November 21, 2022
Emily Rekstis is a freelance writer who has worked at Harper’s Bazaar, Self, And UsWeekly. Her bylines appear in Healthline, Byrdie, Women’s Health, MyDomaine, BuzzFeed, The Cut, Allure and many more.
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November 21, 2022
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Travel can restore your well-being. We’re here to help you on that journey with Well-Traveled, a go-to destination for travel recommendations and tips. This series is sponsored by Delta Air Lines, the airline that is committed to helping you travel well. Sit back and enjoy a journey that prioritizes a better, healthier you.
Where better to experience the sweet life than in Rome? The ancient European city has embodied the famous Italian saying “la dolce vita” pretty much since its creation. And it continues to offer this laid-back experience with a few modern upgrades.
Between the morning cappuccinos and the late-night gelatos, Rome is a bustling city that’s meant to be enjoyed slowly and sweetly. You can spend most days walking around and touring iconic landmarks before the city closes down for its daily afternoon break riposo. This is the perfect time to nap and wash up before heading out for pre-dinner aperitivos and hours-long meals spent sipping organic wines and eating authentic regional dishes. Even travelers with gluten-free and vegan diets can enjoy many of the local offerings thanks to new innovative restaurants.
For those days when you just need to take a break from seeing all the sites, the Eternal City offers lots of incredible spas, both in hotels as well as old bathhouses, where you can unwind and kick up your feet.
Whether you’re looking to fully relax into the Roman lifestyle or learn a little bit about ancient history, Rome is a city that should not be missed.
When it comes to hotels in Rome, there are so many fabulous places to stay that it seems unfair to narrow them all down. But we rounded up a few luxurious favorites for every budget, and they all have one thing in common: a must-visit spa.
Hotel De La Ville
This five-star hotel is situated at the top of the Spanish Steps and Villa Borghese for a one-of-a-kind experience that will envelop you right into Rome’s magical appeal. Between the lavish 17th-century-style rooms and the Sicilian-inspired spa, Hotel De La Ville delivers an extravagant experience that’s totally worth it.
Step out of this modern Art Nouveau hotel onto the bustling streets of Rome’s city center to enjoy the city’s shops, cafés, and restaurants for a quality experience that’s as authentic as it is convenient. For those mornings that you just need to take a load off, the small Artemis Spa offers massages, a Turkish bath, a Finnish sauna, and a hydromassage pool. Along with its commitment to sustainability, Hotel Artemide is a great affordable option for wellness travelers.
Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
If you don’t need to be right in the middle of the city and instead prefer beautiful views and comfortable amenities, this is the spot for you. The five-star hotel sits up on Rome’s highest hills, allowing for breathtaking panoramic views. But don’t worry! There are free shuttles to the city center for easy sightseeing trips. For those days you just want to relax and unwind, the award-winning spa offers Ayurvedic healing, chakra stone massages, and other holistic wellness treatments.
We must admit, the best things to do in Rome are eat, drink, and simply walk around to take in the city’s history and culture. Even though there are a lot of great ways to do just this, we have a handful of suggestions to make it easier for wellness travelers:
Walk around to see all the sights.
It sounds simple and silly, but Rome houses so many awe-inspiring sights, and nearly all of these iconic landmarks—think Colosseum and Trevi Fountain—are worth checking out no matter how long you’re visiting. With such old, uneven streets, biking around isn’t the most comfortable, especially for out-of-town visitors (though it is not completely out of the question).
We’ve found that the best way to comfortably take in all the sights is to have a walking guide talk you through everything. You can spend one day learning about the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Spanish Steps, and the other can be spent at the Colosseum and Roman Forums imagining the dramas that took place thousands of years ago.
Get to know the food scene on a vegan food tour.
Rome is the perfect place to just wander around and stumble upon a delicious restaurant with great food and pasta. But if you’re looking to adhere to a stricter diet while visiting, this vegan food tour serves as a great guide for your time spent in Rome. Not to mention, you’ll get to walk around some of Rome’s most beautiful neighborhoods discussing food and drinks. What could be better than that?
Learn how to make pizza and pasta with local chefs.
Take a break from eating pizza and pasta to, well, make some pizza and pasta. Learn some insider tips and the basic how-to’s from local chefs while enjoying a red wine tasting over the course of four hours. Though the class takes place on ancient Appian Way, so you can see the first highway built to connect Rome to Naples in 312 B.C., pick-up is at the city center, making it easy and convenient.
Unwind at a bathhouse in ancient Roman ruins.
If you opted for a spa-less hotel or booked an Airbnb, you might want to take a morning (or day) off from walking around the city to put your feet up and relax. The AcquaMadre Hammam is a bathhouse that is actually located in ancient Roman ruins so you can continue to take in the city’s history while unwinding in its walls for steam baths and cold plunges. You can also book a treatment such as Dead Sea salt scrubs or mud treatments.
