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 March 27, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the five best things to see and do in Rome?

    undefined Rome is capricious, she loves you one day and doesn’t care a fig the very next. This mercurial personality makes people either fall in love with the Eternal City or lose interest easily.  To add more weight on the side of love, here are my five best things to do in Rome:

    Go up.  Rome has a beautiful panorama of domes, bell towers and rooftops in umbers and sienas.  My favorite place to catch Rome at her best is the Terrazza delle Quadrighe, the terrace atop the Victor Emanuel monument in the center of the city. From here you can see all eras of Rome, from ancient to contemporary.  For historic highs, book a special visit to the Colosseum and imagine what life was like in the ancient arena by hiking up to the third tier of seating.

    Go underground. The Colosseum special visit also includes entrance to the hypogeum, the first level underneath the arena’s floor. If you aren’t able to do so, go to church—several of Rome’s churches have underground sites with 2000 year old architecture and cooler temperatures in the hot summer. My favorite is the Basilica of San Crisogono in Trastevere.

    Get cultured.  Rome has a myriad of art collections, museums and beautifully decorated churches.  You cannot go wrong by stepping foot into any one of them.  However, if you want to maximize history, go the Vatican Museums. In addition to the Sistine Chapel, the museums include a series of rooms painted by Raphael and his school, a modern collection (Francis Bacon, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse) and amazing antiquities.

    Stay out late.  Rome’s piazzas are beautiful when lit only by amber street lights and a dark inky sky.  Make sure to walk around the historic center’s piazzas after dinner, especially Piazza Navona and the Trevi area. There is no doubt that you have to throw a coin in to the Trevi fountain-- evening is best for avoiding the crowds and enjoying the romantic atmosphere.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the five best things to see and do in Rome?

    undefined Rome is capricious, she loves you one day and doesn’t care a fig the very next. This mercurial personality makes people either fall in love with the Eternal City or lose interest easily.  To add more weight on the side of love, here are my five best things to do in Rome:

    Go up.  Rome has a beautiful panorama of domes, bell towers and rooftops in umbers and sienas.  My favorite place to catch Rome at her best is the Terrazza delle Quadrighe, the terrace atop the Victor Emanuel monument in the center of the city. From here you can see all eras of Rome, from ancient to contemporary.  For historic highs, book a special visit to the Colosseum and imagine what life was like in the ancient arena by hiking up to the third tier of seating.

    Go underground. The Colosseum special visit also includes entrance to the hypogeum, the first level underneath the arena’s floor. If you aren’t able to do so, go to church—several of Rome’s churches have underground sites with 2000 year old architecture and cooler temperatures in the hot summer. My favorite is the Basilica of San Crisogono in Trastevere.

    Get cultured.  Rome has a myriad of art collections, museums and beautifully decorated churches.  You cannot go wrong by stepping foot into any one of them.  However, if you want to maximize history, go the Vatican Museums. In addition to the Sistine Chapel, the museums include a series of rooms painted by Raphael and his school, a modern collection (Francis Bacon, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse) and amazing antiquities.

    Stay out late.  Rome’s piazzas are beautiful when lit only by amber street lights and a dark inky sky.  Make sure to walk around the historic center’s piazzas after dinner, especially Piazza Navona and the Trevi area. There is no doubt that you have to throw a coin in to the Trevi fountain-- evening is best for avoiding the crowds and enjoying the romantic atmosphere.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Erica Firpo is now following the question:
  • On March 27, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best clothing boutiques in Rome?

    Rome has several clothing boutiques that, depending on what you are looking for, can be considered the very best.  The city is choc-a-bloc with shops my grandmother has been going to since she was a child along side the very contemporary concept shops that the 21st century birthed. My suggestion is to head to the Piazza di Spagna area which has been undergoing urban renewal in both the side streets and the square itself.

    While enjoying the windows of stores like Prada and Miumiu, make sure to walk into the smaller shops of the area, especially Alexander, Galassia, Eleonora and Gente. These boutiques are full of very fun eye candy and stock unique pieces from Italian and international designers including Rick Owens, Azzaro, Balmain, Chloe, Krizia, Kenzo et al.  Along the same streets keep your eyes open for tiny traditional shops that harken days of yore. Via Frattina's Luisa Venier is known for her lace and Brighenti is a favorite for lingerie and swimwear.  On via Babuino, be on the look out for  C.I.R Corredi, a boutique full of delicious hand-made wonders such as smocked blouses and linens.  Nearby via Fontanella Borghese has the very old favorite Schostal, a boutique specializing in traditional shirts, ties, socks and undergarments for men, as well as some items for women.
  • On March 26, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is Holy Week like in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo With Rome and the Vatican in the world’s spotlight over the past few weeks thanks to the recent Papal election, Holy Week will garner even more attention than usual. The days leading up to Easter Sunday will showcase a new Vatican led by Pope Francis I, the first South American to head the Holy See. 

