With Eat, Pray Love coming out this week, you might be planning a pilgrimage to the film’s locations. But what to do when you get there? Here’s where to go in Rome.
San Crispino Gelateria: The San Crispino, near the Trevi Fountain, has long been held as one of the best gelaterie in Rome by the locals, and since Elizabeth Gilbert admitted to going there three times a day, it’s become the Eternal City’s answer to New York’s Magnolia Bakery. As well as your standard flavors, it also offers honey, sweet Marsala wine and cinnamon and ginger. And you’ll find it all in cups – they don’t offer cones, here, because of the additives.
Villa Borghese: The Vatican may be bigger, but you can’t beat a trip to the Villa Borghese for sheer joy at the artwork. There are two floors of a beautiful old palazzo stuffed full of art here, but the highlights are, without question, the room stuffed full of Caravaggios as you enter, and the rest of the ground floor, which has a sprinkling of sculptures by Bernini. Magic.
Piazza del Popolo: One of the less touristy squares of Rome, but one which features in the book. Once the venue for public executions, the Piazza del Popolo is now better known as the ending point for any kind of political demonstrations. It’s a grand affair, with an Egyptian obelisk from the times of Rameses II in the middle, and the “twin” churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli standing either side of the entrance.
Gianicolo Hill: Those promo shots of the movie where Julia Roberts is looking down at Rome from the top of a hill? That’s the park on top of the Gianicolo, which affords some of the best views of the city. It has some sights of its own, too – the church of San Pietro in Montorio is supposedly built on the spot where St Peter was crucified, and it’s also home to the botanical garden of La Sapienza university.
Pizzeria di Michele, Naples: OK, so the pizza is fantastic in Rome as it is, but Pizzeria di Michele in Naples is where Elizabeth Gilbert claims to have eaten the best pizza in the world. Naples is only a couple of hours on the train from Rome, and if you don’t want to make it an entirely greed-fuelled trip, you can always make a quick visit to Pompeii while you’re down there.