Live it Up Like a Local in Rome for Less

Posted July 8, 2009 by Jamie Moore

Wine-Rack-DEF You know what they say: When in Rome.... I just couldn't resist tracking down some favorito local hangouts in this great city—two of which are actually in revamped garages. While you're here, savor a carefully crafted vegetarian meal. Drink to Italian style at a trendy wine bar. And rummage for bargains at a Roman "garage" sale.

Eat
Arancia Blu (in Italian only): At this elegant vegetarian restaurant, Chef Fabio Passan whips together unusual combinations for a big splendido! factor. Here you get unforgettable meals at reasonable prices. Order lasagna flavored with ginger. Or, try ravioli stuffed with potatoes and mint, served with Sardinian sheep cheese. With a seasonal menu and 250 different bottles of wine, you can try something new each visit … although you may need to sample the dark chocolate cake with warm orange sauce again and again and again.

Drink
Freni e Frizioni (in Italian only): Head to this mechanics-garage-turned-trendy-wine-bar to rub shoulders with the who's who of Rome. Hip locals who want to see and be seen do it here among romantic candles, grand chandeliers, modern art, and funky music. Savor one of the famous mojitos and gawk at beautiful people from the bar. Take five on the open-air terrace where views of the Tiber River ("Tevere" for those in the know) are as fabulous as the ones inside. 

Shop
Borghetto Flaminio Market: Pick up an authentic souvenir at this Roman market housed in a funky old bus garage. You'll find bargains galore on everything from lampshades to designer clothes, but be sure to sharpen your wheelin'-and-dealin' skills before you arrive. This popular weekend market attracts Romans of all ages who have mastered the art of snapping up great deals. Who can blame them? Rumor has it one of Gucci's top designers sometimes books a table to sell off surplus goods at rock-bottom prices.

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(Photo: iStockphoto/Andrew Johnson)

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