    Holy Week officially began on Palm Sunday, March 24, with Pope Francis I leading an overflowing papal mass in St. Peter’s Square. You’ll find a double-packed Holy Thursday, March 28 with a 9:30 a.m. Chrisma mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and 5:30 pm Mandatum. The solemn morning mass observes the religious rites of priesthood, associated with Christ’s institution into Catholicism. The late afternoon Mandatum mass gives way to the moniker Maundy Thursday, the celebration of Christ’s bathing of the Apostles’ feet, from the Latin Mandatum. The ages-old tradition has been held in past years at St. John the Lateran Basilica but this year, Pope Francis I perform the ritual washing the feet on 12 young inmates at Casal del Marmo penal institute in Rome.

    Good Friday, March 29 will bring tens — if not hundreds — of thousands to both St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum. At 5 p.m., the Vatican hosts the papal mass for the passion of the Lord, and then shortly thereafter, Pope Francis I will move to the Colosseum for the Via Crucis. The Way of the Cross is a torch-lit procession commemorating the Stations of the Cross led by the Pope himself with the unique backdrop of the historic arena.

    For a final evening papal mass, the Holy Saturday, March 30 Easter vigil is held inside St. Peter’s Basilica at 8:30 p.m.. The vigil leads into Easter Sunday, March 31, with Pope Francis I presiding over Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Square at 10:15 a.m. Arrive early as the Square will be shoulder to shoulder with visitors in attendance. At noon, the Pope will then address the city of Rome and world from the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica with the Urbi et Orbi.

    For Italians, Holy Week continues to Pasquetta, Easter Monday, April 1. An official holiday from work and school, Romans head to backyards, parks and the countryside for picnics and relaxation to celebrate with friends and family. Since Holy Week festivities change the dynamic of the average week in Rome, it would be worthwhile to organize lunch and dinner reservations in advance from Holy Thursday through Pasquetta. And for those who may find the Vatican events larger than life, remember that Rome has more than 800 churches which will all be celebrating the Easter events. If the crowds in St. Peter’s Square are too much, take a peek into any of the city’s lovely places of worship.
  • On March 26, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is Holy Week like in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo With Rome and the Vatican in the world’s spotlight over the past few weeks thanks to the recent Papal election, Holy Week will garner even more attention than usual. The days leading up to Easter Sunday will showcase a new Vatican led by Pope Francis I, the first South American to head the Holy See. 

    Holy Week officially began on Palm Sunday, March 24, with Pope Francis I leading an overflowing papal mass in St. Peter’s Square. You’ll find a double-packed Holy Thursday, March 28 with a 9:30 a.m. Chrism mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and a 5:30 p.m. mass across town at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The solemn morning mass observes the religious rites of priesthood, associated with Christ’s institution into Catholicism. The late afternoon mass gives way to the moniker Maundy Thursday, the celebration of Christ’s bathing of the Apostles’ feet, from the Latin Mandatum. The ages-old tradition will have Pope Francis I washing the feet of laymen at the main altar of St. John Lateran Basilica.

    Good Friday, March 29 will bring tens — if not hundreds — of thousands to both St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum. At 5 p.m., the Vatican hosts the papal mass for the passion of the Lord, and then shortly thereafter, Pope Francis I will move to the Colosseum for the Via Crucis. The Way of the Cross is a torch-lit procession commemorating the Stations of the Cross led by the Pope himself with the unique backdrop of the historic arena.

    For a final evening papal mass, the Holy Saturday, March 30 Easter vigil is held inside St. Peter’s Basilica at 8:30 p.m.. The vigil leads into Easter Sunday, March 31, with Pope Francis I presiding over Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Square at 10:15 a.m. Arrive early as the Square will be shoulder to shoulder with visitors in attendance. At noon, the Pope will then address the city of Rome and world from the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica with the Urbi et Orbi.

