Dual Citizen

Reflection

Travel Diaries :: Rome, Italy

Reflection, Travel Diaries, Inspiration, Blog PostFrom the Founder

Rome, Italy

Ahh Italia.  Land of everything I love: wine, pasta, pizza, gelato, picturesque streets and buildings, teeny Fiats, a dreamy color palette, and more history than one can consume in a single visit.  See below for recommendations on where to stay, what to do, and obvi: where to eat in Roma.

Where To Stay:

Trastevere (pronounced Trast-ev-er-ay - for some reason I could not, for the life of me, say it correctly but soon realized that the emphasis was on the second syllable). Close to the city center with provincial charm, Trastevere is described as one of Rome's favorite neighborhoods.  It's narrow streets, laid-back vibe, plentiful restaurants and cafes make for a perfect area to call home base.  While there are hotels I recommend finding a place through AirBnB; there are loads of fantastic apartments that immerse you; to make you feel like you live there, even if only for a few days.  Get inspired here.

Piazza di Santa Maria is a square in Trastevere that provides a romantic backdrop for an evening stroll (even with your best girlfriends), sidewalk cafes, bars, people watching, music and of course taking some wine, pasta and pizza.  I also recommend walking along the river in the evening.  Simply dreamy.

Trastevere, Rome, Italy

How To Get Around:

My feet may disagree but Rome is entirely a walking city; what seems impossible to walk on a map is actually quite close.  And to be honest, it only helped me get more acquainted to the city. Getting lost in the side streets of the piazzas, you're likely to stumble upon something lovely.  That said - get a pocket map.  It helps!  If walking is not your thing, have no fear.  The public transportation system is pretty good save for running every 30 minutes (I think that was a one-time fluke & beginners luck) and is seemingly free (don't tell the authorities).  Otherwise, the streets are lined with taxi's and local shops where you can rent bikes or more daring, Segways.

 Roma Rent Bike

Roma Rent Bike

What To Do:

Site Seeing: It goes without saying that there is MUCH to do and see in Rome.  Someone mentioned to me that even 2 months is not enough to discover all the city has to offer.  So if you're strapped on time but want to hit all the sites, I'm talking Trevi Fountain, The Vatican, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Colosseum and more, I recommend doing a bike tour with Roma Rent Bike.  Our tour guide, Antonio was a delight and due to a small group, felt like a personal tour.   It was a great way to see the city, sites, and get a nice little breeze during the hottest days of summer.  Plus the bikes were über cute with a basket!  Perfect for cruisin' the city streets.

Colosseum

Spanish Steps

 The Pantheon

The Pantheon

Villa Borghese: originally a private vineyard, Villa Borghese was expanded to grandiose proportions and is now a large landscape garden composed of buildings, museums and attractions.  One such place to visit is Galleria Borghese which houses a stunning private art collection.   I was lucky enough to catch the Azzadine Alaïa exhibit, where some of the most exquisite haute couture pieces I've ever seen were on display in contrast with the classical art pieces that adorn the museum.  The exhibit continues through October so if you can, get there soon!

 Galleria Borghese

Galleria Borghese

Azzadine Alaïa

  Azzadine Alaïa

Azzadine Alaïa

Sunday's in St. Peter's Square: Every Sunday at 12pm sharp, Pope Francis emerges from a teeny tiny apartment window to address those in St. Peter's Square... in Italian.  While we were told that he comes out for exactly 7 minutes and the crowds are insane, he actually spent quite a bit of time addressing the people (19 minutes to be exact) and the crowd was not bad at all.  Being a newbie to this attraction, I got there at 11:15 and was subjected to the cruelty of the Mediterranean sun in August.  You can get there at 11:55 a.m. and have a fantastic view (binoculars recommended).

 St. Peters Square

St. Peters Square

Pope Francis 

Where To Eat:

This one is tricky.  Its no surprise that Rome is nothing short of amazing restaurants and food.  I was inundated with recommendations from friends on the best restaurants but truth be told, I only made it to a few places (there aren't enough meals in the day nor space in my stomach, though I could accept a challenge). Because I was constantly out around town, sometimes I had to just duck into whatever looked best and I can only count 1 bad meal.  So the math is that if you stick to going to places outside of the piazzas (i.e. restaurants with the matre'd inviting you in) you'll be golden to have a great meal.  That said, here are some of my faves. 

Le Mani in Pasta: probably number 1.  It was divine.  Get the Le Mani in Pasta appetizer, with melon.

Cajo y Gajo: The best carbonara and bruschetta I have ever had.  Ever.

Gelato Fatamorgana: yummy - yet pricey - gelato

Behind The Vatican Museum: can't remember the name of it but when you exit the museum, there is a cafe straight across the street with the most over-the-top gelato.

Pastaficio: Tiny space + No seats + Only 2 pasta options = Heavenly.  Get one of their daily specials to go and enjoy it on the Spanish Steps; located right around the corner from the Spanish Steps.

Cheers! Gelato

Remember Why You Started

Reflection, Thankful, Holidays, Blog PostFrom the Founder
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I've come across this quote on social media a number of times and every time I see it, it always resonates so much that I pause and think about it.  I think about it in terms of this boutique, which, it must be said, took me a couple twists and turns to realize it was a store I wanted to create.  It must have been early 2013 when I realized that I wanted to create something.   I knew that I wanted to do something in fashion.  I knew I wanted to do something connected to my personal experience of being a dual citizen.  And I knew that there was an underlying social responsibility that I felt was critical to this thing I wanted to create.

It was those three factors that led me to where I am right now but it was definitely not a clear path.  I zigged and zagged through so many different manifestations of this thing from developing a shoe line to a media & shopping platform dedicated to designers from around the world.  I would go down a path and ultimately get to a point where it didn't feel right and realized that it wasn't what I was going after.   It was those three factors that were so integral to this thing that it enabled me to recognize when something wasn't right.

To say this was frustrating would be an understatement.  I had this vision of what I wanted to create and why but no idea how to put it into motion and make it real.  Fast forward almost 2 years and Dual Citizen boutique is finally here.   The power of the mind is a fascinating force and it wasn't until our opening this week that I really understood that power.  Staying true to those 3 things really were my guideposts to creating this store and I'm so excited about the future.  I could not have asked for a better kick off and cant wait for whats to come.  As holiday season gets underway I'm so thankful that I was able to remember why I started through those twists, turns and wrong directions that ultimately led me here.

-xO