Breakfast at the Forum?

July 30, 2013 / Local Interest
Rome, Lazio

forum2Why “at the Forum”? Well, first because they have pesky rules against eating “in the forum”; there is no bar caffe’ to speak of. And second, because breakfast “at the Forum” refers to the hotel where un cappuccino e cornetto can be had.

Given its location, it might as well be “in the forum”. Drop your camera from here and you’ll need to call the Archaeological Superintendent to retrieve it. To be precise, the Forum Hotel is technically “on the forum”. Demolish it and there would be more temples beneath, although we’ld be short one amazing spot per prendere un caffé.

forum1Walk into the hotel like you own it (elegantly dressed, greet the front desk manager with a “buongiorno” but do not stop) and make a right to the elevators at the end of the lounge/hallway. Go to the 5th and top floor restaurant where hotel guests are having their continental breakfast. Nice but… ham and cheese? At the end of the buffet area, greet (i.e. tip) the host and say you’re going di sopra (above). Order your cappuccino from the barista by his coffee machine to your right, and carry this yourself up the narrow old brick steps to your right. (Table service upstairs only begins in the evening for the busy cocktail hour.)

You’ll have one the most spectacular terraces of Rome all to yourself, bougainvillea, roses, and jasmine in full bloom. Take the best table, you’ll know which, and enjoy your caffé… the forum and all of ancient Rome at your feet.



by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

21 Responses to “Breakfast at the Forum?”

  1. trionfale

    Absolutely! And I believe this is the site – or something very close to it in the neighborhood – were two American mothers’ friendship takes a last stand while their daughters frolic about Rome with their beaux in Edith Wharton’s fabulous, I dare say perfect, short story, *Roman Fever*. I wonder what other readers think.

  2. Toni DeBella

    GB, I believe I have been to this “secret location” for aperitivo. Cost me 18 euro for the drink, but I figured I paid 5 euro for the martini and 13 euro for the spectacular view…some things are just priceless.

  3. Gyneth

    you really do know everything GB. I’m going to try that one day !

  4. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    without doubt, you know the places,have the swagger and can point out the ‘foodie’ areas better than any (i’m going to try your suggestion ) grazie

  5. Swag!!! That’s all I can say. GB you got it. Love the article and the attitude of which it was written. As matter of fact I do own the place… I’m just here for caffe, ha molte grazie…

  6. I wish I were there right now. It’s overcast and gloomy in Minnesota, USA!

  7. William Strangio

    From the angle of the “shots’ you were to the east of, and looking over Trajan’s
    Forum. Your camera certainly had a good telephoto lens. You can get a coffee on top
    of the VE monument and the opposite view but its not so fancy.

  8. GB – Fabulous! Still another “must do” in the eternal city. Love all these “secrets” :D

  9. Dawn Spsoato

    I arranged a surprise 50th birthday dinner for my husband at the Forum rooftop restaurant a few years ago. It was on Christmas Day and they did a wonderful job. The service was impeccable, food and wine were delicious, and they brought out a small cake with candles and champagne for dessert.
    All overlooking the Forum lit up at night.
    It’s going to be hard to top that!

  10. Linda Boccia

    GB you must write a small book about secret places in Roma for those of us who will be living there for longer periods of time. What say you? Little known places like the one you wrote about today and the many other special things that you have already written about.

    Let us know when you go to publication. I will illustrate it for you.

  11. MargaretLB

    Ah, the memory. Following is an excerpt from my trip report detailing brunch in October 2006:
    We spent a leisurely 2 ½ hours over bunch, enjoying the view and the food. The street below is closed to traffic on Sunday and there were strolling bands and stilt walkers, fire eaters and jugglers – what fun we had that afternoon. We both decided on the appetizer buffet which was fantastic. A partial list: roasted oysters, shrimp oreganata, risotto, stuffed mushrooms, roasted peppers, cheese (including boccacini knots of fresh buffalo mozzarella), cured meats, melon, proscutto (the most beautiful I saw in Rome, still on the leg bone and served like a steamship roast by the chef), olives; as I said, a partial list. The buffet was also quite lovely to the eye with grand serving platters. We both then had Veal Sorrentino and dessert from the dessert buffet. We tried the panna cotta, cheese cake, baba rum and fruit salad. I again had a split of Frascati, sis enjoyed her coke. The check was E117 and was really well worth it. We had a lovely afternoon on a beautiful day with a vantage over Rome and a birds eye people-watching view – and the food was great!

  12. Irene Malizia

    My first trip to Rome in 2000 was amazing. When I walked down into the Forum (you could do that then), I had such an inner experience. I felt like I had been there before and was just mezmorized. Since then, we have gone back 4 times. Now I must go again and have my caffe overlooking over the Forum. Great idea! Thank you.

  13. Bonnie Melielo

    I would love to try this place next time I am in Roma. Question: where/who do you pay for the coffee? How much is the “greeting” for the hostess? Grazie!!!!

  14. A couple of more places to add to my list for January 2014. Just when I think I have seen most of what Rome has to offer, something else pops up. Truly, you would need an entire lifetime.


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