    For Italians, Holy Week continues to Pasquetta, Easter Monday, April 1. An official holiday from work and school, Romans head to backyards, parks and the countryside for picnics and relaxation to celebrate with friends and family. Since Holy Week festivities change the dynamic of the average week in Rome, it would be worthwhile to organize lunch and dinner reservations in advance from Holy Thursday through Pasquetta. And for those who may find the Vatican events larger than life, remember that Rome has more than 800 churches which will all be celebrating the Easter events. If the crowds in St. Peter’s Square are too much, take a peek into any of the city’s lovely places of worship.
  • On March 26, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is Holy Week like in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo With Rome and the Vatican in the world’s spotlight over the past few weeks thanks to the recent Papal election, Holy Week will garner even more attention than usual. The days leading up to Easter Sunday will showcase a new Vatican led by Pope Francis I, the first South American to head the Holy See. 

    Holy Week officially began on Palm Sunday, March 24, with Pope Francis I leading an overflowing papal mass in St. Peter’s Square. You’ll find a double-packed Holy Thursday, March 28 with a 9:30 a.m. Chrism mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and a 5:30 p.m. mass across town at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The solemn morning mass observes the religious rites of priesthood, associated with Christ’s institution into Catholicism. The late afternoon mass gives way to the moniker Maundy Thursday, the celebration of Christ’s bathing of the Apostles’ feet, from the Latin Mandatum. The ages-old tradition will have Pope Francis I washing the feet of laymen at the main altar of St. John Lateran Basilica.

    Good Friday, March 29 will bring tens — if not hundreds — of thousands to both St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum. At 5 p.m., the Vatican hosts the papal mass for the passion of the Lord, and then shortly thereafter, Pope Francis I will move to the Colosseum for the Via Crucis. The Way of the Cross is a torch-lit procession commemorating the Stations of the Cross led by the Pope himself with the unique backdrop of the historic arena.

    For a final evening papal mass, the Holy Saturday, March 30 Easter vigil is held inside St. Peter’s Basilica at 8:30 p.m.. The vigil leads into Easter Sunday, March 31, with Pope Francis I presiding over Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Square at 10:15 a.m. Arrive early as the Square will be shoulder to shoulder with visitors in attendance. At noon, the Pope will then address the city of Rome and world from the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica with the Urbi et Orbi.

    For Italians, Holy Week continues to Pasquetta, Easter Monday, April 1. An official holiday from work and school, Romans head to backyards, parks and the countryside for picnics and relaxation to celebrate with friends and family. Since Holy Week festivities change the dynamic of the average week in Rome, it would be worthwhile to organize lunch and dinner reservations in advance from Holy Thursday through Pasquetta. And for those who may find the Vatican events larger than life, remember that Rome has more than 800 churches which will all be celebrating the Easter events. If the crowds in St. Peter’s Square are too much, take a peek into any of the city’s lovely places of worship.
  • On March 26, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is Holy Week like in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo With Rome and the Vatican in the world’s spotlight over the past few weeks thanks to the recent Papal election, Holy Week will garner even more attention than usual. The days leading up to Easter Sunday will showcase a new Vatican led by Pope Francis I, the first South American to head the Holy See. 

    Holy Week officially began on Palm Sunday, March 24, with Pope Francis I leading an overflowing papal mass in St. Peter’s Square. You’ll find a double-packed Holy Thursday, March 28 with a 9:30 a.m. Chrism mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and a 5:30 p.m. mass across town at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The solemn morning mass observes the religious rites of priesthood, associated with Christ’s institution into Catholicism. The late afternoon mass gives way to the moniker Maundy Thursday, the celebration of Christ’s bathing of the Apostles’ feet, from the Latin Mandatum. The ages-old tradition will have Pope Francis I washing the feet of laymen at the main altar of St. John Lateran Basilica.

    Good Friday, March 29 will bring tens — if not hundreds — of thousands to both St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum. At 5 p.m., the Vatican hosts the papal mass for the passion of the Lord, and then shortly thereafter, Pope Francis I will move to the Colosseum for the Via Crucis. The Way of the Cross is a torch-lit procession commemorating the Stations of the Cross led by the Pope himself with the unique backdrop of the historic arena.

    For a final evening papal mass, the Holy Saturday, March 30 Easter vigil is held inside St. Peter’s Basilica at 8:30 p.m.. The vigil leads into Easter Sunday, March 31, with Pope Francis I presiding over Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Square at 10:15 a.m. Arrive early as the Square will be shoulder to shoulder with visitors in attendance. At noon, the Pope will then address the city of Rome and world from the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica with the Urbi et Orbi.