Head down to Ischia to enjoy the spas and natural hot springs.
Ischia is filled with natural hot springs; fresh, sustainable restaurants; mountaintop spas; and beachside resorts, making it one of Italy’s go-to hot spots for Italians and now tourists alike. If you have a day or two to spare at the end of your trip to Rome, we recommend hopping on the train to Naples—and then a ferry to the Island—to check it out.
You can stay in a resort like Miramare e Castello and enjoy the poolside amenities or opt for a friendly B&B like Villa Lieta and rent a scooter to pop around the island and enjoy its wonders. If you do this at the tail end of your trip, you can even fly home from the Naples airport!
“Ischia is a gem in the Mediterranean Sea, where you can find mild climate and environmental conditions ideal for restoring mind, body, and spirit. The natural hot springs, already known to the Romans, are still used for therapeutic treatments,” says Anna from Villa Lieta. “On the island you can combine wellness and spa treatments with eno-gastronomy tours in idyllic scenery.”
When it comes to food, you really can’t go wrong in Rome. From authentic coffee bars to classic white tablecloth dinner spots, Rome is filled with delicious establishments. Many of these places even offer vegan or gluten-free options.
If you want to eat the best of the best traditional Roman dishes like carbonara and gnocchi in a cozy environment, look no further than L’Arcangelo. This local favorite even has a small, thoughtful menu filled with delicious dishes you can get all over Rome; it just may not be as good.
Unlike the classical L’Arcangelo, the raw vegan café Écru is a rarity in Rome for its modern take on dining. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the bistro serves everything from flavorful salads to cold soups to vegan sushi rolls. There’s even a market if you just need to stop and grab something on your way to the Vatican.
This neighborhood hot spot serves up vegan versions of traditional Roman pastas and dishes with gluten-free substitutions as options. Enjoy a zucchini carbonara and organic wholemeal spaghetti with pistachio cream in a cozy setting for a dinner you won’t forget.
- Price point: $$
- Area: Della Vittoria
- Dietary consideration options: Vegetarian; vegan; gluten-free
- Setting: Casual
- Menu & info: https://www.ristomava.com/
Whether you’re eating it as a post-dinner dessert or to hold you over during riposo, gelato can and should be eaten often when in Rome. For visitors on a vegan diet, the Grezzo Raw Chocolate is a must. Not only does it serve vegan gelato in fun flavors like turmeric and classics like chocolate, but it also has vegan cakes, organic chocolate, and delicious coffee.
Rome is all about combining comfort with style. To help you achieve the perfect balance, there are a few must-have items you won’t want to forget.
VEJA Impala Jacquard Eggshell Matcha
- Outer mesh, tech lining and laces are 100% recycled polyester
- The insole is 77% biosourced & recycled (49% sugar cane & 28% recycled polyester)
For a run along the Tiber River or simply to comfortably walk from iconic site to iconic site, these match-hued mesh running shoes are it. Made from recycled materials such as polyester, this ethical sneaker provides all the support you could need to navigate the old cobblestone streets no matter how fast you’re going.
Aritzia Babaton New Agency Blazer
- Comes in two colorways: coffee bean & black
- Vegan leather
From slouchy bags to edgy jackets to sleek shoes, leather is a staple material among the Italians. If you want to fit right in in Rome without having to sacrifice your animal ethics, this vegan leather blazer is a great addition to any look. Thanks to Rome’s mild weather most months (not summer. Summer can be brutally hot), this lightweight jacket is an outwear alternative you’ll want to consider packing.
Davines Oi Shampoo and Conditioner
- Davines products are made in Italy
Between spa days and walking around the city, washing your hair in Rome is likely a must. Pack a shampoo and conditioner you can trust to leave you hair shiny, soft, and full of life. This Italian hair care brand uses clean energy to develop quality sustainable products and support nonprofits like EthioTrees land and forest regeneration project in Ethiopia. As if that weren’t enough, the mini 90-ml size will fit in just about any suitcase—even a carry-on.
Able Corie Phone Crossbody
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Fits iPhone 13 Pro
With so many beautiful buildings, piazzas, and parks all over Rome, you may find yourself reaching for your phone to snap an Instagram every two seconds. So why not keep it easily accessible? This chic quilted leather crossbody phone bag is perfect for day or night. It comes from the brand Able, which provides jobs for women around the world while empowering and supporting those who may not have always had a lot of opportunities.
Rome offers the perfect balance between laid-back relaxation—with its incredible spas, midday breaks, and meals that last hours—and busy nonstop activities in the form of eating and sightseeing, making it the perfect place to visit for just about any type of traveler.