Erica Firpo

Correspondent

  • Rome, Italy, Europe

Erica Firpo writes about art, culture and travel for online and print publications such as The Huffington Post, New York Times, Globespotters, The Guardian, BBC Travel and Cathay Pacific’s Discovery Magazine. She is Luxe Guide’s Rome editor. With Rome as home base, she loves to travel the Mediterranean in search of contemporary art and culture as well as traces of the Ancient Roman Empire.

  • On June 26, 2013
    Rustam Panda is now following Erica Firpo
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best places for espresso in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo The local bar (downstairs, down the street, around the corner) will be the best place for espresso in Rome. Standing up at the corner and ordering an espresso  is much-loved experience in Italy as much for the coffee as for the people watching. Great caffes in Rome include: Caffe Sant'Eustachio in Piazza Sant'Eustachio and Tazza d'Oro on via degli Orfani, both located near the Pantheon in Rome's historic center, Ciampini in Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina (Centro) and the Castroni  shops in Prati, Centro, Flaminia, Parioli and Via Nazionale. 

    The Illy chain of chicly designed coffee shops is the best place to taste the vast variety of coffee drinks from espresso and macchiato, to corto, lungo and corretto. Best Illy caffes include Espressamente Illy on Via Urbana (Monti), Galleria Sordi (Trevi) and Via degli Uffici del Vicario (Parlamento), and Illyshop on Via Due Macelli (Spagna). 
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best places for espresso in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo The local bar (downstairs, down the street, around the corner) will be the best place for espresso in Rome. Standing up at the corner and ordering an espresso or macchiato, lungo or corto, corretto or not, is much-loved experience in Italy-- for the coffee as was as the people watching. Great caffes in Rome include: Caffe Sant'Eustachio in Piazza Sant'Eustachio and Tazza d'Oro on via degli Orfani, both located near the Pantheon in Rome's historic center, Ciampini in Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina (Centro) and the Castroni  shops in Prati, Centro, Flaminia, Parioli and Via Nazionale. 

    The Illy chain of chicly designed coffee shops is the best place to taste the vast variety of coffee drinks from espresso to caffe corretto. Best Illy caffes include Espressamente Illy on Via Urbana (Monti), Galleria Sordi (Trevi) and Via degli Uffici del Vicario (Parlamento), and Illyshop on Via Due Macelli (Spagna). 
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best parks in Rome?

    Rome has several parks throughout the city which are each in its own right amazing. Villa Borghese is often considered the best as it is centrally-located, has several museums in and around its grounds (Galleria Borghese, Villa Giulia, Bilotti Chapel, Canonica Museum, National Modern Art Gallery), and entertainment for all ages and kinds-  children's park, dog park, boat rides, rollerblading, cinema, Shakespearean theatre et al.

    On the westerd side of the city center is Villa Pamphilj, Rome's largest park with rolling hills and lots of places to lose yourself. Pamphilj is great for working out (running, walking), kite-flying, sun bathing, game playing and picnicking.  Near by is Villa Sciarra, a quiet and flowery park that cascades down a hill.  And below in Trastevere is the Orto Botanico, a botanical garden perfect for afternoon walks.

    To the north of the city center are Villa AdaVilla Glori and Villa Balestra. Villa Ada is the former monarch family's grounds. The large park hosts summer music festivals, has children's facilities (including trampolines) and is beautiful. Tiny Villa Glori has horse rides and is great for a quiet afternoon.  Near by Villa Balestra is a tiny oasis overlooking the northern neighborhoods of Rome. It has a large, well-kept playground and basket ball courts.  

    In addition to Villa Borghese, Parents will want to head to the grounds surrounding Castel Sant'Angelo and Villa Celimontana for the playgrounds.  Villa Celimontana also has lovely rolling hills, excellent picnic spots and beautiful views.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best parks in Rome?

    Rome has several parks throughout the city which are each in its own right amazing. Villa Borghese is often considered the best as it is centrally-located, has several museums in and around its grounds (Galleria Borghese, Villa Giulia, Bilotti Chapel, Canonica Museum, National Modern Art Gallery), and entertainment for all ages and kinds-  children's park, dog park, boat rides, rollerblading, cinema, et al.  Villa Pamphilj is Rome's largest park with rolling hills and lots of places to lose yourself. Pamphilj is great for working out (running, walking), kite-flying, sun bathing, game playing and picnicking.   Villa Ada and Villa Glori are in the northern area of Rome.  Villa Ada is the former monarch family's grounds. The large park hosts summer music festivals, has children's facilities (including trampolines) and is beautiful. Tiny Villa Glori has horse rides and is great for a quiet afternoon.  Near by Villa Balestra is a tiny oasis overlooking the northern neighborhoods of Rome. It has a large, well-kept playground and basket ball courts.  In addition to Villa Borghese, Parents will want to head to the grounds surrounding Castel Sant'Angelo and Villa Celimontana for the playgrounds.  Villa Celimontana also has lovely rolling hills, excellent picnic spots and beautiful views.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best places for cappuccino in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo It is really not hard to find a good cappuccino in Rome, but it is difficult to distinguish greatness. Traditionally, Rome's best places for cappuccino are Caffe Sant'Eustachio in Piazza Sant'Eustachio and Tazza d'Oro on via degli Orfani, both located near the Pantheon in Rome's historic center.  Their greatness is primarily based on the quality of coffee and how they prepare their coffee drinks- Sant'Eustachio sugars most coffee drinks, Tazza d'Oro has a delicious granita di caffe con panna.  