    For Italians, Holy Week continues to Pasquetta, Easter Monday, April 1. An official holiday from work and school, Romans head to backyards, parks and the countryside for picnics and relaxation to celebrate with friends and family. Since Holy Week festivities change the dynamic of the average week in Rome, it would be worthwhile to organize lunch and dinner reservations in advance from Holy Thursday through Pasquetta. And for those who may find the Vatican events larger than life, remember that Rome has more than 800 churches which will all be celebrating the Easter events. If the crowds in St. Peter’s Square are too much, take a peek into any of the city’s lovely places of worship.
  • On March 25, 2013
    Marcy Gordon is now following Erica Firpo
  • On March 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best activities in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo With thousands of monuments, churches, archaeological sites and museums in Rome, the best activity that the Eternal City has to offer is a change of perspective.  On a clear day, climb the 551 steps (or take the elevator half way to the top) for a view from a country within a country. At nearly 450 feet in height, St. Peter’s cupola is the tallest structure in Rome and boasts the best view of the city.  For another point of view, the Terazza delle Quadrighe in the very center of Rome has vantage points of both the contemporary city and ancient forums.
     
    Rome’s ancient history is layered underneath centuries of literal and figurative build up.  Since almost every visible rests upon something ancient, to uncover the past, you just need to go underground.  A few steps from the Trevi Fountain is Città dell’Acqua, a walkable, imperial-era housing structure.  And nearby is the Domus Romane at Palazzo Valentini, remains of ancient houses with multi-media museum.
  • On March 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best wine bars in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo In Rome, your allegiance to the local enoteca (wine bar) is on par with your fidelity to Roma or Lazio, the two local soccer teams. But since each neighborhood has several enoteche, from quaint and traditional to stylish and trendy, you are allowed a piccolo tradimento (tiny betrayal) on occasion. My favorite enoteche in Rome are:

    Il Goccetto is often considered one of the oldest wine bars in Rome and has all the rustic charm that I need for a traditional wine bar- a great selection of wines and a delicious antipasto menu. Location is perfect, a charming side street between the Tiber river and Campo de’ Fiori that side steps the college crowd.  On the other side of Campo de’ Fiori is Angolo Divino, via dei Balestrari 12, another rustic wine bar with slightly more space and a lovely wine list and antipasto menu, though availability is dependent on the owner’s whims. Another favorite in the nearby Ghetto neighborhood is Beppe e Suoi Formaggi, an incredible cheese and wine shop frequented by many gastro-tourists.

    Other neighborhood enoteche that have caught my eye and palate are Monti’s Ai Tre Scalini (unmistakable on the corner of via Panisperna and Via dei Serpenti), a rustic wine bar and the recently renovated Le Barrique at via del Boschetto 41, who’s mod remake also includes a dinner menu, and Trastevere’s quiet Uva Rara on via di San Crisogono 31.

    If looking to learn more about Lazio, head toward Piazza di Spagna to Palatium which focuses on Lazio region vintages, or else Enoteca Provincia Romana (Piazza Venezia) whose Rome-focused menu of wines also includes notable products from the region.
  • On March 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best wine bars in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo In Rome, your allegiance to the local enoteca (wine bar) is on par with your fidelity to Roma or Lazio, the two local soccer teams. But since each neighborhood has several enoteche, from quaint and traditional to stylish and trendy, you are allowed a piccolo tradimento (tiny betrayal) on occasion. My favorite enoteche in Rome are:

    Il Goccetto is often considered one of the oldest wine bars in Rome and has all the rustic charm that I need for a traditional wine bar- a great selection of wines and a delicious antipasto menu. Location is perfect, a charming side street between the Tiber river and Campo de’ Fiori that side steps the college crowd.  On the other side of Campo de’ Fiori is Angolo Divino, via dei Balestrari 12, another rustic wine bar with slightly more space and a lovely wine list and antipasto menu, though availability is dependent on the owner’s whims. Another favorite in the nearby Ghetto neighborhood is Beppe e Suoi Formaggi, an incredible cheese and wine shop frequented by many gastro-tourists.

    Other neighborhood enoteche that have caught my eye and palate are Monti’s Ai Tre Scalini (unmistakable on the corner of via Panisperna and Via dei Serpenti), a rustic wine bar and the recently renovated Le Barrique at via del Boschetto 41, who’s mod remake also includes a dinner menu, and Trastevere’s quiet Uva Rara on via di San Crisogono 31.

