few streets in Rome are lovelier than the Via Giulia, as we’ve mentioned before. This Renaissance-era lane has a slower pace, a sumptuous energy, and goes well with new (or heirloom) diamonds.
2. Piazza Navona. If you’re going to make your love official, why not go where the rest of Rome goes: to Piazza Navona. You’ll never have been privy to so many public displays of affection. And, if you want to hug and kiss your significant other while you take in the view, including Bernini’s fountains and Borromini’s chuch, no one will bat an eye.
1. Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. Bohemians-in-love may prefer the slow pace and artisan shops of Trastevere, whose main square, Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, is usually rife with sketching art students. Sit for a cappucino at one of the sidewalk cafes, holding hands while you take in the relative quiet.
Photo by ~nebe~