It all started in the Middle Ages when knights would stop here before journeying to the Vatican. A stop to relax and to be fed and watered, to breathe in the oxygenated air in the hills with Rome at their feet. Today, the Rome Cavalieri continues the tradition for travellers and guests, sitting in its enviable location looking out over Rome’s monuments.
The resort overflows with Italian elegance, a showcase of masterpieces, from Andy Warhol to Venetian masters, original antiques and bejewelled costumes worn by Nureyev, all on display. Swarovski crystal taps and a Karl Lagerfeld couture couch accessorize the penthouse suites. The Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria hotel, stands nobly as a private museum of art with an original collection of artefacts which adorn all areas – marble statues lighting up corners, French handmade clocks marking time, rare pieces of furniture and Tiepolo’s masterpiece tapestries draped proudly as centre pieces in the lobby to be enjoyed by guests and visitors alike. The hotel conducts private art tours to show off the 1,100 pieces of art around the property. Italian classical opulence at its best, fit for any Emperor.
Just 15 minutes from the centre of Rome itself, a testament to grand architectural statements, Michelangelo’s brushstrokes, fountains and statues galore with pieces of history around every corner on fine display. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, so leave plenty of time to appreciate the magnitude of buildings from the grandeur of the Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world, protected by the Swiss Guard, the Colosseum, a Flavian amphitheatre and symbol of Imperialism and the Pantheon, the oldest domed temple in the city. Rome, the seat of the Roman Empire, a city of clashes, battles and revolts, chariot racing and gladiators all laced by avenues of trees like stilted broccoli florets on guard while operatic performances delight audiences in hidden churches.
The Great Imperial Thermal Baths of Caracalla with its sequence of thermal rooms demonstrate the significance of bathing in Roman times. A public bath was built around three principal rooms: a warm one called the tepidarium, a hot one called the caldarium, where slaves would rub their masters with perfumed oil and a big cold bath called the frigidarium for swimming. Bathing played a major part in ancient Roman culture and society, practiced across all social classes. It was also regarded a medical practice due to the curative powers of the thermal water.
Such practises are continued at the Rome Cavalieri’s Grand Spa, a welcome retreat after roaming Rome. Here, bathing like a Roman is encouraged. The Turkish bath is so spacious you can easily imagine Romans lying over the marble surfaces, plunging in and out of hot and cold pools, cleansing and socialising, retreating into saunas and reclining in the relaxation areas on cushioned divans. The 2,500 square metre spa is impressive and mimics the ancient bathing practises. of spa, with 10 treatments, a spacious Turkish bath, all adorned with elements of original roman baths, framed with columns and patterned with mosaics.
The treatment rooms are very stylish, subtly lit in contemporary, artistic design, emanating a relaxing ambience with contoured walls, seemingly reflecting the rhythmic massage strokes of the therapist. A hydrating facial using La Prairie products is one of their signature treatments resulting in the desired effect. The menu list is extensive and focuses on treatments for both men and women.
There are 345 rooms and 25 suites all enjoying private balconies or terraces, many with views of the Eternal City and St Peter’s Basilica. For roof-top fine dining La Pergola is the only Michelin-rated three-star restaurant in Rome.
Set in tranquillity, nestling in 15 acres of Mediterranean park, travellers are still checking-in to continue the traditions of the Knights of the Middle Ages. Dining, resting and recuperating in opulent and luxurious surroundings, while admiring those Roman decorated domes and monuments glinting from the city afar.
The Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. www.Romecavalieri.com
A Roma Pass is available for good savings and entrance to many of the attractions. These are valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours. www.turismoroma.it, toll free information number 00 39 06 060608 and facebook page @turismoroma
With the many cobbled streets around Rome proving difficult for wheelchairs, Roma Experience has this covered with accessible four-hour itineraries. These include a visit to the Vatican which takes in the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s School of Athens fresco and St Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum and Roman Forum. For wheelchair friendly tours visit www.romaexperience.com
Facts on Rome…..Did you know:
The Colosseum was once filled with water to stage mock ship battles
The Smiling Pope (Pope John 23rd) is buried in the tombs under St Peter’s Basilica
Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel standing, and not on his back
The Vatican welcomes 30,000 visitors to its 5 miles of galleries daily
The Romans believed that a Gladiator’s blood was a source of virility.
They used cobwebs to heal skulls.
Fancy a pizza?
On June 11, 1889, to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, the Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created the “Pizza Margherita”,
In Rome, a pizza is sold by weight.