    For a stylish coffee, Illy has been knocking my socks off with its chains of chic caffes.  Espressamente Illy on via Urbana  (Monti) has great seating to go along with its lovely coffee beverages, served in specific Illy artist designed cups and glasses, and likewise Espressamente Illy on via degli Uffici del Vicario near the Parlament (Center).  The newest Illyshop on via Due Macelli (Piazza di Spagna) has a tiny coffee bar where the barista makes the best cappuccini in Rome.  Smart phone users: Illy has an Android and Apple Illy locator app to help you find Illy bars.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best places for cappuccino in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo It is really not hard to find a good cappuccino in Rome, but it is difficult to distinguish greatness. Traditionally, Rome's best places for cappuccino are Caffe Sant'Eustachio in Piazza Sant'Eustachio and Tazza d'Oro on via degli Orfani, both located near the Pantheon in Rome's historic center.  Their greatness is primarily based on the quality of coffee and how they prepare their coffee drinks- Sant'Eustachio sugars most coffee drinks, Tazza d'Oro has a delicious granita di caffe con panna.  

    For a stylish coffee, Illy has been knocking my socks off with its chains of chic caffes.  Espressamente Illy on via Urbana  (Monti) has great seating to go along with its lovely coffee beverages, served in specific Illy artist designed cups and glasses, and likewise Espressamente Illy on via degli Uffici del Vicario near the Parlament (Center).  The newest Illyshop on via Due Macelli (Piazza di Spagna) has a tiny coffee bar where the barista makes the best cappuccini in Rome.  Smart phone users: Illy has an Android and Apple Illy locator app to help you find Illy bars.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the best way to see the Vatican in Rome?

    Recently, my favorite way to see the Vatican is by night visit.  Every Friday evening from now through October 25, the Vatican Museums are open to public viewing and are often accompanied by musical programming.  Visitors walk through the collection and Sistine Chapel from 7 to 11 pm.  There are less crowds, making the experience far more intimate and definitely less hot than during the daytime. 

    For a daytime visit, I suggest reserving a guided tour of the Vatican gardens, where you are led behind-the-scenes of Vatican City learning the history of the Vatican state and its gardens, and then return to the museums and Sistine Chapel.

    The Vatican offers several types of tours--  individual and group, standard and exclusive, and  Vatican museums and St. Peter's Basilica.  Tours are conducted by guides, but I personally enjoy visiting St. Peter's Cathedral on my own and in late afternoon, just before the 5 pm Vespers mass begins- if you are lucky, they play great music.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the best way to see the Vatican in Rome?

    Recently, my favorite way to see the Vatican is by night visit.  Every Friday evening from now through October 25, the Vatican Museums are open to public viewing and are often accompanied by musical programming.  Visitors walk through the collection and Sistine Chapel from 7 to 11 pm.  There are less crowds, making the experience far more intimate and definitely less hot than during the daytime. 

    For a daytime visit, I suggest reserving a guided tour of the Vatican gardens, where you are led behind-the-scenes of Vatican City learning the history of the Vatican state and its gardens, and then return to the museums and Sistine Chapel.

    The Vatican offers several types of tours--  individual and group, standard and exclusive, and  Vatican museums and St. Peter's Basilica.  Tours are conducted by guides, but I personally enjoy visiting St. Peter's Cathedral on my own and in late afternoon, just before the 5 pm Vespers mass begins- if you are lucky, they play great music.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What’s happening this weekend in Rome?

    Photo by Darius Arya This weekend, Rome celebrates the feast of St. Peter and Paul, Rome's patron saints.  Romans tend to head to the beach and some shops will be closed on June 29, the feast day, but the city itself hosts masses and fireworks.  

