Rome Flips the Switch on Its ‘Freshness Over Fuss’ Culinary Scene

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Rooftop-garden-at-the-Grand-Hotel-de-la-MinerveA city of world-renowned art, architecture and a whole lot of historic pizzazz. It’s no wonder the Eternal City was listed as a top meetings destination by Cvent this year.

Rome’s culinary sensitivity has been described as “freshness over fuss.” It’s authentic and uncomplicated with few variations in between—until recently. Rome’s trademark al fresco dining, which takes place just about anywhere—ancient sites, along cobbled streets and garden…all good—has given pep to the rise of street food restaurants that sell everything from classic suppli (Roman fried rice balls) to twists on carbonara and other basic trattoria menu items. Fear not, however, as like the good ole’ days of Rome F&B experiences still lands on the side of banquets, balls and other feasts of pageantry and the extraordinary venues where they have been or can be held.

Along with its healthy repertoire of world-class convention centres such as the Fiera de Roma and elegant Palalottomatica, more than 600 hotels, old villas and castles can host events of all sizes. Overlooking the Pantheon in the historic city centre, the 135-room Grand Hotel de la Minerve is housed in a 17th-century mansion that has seen the likes of “Moby Dick” author Herman Melville, composers Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt and Nobel Prize winner and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, among others. The five-star hotel’s rooftop garden and its vast city views is a prime spot for events. The Grand Hotel Plaza has two panoramic rooftop terraces (many rooms also have their own exclusive terraces) that are draped with flowers and vines; its largest formal meeting space can hold up to 500 attendees. Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill were past guests at this hotel, which has more recently played backdrop to hit Hollywood films such as “Ocean’s 12” and “Gangs of New York.” The hotel is also just a short walk from world-famous Roman squares and monuments such as the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum and Pantheon.

Events that require a creative jolt should check out the Cinecitta Studios S.p.A. movie studios for up to 2,000 attendees. Tailor-made sets can be built in record time here, as they have been in the past for some of the country’s movie masterpieces. Consider topping this off with a sit-down in one of the city’s first coffee houses, the 18th century Antico Caffe Greco near Piazza di Spagna, now an international hub for the arts.

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