Chapter Roma is hidden down a narrow side street in Regola, right on the border with Sant’Angelo, Rome’s Jewish quarter. The River Tiber is a few minutes’ stroll to the south; the Spanish Steps are a 20-minute walk to the north.
Rome Ciampino is technically the closest, but you’re more likely to be arriving at larger Fiumicino, one of Europe’s busiest hubs. There are direct flights to the latter from all over Europe and many larger US destinations. From Fiumicino, it’ll take around 40 minutes to drive to the hotel; give our Smith24 team a call if you’d like them to arrange flights and transfers for you.
Rome’s main station, Termini, is just over 3km from the hotel. High-speed Trenitalia services arrive there from Milan, Venice, Naples and Florence. Once you’re at Termini, hop in a cab, which should take around 15 minutes.
The Italians’ passion for motorsports sometimes spills into the streets – sudden lane changing, speeding and gung-ho overtaking are all fairly commonplace. Many visitors get by without a car, but if you do want to bring one, be aware that the hotel’s within one of the city’s restricted zones. Private vehicles are banned from 6.30am–7pm Monday to Friday, and 10am–7pm on Saturday; if you’re caught behind the wheel, you’ll face a hefty fine. The closest private car park is 200m from the hotel – prearrange your valet parking (at an extra cost) with the concierge to avoid fines.
Worth getting out of bed for
Set back from Rome’s tourist hotspots, Chapter Roma is the perfect base for forays into the Jewish Quarter and Regola, a long-time industrial enclave that’s held onto its workshops and markets. The hotel’s art-filled lobby bar makes a fine preface or conclusion to your ventures, filled with guests and Romans alike. Often overlooked in favour of the city’s iconic monuments, Rome’s Jewish Quarter (often called the Jewish Ghetto by Romans, both Jewish and otherwise) has a history that’s equally rich and long. Standing in one form or another since 2 BC, it’s the oldest Jewish settlement in Europe, having witnessed the rise and fall of many empires. The quiet, cobbled streets and houses that line them are now much sought-after by Rome’s well-heeled residents, but the Ghetto’s name stands as evidence that things weren't always this way. Hemmed in by walls from 1555 to 1888, it was once overcrowded, but residents made the best of their lot, weaving their culture into Roman life. The most prominent Jewish building is the Great Synagogue, also home to the city’s Jewish Museum. The cultural legacy is also visible in the quarter’s restaurants and bakeries, many with Jewish elements to their menus. While it may not be connected to Judaism, don’t miss the ominous Mouth of Truth outside the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin. Dating from around the first century, the flat marble disc depicts a male face with a gaping mouth. If you’re feeling intrepid, place your hand inside and tell a lie – according to Roman legend, there’s a chance it could be bitten off. For a hit of high-renaissance splendour, take a tour of Palazzo Farnese, designed in parts by Michelangelo and said to have been one of the most imposing Roman palaces of the 16th century. English tours are available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
For a lunch steeped in local culture, try one of the branches of Baghetto on Via del Portico d'Ottavia. This Jewish-Roman restaurant has two outposts on the same street, one specialising in meat dishes, the other focused on fish, cheese and creamy kosher foods, often with Arabic influences. Pierluigi is an enticing prospect for dinner, famous for the pedigree of its seafood and its 1,500-bottle-strong wine list. Trading since 1938, the restaurant has seen trends come and go, but savvy management has ensured it’s not lost step with the times, looks or otherwise. Camponeschi, in Piazza Farnese, is one of Rome’s favourite fine-dining restaurants. The gilt-framed and candlelit dining rooms have been overseen by the same family for generations, who’ve prized food and service in equal measure. Arrive early and have an apéritif in the wine bar, mingling with well-heeled Romans as they arrive for their post-work tipple.