    Officially, the celebration begins on the evening of June 28, when the famous statue of St. Peter in St. Peter's Basilica is dressed in papal attire, a mass is held in the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's famous cupola is lit.  On the 29th, the Pope presides over mass at St. Peter's Basilica, and evening firework displays decorate the skies above Castel Sant'Angelo and the Basilica of St. Paul outside the wall.  Most people will head to Ponte Marconi to catch St. Paul's fireworks, or else walk around via Ostiense for the all-night festival.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the best way to see the Vatican in Rome?

    Recently, my favorite way to see the Vatican is by night visit.  Every Friday evening from now through October 25, the Vatican Museums are open to public viewing and are often accompanied by musical programming.  Visitors walk through the collection and Sistine Chapel from 7 to 11 pm.  There are less crowds, making the experience far more intimate and definitely less hot than during the daytime. 

    For a daytime visit, I suggest reserving a guided tour of the Vatican gardens, where you are led behind-the-scenes of Vatican City learning the history of the Vatican state and its gardens, and then return to the museums and Sistine Chapel.

    The Vatican offers several types of tours--  individual and group, standard and exclusive, and  Vatican museums and St. Peter's Basilica.  Tours are conducted by guides, but I personally enjoy visiting St. Peter's Cathedral on my own and in late afternoon, just before the 5 pm Vespers mass begins- if you are lucky, they play great music.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the best way to see the Vatican in Rome?

    Recently, my favorite way to see the Vatican is by night visit.  Every Friday evening from now through October 25, the Vatican Museums are open to public viewing and are often accompanied by musical programming.  Visitors walk through the collection and Sistine Chapel from 7 to 11 pm.  There are less crowds, making the experience far more intimate and definitely less hot than during the daytime. 

    For a daytime visit, I suggest reserving a guided tour of the Vatican gardens, where you are led behind-the-scenes of Vatican City learning the history of the Vatican state and its gardens, and then return to the museums and Sistine Chapel.

     I also enjoy visiting St. Peter's Cathedral in late afternoon, just before the 5 pm Vespers mass begins- if you are lucky, they play great music.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What should I pack for a trip to Rome?

    Photo by Lisa Larson ljcybergal So you are going to Rome and you need to leave space for all those souvenirs you will bring back.  What are the suitcase essentials?  The most important thing to pack when traveling to Rome are a pair of sensible shoes.  For fall, winter and spring travel, sensible means shoes that will last for miles and are water-resistent.  For the summer months, sensible means sandals and/or light weight sneakers.  

    Dress Code:  Italians rely on the bella figura to dictate appropriate attire.  In a nutshell, style and comfort should be double-billed when choosing clothing.  Keep in mind that churches require covered shoulders and knees, so accessorize with an attractive scarf that can be both shoulder covering and a stylish accessory for any season. Lightweight trousers are ideal in the summertime for evenings out and St. Peter's Basilica visit.  Fall, Winter and early Spring can be chilly, so bring warm sweaters and cardigans, and waterproof overcoats. During Spring and Summer, remember to pack a foldable hat, sun cream and a great pair of sunglasses.

    Electronics and Necessities: must-haves should include a foldable Rome city map, foldable bag for purchases, photocopy of  passport, convertor (Europe uses 220 volts) and extended battery case for smart phone and/or extra batteries for digital camera.  Avoid bringing curling irons or hair dryers.




  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What should I pack for a trip to Rome?

    Photo by Lisa Larson ljcybergal So you are going to Rome and you need to leave space for all those souvenirs you will bring back.  What are the suitcase essentials?  The most important thing to pack when traveling to Rome are a pair of sensible shoes.  For fall, winter and spring travel, sensible means shoes that will last for miles and are water-resistent.  For the summer months, sensible means sandals and/or light weight sneakers.  

    In addition, Rome must-haves should include a foldable Rome city map, photocopy of  passport, and extended battery case for smart phone and/or extra batteries for digital camera.  During Spring and Summer, remember to pack a foldable hat, sun cream and a great pair of sunglasses.  Keep in mind that churches require covered shoulders and knees-- an attractive scarf is great as shoulder covering, and a stylish accessory for any season. Lightweight trousers are ideal in the summertime for evenings out and St. Peter's Basilica visit.


  • On June 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What should I pack for a trip to Rome?

    Photo by Lisa Larson ljcybergal So you are going to Rome and you need to leave space for all those souvenirs you will bring back.  What are the packing essentials?  The most important thing to pack when traveling to Rome are a pair of sensible shoes.  For fall, winter and spring travel, sensible means shoes that will last for miles and are water-resistent.  For the summer months, sensible means sandals and light weight sneakers.  

    Other necessary items include foldable map, extended battery case for all your smart phone photo reportage and sunglasses.  A pretty scarf is great idea for cold weather protection as well shoulder covering for summertime to churches when shoulders must be covered.  Likewise, men should consider bringing a pair of lightweight trousers in the summertime for evenings out and St. Peter's Basilica visit.