    If looking to learn more about Lazio, head toward Piazza di Spagna to Palatium which focuses on Lazio region vintages, or else Enoteca Provincia Romana (Piazza Venezia) whose Rome-focused menu of wines also includes notable products from the region.
  • On March 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best wine bars in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo In Rome, your allegiance to the local enoteca (wine bar) is on par with your fidelity to Roma or Lazio, the two local soccer teams. But since each neighborhood has several enoteche, from quaint and traditional to stylish and trendy, you are allowed a piccolo tradimento (tiny betrayal) on occasion. My favorite enoteche in Rome are:

    Il Goccetto is often considered one of the oldest wine bars in Rome and has all the rustic charm that I need for a traditional wine bar- a great selection of wines and a delicious antipasto menu. Location is perfect, a charming side street between the Tiber river and Campo de’ Fiori that side steps the college crowd.  On the other side of Campo de’ Fiori is Angolo Divino, via dei Balestrari 12, another rustic wine bar with slightly more space and a lovely wine list and antipasto menu, though availability is dependent on the owner’s whims. Another favorite in the nearby Ghetto neighborhood is Beppe e Suoi Formaggi, an incredible cheese and wine shop frequented by many gastro-tourists.

    Other neighborhood enoteche that have caught my eye and palate are Monti’s Ai Tre Scalini (unmistakable on the corner of via Panisperna and Via dei Serpenti), a rustic wine bar and the recently renovated Le Barrique at via del Boschetto 41, who’s mod remake also includes a dinner menu, and Trastevere’s quiet Uva Rara on via di San Crisogono 31.

    If looking to learn more about Lazio, head toward Piazza di Spagna to Palatium which focuses on Lazio region vintages, or else Enoteca Provincia Romana (Piazza Venezia) whose Rome-focused menu of wines also includes notable products from the region.
  • On March 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best wine bars in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo In Rome, your allegiance to the local enoteca (wine bar) is on par with your fidelity to Roma or Lazio, the two local soccer teams. But since each neighborhood has several enoteche, from quaint and traditional to stylish and trendy, you are allowed a piccolo tradimento (tiny betrayal) on occasion. My favorite enoteche in Rome are:

    Il Goccetto is often considered one of the oldest wine bars in Rome and has all the rustic charm that I need for a traditional wine bar- a great selection of wines and a delicious antipasto menu. Location is perfect, a charming side street between the Tiber river and Campo de’ Fiori that side steps the college crowd.  On the other side of Campo de’ Fiori is Angolo Divino, via dei Balestrari 12, another rustic wine bar with slightly more space and a lovely wine list and antipasto menu, though availability is dependent on the owner’s whims. Another favorite in the nearby Ghetto neighborhood is Beppe e Suoi Formaggi, an incredible cheese and wine shop frequented by many gastro-tourists.

    Other neighborhood enoteche that have caught my eye and palate are Monti’s Ai Tre Scalini (unmistakable on the corner of via Panisperna and Via dei Serpenti), a rustic wine bar and the recently renovated Le Barrique at via del Boschetto 41, who’s mod remake also includes a dinner menu, and Trastevere’s quiet Uva Rara on via di San Crisogono 31.

    If looking to learn more about Lazio, head toward Piazza di Spagna to Palatium which focuses on Lazio region vintages, or else Enoteca Provincia Romana (Piazza Venezia) whose Rome-focused menu of wines also includes notable products from the region.
  • On March 25, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best wine bars in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo In Rome, your allegiance to the local enoteca (wine bar) is on par with your fidelity to Roma or Lazio, the two local soccer teams. But since each neighborhood has several enoteche, from quaint and traditional to stylish and trendy, you are allowed a piccolo tradimento (tiny betrayal) on occasion. My favorite enoteche in Rome are:

    Il Goccetto often considered one of the oldest wine bars in Rome. Il Goccetto has all the rustic charm that I need for a traditional wine bar, a great selection of wines and a delicious antipasto menu. Location is perfect, a charming side street between the Tiber river and Campo de’ Fiori that side steps the college crowd.  On the other side of Campo de’ Fiori is Angolo Divino, via dei Balestrari 12, another rustic wine bar with slightly more space and a lovely wine list and antipasto menu, though availability is dependent on the owner’s whims. Another favorite in the nearby Ghetto neighborhood is Beppe e Suoi Formaggi, an incredible cheese and wine shop frequented by many gastro-tourists.

    Other neighborhood enoteche that have caught my eye and palate are Monti’s Ai Tre Scalini (unmistakable on the corner of via Panisperna and Via dei Serpenti), a rustic wine bar and the recently renovated Le Barrique at via del Boschetto 41, who’s mod remake also includes a dinner menu, and Trastevere’s quiet Uva Rara on via di San Crisogono 31.

    If looking to learn more about Lazio, head toward Piazza di Spagna to Palatium which focuses on Lazio region vintages, or else Enoteca Provincia Romana (Piazza Venezia) whose Rome-focused menu of wines also includes notable products from the region.