“Only in Rome is it possible to understand Rome.”, wrote the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in one of the chapters of the famousItalian Journey. Only there, he added, “we meet with traces both of majesty and of ruin, which alike surpass all conception.” He was a careful observer, a forerunner, no doubt about it, of the times and of what would happen in Rome, his perfect sentences describing exactly what it was like to live in certain places, especially at night.
You should never despair when the pond in Villa Borghese with a view of the Temple of Esculapio is frozen, or when the terraces of the most charming rooms (and houses) are still closed and the gardens still far from waking up. Never should you run away from Rome, because, even in winter, you just need to know how to organize to get the best that, often, is really hidden around the corner. A few steps away from Piazza del Popolo, for example, on Lungotevere Arnaldo da Brescia, there is Palazzo Dama, the luxury hotel designed by Antonio Girardi, a world in itself that will make you forget the chaos and the typical Roman fanfare experienced even in the most exclusive places.
When you arrive, leave the imposing gray iron gate behind you and enter that peculiar liberty-style place that looks like a private house, which in the past was the residence of the family of the Marquises Malaspina. Today, with the building being brought back to life, you can still perceive that same regal atmosfere. The environment is formal but welcoming: parquet, marble and carpet will alternate with your feet without you noticing it, as you walk through the corridors and admire the nineteenth-century paintings that hang on the walls in the various rooms, or the crystal chandeliers that overlook the halls, everything juxtaposed against soft neon tones and lush palm trees.
You cannot miss the main hall in the centre of the building with the large staircase in dark wood leading to the rooms and suites, where refinement meets comfort recreating intimate corners of relaxation and pleasure. Venture a little further and you will be welcomed to the “Pacifico” restaurant, an iconic brand of chef Jaime Pesaque, who brought his Peruvian-nikkei menu to Rome, served in comfortable velvet-style sofas with a pool view. We recommend all the first courses, the Ceviche – its a must – the “Revisited Tiradito” and, among the meat, the Wagyu Carpaccio. If you are vegan or vegetarian, no problem, there is an interesting selection of choices on the menu for you, too.
The “Pisco Bar” is an interesting spot, the ideal place to continue the evening sitting between blue velvet poufs, gold objects of great taste, chandeliers that come from The Plaza in New York before its restoration beside handmade murano glass creations by Venini. A Vodka Tonic with the best vodka in town (the bar stocks more than thirty types of vodka) will warm you up to continue the evening in the basement. In fact, from midnight onwards, just take a private and secret staircase (it is hidden behind a secret wall), to get to the “Raspoutine Club”, one of Rome’s most popular venues, an official reflection of the epinonymous (and historical) Parisian place to be which was opened in 1965 by the legendary Hélène Martini.
Even in the Roman one, elegance, transgression and great quality music are never lacking. The red-colored walls and the sofas will remind you of scenes from Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, but it will be up to you to decide where to stop, when and – above all – with whom. The environment is small, and you immediately become acquainted with your neighbouring tables, the deejays are always superstars, the drinks are exquisite and the crowd is just “right”, particularly because it is a “membership only” club. Hollywood stars passing through the capital adore stopping by, and it is not just them. The coolest night to go is on Fridays, but Saturdays are not bad either. Are you demanding or did you drink too much? Not to worry: at the end of the evening the restaurant will provide you with a limousine service ready to take you wherever you want.
“Palazzo Dama” and “Raspoutine Club” Lungotevere Arnaldo da Brescia, 2 Roma, 0689565272