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Mama Mia!

A Mother-Daughter Getaway to Rome, Italy

I was awestruck. The Colosseum’s ancient curves and crags offered a moment of complete marvel. It showed me just how magnificent of a moment it was to stand inside this bucket-list destination. What made the moment one that I’ll never forget is that my mama was standing next to me.

Since I was a little girl, my mother, Kathy, and I have traveled together everywhere from Santa Fe to Switzerland. So, when an airline ticket sale offered the opportunity to take her on her maiden voyage to Rome, I jumped at the chance.

If you’re in the mood for a Roman holiday of your own and are blessed with a travel-loving mama or other female in your life, here is what mama and I suggest you include on your itinerary:


After a day of travel, I was thankful to see Daniele, the driver for The First Roma Arte (our Rome home), waiting for us in arrivals. As we made our way to Rome’s historic center, he made the 45-minute drive peaceful and pleasant.

When we arrived at the boutique hotel, we were greeted with glasses of Prosecco and escorted to our junior suite. The cozy-but-chic room was decorated in lush blues and white, and was appointed with twin beds and a view of the peaceful side street that the property is tucked away on.

Location is everything for us when it comes to our homes away from home, and the Arte doesn’t disappoint. Sights such as the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain are only a 10-minute walk away, and St. Peter’s Square is about a 15-minute walk.

The other major draw of this hotel is the year-round rooftop bar and restaurant, Acquaroof, where you have a panoramic view of the city from above. This is also where breakfast is served every morning. It was the perfect place to take in a picturesque sunset and toast our arrival over Aperol spritzes.

We ended the evening downstairs with our first Roman dinner at Aquolina, which is a Michelin star restaurant known for its playful and artistic take on Italian dishes. Over scallops with bone marrow (that involved Rice Krispies) and a mascarpone-filled pasta covered with tidbits of fresh anchovies, we created our game plan for roaming around Rome. Talk about food for thought!

Saturday and Sunday

Each morning started with a decadent American breakfast on the rooftop (think everything from pastries and fruit to eggs prepared to your liking).

Saturday we focused on seeing the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and The Forum, thanks to a three-hour tour from Dark Wonder. (FYI, I’m telling you—book the tour to see the Colosseum to avoid wasting hours in line.) Under a blue sky, we learned the history behind each spot from our fabulous guide, Kylie.

Mama and I enjoyed dinner that evening at a spot about a 10-minute walk from the hotel, Trattoria Otello alla Concordia. After a casual (but fulfilling) meal of lasagne bolognese and fried artichokes and a bottle of the house Chianti, we strolled home under a crescent moon.

Sunday, mama and I headed across the Tiber River to pay our respects to St. Peter’s Square and then crossed back over to find Pizzeria da Baffetto, a pizza spot that had been recommended to Kathy. Typically, there’s a line out the door, but we managed to sit down immediately and watch our zucchini flower pizza be created before our eyes.

By the end of lunch, the rain had begun. But, we continued our wanderings to must-see sights like Palazzo Navona and the Pantheon, stopping here and there for a cappuccino and aperitivo.

Dilla was our Sunday dinner spot (located next door to Otello). The ambiance was cozy and warm on the rainy evening, and the fettuccine with black truffle cream sauce and Roman artichokes that we devoured were exactly what our bellies needed after a long day of walking.


It’s wonderful to share the moments I’ve described with mama but there are things I enjoy doing that she has no interest in—and vice versa.

I spent much of Monday indulging in the spa at Hotel de la Ville (another short walk away at the top of the Spanish Steps) while mama took a bus-tram combo to check out the Trastevere neighborhood and discover more mind-blowing pizza.

With its amenities like a salt room, plunge pool, and relaxation room with infrared loungers and a screen showing scenes from nature, this spa was the perfect spot to spend a rainy afternoon. (BTW, non-hotel guests can purchase a day pass.) Plus, the pedicure I had was one of the most relaxing of my life, as I was lying on a massage table.

That evening, in the same way we began the trip, we toasted with drinks on our rooftop. For dinner, we decided to complete the trifecta of restaurants on the corner of Villa Vitoria and Via Mario de' Fiori, and slurped up our last bowls of fettuccine with black truffle cream sauce in between sips of wine. A dolce ending to our Roman holiday.

Take a Visit!

The First Roma Arte,

Dark Rome Tours,

Trattoria Concordia alla Otello,

Pizzeria da Baffetto,

Dilla and La Buvette,

Hotel de la Ville,